We have been blessed to connect with many amazing families online, all of whom have adapted a travel lifestyle in one form or another. We wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to them here and highlight the positive aspects travel has had on their families. Welcome our interview series called Families on the Move. Miro & I are honored to a part of this global community we consider our extended family.
This wonderful guest post comes to us from Susan from the blog Grow In Grace Life. Susan send me a wonderful response to when I was researching for the blog post Benefits of Family Travel -25 Traveling Families Chime In. Her response was not just one paragraph and instead of editing down her family’s wonderful story, I asked Susan if she would be willing to tell her story as a guest post. I’m glad she said yes! This family is an inspiration and I love their story! I am certain you will to.
Being a family travel blogger reminds me what a wonderful community we are. We are all on different paths, and express our place in the world differently. I am remain inspired by other family stories.
By Susan Verbeeck from Grow In Grace Life
Freedom in lifestyle & learning while traveling.
Exploring while sharing and serving the needy. Being together and growing in love…these are a few of our favorite things !” (insert musical notes)
We do have the sound of music in our home..piano, guitars, accordion, harmonicas, viola and now the ever beloved Pandora ! Of course there is more than just music in our home. My husband and I have been blessed to have given birth to 7 children, 4 boys and 3 girls. Starting in 1990 I stopped working in the New York City fashion industry to stay home and have our first child. By the time he turned 11, we had our 7th ! It’s been a whirlwind of happiness and craziness ever since. They are now 9 – 21 years old.
My husband and I used to have our kids in the public schools ( which we liked at first ) and would travel frequently during the school breaks. We found that those times were so crowded everywhere we went and it really caused our trips to be stressful. When we put our youngest child on the bus for Kindergarten, I walked back into an empty house and felt sad. All seven of them were gone for about 7 1/2 hours a day. An institution ( the public school) had our kids for most of their young lives. That day I decided I wanted them all back ! We had been thinking about homeschooling for a few years ( and most people thought we already did), but I did not think I was capable enough . That first year of all our kids being in school, we researched how to begin and plan for bringing them all home for good !
That was 5 years ago. We wished we had done it from the very beginning now ! We are so blessed to have them with us most of the time while they are young.
9 To Travel
Now, for the traveling aspect, we have been able to fly stand by for only $30 per person one way any where in America ! This is due to my husbands work at FEDEX. So we have been taking advantage of seeing the USA together. It has been an incredible bonding experience for us all. These memories of our times together will stay with them always. It is so amazing to see how they all take care for each other, share, protect and are genuine friends with each other ( of course there is the occasional bickering and “he’s looking at me” or fighting over whether Tweetie Bird is a male or female : ) . It makes us feel so content and happy when we can do so much together. They will all be out of the house some day and it seems to go so fast. Looking back on all our travel photos we all reminisce of those adventures. The everyday things ( chores, farm work, errands, local stuff, dental appointments etc.) may just be a blur to them one day.
But it’s those travel destinations as a family that really stand out to us all. The fact that 9 people can spend such close encounters with each other day in and day out, is a incredible foundation for the rest of their lives. I am hoping that it will benefit them as they become adults and have families of their own. And that it will teach them not to be afraid of venturing out on their own some day. Last summer my oldest son drove out West to Montana for an architecture internship.He said it was such an incredible experience for him to venture out on his own and see such a beautiful part of this country. I am encouraging my oldest kids to start to head out across the globe.
Right now my husband is working outside of the house and we need to run our organic farm here. But the plan is for him to retire soon so we can be free to head into the world ! For now we are having fun and crazy adventures here : Camping on the Eastern shores in Chincoteague, Virginia in a flooded tent amongst mosquito’s, no see-ums and the pungent smells of low tide wafting in our tent…heading off to Florida at a moments notice to be able to see one of the last Space Shuttles lift off ! Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and Giant Sequoias of Northern California. Heading into the swamps of “Cajun Country” Louisiana where we got to float on a pontoon in the bayou to see alligators, beaver, water moccasin, eat craw fish just pulled out of the water, realizing that there are people who’s homes are actually in the swamps on houseboats.All this while listening to awesome Zydeco music ! We will always remember these times together, even the difficult and challenging ones. They can’t learn all these things in a textbook and off of a chalk board !
We have seen much of the United States together and truly believe in experience being a teacher. Reading about Vermont can not compare to actually being there : skiing or hiking in Ludlow, eating the fresh cheeses, sucking in the crisp mountain air and gratefully savoring fresh maple syrup . For now we are preparing for an opportunity to venture out in to the rest of the world. Not sure just yet how, but it’s such a passion for me that I hyperventilate just reading an article or seeing photos of other places ! I had the incredible opportunity to have lived overseas as a teenager. When I was 12 our family moved to the Middle East for 3 years. Due to that move, we got to also see some of Europe and Israel. That travel bug got into my heart and veins and now I can not get it out of me !!
So now we prepare..purging, saving, planning, praying and dreaming. Waiting with bated breath for the sign to GO ! We will keep you updated if you would like to see where the road, sea and sky will take us !
As we currently reside in the countryside of Virginia, we need to take advantage of our kids learning as we are in one place. Being within 90 miles of Washington D.C. is a huge advantage for their education. Taking day trips to all of the incredible museums and national monuments is a huge benefit for their learning. I know that home education and a life style like ours is not for everyone. We judge no one for their family choices. It’s just right for us. Some days you will find me crying on the never ending pile of laundry and fretting over how to manage all of the responsibilities we have. I am the “hippie homeschooler” while my husband is more traditional. He would be happy to stay home and tend to the soil on our land and teach the kids while I dream about heading out into the world with them . Right now he is working very hard to provide for us and we are managing to live within our means..that means NO credit cards. A real challenge in our American society ! So I want to make it clear that I do not believe that any one family or way of life is perfect. We just do the best we can and try to abide in God’s direction for our lives.
Traveling in our hearts
Until we can head out into the world, we bring the world into our home. We have been inviting foreigners into our home for many years now. Kids from Spain, France, Chile, Korea and Brazil have been welcomed into our home to live. For numerous holidays and occasions we have hosted people from : Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Israel and Venezuela ! We live in a rural area in America where some homes still fly the Confederate flag ! We love the people in our area, but the American Civil War is over folks ! We don’t want our kids to think that this cozy, insulated place is what the world is all about. So this is why we enjoy bringing in and sharing with others from around the world. When the time is right, we will head out ! This blog of mine that you may read is new to me. Just starting out and venturing into the world of journaling to the public. Thankfully, the creative and interesting folks ( like Lanie) and other traveling families have encouraged me to get out there and take that step in sharing our adventures !
To learn more about this wonderful family, please visit Susan’s blog Grow In Grace Life