How Could You Do This to Your Child? Defining Our Parenting Philosophy

As full-time international overlanders, starting out on a 10- to 15-year drive around the world, we get a LOT of questions about our parenting philosophy. Our son Caspian just turned five and this lifestyle is all he knows (we've been traveling the U.S. full-time since 2014). We get asked about his education, socialization, safety, and general well-being almost every day.

So I finally decided to put out a public response. It's something we can copy/paste to the naysayers, instead of having to type out the same thing over and over. But more importantly, I hope it is a source of inspiration for families who wonder if they can or want to try long-term overlanding with their children.

My husband and I are fully invested in this lifestyle and believe it is making an incredible human being out of our son. We are happy to be a resource to other parents who have genuine questions about how this works. If you just want to discourage us, then maybe go somewhere else. We're currently in the middle of Mexico and not turning around. ;)

Full article on our personal blog: How Could You Do This to Your Child? Defining Our Parenting Philosophy
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Yep, so many fail to see the fabulous opportunities a child faces living your lifestyle.

By graduation how many languages will he be able to speak.
Rather than reading crap on the internet and regurgitating it he will actually understand other people, cultures, races, even religons.

Bravo for doing it the hard way. Your son will likely become a leader rather than a follower.
As for socializing, he is making new freinds every day. And learning how to keep close friends. Something most children never learn.

I was involved in Rotary Youth Exchange for many years. Like your son the opportunity for growth is exponential once you are thousands of miles from "home". Living in a Foreign Country and immersing yourself in their Culture and Language you will gain far more confidence and skill than we could possibly teach. Your son will become an excellent Ambassador for his home country.

Meeting Rotary Exchange Students is always amazing. Making friends with students and adults they barely understand. Overcoming the insecurities and fears we all must face in those circumstances builds character no school can replicate.

People critical of your lifestyle just have a narrow vision, judging others with blinders on. Kudos to you for seeing past that. I would love to know what your son is doing in 15 years.
 
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I don’t think you are going to find many people here that disapprove of what you are doing. It sounds very healthy to me.
Perhaps. But when I teach at Overland Expo, I still see majority men traveling without their wife and children, even though they often wish the whole family participated together. I've seen this gradually changing over the past few years, but there are still barriers to overcome.
 
Agreed. There are, unfortunately, many stories of parental abuse that make the news, and they never left their house.
Only the negative stories about anything make the news. The stories of success, which are much more common, aren't sensational enough. It is why there are still so many misconceptions about and biases against homeschooling, not to mention international overlanding.
 
The short response is “MYOFB”.
Depends on the recipient. Perhaps respond less abruptly, add more polite flourish but firmly meaning the same thing.
Fwiw,
Sounds like the youngster is getting far better start in life than many others.
I confess that your short response is often my mental go-to. Even though it's hard, I think open communication is the better response. When it comes to other ways of doing things, the honest truth is that many people never ever consider the possibilities. By being willing to put myself out there, I can actually change some minds. This has been happening lately in regards to Mexico. It's a huge passion of mine to show the real Mexico and Mexican people, and we've recently been receiving feedback from people saying that what we're showing of Mexico is nothing like what they pictured in their minds. That's why we push away the MYOFB response and make the effort.
 
There is an education that comes from experiences. great that you are bringing this into each of your lives.
Yes, thank you. We couldn't agree more. It isn't only our son who benefits from this kind of education. My husband and I are constantly having our assumptions challenged and growing as human beings.
 
I was involved in Rotary Youth Exchange for many years.
Thank you for your response. I'm not familiar with Rotary Youth Exchange. How often would you be away from home in another country?

My husband was involved in Seattle's children's choir when he was 10 or so, and they did a performance tour in Japan. His memories of that visit, and what he learned staying in a Japanese family's home, are still so vivid. I know that experience made a huge impression on him and we are multiplying that concept exponentially for our son Caspian.
 

pith helmet

Well-known member
Perhaps. But when I teach at Overland Expo, I still see majority men traveling without their wife and children, even though they often wish the whole family participated together. I've seen this gradually changing over the past few years, but there are still barriers to overcome.
In my group of friends, my wife is the only wife who is adventurous and wants to do the things I do. The others would rather wait for the hotel stay vacation. Kids now have to be started early like you have done, otherwise they are too content to stay inside their bubble.
 
In my group of friends, my wife is the only wife who is adventurous and wants to do the things I do. The others would rather wait for the hotel stay vacation. Kids now have to be started early like you have done, otherwise they are too content to stay inside their bubble.
Yes, these are challenges that can seem insurmountable. But from experience I can say they aren't. My husband was a self-described "steel and concrete" guy when I met him 19 years ago, most comfortable on the streets of New York City and wouldn't be caught dead camping. Now he lives in a Jeep Gladiator off-grid while he drives around the world. So don't say it can't be done. ;)
 

billiebob

Well-known member
In my group of friends, my wife is the only wife who is adventurous and wants to do the things I do. The others would rather wait for the hotel stay vacation. Kids now have to be started early like you have done, otherwise they are too content to stay inside their bubble.
I think it goes far beyond what you said. All to often parents indocteraite their kids to shun travel, culture, education. Too many parents are uncomfortable with the challenges of learning orhers live differently and they beat their children to believe everyone else are heathens. Only the life they are comfortable with is the life they accept. It is very sad because 50 years ago that life style was the fringe, today it is mainstream.

But there are huge opportunities for the child exposed to international travel. The others just follow their parents into oblivion.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
Experience is a WONDERFUL teacher!

No matter how Educated, Sophisticated or Hoity Toity you think you are I can tell 3 things you will always remember.

Things that HURT, COST YOU MONEY OR WERE EMBARRASING!

Having said that does not mean you learned anything and won't do that stupid schidt again but I can guarantee you will remember!

Kinda like watching your friends do stupid schidt and then thinking to yourself "If I did that would the results be any different"?

At least in this situation if your smart you can git the Education Experience without the Pain!

Think about all the experiences that this young man (Caspian) will have that other young people will NEVER experience.

It reminds me of Gene and Neda who posted on this site their 7 year ride around the world on BMW bikes. They did it when they were young and have their blog to look back on their experiences when they git old. Most folks just talk about taking an epic trip when they are young and then find out they are physically unable to do their epic trip when they are OLD!

Just remember TIME is one of you most valuable assets. How are you going to spend yours???
 
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Just remember TIME is one of you most valuable assets. How are you going to spend yours???
Thank you for your comment. We often say we can always make more money, but we can never make more time.

Eric is older than he looks, with a body that is 20 years older than that due to his 20 years of military service (he's a disabled veteran). We are in between health issues right now and taking advantage of the window we have to do this trip. Thankful the three of us can make it together.
 
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