Routes and Roots


It can get quite daunting planning a trip of this magnitude.  How do you eat an elephant?  Part by part.   There are days that overwhelm more than others.  Even if I’ve divided the journey into manageable segments, the multitude of logistical details force me to take a break by walking around the neighborhood block.  After excitedly talking to a new acquaintance about the dream to drive around the world, I thought my next step should be to consolidate several floating lists of places to visit into a comprehensive route which I’m pasting at the end of this article.

Plus, in our last month in Tianjin, we’re getting ready for the big move to Yunnan.  People ask us if we already have a place waiting for us and there is none.  When we arrive, that’s when we start looking for a house to rent.

One of my students gently reminded me during the exam conversation that people need the stability of a home.  She didn’t have to remind me because this had also been on my mind but it’s good to hear it from her because I like students questioning what their teachers say and do.

My parents wish we could move back to the Philippines and my husband’s parents also hate for us to leave Dagang, but this is a decision that we’ve made and need to uphold.  It doesn’t mean the idea of a fixed address is not attractive.  I don’t know how well nomadic existence will sit with each of us.  We’ll only know when we try and that in essence, is the spirit of the whole exercise.  We need to try this route and make our home wherever we may be, no matter how brief the stay.

Establishing roots is important.  After two and a half years in Dagang, it’s so convenient to send Joshua and Jimmy for a playdate with the neighbor’s children and build a sense of community over time.  On the road, how does one arrange playdates and keep friendships?   I should stop asking questions that could be answered once I’m in the moment and the opportunities arise.

A lot of students and friends told me how much they admire our courage to pursue our dream.  One working mom envies that I’ll be a full-time mom at home.  She forgot that it’s not only at home but on the road which might entail extra effort.  Still, it is indeed an extreme blessing to be with my children without the distraction of employment.

I have to arrange the trips in a way that allows us to go back to Manila and Dagang to see our parents and siblings in between portions of the journey.  Eventually we may need to settle down and that would probably be either in Yunnan or who knows where destiny brings us.  There’s a family who has been travelling around the world for fifteen years.  We may or may not turn out to be like them.  Who knows?  We’ll turn exactly into our unique selves.

In this latest planned route, there are 26 countries and 22 – 24 schools to be visited.  Following is a summary breakdown.  I haven’t researched yet about schools in the other target countries but I think I should stop googling and stick with this.  Otherwise, it multiplies ad infinitum.


Visiting eleven schools in the U.S. sounds too much, but reading and re-reading the description of each school, I couldn’t easily eliminate any.  I’m greedy to visit all and learn from their methods.  The deciding factor would be to email them and introduce my book and research proposal about non-traditional education.  I would then request if I could schedule some interviews with the school leaders, teachers, parents and students.  If I don’t get a favorable reply, then the list can be reduced.  If everyone replies positively, then we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.

Meanwhile, here’s the latest from the planning committee of one:


Following are links about the Zapp family.  They have four kids and they’ve been travelling around the world for more than fifteen years.

Family on Wheels

Zapps Around the World



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