Last weekend we have enjoyed three lovely nights with the American family from The Talking Suitcase.
Based in Nice, France their children now attend school here, and they live in a lovely apartment in the old town area of the city of Nice, just behind the seafront promenade where we have been invited to stay with them.
We first met this family two years ago in Costa Brava, Spain as we traveled together exploring much of the local region.
The kids became great friends, and as parents who also love to blog about travel, we also had a lot in common.
I remember one of our favorite afternoons as we sat under old vines in an open farm restaurant in country Costa Brava. Here we drank local organic wine and ate from the harvest of the farm. We had ridden bikes here, and the children played and explored the cellars, and listen to local stories as we sat back and enjoyed the sunshine. It was a perfect day!
So to see the kids once more riding their skateboard and scooters down the promenade as we adults leisurely walked along was lovely.
We talked over the weekend about the lifestyle our families experience and the travel lives we all live. For Exploramum and Explorason being permanently ‘on the go’ is tiring at times, and we are hoping to base ourselves somewhere soon. This by no means our love for travel will stop, but it does mean we can have somewhere to call home, even if just for a while.
The Talking Suitcase Family seem to find that having a base whilst the children go to school, and traveling every six weeks works well for them too. Living in Old Nice – right behind the promenade area where the fresh produce market is, they have a very exciting life. Some would call it ‘living the dream’, but they have chosen a simple life over a heavy mortgage etc., and they believe the trade-offs are worth it.
Our children are getting older, and as they form friendships this becomes something we as parents need to encourage. It is a natural transition from needing a parents approval to needing personal approval of friends.
We also realize that our kids may grow up not having a conventional job. All three children enjoy taking photographs, making movies, and YouTube videos. They can edit, add music and take time to make great quality finished work. They don’t own a host of toys, books, and electronics because we move about.
So they have already learned that when you are down or depressed ‘buying a new gadget or item’ won’t be a quick-fix to the depression. They are smarter than being sucked in constantly to the consumerism of the western world. So hopefully they won’t be hoarders. This also means they share what they have, and pass on what they no longer need.
We also talked of how the kids are growing up to accept and be open-minded about people from other countries, races, and religions. One of their kids has a handful of international students as friends at their school, where we realize that in USA and Australia most of the students were born and raised in the school area with little outside interaction.
Broader Education And Knowledge
A life of travel also means that these children are open to languages not taught in schools ‘back home’. Plus subjects like Geography, History, Culture, World Politics, and Currency Conversion are part of their lives. We noticed that the kids had tried a wide variety of foods – not to say they liked them all, but they did try them. All of the children are ‘street smart’, and are aware of the threat of terrorism and ‘stranger danger’. They also seem to have a great sense of direction.
Life for these children may have some drawbacks from not having stayed in a traditional western upbringing. As parents, we are aware of this, but the opportunities through travel we believe outweigh this.
Children who experience travel can grow and develop without as many boundaries.
So as the children scoot and skate off to explore the many alleyways of Nice, France together we adults talk of ‘where next’, and for us, it is back to Italy.
We travel by using our Eurail First Class Pass back to Reggio Emilia to be with another family that is also a strong believer of World-schooling, and a fellow blogger Mom With Backpack.
When we first arrive it is ‘Befana‘, the end of Christmas, and Explorason receives a sack of candy and a fantastic Lego toy at the end of his bed – he learns a new Italian tradition. It is a great surprise!
This is the third year we have visited them in our world travels, and so the kids are also growing up together.
With the help of a very ‘hands-on’ Dad, they learn to make holograms using the iPad, computer or iPhone – world-schooling is great! He is a great guy, and Explorason and he joke – A LOT!
Their daughter is a couple of years younger than my son, but she speaks four languages. We visit the museum, feed animals, go to the country and visit the city. They are like sister and brother in a way.
They are lovely folk, and we so enjoy the friendship.
We even buy milk from the local farm one day. Here the kids see the cows in the sheds right next to where they can buy the freshest milk ever. Reggio Emilia is the land of dairy cows. The aroma fills the morning air, and Parma is of course, famous for Italian cheeses like Parmesan etc.
And in our opinion, we always have the best pizza at their house.
So not only are the kids developing wonderful world friendships, so are the parents.
For me, it is sometimes hard to say goodbye. But with a life of travel, we are never sure where or when we will see each other next!
So if you are thinking of traveling with your child or children, I’d highly encourage it. Yes there are times for both parents and the kids that life can be lonely, but I can remember lonely times in Australia when I was so deep in debt with a mortgage, I had no money left to go out.
Traveling families do make friends, the children are educated – just often not the same way as a ‘traditional school’, and they do enjoy their travel life.