5 Reasons Being Homeschooled Makes Me Better At Traveling

“What the hell does homeschooling have to do with travel!?”

I’m glad you asked. I know you probably have your doubts…but you’d be surprised how often I pull out my homeschooling skills in order to successfully navigate the world. I was homeschooled from 3rd grade to high school graduation, and it really shaped who I am, as a person. No, I don’t play Dungeons and Dragons, but there are some stereotypes that are true…

NOT THOSE. Sheesh, guys, when was the last time you met an actual homeschooler!? Trick question, because when would you meet someone who never leaves home? Hahahaha — just me? Okay, moving on. Here are five reasons I think that being homeschooled makes me better at traveling.

1. Alone Time:

Okay, so when I was homeschooled I went to a resource center a few times a week. And it was great. Basically it was structured like a regular school, except most of us had parents hanging out in the halls or library, while we went to classes. All the teachers were certified through the state (except for special workshops) and it’s very important for my homeschool cred to note that our parents weren’t the teachers. This was not a co-op. Got it? Good. Moving on.Having a place to spend 2-3 days a week was great, but it still meant that there were entire days where I saw only my siblings/mom. This meant I had to be okay with rollin’ solo. I’m an introvert, so it’s a little bit easier for me, but the reality of travel (especially solo travel, which I do) is that you spend a lot of time alone. Whether it’s transportation from one place to another, or just walking around a city, there are a lot of times when you’re going to feel like one very out of place person in a sea of faces. Luckily, a homeschooler knows how to capitalize on that time. And an introvert knows it’s great for books, journaling, blogging or just thinking about life.

2. Making Random Friends:

On the flip-side, you probably should talk to people when you’re traveling alone. Because otherwise a) Why are you even there?

b) You’ll probably start to go slightly mad.That being said, you know the Homeschool mantra, “Say hi now, because you might not see another soul for days!” It’s on our flag. Moving on.

In all seriousness, it’s really important to connect with people. Hang out with people in hostels, talk to people on tours and really get to know the strangers around you. This is easy for me to do, because I’ve had to choose to make friends pretty much my whole life. There was no luxury of “assigned seating” or “class periods together.” It was talk to this person right now, or forever hold your peace.

3. Self Motivation:

Not to brag, but I basically put myself through the entire educational system from 3rd grade on. Yeah, I had my mom there to give me piles of books, but I think anyone can pretty much vouch that I made myself actually get things d-o-n-e. I’ve always been pretty self-motivated, which is really good, because I work remotely and it’s really important for me to make sure deadlines and projects get done on time. Yes, I have a boss. But luckily I know how to kick myself into action.That being said, I constantly make deadlines for myself when I’m planning to travel, traveling or working on the road. I make it happen because when you’re on the road, as a solo traveler, you either get yourself there, or you don’t get there. There’s nobody to tell you where to go, or wake you up if you sleep through your alarm clock. It’s all about you. Just the way I like it.


4. A Love of Learning:

If I won the lottery, I would become a professional student at Oxford. I love learning more than anything in the world. Which is why I have tutors “for fun,” subscribe to PBS instead of Netflix and have accounts with every online learning site. I love history and science and geography and art and writing and languages. That’s just me (and Hermione, who I share a birthday with – fun fact).This comes in handy when I’m traveling because it makes me infinitely curious about the places I go. It also makes the places hold a lot of value for me, and when other people see that, I think it’s a lot easier to make friends with the locals (unless you’re in Paris, where they hate everyone – jk…sort of). This also has helped me to learn the “secrets” about places, because when you make friends with locals you get taken places tourists never get told about.

5. Trying New Things: 

There is a disclaimer on this one, because I’m not a huge fan of trying new food. That has more to do with me being allergic to everything on the planet, though, and less to do with a lack of interest or willingness to try.What I do love to do is weird things that nobody else will do. I travel with a pretty open “yes” policy for trying new things (safety first, of course) and that’s led me to have some pretty interesting stories. I’d share them now, but where would the fun be in that? You’ll have to keep reading along on the blog to find out.

