The Dream, The Plan (part 1)

Sometimes a dream is a delicate thing, like a soap bubble floating on the breeze. If you try to grasp it, it will burst, so you keep it hidden away in your heart and whisper about it only to yourself. But sometimes it’s like a seedling, fragile but with enormous potential to grow strong and bloom bright if properly nurtured. We have a dream that has turned out to be of the second kind. What we once protected and cherished as a delicate dream has developed into a more sturdy kind of plan that we have shared personally with an ever-widening circle. We feel ready now to share publicly how we will pursue our dream in a new season for our family.

The Dream is Born

About 15 years ago, before we were married, Staffan read an article about a Swedish family with school-aged children who were traveling the world, teaching their kids with the whole world as their classroom. Terms like “world-schooling” or “road-schooling” weren’t even around back then, or if they were we had never heard them. The article captured his imagination and he shared it with me. I was about halfway through university, studying education, and this idea made my mind spin with the possibilities and what it could mean to a child’s development to be educated this way. We agreed that if we ever had a family together, we’d love to do something like that someday. It was the kind of thing that’s easy to imagine when you’re unmarried, in your early 20’s and dreaming big dreams for your someday-hypothetical children.

The Dream Grows

Fast-forward about a dozen years. We’ve gotten married, gotten jobs, changed jobs, changed countries, gone back to school, changed jobs again and along the way added two beautiful children to our family. These have been amazing years, but so many big changes and the seemingly constant state of transition have taken their toll. We need some kind of sabbatical. We need some kind of pause button. We’re facing yet another crossroads and we’re so spun around that it’s hard to recover our sense of direction. The plan takes shape for what would become our big American road trip of 2012. We move our stuff into a new apartment, but live there for only a week before boarding a plane with a return flight 4 months in the future. We hook up a borrowed pop-up camper to a borrowed minivan, buckle our 3 year old and 9 month old into car seats and start driving west. We start a blog to document our experiences. To our faces most people call us crazy and behind our backs they’re taking bets on how long before we turn around and come back. After 91 days on the road, we’ve finished our loop around the United States and wish we could keep going. Maybe this idea isn’t as crazy as it seems.

The Dream is Fed

We return to the apartment we’ve never lived in and get busy starting the next phase of life. We enroll Emelie in preschool and find temporary, part-time jobs that pay the rent. We’ve had plenty of time to talk about life while driving more than 12,000 miles in that minivan but still we stand in the crossroads and don’t know which road to choose. None of them feel right. When our anniversary rolls around 9 months later, we find a babysitter and go for a long walk. Eventually we buy some ice cream and sit by the river. We’re in our 30’s now, married for more than 10 years with two kids. By the numbers, it’s time to find jobs with permanent contracts in our chosen career fields, buy a house and put down roots. It’s what our peers are doing, and it seems to be what everyone expects us to do too… especially now that we’ve taken this once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation. But what if we don’t want it to be once-in-a-lifetime? What if the problem is not that we can’t find the right jobs in our fields or the right house to grow old in but that the whole lifestyle might not be for us? We discuss how we want to raise and educate our kids, and what we think would fit them best now that we’ve had a chance to see more of who they are. We remember a conversation we had long ago and the birth of a dream. And there, by the river on our 11th wedding anniversary, the dream became a plan…

sunset Skellefteälven

To be continued…

The Dream, The Plan (Part 2)

The Dream, The Plan: FAQs

 

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