Karen King and her family of 4 have been traveling the world via housesitting since the beginning of 2016. They subscribe to a self directed learning approach to education for their two children and have already used the world as their classroom in 18 countries and counting. They have a blog, No Set Address, where they write about their experiences as well as give helpful advice about accommodation, flights and destinations. Karen has recently launched a new Facebook Group called Worldschooling Central and she is about to launch the Worldschooling Central website in the very near future. They are currently traveling in Mexico and I certainly hope to cross paths with this amazing family for a meet up soon.
How long have you been traveling?
We have been travelling full time since the beginning of 2016. During this time we have been housesitting our way around the world and managed to visited 18 countries across the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Before this we had travelled internationally, whenever the opportunity became available.
What does the term worldschooling mean to you?
Worldschooling means giving our children the opportunity to learn from the world around them, learning based on their own interests and at their own pace. We have always been big believers in child lead education, however up until 2 years ago, we’d never heard of the term Worldschooling. We considered homeschooling, or even Montessori for our son (now 12) when he was starting school, but for various reasons we couldn’t so we placed him in a school that was highly regarded for their child lead learning approach. It was a great school, however when we made the decision to begin travelling, worldschooling was a very easy decision.
What made you take the leap and begin world schooling?
In 2010 we opened a Cake Decorating business. It was very successful and we worked hard for a number of years to establish it. After quite some time though the pressure didn’t ease and I was working extremely long hours, in an industry that is very labor intensive and has very low earnings. I was missing out on time with my family, and with my Husband working away (7 days on/7 days off), we realized life was just getting way too serious. We were all grumpy, both Cam and I were getting sick, and we knew something had to change.
We booked ourselves a holiday, 3 weeks cruising down the coast of South America, 2 weeks in Bolivia and then 2 weeks at Disney World. While we were flying from Peru to Miami I began reading Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week. He begins by asking what you would do with your life if money was no object… and sadly I didn’t know. I was so lost in the business that I’d grown to hate, that I literally didn’t know what I enjoyed doing. That is, other than travel, but at that time, the idea of full time travel was unheard of to us. As I continued reading his book I began to understand the idea of being location independent, earning money online from wherever you are in the world. This was my light bulb moment, when I realized our love of travel could be so much more than just a few weeks here and there.
So, after much discussion, we sold our home, we sold our business and we sold most of our possessions. We packed our little carry on bags (we travel with only 7kg each) and took off.
And it’s been the best decision we have ever made as a family.
What is one tip you would give an aspiring worldschooler?
Don’t wait – get out there and do it. I so wish I’d heard of this way of life much earlier. Before we committed ourselves to mortgages and a business, and all the other things that are part and parcel with the way life is “meant to be”.
What would you tell your pre-worldschool self?
I would tell myself to work harder at finding a better balance between work and life. I got very caught up in our new way of life, and my commitment to earning income online got pushed to the back burner. We were fortunate that my Husband was able to commute to the oil rigs for work, so we had a very good wage still coming in. Unfortunately he then got made redundant, and now the pressure is on to start earning.
Do you currently travel from a home-base?
We travel wherever our housesits take us. Housesitting has saved us over $USD20,000 in accommodation costs in our first year, so it has been an exceptional way to see the world. Unless we have specific destinations that we want to go to, we pick our destinations based on wherever we find a housesit that fits in with our time frame.
What words do you live by?
Life is too short for ordinary. Doing the same thing day in and day out isn’t living… its existing. So get out and make it happen, because no one else will do it for you.
Where can people find you?
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