Sunday, March 8

Dreaming of Road Trips

FOTR - Families on the RoadOh. My. God.

I just found the website of my dreams. Who knew that such a thing existed?

I found it by accident, really. One day, I was channel surfing, looking for something good for Phoebe to watch--she tends to like "non-fiction", or the television version thereof (with the exception of a few high-brow shows--like Spongebob--on Nickelodeon). I came across a show called "Six For the Road" on TLC. It's about a family that sold their home, bought an RV, and is now living on the road, traveling all over the U.S., home schooling their four kids and three dogs (well, I don't know that they're home schooling the dogs, but they're along for the ride at the least, and hey, they're probably learning something). You can read all about them here.

It feels otherworldly to discover that someone is living your dream, especially when you feel like you are the only one and that this dream is impossible or unreachable. But that's not the half of it. I started reading their website, and what do I find? A logo on the left side of the screen which provides a link to an ORGANIZATION (they even have a facebook page) for families who are living this life. Families. Plural.


So now you know my secret, which will fully illuminate my prior stated opinions about what is "smart" and what is not.

So here's what I believe. I get it that it's different than what a lot of people believe. I don't really get why that is the case.

I think learning is at its best in meaningful context. Reading about places you're going, people who lived there, people who have written about those places, reading blogs written by people who live there now, reading about the history of a town you are standing in...that's meaningful context. Estimating distances, using map legends, calculating fuel efficiency, budgeting, living economically, currency conversion, figuring out coupons and discount percentages, analyzing election data--all are math in context. History, that's an easy one--you're witnessing it. Writing? When we hit the road previously, we kept a blog, writing every day. When we traveled the Oregon Trail (if you never read our blog from that trip, take a look, it's still up), hiking up to and standing in the still visible ruts from wagon wheels made the story of emigration tangible. My then 7 year old reading the journal of a 7 year old Oregon Trail pioneer made it real for both of us. It's easy to write about those sorts of things.

What about the opportunities for wonderful conversation that arise when your children notice, all on their own, that the people who were traveling on the Oregon Trail (for example) were mostly, if not exclusively, caucasian? Or when they ask what happened when someone contracted an illness, and what was that illness anyway and how did people get that and do people still get it today? What about the chances to continually meet people who are different from yourself or find kindred spirits in what you might have considered the most unlikely of places? Making friends of all ages? Making music...singing, playing instruments, discovering regional music...the list could go on for days.

Learning is everywhere, all the time. It's so exciting. And for some reason, we have relegated it to a classroom, a textbook, a standardized test, a grade, a desk, a workbook, a play. I don't get it.

So this Families on the Road has a group on Facebook. I already joined. Vicarious exploration will have to be the ticket for now. The six free ginzu knives will have to wait for another time.

On our living room wall, we have a ceramic plate with a drawing of a trailer and an inscription that says "Dreaming of Road Trips".

Today, I dreamed.

1 comment:

PeaceMaker said...

Gee, traveling in an RV is my dream, too! Last year I went to the Oakland RV show. I loved the PleasureWay. It was $72,000 new at the time. And I have no place to park it in the City. Anyway, it remains a dream.

I just discovered a family living out your dream! Here's a girl playing violin all over the world
She's 8. Her family has been traveling since she's been 5. They use Skype to communicate with everyone free over the computer.
Here's the traveling family's blog:
Their daughter sounds quite precocious - it would e great for Phoebe and she to meet -
That link has lots of links to people perpetual traveling.
As they say on their blog - Carpe Diem.