My family and I have embarked on our long awaited five-month trip around the world. First stop is Bangalore, India, to rest from the 20-hour flight and regroup before heading to an Ayurvedic Ashram for three weeks of rest and rejuvenation. My husband, Scott, and I are traveling with our two kids, Tejas age four and Tara age 12.
We have been planning to take this trip for a few years now, but it wasn’t until a request came in on our VRBO page from a nice family who wanted to rent our home for five months, that the trip began to take shape. The rent we receive each month covers our mortgage and some of the travel expenses.
A little history…
I haven’t been back to India in 17 years when I lived here in my early twenties studying Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan language in Dharamsala, North India. I always thought I would be coming back as I had felt at home in India, more specifically, within the Tibetan culture in India, and loved living abroad. However, when I returned home I went back to college to get my degree in Religious Studies, focusing on Buddhist Studies, at University of California, Santa Barbara. A couple years later, my partner and I had our first child, Tara, and I put my Asia adventures on hold.
Now that the children are both at suitable ages for longer travel, Scott and I felt it would be a good time for us to return to Asia. Both Scott and I teach yoga. He focuses also on Ayurveda and is licensed in Traditional Chinese Medicine. My work has focused on Buddhist philosophy, practice and translation. While still at the university, I translated Tibetan language texts into English. Now I teach Buddhist meditation and philosophy in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Because of our interests, we both felt that a return visit to India was long overdue. We also longed to give our children a broader perspective on life, to see different ways of living so that they would have a broader perspective on the world. Now that Tara is nearing her teenage years, I felt the urgency of taking this trip before she entered the teenage mindset of no longer wanting to be around us. At present, she still wants to spend time with us and is usually happy to ‘babysit’ her little brother. She’s at a wonderful time in her life, so open and free-spirited.
Tara will be homeschooling while we travel, using the K12 curriculum, which is partially online and partially offline, meaning we will use textbooks—books that add up to about 45 pounds! We managed to distribute the books in all four of our checked bags without going over our 40 pound limit. We would have liked to find a completely online curriculum, as they do exist, but we knew our internet access would be spotty and that the good old-fashioned text books would be a sure thing.
Tejas, being four, is happy go lucky and pretty much game for anything as long as we are together. He seems old enough to be able to integrate and recall at least some of the adventures we will have.
Last year my best friend, Stacy, and her family expatriated to Myanmar (Burma). She has been beckoning us to come see their new home, as she would say, before McDonalds get there. Just this year the United States lifted sanctions and now all sorts of entrepreneurs are flooding in to take advantage of the new opportunities, for better or for worse. She said that Burma is like Thailand before it got touristy, with beautiful beaches and incredible Buddhist monuments, such as Bagan with over 2200 temples and pagodas still standing today. After our six weeks in India, we will fly to Yangon for a one-month visit with our old friends in their new home.
After 10 days in Myanmar, Scott will fly back to the Bay Area, while we stay on and continue to travel around the world. From Myanmar the children and I will go to Thailand, then Nepal, Italy, Serbia, France and home in late May. I plan to continue to write my reflections on traveling with kids and homeschooling ‘on the road’ as a way to stay connected to my own personal journey as a mother, a practitioner, a student and a teacher.
In the posts that follow, I’ll write about:
- Traveling with children
- Homeschooling while traveling
- Ayurvedic treatments in South India
- Exploring Myanmar with expat friends
- Mom traveling solo with children
- Trekking in Nepal
- Rome, Venice, Paris
- Coming home