Chapter 7 - What Do You Really Need to Take with You?

Don’t let small children pack their own bags, skip the vanity items, and what to do when you find yourself stranded on an island in Alaska with a breast infection.

New York Times bestselling author AK Turner kicks off the Vagabonding with Kids series with a free podcast version of the book. Hilarious adventure blends with tips (often learned the hard way) on extended travel with children. Perfect for digital nomads

Another Chapter from (Book 1) Vagabonding with Kids

Chapter 6 - But Think of the Children!

For all available audio recordings of Vagabonding with Kids, click HERE.

The idea that removing children from traditional education is both outdated and wrong. Adopting hybrid forms of education and the benefits of travel for both kids and adults.

New York Times bestselling author AK Turner kicks off the Vagabonding with Kids series with a free podcast version of the book. Hilarious adventure blends with tips (often learned the hard way) on extended travel with children. Perfect for digital nomads

Another Chapter from (Book 1) Vagabonding with Kids

AK Turner on How to Raise a Maverick

My latest podcast appearance was on an awesome new show called How to Raise a Maverick, hosted by Emily Gaudreau. She's a fierce advocate for children and a mom who knows that protecting your kids doesn't mean shielding them from the world. She also has some pretty crazy travel stories of her own.

We talk about:

The value of finding your own path 
The ridiculousness of mommy guilt
The benefits of traveling with children
Education models and options 
Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit
How to expand your cultural knowledge without leaving home

There are also practical travel tips including what basically amounts to a commercial for Imodium. 
Maybe Imodium could be my corporate sponsor?! 
While I work on getting that arrangement set up, check out the How to Raise a Maverick podcast as well as The Three Traits of Maverick Parents.


Want more on educating kids? Check out:

Chapter 5 - A New Perception of Home

For all available audio recordings of Vagabonding with Kids, click HERE.

Chapter 5 – A New Perception of Home: Home exchanges, camper vans, and accepting the fact that ownership of things is less important than experiences.

New York Times bestselling author AK Turner kicks off the Vagabonding with Kids series with a free podcast version of the book. Hilarious adventure blends with tips (often learned the hard way) on extended travel with children. Perfect for digital nomads

Another Chapter from (Book 1) Vagabonding with Kids

5 Great Tips for Taking Kids Abroad

Guest post by Susie Thompson, Mum of 4, who loves to travel with her kids.

Travelling with children isn’t always the easiest of experiences. While holidays away are an excellent means of relaxing and relieving the stress of daily life, having the wee ones come along can sometimes pose a totally new challenge. Fear not, however – it isn’t all doom and gloom. Today, let’s take a look at five great tips when it comes to taking kids abroad.

1.     Book in advance

Booking ahead of time is a guaranteed way to make sure your trip is as easy possible, even with the kids in tow. You’ll always be smart to employ this tactic when it comes to a holiday, but it’s particularly wise with the kids around.

The last thing you’ll want is to arrive at your accommodation or for a day out and find your plans have been scuppered. The kids will become easily irritated and will make an already stressful situation even harder.

As well as that, you’ll also find booking ahead of time will save you a considerable amount on things like hotels and flights. You can use price comparison sites to see just how much money you’ll save by booking early.

2.     Pack Smart (for kids)

“Take what you need” is a mantra bandied about when it comes to adult travel, but things are a little different when young ones are involved. You definitely don’t want to overburden them with items, but at the same time you also need to keep them entertained.

Make sure you leave room in their hand luggage or travel packs for something which’ll keep them occupied on the journey, or at your hotel room when there’s nothing else to do. Happy children are quiet children – which is what you’ll need when trying to make things as simple as possible for everyone.

3.     Arrive ahead of schedule for flights

Reaching your destination often poses one of the greatest challenges when it comes to booking a holiday. Factoring in children to this process serves to provide you with the almightiest of headaches.

It might sound nightmarish on paper, but there are ways of dealing with flying with children. One of the best is to make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of time. This gives you the chance to make all the necessary adjustments and changes you need to. This includes stuff like:

·      Toilet breaks
·      Nappy changes
·      Queuing

4.     Bring Snacks

Healthy snacks are a clever way of keeping the little ones satisfied, while also boosting their energy levels. You can go to the extent of creating handmade bites prior to travel, or simply purchase pre-made things like carrot sticks or cucumber slices.

It’s also a good idea to make sure the items you’re bringing along aren’t going to go off if left around for too long. Only take foods which have a long shelf-life, or else you might be forced to throw them out relatively promptly.

