27 febbraio 2015

Interview with "Wandering Educators"

This week I'm pleased to introduce you my new friend,  Jessie.


Jessie Voigts is a mom who loves sharing the world with her daughter. She has a PhD in International Education, and is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, especially with kids (it’s never too young to start!). She has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world.

Jessie is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel library for people curious about the world. She founded and directs the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program. She’s published six books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way. You can usually find her family by water – anywhere in the world.


1.What was your travel style like before you had children?
Our family traveled a lot when I was growing up. We also have a cottage in northern Michigan, so I know what it's like to travel to one place again and again, as a second home. It's lovely, and welcoming, and joyful.
I traveled and worked abroad before I had a child. 

2.What ages were your children when you started travelling with them?
Our daughter was a few months old when we started traveling with her.

3.How long have you been traveling for and what countries have you explored?
I have traveled my whole life! I lived and worked in London and Tokyo.

4.You follow an unschooling or homeschooling or worldschooling approach for education?

We unschool. It's a wonderful journey of global lifelong learning! Our daughter is 12 now, and she's very creative. She spends much of her day drawing, listening to music, watching videos, creating art, and learning about the world.

5.Why did you decide that exposing your children to travel was important?
I never decided - it's just our way of life!

6.Can you tell us how your traveling lifestyle has enhanced her education?

Travel has been shown to be extremely educational. But more than research studies, you can see it in yourself and your kids. The world isn't an unknown - you have tasted the food, walking the roads and beaches, breathed in the air, learned about cultures firsthand.

7.How have you helped your children to build your itinerary?
I always ask our daughter to help plan. When she was smaller, we'd look at activities and places and narrow down for her interests. Now, she comes up with lists of things she'd like to see, do, hear, taste.

8.How has it been for your children, in regards to making friends on the road?
This is difficult for us, since we aren't long term nomadic travelers, but often only travel for a few weeks or months at a time. We love homestays, and we always try to find people to meet up with.

9.Your backpack: what items would I find? What is a must for your children?
cameras! electronic devices for books, maps, apps. books, water, snacks.

10.How you find your interactions with locals?
When we make an effort, we can usually find some locals to hang out with, especially at playgrounds if you have younger kids. It works better beforehand if you can find people with similar interests. There's a new platform I'm excited about, called http://www.voyaj.com/ that matches people up! And, I love Homestay.com for learning how locals live (and making friends), while not staying in a hotel.

11.Are your family and friends supportive of your choice?
Our family and friends are very supportive of global travel and education - we all do it!

12.Has your relationship with your children changed since you started traveling together?
No - this is definitely part of our lives, and we grow and learn together.

13.If you could choose the best and the worst things about traveling as a family, what would they be?
We get tired and hungry during long trips. I don't like the getting there part (especially airplanes) - we much prefer BEING somewhere.
The best part? Travel seems to find the best of us, and we all shine when we travel.

14.According to your child, what is their favourite part about travel?
Art, of course. She's an artist! Also, new food, music, culture!

15.How do you fund your travels?
We have a travel library, www.WanderingEducators.com, that is our main source of income. We also save money for travel.

16.How much longer do you plan to be traveling and what are your intended destinations?
I am a co-founder of WritingWalkingWomen. This summer, we're headed to Newfoundland. Next year, India! I'm also a faculty member of the Global Leadership and Empowerment Summit for Teen Girls http://www.advicetomy13yearoldself.org/2015-global-leadership-and-empowerment-summit-for-teen-girls/about-the-summit/ for 2016. More details to come.
I will travel my whole life, as long as I am able.

17.What tips would you offer parents when it comes to travel with children?
Be patient, flexible, and kind. Know that difference is sometimes scary. Be excited about new places before you go - teach your kids where they will be going! Play with google maps, find a coffeeshop with great hot chocolate and make a plan to go there your first day. Give your kids a camera and see the world from their eyes. Have plenty of food on hand and planned - hungry people are not at their best. Involve them in planning, so that they know the trip is for them, and that their viewpoints are important.

Connect with Jessie and other members of the Wandering Educators community and check out the Wandering Educators website here: http://www.wanderingeducators.com/.

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