Learning on the Road in Australia
From time to time, Miro and I start to feel ready for a new adventure and we start itching for something new. We’ve been talking about so many different possibilities and one of our ideas (among dozens) is to rent a moterhome or a camper van and drive around Australia.
When Miro asked me what I thought that experience would be like, I said, “honestly, I don’t know, but I think we’d make it an adventure, for sure.”
Then, I remembered we have a friend who is living this exact dream. In fact she is an inspirational single mom I met last year at the unschooling conference, Alice and her darling son, Satria. They are also “natural learner” (or in some circles considered “unschoolers”, too.) Alice and I keep in touch through facebook and I’m always so excited to read about her adventures as she posts pictures and stories. I was just going to just ask Alice a few questions through a facebook chat, but I then decided to turn our inquiry into an interview and share it with you here.
One of the adventures Miro and I are considering for the future is indeed a road trip through Australia. Here’s a little about Alice and Satria’s adventure on the road.
Name: Alice Wenzel
Child (+age): Satria, age 6
Style of education: Life Learners
Could you please describe your lifestyle:
We live in a Toyota HiAce Campervan in Australia. We are currently on the East Coast of Australia and will head down south to Victoria & Tasmania for the summer.
After a couple of months we will head to South Australia and then over to Western Australia… And onto Bali for May to visit Satria’s father (who is Balinese), and also attend the homeschooling/unschooling gathering on the tiny island of Gili Air.
While traveling around Australia we either park at old & new friends homes, or at Caravan parks. I usually put a message out on Facebook of where we are heading next & ask if there are any unschooling families that would like to meet with us, & we usually get invitations to park at someone’s house. If not, we book in at a caravan park.
I don’t formally educate Satria. I see learning in EVERYTHING that we do from buying groceries to meeting new families & the social interaction that goes with that.
Satria is also extremely computer literate and has an iPad with over 200 apps/games, and a laptop to play Minecraft and Spore. Often when playing Minecraft he’ll Skype with his friends that we’ve met on our travels or through the Australian Unschooling Minecraft Facebook page.
A lot of Satria’s English, Maths, Science, Geography ‘learning’ is coming from gaming and having access to the Internet. He has naturally learnt to read, & his spelling/typing improves each day just by wanting to be able to communicate with his friends while playing Minecraft.
What does a “mobile lifestyle” mean to you?
A mobile lifestyle to me means that we are on the go… Moving around from place to place living & learning as we go.
How important is freedom to you?
Freedom is everything to me. Since being on the road we’ve been in two situations where we were not completely free: 1) committed to house sitting for four weeks, and 2) committed to looking after a friends 4 girls for 2.5 weeks.
In both instances after the first week or so I felt stuck in a situation that in the current circumstances for varying reasons I would have left if I could have. It made me realise that my freedom is so important to me & I don’t want to limit ourselves by committing to others at this point in our lives. I want to live spontaneously and to be able to say yes to any interesting life experiences that arise.
As a mom who has adopted “life learning” as your form of education, what unique learning opportunities have arisen as a result of your travels?
Just being on the road and living fully each day is a unique learning experience. As I mentioned earlier I see learning in everything that we do. No one experience stands out… It is everything and everyone that is presented to us in our current lifestyle that we both learn from.
Could you share with us some of the incredible road adventures you’ve had so far?
We are still quite new at this and currently traveling where we have mostly been before.
For now the experiences that stand out the most would be camping amongst other life learners at a natural learning camp, then camping on a friend’s property while looking after another friend’s 4 daughters, and then camping at a circus festival with friends for my 40th birthday. I really enjoy the sense of community and being surrounded by other like-minded families.
What are some of the unique landmarks you hope to see in Australia in the future?
The Blue Mountains, The Great Ocean Road, driving from South Australia to Western Australia over the Nullarbor Plain, the Western Australian coast, and possibly Uluru, Kakadu National Park, and The Great Barrier Reef.
(Wow, so inspired! Miro and I want to see all those places too!!!!!!)
How do you manage choosing your next location?
Our trip up the East Coast was inspired by Satria wanting to see his old friends. Then back down to Victoria is to spend Christmas with our family, and over to Tasmania for a new experience and to meet other unschooling families that we have connected with online.
Heading over to Western Australia was originally to take advantage of the cheapest airfares to Bali, but we now have many families that we’d like to visit.
The smaller towns that we end up at along the way is due to invitations to park at other unschooling families houses that we’d really like to meet in person.
Do you consider yourself a modern-day gypsy?
YES! For sure!
Would you recommend this type of adventure for other families?
I highly recommend this type of adventure to all families. The main reason for me is to watch Satria blossoming into a much happier, joyful, and free child than when he was living in a house & going to school. And that means the world to me.
I am certainly inspired through Alice and Satria’s adventures. I hope Miro and I can take on a similar adventure in the future. After doing a little research, I came across a couple of resources to hire a campervan in Australia that look reasonable. Not sure of renting or buying will be the best option for us, but either way, this adventure is on our list of things we want to do.
So tell me, are you inspired by their journey too?