Last month we introduced Kate, an International School Leader who quit her job, sold her stuff, and hit the road with her husband and three young girls. You can read about why they decided to take off here.
One month later, I checked in with Kate to see how their family has adjusted to life and learning on the road. Reader, you should know that just as they started this adventure, they received news that Kate’s father diagnosed with a terminal disease and only given a few weeks to live. A few days after Kate and I reconnected her father passed away surrounded by his loved ones.
Mandy: When did y’all officially hit the road?
Kate: We left the UK on the 23rd of August with the car and caravan, however our homeschooling experience on the road started ‘properly’ once we had packed our caravan in France with our shipping and headed off On September 3rd towards Greece to be with my dad.
We have done just under 3000 miles so far.
M: I’m curious about your time with your family – were you already on this path when you found out about your dad’s diagnosis?
K: We had already planned the year out to ‘seek out different learning opportunities, learning from some of the best educational establishments and trying out what we learn on our three ‘guinea pigs’ at home.’ It was two days before we left Dubai that we had the call about Dad’s diagnosis. I flew straight to Greece from France to see him for a week before heading back to the family to prepare for the journey to Greece.
M: Were you planning to visit him on your trip or did you have other plans?
K: We had always planned to spend the colder months in Southern Europe, including time over Christmas with Dad in Crete, when we had started planning the trip. Caravans are not particularly warm so we thought a couple of months in the more temperate South was a good plan. We just headed straight [to Greece] rather than winding our way slowly via our listed education ‘wish list’ places.
Our list includes but is not limited to Reggio Emilia in Italy famous for Early Years Education, Rome to visit Montessori’s original school, the Swedish Outdoor Education Institute, Northern Lights, Norwegian Fjords, and everything in between. All of these we hope to visit later this year or next.
M: How are the girls taking to the nomad life? [Kate has three daughters under the age of 8.]
K: The girls have been incredibly adaptable so far. They did not enjoy paring down their toys or books and still ask for items long passed on.
We have found a rhythm to most days:
- Between 6am and 7am wake up
- 7:30 breakfast
- 8:30 hair, teeth, sunscreen, dressed
- 9am Freya [oldest daughter] starts lessons with Daddy while Mummy does activities with Flossy and Felicity
- 11:30 back together
- 12 noon lunch
- 1pm Felicity’s nap [youngest daughter] and free play/learning for Freya and Flossy
- 3pm family time at beach, trip out, walk etc
- 5pm dinner prep / outdoor play
- 6pm baths, books, and bottles
- 7:30pm bed
Things that have been amazing –
- There so so much more time to talk to the children, one to one and collectively
- I have fallen in love with them as people not just as my children
- We get to value and celebrate all aspects of their personalities in real time
- We have built up their confidence in their skills and talents and are supporting them in areas they find more challenging
- We are so much less stressed with each other… all the time
- Time outside
- Time together
- Sharing core values and belief
- The amazing people we have met
- Three kids in triple bunk beds means less sleep or everyone
- We are constantly tidying up or asking someone else to tidy up
- Everything takes longer in a small caravan so much if each day is ‘lost’ cooking, washing up, doing laundry, grocery shopping, putting away groceries…. literally hours!
- Very little time for ‘us’ or for us to focus on ourselves, like exercising for example
M: How does your experience with families and school age children inform your days now?
K: We learn everyday and have days ‘off plan’ when events occur.… For example, there was an organized walk this Friday that went along the coast and included an archaeological dig. Nick took the girls along 11-2 so we did reading in the morning and maths in the afternoon to allow time to attend.
M: One thing people always wonder is about financing this adventure. How do you pay for it? Are you working? Using the money from selling everything? How long will it last?
K: We are so far still using the money from selling everything and my last pay check (30th June). This month we will start using up savings. We have emptied one of our savings plans, that was earmarked for retirement, to fund the year. We have a very tight and pretty strict budget of $2500 a month.
- Per week: $300 for food, $100 for diesel and $100 for accommodation
- Additional $500 a month for excursions and educational activities.
Some weeks we spend more on one or the other but overall we have managed to be within budget so far most of the time.
In addition, we are signed up to an amazing course about monetizing your social media presence and are learning about how to turn our passions and interests into possible income streams. The course is run by two full time travelers (without kids) and is really engaging and easy to work through. More information can be found here for anyone who is interested: Wired Creatives.
We’ll continue to check in with Kate as their year on the road continues. Much love to her and her family as they mourn the passing of her father.
Kate Fuller is an accomplished School Principal with an impressive background and commitment to the continuous delivery of top quality education programmes to a wide range of student bodies. Currently, she and her family are documenting their transition to homeschool as they travel the world. You can look in on their life and lessons at Location Led Learning (https://locationledlearning.org/).