5.     Use a child-locating app

The wonders of the modern age have meant it’s not easier than ever to make sure your kids are safe while you’re on your travels. GPS systems and child-tracking apps now make it possible to keep a constant vigilance of where your wee one is at all times.

If you take heed of these five great tips for taking kids abroad, you’ll find things considerably easier in the future.


Alternative Education (Dare I Say... Homeschool)

I know, it's crazy. After all, I was the mom who audibly groaned at the mention of homeschooling. The idea terrified me. Terms like unschooling and worldschooling were less scary, but I basically still equated them with homeschooling. So what caused me to make the switch? It's complicated. And also very simple. 

First, I recognize that I'm privileged to have choice in the matter. I work from home. I am able to homeschool and I'm grateful for that. I realize that many parents have no such option. Another important point to make is that I have loved every teacher my children have had during their time in the public school system. That said, I cringed every time I heard myself say, "You have to stop reading so you can do your homework." And I hated dragging them out of bed though they clearly needed more sleep. The time that school took from us made our children more dependent on me than ever. I wanted them to learn to make their own breakfasts, to put away their own laundry, but I'd end up doing these things all in the interest of time. We'd rush to get to school, rush to complete homework, rush to get to bed on time. 

We'd dabbled with the homeschool model during our travels. We never confined our trips to school breaks and at times have traveled for months at a time, so it was necessary to take a more active role in our daughters' education. When we returned from our most recent trip, we decided we would not enroll the girls back in school. 

So, what does homeschooling look like for us? Is it hours of tears doing worksheets at the dining room table? No, though I'll admit we've had a few math meltdowns. 

Here's one version of what homeschool looks like - the girls at City Hall finding out what sort of permits they need to start their own business. 

Their dad spearheads their entrepreneurial education. After City Hall they examined various business models and determined that they could sell coffee and hot chocolate for fifty cents a cup. OR they could give away coffee and hot chocolate and accept tips, the average of which is one dollar. 

An average week includes math, reading, science (Mystery Science or IXL), library time, PE at a local gymnastics studio, Zumba with their Aunt (an adult exercise class that they crash), Spanish (Duolingo for the girls, Pimsleur for me), chores, playdates, geography, history, typing skills, writing pen pals, theater camp, and Fridays with dad. We've learned about Rosa Parks and Marie Curie, practiced old-school long division, and grown apple trees from seeds. I had no idea that it would be a blast.

Building a catenary arch at the Discovery Center

And of course when we travel, it becomes more worldschooling than homeschooling. Here they are visiting with the Tatuyo tribe in the Amazon.

I'm three months into full-time homeschooling and I have no regrets. The only casualty thus far has been my writing time, but that's something I anticipated. It's a riddle I haven't yet figured out. But when I look at my daughters and realize how fast they're growing up, I'm able to see my priorities with a new perspective. I don't have all the answers (never will), but I do know that it's absolutely worth it.

*     *     *

AK Turner on EOFire with John Lee Dumas

I had the pleasure of appearing on EOFire with John Lee Dumas. If you know anything about the world of podcasting, this one is definitely the cream of the crop, an award-winning show, named Best of iTunes, and now I can say I've been featured alongside some of his other guests you might have heard of... Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Gary Vee, Tim Ferriss, Brian Tracy, et al.

I had a fantastic time chatting with JLD. In the podcast we talk about...

Shifting your MINDSET to open your world

Understanding the importance of focusing on the POSITIVE

Common pitfalls of the ASPIRING WRITER

Resources and habits to increase PRODUCTIVITY

But most of all, it was a total blast! I hope you'll check it out. CLICK HERE

10 Awesome Things About Visiting Todos Santos with Kids

Todos Santos, BCS, Mexico.
The sunrises here do not suck. 
#1 Taco Stands
Feeding a family of four for under ten bucks is pretty darn cool. Don't be afraid to try all the taco stands in town. Each will have its own specialty (pescado, pastor, camarón, carnitas, carne asada, pollo) and a variety of condiments with which to spiffy up your meal. My seven-year-old is partial to pico de gallo, her sister likes them plain Jane, my husband piles on the jalapeños, and I love the pickled onions. Everybody's happy. 

If you're not moved by watching baby sea turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean, you have no soul. Attending a sea turtle release facilitated by this organization is free, but do the right thing and offer a donation.

So cute, it hurts.
#3 Beaches
Cerritos: The busiest beach around. You can rent boogie boards, take surf lessons, get a massage on the beach (an hour for $30), shop the vendors, and hit up the bar for a margarita or Dirty Monkey (a blended concoction of vodka, Baileys, Kahlua, a banana and chocolate syrup). If you’re taking your own cooler, park for free to the side of the big lot.

