When we were getting ready for travel one of our biggest concerns was leaving friends and family – missing out on social events and only having each other to socialise with. What I didn’t realise was that as full-time travellers we would have a better social life than we ever had at home!
We have not long arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a beautiful part of the world that brings together much of the best that Thailand has to offer. From the wonderful Thai people, the super cheap accommodation, the delicious street food and the gorgeous greenery of the stunning landscape. It is also a home (albeit temporary) to many Worldschooling families.
Sadly we only have ten nights in Chiang Mai, and while we knew when we booked to come that we would wish for more time, with our current housesitting commitments, ten nights is all we could squeeze in. But what a busy ten days it is turning out to be.
We typically try to travel slowly – a day out exploring followed by a quieter day at home, with maybe a little walk to find food or grab supplies. But with such limited time in Chiang Mai and with so many Worldschooling families here, there just isn’t time for rest.
We found a similar thing happened in Kuala Lumpur. So many new friends, so little time. Our social life is far busier than ever before.
We are fortunate enough to be part of an amazing online community of Worldschooling families, (with over 18,000 members), and when we arrive at a new destination, the very first thing I do is post a question in our group – “Who is in ***?” Often this starts a run of comments from people who have already settled in, some that are about to leave and others that are arriving shortly. Meet ups are quickly set up, and new friendships begin to grow.
Worldschooling is an interesting concept and one that is entirely foreign to so many. For a lot of people, the idea of travelling the world full time and schooling your kids along the way is so far outside of their comfort zone that they truly don’t, or can’t, understand the passion for travel and the excitement it brings.
But other world schooling families just get it. They understand how you feel and the adventure you enjoy, and this bond helps friendships evolve so much quicker than they might otherwise do. Who else would understand the excitement of arriving at a new destination, the strange feeling of waking up in the middle of the night not knowing where you are, or the constant struggle of figuring out what day of the week it is? How many other families would laugh with you at the joy of using squat toilets for the first time, be excited to discover each other’s cultural differences and laugh at those strange things that we all take for granted? And who else would come together and watch while their kids become engrossed in discussions with each other about the evolution of dinosaurs, favourite countries they’ve visited, the development cycle of an unborn baby, or the best way to hang out online together in the future when they are separated being in different countries?
Over the past nine months, we have met and become friends with 15 world schooling families, and many we have been fortunate enough to meet up with again along the way. And these are good friends, friends that we look forward to meeting up with at other places in the future, friends who have put us up for a night as we pass through, and even friends who our kids have had sleepovers with. Now that is something we didn’t expect to do while travelling.
Because we have travel in common, the adventures we’ve shared with our travelling friends are memories that will last a lifetime. From pool parties in Kuala Lumpur and ballet concerts by our girls in Bangkok, getting lost in Bali and strolling along stunning beaches in Perth, racing in tuk-tuks through busy streets and 4wding in sand dunes in the UAE, welcoming American friends to our home in Australia and playing Pokemon Go through malls in Malaysia – our Worldschooling friends are a huge part of our journey.
So for those who are thinking of travelling, fear not that you will be lonely and miss the closeness of your friends, but instead look forward to the amazing friendships that lay ahead and the world you will discover together.
To the many wonderful friends we have met along the way, thank you. Thank you for enriching our journey, for laughing (and sometimes crying) with us, and thank you for creating a sense of community, wherever we are in the world.
Now, I need sleep. We have three meetups planned in the next three days, and we can’t wait for each and every one of them!