“After the Unbloggable,” otherwise known as “A Break in the Stress in Continuum,” I could finally sit down and write or plainly speaking, my Mom took the boys out to the dog groomers, no not to groom them but the dogs, so there’s an opportune moment and the dust from the hammering has settled. I am blowing the powder away. The “Dream Drive Around the World” has been morphing, going through Calvin and Hobbes’ transmogrifying machine, shape shifting, stretching, reducing, pulverized into a pulp, reconstituted into being, polished into this current presentable state and who knows what it will finally end up looking until we board the plane to each destination. So after hemming and hawing, hair pulling and WeChatting, we, meaning I with the help of others, mainly my husband, managed to come up with this spanking new, fresh from the oven timetable.
|October 25 – November 20||Xishuangbanna|
|November 20 – December 27||Laos, Vietnam, Thailand||Drive from Xishuangbanna|
|December 27 – January 12||Bali, Indonesia||Green School, Green Village|
|January 12 – February 27||Manila, Philippines||Hero’s Journey Camp – Feb 1 – 10
Preparation for US trip
|February 27||Fly to New York, USA
Travel to the following states: New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona, California, and also arrange a trip to Canada
|Sudbury School, Big Picture School, Free School Albany, Alternative Education Resource Organization, Tinkering School, Timbernook and other schools|
|July 30||Fly from San Francisco, USA to Tokyo, Japan|
|July 31 – August 8||Tokyo, Japan||Asia Pacific Democratic Education Conference – August 1 – 5|
|August 8 – August 30||Manila, Philippines||Possible – Hero’s Journey Camp
|September 1 – 10||Tianjin, China|
|September 10||Xishuangbanna, China|
Before reaching this stage, there were several Excel columns filled up with options A, B, C, D, but thank goodness not all the way to Z. However, if you do take everything I’ve mapped out since the beginning, I may be on the second round of the alphabet.
The original or the last plan prior to this, started with Japan and had New Zealand for the whole of February. Both were bumped off with good reason. My friend Donna, who attended the APDEC in Taiwan with Lucy and me, had been mulling over how to put into action and concretize the beliefs that have been planted in her mind since before and expressed fervently in that life-altering conference in Taiwan.
Donna hatched a vision to bring Chinese children and perhaps their parents to the Philippines during the winter holiday in China. Instead of learning and practicing English in the classroom, the kids would be immersed in various outdoor activities like camping, forest survival, swimming, horseback riding, obstacle course racing and attend other highly interactive events. My husband, Jason has also thought of something like this before and I couldn’t deny how much better it is to test out theories in real life business instead of merely writing about them or researching things online.
Donna had originally planned to travel to Laos but because she met me, she changed her plan and went to the Philippines instead. Her daughter had a blast attending the Waldorf School in Manila for a week before going to Boracay so Donna knows that there are Chinese parents who would appreciate this sort of immersive experience for their children. Coincidentally, I’m changing our itinerary to go to Japan and New Zealand and replacing it with Laos and its neighbors in order to pursue the camp concept with Donna.
We must come up with a nice name for the camp and since Donna’s been reading Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” as suggested by one of the speakers at APDEC, she texted me: Hero’s Journey. Everyone wants to be a hero, the hero in his or her own life. We all have dreams thwarted by dragons and monsters and we can get overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear, wanting to overcome hurdles to emerge triumphant but we’re still writing the lines to our own stories.
Eventually, something small like this can lead to the school we envision in the future which embodies the ideals of democratic education.
My other obsession with Japan is architectural and I didn’t need much to convince my architect friend to come with us during the Japanese leg in January but then I kept imagining how difficult it would be to choose between architectural tours and sites I know my family would prefer. I kept picturing Jimmy having a meltdown in Tadao Ando’s sacred space and that would be appalling so maybe it’s good to postpone this for another time. Anyway, there’s still the APDEC Tokyo in August.
The last plan prior to this one included a long run from Israel to Europe to North and South America and culminating in Africa. Where did that go now? It was exchanged for going directly to the United States because we have the visas but it would take too much time to process visas for the other eight countries.
We also thought our family would be resettling in Dali but Jason found a place that may be more suitable for us: Xishuangbanna. Quite a mouthful to say for a Chinese town, it’s located at the border of Laos, thus we could take our car and drive to the countries south of Yunnan.
Another trade-off is that I won’t be able to attend the International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC) in Israel and the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) Conference in New York but will make it, cross my fingers and hope it really happens, to the Asia Pacific Democratic Education Conference in Tokyo to satisfy my intense curiosity about the Shure University.
Overall, I’m happy with the concessions and substitutes because we end up saving more money and time. The route seems more rationalized proceeding southward from Yunnan to the Philippines and straight to the heart of where most of my research work needs to be done. Majority of the schools I want to visit are in America so setting that as a much earlier destination makes more sense. The other countries can follow after an undefined time but we end up with a journey that combines the best from preceding ideas.
This journey to undertake this journey has been encountering dragons and demons of its own: naysayers and courage-sappers who can’t understand what on earth can drive foolish parents to do this with young children in tow, who can’t understand the logic behind not enrolling kids in school and not having a stable home for an extended period, who think this is whimsical, nonsensical, flaky, irrational, irresponsible, deplorable behavior. “Besides, your children won’t be able to remember any of this when they grow up.” I hate to be on the defensive and keep explaining myself. Exhausted, I say I’ve discussed it clearly in the blog but if you didn’t get it, I’m sorry.
Some other links for the heroic:
For those who want to read more about alternative and democratic education: