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Around The World Family Travel Soultravelers3

April 19, 2010

Around the world family travel soultravelers3, girl kissing world globe, loving world,

Around the world family travel is thrilling and something we at Soultravelers3 have been doing non-stop since 2006 and loving it all, so see no end in sight. International family travel rocks! Four continents, 32 countries, 175,000 miles ( most overland) thus far, but this will be the first year we totally circumvent the globe. We plan to continue with our family travel budget of just 23 dollars a day per person or less!

I just started an Around the World Family Travel group on Lonely Planet, if you are interested, plus we have had this Soultravelers3 Family Travel Around the World  Squidoo for a while. I also want to thank Danny Brown who is an amazing, generous, kind man who is great at what he does, for picking us as a Social `Media Success Story in Travel .You will love the fabulous  travel tips by travel writers that included us!

If you are on Facebook, please stop by and become a fan of Soultravelers3 for a dose of travel inspiration! Huge thanks to all of you who have helped with the focus group questions about our new Soultravelers3 book! Keep them coming as I want to write the book that YOU want, so really appreciate the feedback. We're pretty thrilled to be named one of the top travel experts too! Life is good.

Travel and education are a powerful pair and life as a field trip has enriched all of us far beyond our expectations. It's still amazing to us, all that we have learned on our global adventure.We hope we can pass some of that on through our website and Youtube travel videos.

"To solve most of the major problems facing our country in the 21st Century require every young person to learn more about other world regions, cultures and languages" Colin Powell

"Ours is a world of 24-hour-news cycles, global markets, and high-speed internet. We need to look no further than our morning paper to see that our future, and the future of our children, is inextricably linked to the complex challenges of the global community. And for our children to be prepared to take thier place in that world and rise to those challenges, they must first understand it." Roderick Paige, Former U.S. Secretary of Education


NEW CHALLENGES & MONOLINGUALS RAISING A FLUENT TRILINGUAL

This travel year is very exciting but will also bring new challenges as we have never used this many planes and are going to new parts of the world that none of us have been to before. We will be traveling with just a small day pack each for 7 straight months of travel. We are modifying our plans, some based on what we have learned by doing and also Mozart's age. We had planned to go to Africa next for a long stay and then South America and ship our RV with us. Instead,  we will start wintering in Asia for the next few years so Mozart can become very fluent in her third language, Mandarin Chinese as well as the culture.It is clear with demographics that China and Asia will play a strong part in her generation's future.

GetAttachment-4
Mozart's Mandarin Chinese writing after school preparing for Asia after all day in Spanish school

We have loved Europe so much and it's unique travel educational advantages with languages, history and great museums, plus ease of life on a low budget,  that we have stayed two more years than originally planned. Since we really just follow our bliss and the weather our  "plans" are just a broad stroke reference point to guide us and we never mind stretching them to fit our needs. 

2 girl jumping in pool in spain, andalusia, costa del sol
Mozart & Spanish friend jumping into pool this weekend during sleep over fun.

We still plan on getting to Africa and South America, but because Mozart is 9 this year and now extremely fluent in Spanish reading, writing and speaking, we realized that it was time to get to Asia so she can do the same with her Mandarin.

There is a myth that says a child who is proficient in speaking a language is fluent, but this is just not so as there are different levels to being "fluent" in a language. Proficiency in face-to-face communication doesn't imply proficiency in more complex academic language needed in a classroom or in life. Mozart has been fluent in Spanish from birth, but having gone to a local school in Spain now for 4 winters where she was totally immersed with teachers who spoke no English, her "fluency" level is much greater than any other way we, as monolinguals could have given her.

Living where the language is dominant makes a huge difference in perception and value. Just being in Europe where many languages are spoken (and it is not uncommon to be fluent in three or four for Scandinavians & Dutch), has great value in demonstrating the advantage,  first-hand to a child,  as our world grows smaller each day. Even at home, from birth, we always looked to ways we could expose her to other languages and cultures on a regular basis. We feel that a child that is very fluent in the  dominant languages of the planet will have a firm foundation.

