We all want the best for our kids. Some of us give it to them by unlimited supply of toys and fun, some of us by Montessori or Waldorf education. Me and my wife have decided to enrich the life of our whole family more evenly. My name is Vita Valka and I travel with my wife and our two girls (3 and 4 years old) by caravan. We became addicted to the nomad life when we hit our very first road back in 2012.
It all started in Prague
I was never that kind of person who's easily satisfied with the mediocrity. I'm not very fond of taking over the customs without giving them much thoughts. I'm constantly trying to find my own way to organize my life. I think about which rules to follow and which prejudice to get rid of. After many attempts that often failed, for past few years I've been feeling really great and I can see the whole family glow. Our life has gained balance. Everyday stress went to a minimum, we follow healthy eating habits, optimize our expenses and we are on the road for several months of the year.
Of course, none of this happened overnight and it wasn't for free. As soon as I graduated college I moved from the countryside Moravia to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Working as a web designer I experienced there a real occupational school of life along with my wife. Thanks to that we don't have to spend our precious time at work as we used to and now we have more energy left for our kids.
We travel a lot
Traveling was always a huge inspiration for my further decisions. Similarly to stories in books and movies, traveling carries you into a different reality and it inevitably pulls you out of the everyday rat race. On the road you get to know new places, tastes, languages, stranger's fortunes and different cultures. All of it helps you evaluate your own actions.
Our desire to get to know the world and ourselves only grew more when the kids came. At one point we realised that instead of an instant traveling by plane or car with all that „hasting there, staying for a week, hasting back home“ we want to explore the places and know people much more than that. So we came with the concept of traveling in the caravan which allows us to travel slower and we can exchange the one-week stay for one or two months of traveling, while combining the life and work the same way we do at home. And most importantly, we don't have to rob a bank in order to afford it. You can get more information about this when you read other articles on my website camperguru.com.
The family life in a caravan
Both at home and on the road we stick together as a family. We don't have the need to take a break and be alone for a while which can be surprising for lot of people. This life-style actually helps me to get of the screen and spend the time with my family without needing any regular schedule. On the other hand, the home office and working in the caravan is not for everyone. It requires severe discipline and ability to organize your time.
I think the contribution of the caravan life for the kids is really amazing. We are never stuck in pampered all-inclusive resort for a week, but we are experiencing new countries and places with everything that comes with it. We buy the local food in the local markets, we eat both in high-class restaurants and in diners on the corners of the streets. The rhythm of the caravan life is much closer to the natural rhythm of the local people than what's like on a hasty vacation. Children then have an opportunity to remember the new experiences better.
Our girls are still in the age when we don't have to deal with the traditional education. Only one of them is attending kindergarten which is flexible enough for our travels. I would say we spend around one half of the school year back at home and the other half we travel or deal with the diseases our daughter brought from the preschool. Whenever we are traveling, we always ask the teacher for the topics we should practice. On the road we don't have any specific schedule for studying, it might come with the beginning of the school. What we do is that we try to talk a lot with the kids about their discoveries and explain the connections, almost as we would do with adults.
When it comes to health risks and diseases, we try to prevent them and if we are unsure we delay the departure until we are all back in full health. Of course we also take some basic medicine we can use in case of unexpected sickness. In past we also had to deal with some minor medical situations and we have met local doctors but the experience was quite bearable. Most of the time it is enough to ask for the specialist in the pharmacy or to call assistance service called Elite Program, which is free part almost all credit/debut cards.
We don't wear pink glasses
Although our caravan journeys can sound like a walk in a park, there's lot of preparation and knowledge behind all that. We'd had to learn and absorb a lot before we've hit the road. Today we also know that although the kids will be able to adapt more easily to the unknown environment, they will also have weaker bond with their homeland. Another factor is bonding with their parents and compared to everyday school attendance there is definitely less socialisation. From our point of view it's still reasonably balanced and it can give them more than it can take away.
If you feel like being inspired by our story, you can read much more on our story, but I also recommend some books about self-improvement. Think about what is your life goal, if the goal is not just a facade for the neighbours and if you truly believe that in your heart. Adjust everything in your life in order to approach your goal step by step. Overcome yourself, your fear, and play your life like it's a computer game. Don't spend your money for the things you don't really need, eat healthier and think about if your job brings joy to you and your family. I wish you luck!
You can find the original article in the Czech language here.