Couple Emma and Peter gave the traditional life of working as teachers, getting a house, and taking their kids to school a go… but quickly realised it just wasn’t for them.
So the pair decided to do things a little differently.
They gave away their stuff, ditched their home in Sheffield, and booked a flight to Thailand, along with their two children, aged four and one-and-a-half.
That wasn’t just a quick summer holiday. From that day, the family set off on an around-the-world adventure, having visited 18 countries so far.
Emma said: ‘We tried to settle down and live a sensible life.
‘We did what everyone strives to – a house, marriage, kids – but it just never felt right for our family.
‘We love having the freedom to travel and to experience new things.
‘We didn’t want our family to be tied to one place.’
Emma, 36, and Peter, 37, now use their teaching skills to home school their children on the go, as they journey between yurts, hostels, treehouses, and hotels.
The parents wanted to use the trip to teach the kids about other cultures and the natural world, breaking away from the traditional classroom setup.
The children have learned to cook in Morocco, surfed in Thailand, completed charity work in Cambodia, gone lake swimming in Kirgizstan, kiked in Switzerland, and picked up ‘ninja skills’ in Japan.
‘All we need is a pen and paper – the world is our classroom,’ said Emma, who used to teach design and technology.
‘We teach our boys the basics – like maths and English – but travelling the world allows us to go beyond that.
‘Our sons experience things they’d never get the chance to living in the UK – if they had a traditional education.’
The family has been travelling since their eldest was seven weeks old and have been jet setting on-and-off ever since.
Their adventure as a family began in 2021, but Emma and Peter had always loved to explore the world.
Having met while backpacking in Cambodia in 2011, together the couple travelled to over 50 countries together and got engaged in Thailand, until they returned to the UK in 2016 to visit family.
Both worked minimum wage jobs after Emma became pregnant, until Peter and Emma both got more permanent roles in teaching.
They continued to take long backpacking trips with their baby, but realised they wanted something bigger.
So in 2021, they cut down on their belongings (the family now only own what they can carry on their backs, and check in one bag between them at airports) and set off – and they haven’t looked back.
‘When we wake up in the morning, we start the day with some exercise, then we do some reading with the boys,’ Emma shared. ‘Then we have one-on-one time with them.
‘With our eldest that might be maths or English lessons, and with our youngest it’s playing together and singing songs.
‘It just might be that we’re on the beach whilst teaching and learning – or beside a beautiful lake, up in the mountains or in the middle of a forest – rather than stuck in four walls.
‘In the afternoon we do educational activities, whether that be visiting elephants and learning how to make loo roll out of elephant poo, or teaching them to swim in the ocean.’
In Thailand the couple taught their boys about conservation by spending time at a Thai elephant sanctuary, then took art classes and cooking classes taught by locals.
In Japan, their older son immersed himself in the culture by staying in a Buddhist monastery on Mount Koyasan, before hiking through the hills to spot snow monkeys.
In Morocco, going off-grid in an eco home taught the boys how to live more sustainably.
Considering how idyllic this all sounds, it might surprise you that Emma says their nomadic lifestyle doesn’t cost the earth.
‘It’s a simple lifestyle and surprisingly affordable,’ said Emma.
‘Street food in Asia is really healthy and cheap, it’s the equivalent of £1 a meal and there’s no washing up at the end, which is great for me.
‘Life will always have its challenges. Running a household has so many logistical challenges and it just wasn’t me – I was terrible at it.
‘I could see people around me doing domestic life so well and being so content, but it just didn’t feel like that was going to be our path. It didn’t feel like what we were made for.
‘We choose our own challenges by living the way we do, it just works for us.’
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