IMG_2718
Mozart's 4th grade "Lengua" book has her studying Spanish like the Spaniards

My experience goes along with the research that says kids learn languages much easier before puberty. The brain is wired for it then. Thus we realized we wanted to allow her to immerse deeply in her third language while she was still young enough to make that an easier acquisition. She did speak Mandarin as a baby and toddler, but once we saw how much work it was for the parents who do not speak the language, we have focused more on adding Spanish proficiency because both DaVinci and I speak some Spanish. Hopefully, the dendrites made in the baby years will help in this phase. We'll see. It takes daily practice in each language as well as her daily practice with two instruments, so they are all long term commitments.

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Close up of her Lengua book for the curious

I will do  a blog series and e-book on second ( and 3rd) language learning  as we have learned a lot as monolinguals raising a trilingual polyglot from birth who also speaks bits of many other languages. For some reason, languages have always been an area that has fascinated me. Mozart always seemed to enjoy them too, even had happy kicks when we exposed her to them in the womb. We actually used her Dad reading her favorite story in Spanish to get her to change position when we got the ultrasound done to discover her sex inutero because we knew she always had a "happy kicking" reaction and needed her to move so we could see if she was a girl or boy. I think knowing other languages and cultures will really benefit our 21st century global citizens, so am a strong proponent. Knowing a language well means knowing a culture more deeply.

"When we learn a new language, we're not just learning new vocabulary and grammar, we're also learning new ways of organizing concepts, new ways of thinking, and new ways of learning language. Knowing two languages is much more than simply knowing two ways of speaking" ( Bialystok & Hakuta, 1994, p. 122).

IMG_2733
Mozart's "dictado" notebook where the kids practice their Spanish writing skills


Thus we have carved a new plan. Our RV is a 1998 one, so this impacted our decision, as well as our love of Europe, especially now that we know how to see it's best on a very low budget. We decided to just store it here indefinitely as it makes a perfect home/storage unit/vehicle for Europe that we can maintain at very low cost. We think we can summer in Europe, winter in Asia ( plus eventually Oceana) and do spring and or fall trips to Africa, South America and the Middle East. We'll try out this new plan this year and see how it works as we learn along the way.Waddyathink?

We'd like to do Madrid, Miami, San Francisco, Hawaii, Tahiti, Malaysia ( and various SE Asia stops while we winter there),this fall and winter, then see friends & Taj Mahal in India on the way back to Europe next spring. But we haven't even started looking at flight planning yet, so the details are still up for grabs and may change.This summer's roadtrip in Europe will be less ambitious due to the planning time needed for this change and the extra work of my book and e-books. Can't wait to take Mozart back to Paris as she approaches 10, visit the Swiss Alps, Lake Como, and more of our beloved Barcelona and Provence.

fisherman in Spain, Meditteranean sea, mountains
Watching a fisherman on the lovely road we take every week to see my physical therapist

As we get ready for this big transition that will start in May and because I have a lot to do this year, I'm going to try and force myself to do shorter posts.( She says again, but can she really do it? Grin.)  I'm also going to change the Family Travel Photo category to just Family Travel. We have so many photos that you have never seen, so this will also be a great way to share more of our  photography that you will love. I'll still do some longer posts, but need to put my limited time on the computer into the book and travel preparation for now. .

So what do you think? Feel free to ask any questions, offer feedback or ideas about any of these places on our list or your experience with languages, cultures and travel. Always nice to compare notes!

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soultravelers3

Jessie- Thanks! Hey, I didn't know you lived in Japan! Coolio! Yes, indeed, young & immersion certainly makes language learning much easier.

Sheila-Thanks! She is only newly 7 in that video with missing front teeth, so I'm sure that adds to her accent. She will have quite the combination because we will spend much time in South America too, so will be hard to detect just like her English & Mandarin ones. ;)

It's so true that schools really miss the opportunity in language. I think every school in US should be bilingual immersion in Spanish, English & start in preschools with native speakers just taking to them in Spanish to immerse. Kid's learn language & are wired that way.

Finland has the best schools in the world & they learn 4 languages! US is far behind & that will not be good in the future as demographics show... a top language does not always stay that way.

Mozart wins the language & musical instrument areas of our family, but we are life long learners, so learn as we go. We do study languages before we go and while there, but we can not learn all of them. We do learn some words phrased in every country. Fun to do!!

