Interview: Adventures of an international world-schooling family

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The world-wide community of travelers is constantly growing. Solo, family, couple, luxury, budget – whatever you fancy, it’s out there. In search of those who desire to travel and learn from each experience, I’ve connected with many travelers making their way in the world. The Tupy’s and I have some common connections. They are an international couple who met abroad in a third location. One of them is a teacher. They learn as they go using various means necessary and staying in varied accommodations. They search for enriching experiences that are both perspective changing and provide growth. They’re not sure where they’ll settle and want the opportunity to choose whatever spot in the world suits them best for that time. They’re on a journey. Here they share a bit of the insight they’ve gained along the way.

Michelle Tupy and family - the gift of travel

Michelle Tupy and family

1.When did you get started traveling? I have been traveling since my early 20s and my husband has a similar story. We met traveling in China (he is from Canada and I am from Australia) and we haven’t really stopped – not even when our two kids came along, who are now 5 and 10.

2.What made you decide make the jump to a location independent/travel-based existence? We enjoy travel – in fact we are happiest when we are planning our next travel destination. Because we met on the road that kind of lifestyle in reality is the only one we have ever known. We get a bit restless when we stay in one place for too long.

3.What benefits do you feel you get from this lifestyle? How do you handle the nay-sayers in your life? We get to meet a lot of people and see a lot of things that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to do if we lived less of a nomadic life. And you never know what opportunities will be presented to you when you put yourself out there to experience life fully. As to the naysayers, I pay no heed. I try to focus on those that support us and help us on our journey, naysayers pull you down and draw you down a negative path – we don’t have time for that!

4.How did you save money to be able to afford living ‘on the road’/traveling often? How long did it take you to make the jump to a location independent/travel-based life? We generally visit places for longer periods so we have the ability to earn money on the road. We have been globetrotting for the last 10 years so saving extensively isn’t exactly easy – luckily for me I can work online as a writer and my husband can teach English or manage hotels/hostels wherever we go. We both have different skills that we can utilize to make it work.

and off we went - the gift of travel

Follow their journey – And Off We Went

5.How do you choose your destinations and for how long you’ll stay? What type of accommodations do you typically choose? Are there any specific resources you recommend? We generally rent apartments as, typically, up until now we have chosen to stay up to 12 months in one location. Come September we are going to try something new for us and visit South America moving into Central America and finally into North America, returning to Canada in a VW Kombi we purchased in Cusco. We are going to spend less than 3 months in each country so will be looking more at volunteering opportunities as we go and relying on hostels and Airbnb properties to keep accommodation prices low.

6.How much money do you traditionally need annually to support this lifestyle? We are simple people who can afford to do without the frills that many people often believe they ‘need’ to survive. Generally we make do with an average monthly income of about $1,500. It is surprising how little we need when we are on the road since we are not spending so much on things like home repairs and furniture.

7.How do you make money on the road and save for retirement? We don’t plan on retiring anytime soon as we love our work. I will keep on writing and my husband will look for whatever opportunities come his way. Life truly is an adventure to be lived to the fullest.

8.How do you handle visas, vaccinations, legal documents/passports, taxes and healthcare while living without a home base or an ever-changing one? We are currently in the process of renewing our son’s passport (which can be done from anywhere). We both file our taxes in our countries of residence and we have no healthcare costs other than a visit to a doctor in the country of our choice should we need it. We vaccinate whenever we are in Canada or Australia and always get the necessary vaccinations for our travel destinations. The majority of these things can be done anywhere in the world these days.

9.If you decide to settle somewhere – where and when do you think it will be? Never say never – after our return to Canada, we will probably settle for a while. We have no home base so it will be dependent on whatever opportunities come our way.

and off we went... the gift of travel

The journey…And Off We Went

10.What advice do you have for others trying to make the jump to a location independent/travel-heavy lifestyle? Fear in reality is the only thing stopping you from doing it – although note it definitely isn’t suited to everyone. Not every day is glamourous – we get frustrated with money issues, vehicle issues, etc. just like we would if we were at “home” but it’s all part of the journey. Try not to focus on the negative if possible and keep your eye on the road.

11.In your experience, what have been the two most significant gifts of travel? Patience for one, I am not great at this but I am certainly improving. Perspective is another – travel changes you for the better. ‘First world problems’ don’t have as much significance when, for example, you have no water or electricity on a daily basis.

If traveling with children on the road…

1.How do you manage the education of your children? Travel naturally opens our children up to the world – they have visited the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu for starters. What an education in itself! We do partial homeschooling of our daughter when time and commitments allow and will do the same for our son as he gets older. Once we return to Canada however we will probably put them back into the schooling system – variety is the spice of life.

2.How do they feel being world travelers and moving from place to place regularly? They yearn for stuff like all children but for the most part they are troopers and go with the flow. We meet so many interesting people and a lot of traveling families on the road – playdates are an important thing to do wherever you are in the world.

3.What do you think they gain from living life this way as opposed to a ‘traditional upbringing’? World awareness and perspective – they are not limited in their ideas – they can see how other people live and decide whether or not that is the best choice for them. We are trying to teach them that they can do whatever they want in this world and live wherever they want to – they are not limited to one town or even one country.

4.How has location independent living changed your family dynamics? Our children generally have a lot more freedom. Each day is a new day and we each have a choice to make so we can make the most of it. Spending time together is important for all of us.

5.How do you feel this lifestyle will help your children in their future? I hope it will open their mind to endless possibilities – my daughter is always brainstorming fun entrepreneurial opportunities. Time will tell, I guess.

Michelle Tupy and family - the gift of travel

Michelle Tupy and family

 

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