Julie A. Martin, the successful child photographer behind Artfully Uncommon Photography is living the dream after walking away from the everyday norm to travel the globe with her family. With a good dose of envy, we have been following Julie's journey via Facebook and Instagram for quite some time and we are excited to feature her in this first of a series of blogs on her experiences worldschooling her two tween daughters.
In May of 2016, having not found joy and fulfilment in the typical American Dream, our family left our home, jobs, and friends to travel the world while homeschooling our tween girls (Zoe 12) and Delia (10). Our lives were unbalanced, overworked, and our girls were fighting constantly. We were working for a life that didn’t make us happy. So, we shifted things around to work remotely and earn money on the road, cashed in our savings, and began “worldschooling”!
Zoe and Delia spent the first seven months of our travels with the U.S. National Park system as their classroom. They spent their days earning Junior Ranger badges by hiking, discovering and learning about local wildlife and ecosystems. Although it took some time, their relationship with each other also began shifting. They began to really enjoy each other and share in each other’s adventures! With Mom and Dad present full-time and engaging in their daily experiences, that competition for our attention was dropping away and making room for a new dynamic. While not always easy, we worked through the bumps in the road, and found real JOY in our days. We woke up every day loving our lives! We still wake up loving our lives!
After our 25-state, 7-month road trip adventure, we decided to travel to Europe for most of 2017. In order to keep costs down, we booked housesitting jobs with friends or through trusted websites, as well as economical Airbnbs. We balanced out shorter visits in expensive countries with longer visited in cheaper ones. Believe it or not, including travel and lodging costs, we have wandered all over Europe for an average of $1500 a month! Zoe and Delia have explored Roman history while walking the Colosseum, and well as tasted traditional foods in Lithuania. They overcame fear while high on a ropes course in Romania, and learned “thank you” in 10 languages. We’ve listened to personal stories of locals in Poland, Scandanavia, and Hungary, to name a few. Our taxi driver in Cyprus told us emotional stories of how her husband’s childhood home was taken during the Turkish invasion in the 70’s. They can drive by his home today on the Turkish side of Cyprus, but they can no longer live in it. Those incredible stories are living history lessons not found in books.
As a mother, my greatest hope is that through this lifestyle, our girls will go into their upcoming teen years with a solid sense of self and their place in the world. I hope this foundation arms them with the confidence and the motivation to resist peer pressure, to be warriors for those that need support, and to always run bravely into life’s challenges. I want them to truly listen and to welcome differences. While “traditional” school learning is happening, each day the more important work— becoming strong, confident global citizens that don’t fear the unknown, embrace challenges, and exhibit compassion—is what this journey is all about.
All images contained in this blog remain the property of Julie A. Martin and Artfully Uncommon Photography. Please do not republish without permission.