Sanya

This is something I has been dreaming for very long time - taking a trip around trip with my family, it would be something unforgettable . Following you , looking forward to read about rest of the trips.

soultravelers3

Jessie-Hey, I didn't know you lived in Japan! Cool! Yes, learning languages while you are young certainly makes it easier as does immersing!

Sheila-Thanks! Mozart is just 7 in that video and she is missing her front teeth. ;) Yes, I agree that languages should be taught young. I don't see why all US schools aren't bilingual from preschool on! That would help things a lot & the logical choice in many places would be Spanish as there are many native speakers. The Mozart preschool where Mozart went to for a bit did that & even the monolingual kids picked up a LOT! Just by an aid talking to them in it!

DaVinci is the next best at Spanish after Mozart, becaue his grandmother was from Spain & only spoke Spanish, he had early exposure & knew the basics from just being around her. I was a straight A student in school, but am the weakest in the family.

We do study basics in each language when we go to a new country. It's fun to try new phrases out and learn new things.

meree zhang

Sawadeekha from Thailand,

I can't speak english very well but I try to tell that you are awesome family.I have tried for year to find a family that educated children with online resourses.I try to do this cause I don't have enough money for the native speaker,piano,drum teacher,etc
Would you please recommend me the online class for my son 8 years old and my daugther 4 years old.This is very new learning method for thai.I can't understad english very well so I can't consider which website is proper.
How do you plan your schedule?
Mommy have to prepare all resourses?
Mommy have to do hard work for teaching assistant?

The most thing I concern is my son cause he can't concentrate on his job or learning,forgetful,So I avoid to the media that move very fast.I plan to take him to see the doctor if I can't manage it.

I hope this time your advis is my solution.You are encourage me.

I am not native english speaker,have a lot of hosework to do ,no money.Can I teach my children? I hope yes.

Welcome you to Thailand.Land of smiles.

Lisa @ The World is Calling

I imagine this is a leap of faith for all 3 of you! Even your adventures in Europe must be seeming somewhat "conquerable" by now. Onto the next challenges! We'll be following along via your blog.

soultravelers3

meree zhang - We've been traveling & have had very little time with internet, so forgive me for coming late to this.

Yes, I think you can, especially if you have a good and free or cheap internet connection.

Look to my posts on homeschooling ( find under FAQ page) and check out those resources.

Good luck to you!

soultravelers3

Lisa - Yes, it is another leap of faith! Europe still has it's challenges, but we have been here so long, that we are quite comfortable here and "know the drill". Each country & each new area adds challenge even in Europe, but we also spend time in "bases" that we know well & that helps a lot.

Thanks for following along with us!

Amber Hadley

What I think is: Fantastic! And I'm so jealous. I was wondering where you would go for the Mandarin and was pleased to see you choose Malaysia, as it's a place I've been focused on as well. Had to smile when I saw you chose Penang as I was also thinking of it. I sit at home in Ohio and live vicariously, for now. Thanks for setting the pace!

Justin Mussler | The Great Family Escape

Your content on Mozart's education is amazing. We have so many questions and so much research to do on your site as we are planning a life similar to yours with our kids. We will continue to visit your website often. Thanks so much!!! I can't wait to read more.

Carlos

Impressive description. Thank you for your information and experience and your wiling to share.
We are a family of 4, with a 2.5 and a 4 years old girls Africa and Salome- We left Spain at the time Salome was fluently communicating in catalan French, mama is fench, and Spanish, now after 1 years in Egypt is not speaking catalan but impressively fluent in English and getting into arabic, while Africa speaks spanish french and english and also getting into arabic. We joint some parents of mixed egiptian-outside couples, and made and school for 15 children from 2 to 5 in a small bedouin village in the Red sea.... great experience we want to repeat and will share with you more details. Now we are living towards Asia and appreciate very much your info. We want to end for longer time in China for both girls get into mandarin. Soon yet but interesting to start preparing it.
Thank oyu so far once more

here budget is about 8 eur per person inc internal flights, divings, internet, desert trips

perth campgrounds

If you're an adventurous type of person, you can camp, trek, and commune with nature in the region's national parks which stretch from Cape York to the lush Whitsunday islands.

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