La Pastora: We don’t let our kids swim here, because it's a fairly steep entrance into the water and less safe to swim. That might seem like a drawback, but the structure of the beach allows you to sit high on the sand, close to the crashing waves, and with nothing in sight but miles of empty beach and ocean. Likely you’ll just find a handful of locals and serious surfers. No amenities and excellent whale watching.
Afternoon at La Pastora.

Run Away!
Palm Beach: A truly unique experience. You might have to get a local to point you in the right direction, as there aren’t any signs. You’ll drive down an unmarked, washboard dirt road and then hike through a palm grove before coming out to the beach, which is one of the area’s hidden gems. Giant rock cliffs flank each side of the beach, creating an enclosed little slice of paradise. Palm Beach is also known for strong currents, so either stay shallow or when facing the water, hug the left side of the beach.

The commute to Palm Beach.
Palm Beach from end to end. It's tough to manage the crowds.
#4 Adaptability
Is it a hassle when the power goes out? Sure. Does it suck when there's no water? Well, yes. Can life be really miserable when both happen at the same time? Affirmative. However, getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing, for both you and your kids. Embrace the bumps along the way, demonstrate adaptability to your children, and remind yourself of all we take for granted.

#5 Zumba
Okay, I don't actually like Zumba. I don't practice Zumba. I'm not good at Zumba. But my mother-in-law is locally known as Zumba Juanita and teaches Zumba classes twice a week. My kids have embraced it and do the whole class. They stand front and center, know all the moves, and gain confidence with every class they take. It's awesome to watch. I'm exercising vicariously through them to offset the tacos and margaritas.

Doesn't everybody do Zumba with their Grandmother?
Yes, that's my mother-in-law on the poster. Total bad ass.
#6 Spanish
It's not just about practicing Spanish and language learning (we use Duolingo). It's also about appreciating how welcoming and patient people are. I've heard far too many stories of Americans yelling at non-English speakers for using their native language. Not once while speaking English has a Mexican yelled at me and said, "Usted está en México! Habla español!" Actively witnessing the opposite of bigotry is an excellent and timely teaching lesson in humanity. We make the effort to speak Spanish, even when we know we probably sound pretty ridiculous, but we also appreciate the willingness of locals to speak English or meet us halfway when they can. The effort and general kindness go a long way. 

This has been a life changer for my family. By exchanging both homes and vehicles, we negate the expenses that would otherwise prohibit travel. And when you have laundry facilities and a full kitchen for preparing meals and snacks for hungry kids, you can travel for longer than if you were stuck in a hotel room. Interestingly, the President of Home Exchange has a place in Todos Santos. We’ve yet to meet in person, but I’m sure our paths will cross one day.

Our current digs. 
#8 Street Food
Check out the hot dog stand near La Esquina. It's a family business, manned by a husband, wife, and son. Order "The Special" and you’ll be presented with a hot dog wrapped in bacon in a steamed bun topped with steak, cheese, ketchup, mayo, mustard, tomato, lettuce, and avocado. Yes, it’s a ridiculous unruly mess, but we fed 7 people for a grand total of 9 dollars. Winning.

If street food scares you (it shouldn't) or you want an actual table and chair at which to eat, make a reservation at La Casita. If you're a sushi fan, be sure to order the Aury sashimi as an appetizer. Trust me! This is a lovely restaurant with great atmosphere and incredible food, suitable for date night or the whole family (one daughter orders the California roll, the other opts for Caesar salad). Big eaters should not be put off by the word tapas. The menu is extensive and the portions hearty.

Zumba Jan with her granddaughters at La Casita. 
There are MANY excellent restaurants in TS, this just happens to be my latest favorite. 
Why, yes, El Tecolote does have both Vagabonding with Kids and Vagabonding with Kids: Australia in stock. But this is so much more than a bookstore. You can also shop their excellent selection of gifts and souvenirs, grab an espresso or smoothie, rent movies, and adopt a dog. Kate, the owner, is an incorrigible dog lover and fosters animals until she can get unsuspecting tourists to fall in love with them and take them home.

Of course, there’s much more to Todos Santos that makes this “Pueblo Magico” worth visiting. These are just a few things that make it memorable for my family of four. Click HERE for highlights of a previous TS trip.

Inspirational Creatives

I had the pleasure of chatting with Rob Lawrence of the Inspirational Creatives podcast on the benefits of travel and the importance of breaking free from conventional thinking. If you like what you hear, you can give Rob a review on iTunes here.