Around the World in One Semester

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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:

 

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds like an amazing opportunity for the whole family. My parents did something similar (9 months in India, 3 in Scotland) when I was in first grade. My siblings and I were also homeschooled during the trip. It was by far the best thing my parents did for us and it had a huge impact on me and the rest of my life. Someday I would love to do the same with my kids. I look
    Forward to following your adventures.

  2. Can’t wait to see more pictures and films and excited for more adventures of Tara and Tejas!! Such a lucky family 🙂

  3. LOVE it and so happy for you guys! What a wonderful adventure, please keep blogging!!! Hi to Tara from Freya 🙂

  4. HI Chandra,

    thanks for this wonderful write up. It is nice to see you here. I have also lifted myself out of my usual environment and have gone to Portland for the next 3 month. Hopefully I will have time to visit people in around the Bay area (Judy Ju, Ervina Wu and Linda).
    Will probably meet you in Serbia (as I take it from your destination accounts that you will participate in a course).
    Say hello to Scott and if Robert Svoboda is still with you – send him greetings. too.

    Love
    Alex

  5. So good to catch up with you and your family travels, it’s a real gift to read about some of the experiences and discoveries. Have been sick for a while and now better, emerging into pre spring, ahhhhh, much love, dear sister, Gena

  6. Hi Scott and Chandra! I didn’t know you were going to be in that part of the world- I just saw Scott in December at Kripalu during my Ayurvedic foundations training. I am headed to Chiang Mai- guiding a trip for women, then to Nepal for a month. I will be trekking in the Annapurna region. Chandra- where are you trekking? and when? I am wondering if we may overlap in Nepal. I am on the board of an organization – Hands In Outreach- so I will be doing a mission trip for them. Last I was there was in 2010.
    I would love to see Myanmar- I may get there this trip- but not sure. I will follow your blog- sounds like an awesome trip. Good for you!!!! give Scott my best.Safe Travels. Carolyn

  7. Hi Guys! I’m so glad to see your photos… I wish i could be there with you guys !!! Time so fast .. Have fun with it and take care !! Always miss and love you guys….. Tara Tejas !!!! missssss youuuuu

  8. Hi Chandra! I’m so excited for you and your family! My husband, Scott, and I took our four children in an RV around the US from May to October 2012. It was a wonderful experience, and something I had wanted to do for several years. (My husband and I are both from the US, but we lived in Ireland for 9 years, which was the only home my children knew, and while the children had traveled quite a lot around the world, I wanted them to feel a connection to the US. We moved back to the US in 2010, and finally in 2012 the time was right.) So that’s a bit about me. My comment was really about homeschooling. K-12 is a great program and works well for a lot of people, but it can be cumbersome on the road. If you find that that turns out to be the case for you, let it go. While we traveled we made sure we had regular math, grammar, reading (+memorization) and music. We kept journals and scrapbooks about our outings and experiences. The kids did the Junior Ranger program at all the national parks. History and science was an intrinsic part of our journey, as was money management, planning, and a host of life skills. We were not terribly strict – formal studies happened about 3 days a weeks for a couple of hours (except when they were having so much fun with what they were learning that they didn’t want to stop – yes that does happen;-) ) All of that said, when were got home and put the kids back in school we found they were ahead on the basics, and had hands-on experience in so many of the other subjects. My children went straight back to being strait A students. My point – if K-12 works well – hurray!. If not – don’t be afraid to drop it and focus on teaching them with what you have available in the moment, they’ll be all the better for it. Happy journey!

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