BONUS

Not taking ‘no’ for an answer:

I wasn’t ever shut down by teachers growing up. There weren’t “dumb questions,” because the only person I could ask was myself, or my mom (who is, in fact, a certified teacher).  I love proving people wrong, and I love finding ways to do things that people say can’t be done. I think a lot of this has to do with the way I was raised… and it probably also has something to do with the hotheaded Scottish blood in my veins.

Yesterday’s Ceiling

Sequim, WA
Sequim, WA

Today I quit my job.

And after letting those words sink in a bit, I feel ready to cry. In case you were wondering, I have the perfect job; amazing family, amazing hours, great kids and great pay. Most people would think I was insane to leave, and right about now I’m starting to feel the same way. I think nauseous would be the word for the day.

All of the above being said, I think it’s important to state that there is a difference between feeling sick about a decision, and feeling uneasy. If I, at all, felt uneasy about leaving my job, I wouldn’t. I would stay put until I was forty and the last kid had graduated from college. But I don’t. And I’m not sure whether I’m happy or mad that I’m being led somewhere else.

In life there are always those “vitamin” decisions that you have to make. The choices that taste like crap and you have to half choke, half gag, down. But you do it anyway, because you know that they’re important and will make you stronger in the long run.

But, of course, being the brat I am, that doesn’t mean my soul can’t be furious. Although I know that moving is the right thing, and that it’s better for my future, even though I’ve dreamed about this my whole life, and I’m more excited than words can say, I’m still (for some unknown reason) livid.

I think it’s because I’m being forced out of my comfort zone. Ha. I didn’t even think I had one of those anymore. But I do. Although, sometimes I think I’m so busy convincing myself that I live on the edge, that I forget that even the edge can become a safety zone.

If only I could clone myself and put one self here, and one in France. Then we could correspond with each other and I’d be able to live out both lives simultaneously. I know that’s ridiculous. But you can’t blame a girl for dreaming.

I’m slowly starting to realize that, as the days go by, and the weeks pass, I’m getting more and more anxious about this transition. Even today, when I was telling my current boss that I would be leaving, I replied to her “That’s so exciting!” with a “Yeah…I guess so.”

It’s hard taking leaps. It’s hard to be someone doing something that no one you know has successfully done. It breaks my heart to know I’ll have to say goodbye to the kids I’ve loved for 2 years. It breaks my heart that I’m going to have to say goodbye to my family for an indefinite amount of time. It breaks my heart that I won’t get to hang out with the same Seattle people that I’ve loved for the past five years. It breaks my heart that I won’t get to play soccer, or go to my church or stop in on old places I used to work.

Basically there’s just a lot of broken heartage right now. That’s not a word. I don’t care.

I will say, though, that tangled amidst the brokenness, there is some excitement for the possibilities of the future. It feels a bit like a blank piece of paper staring me in the face and daring me to write a best selling novel. But maybe that’s what I’m the most afraid of? Messing up a blank piece of paper.

I probably sound like a crazy person right now, but these ups and downs are real talk. Transitions are scary and rugged. They aren’t always beautiful dreams, Pintrest boards and taking French lessons.

But that’s life. We appreciate the ups because we remember the downs.

When I was in India, our motto was, “Yesterday’s ceiling is today’s floor.”

It means what we’re called to today, all the promises and hopes and dreams, risks and pursuits, are only the stepping stools of the promises of tomorrow. We are created to cast off the “okay” and walk forward in confidence. There is so much more for us.

I think I forget too easily that, in the midst of my chaos, I have access to peace that surpasses human understanding; that even when I’m having nervous breakdowns and throwing spiritual tantrums, there’s a still small voice whispering, “Peace, greater things are yet to come.”

Because, ultimately, it’s not in the green pastures and safety nets that we find vitality and calling. It’s when we’ve pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zones and continued to strive for the inheritance of purpose we are called to.

“We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” (Colossians 1:11-14)