The family has grown more egalitarian; teamwork through travel. The lessons are very clear and obvious. Not a lecture from a parent about some abstract thought, but the reality that if we don’t all carry our own bags we will miss the train. Understanding that to figure things out, like how to weigh and label the produce before taking it to the grocery store check stand or what fare to buy from the ticket machine for the boat ride, we need to pay attention and watch others. Learning flexibility because we cannot always be comfortable and need to eat foods that are not our favorite or go hungry.
Our wandering has led to a better understanding of what it takes to make our lives work, for the children and for us. Because the situation and environment is not what we have always known and come to expect, it is a time for learning and transition by its very nature.
We share a routine: the children at school on their computers as we work and learn on our own. Work and school blends into research for choosing our next destination or outing. Looking at rentals, finding them on a map, learning about the town or surroundings. Research that once would have fallen just to me is shared, becomes a lesson in geography and history. It creates an equal share for the children, in deciding where to go and in building excitement about the next places.
We have settled into a rotation for cooking and washing the dishes, borne from a rotation of who picks the next restaurant. An idea springing organically from a situation that is not working, not one imposed on the group by the parental authority. One thought up by a child who did not want to squabble over what to eat.
As the idea for this trip began and started to take hold, it was obvious that the experience would influence the children’s future and fundamentally change how they view the world. But, the ways in which it is more than that big vision come as a surprise. It also is changing the way they see the family, and their place within it.