We are creating a traveling village
It started as an idea from a small family, but now 4 families (USA, India, Denmark) are creating a big adventure: To find other families and together co-create what we call a traveling village. We want to take the best of the new world (remote work, digital nomadism, traveling) and combine it with what has worked for centuries (community, families helping each other, communal meals).
This is a non-profit co-created experiment and we want to build it with you!
Background, the idea and who's behind
Before having kids we were traveling as very typical digital nomads. We wanted to have a lifestyle with a lot of traveling with kids, but we also quickly realized that it does take a village to raise kids.
After having kids we have grown increasingly interested in the way we structure life, where all families live in small silos without being part of a community living nearby. When we did our first 6-month trip with 2 kids, we realized that traveling and living abroad with kids is amazing, but it also required a lot from us. Especially the social element, finding friends in a new place, is tough, but so important with kids.
This is the realization of a dream that got defined in 2017 in Nepal, when we decided to have our first child. We have discussed many ways to build this and we have come to the conclusion that we want to go all in on one trip, to make an experiment in living differently. We want to build this as one of the biggest adventures of our life.
We have studied cohousing projects to see what works in that setting and being involved early and creating the principles and the village together is something that we see brings people closer to each other. So we decided that we want to build this as a community. This is not a group trip that you buy through an agency, but a community where we take active part.
We have both our kids at home and our dream is to unschool. We really believe in the idea of learning through play and exploration and self-directed learning. We want to create a unique setting where it’s possible: In nature, with a lot of other kids and a community of adults instead of a professional daycare/school.
At the core of the village, there is a community living room. Somewhere we can meet, eat some of our weekly meals, and where activities can take place. There are a lot of challenges to this project, the biggest one will be finding multiple locations where we can all have our own home but walk to the community living room.
Below we describe the core of the idea and the next steps.
Kai (4), Iris (1 – the shocked one), Michelle (32) and Nikolaj (36)
Where we are going
The four founding families decided on the following locations. The journey starts January 15 2024 in Vietnam.
Hội An, Vietnam
January 15 to February 21
Ko Lanta, Thailand 🇹🇭
February 26 to April 2
Kyoto, Japan 🇯🇵
April 7 to May 14
After a month of research, discussions and workshops, the 4 founding families have decided on the above locations. 3 locations in 4 months will be around 5 weeks in every place with some transition time in between.
Working on locations was very interesting because we had to start with imagining daily life for village. A lot of different considerations had to be taken into account. We decided on 3 locations in 1 continent to make traveling easier and the footprint a bit smaller.
We also wanted to try to find a combination that was not just beach life and not only super easy. It has to be an adventure, but at the same time also attract enough people.
After many hours of research, meetings and spreadsheets, we can say that we are very excited about these locations. Now the work continues with finding exact areas, dates, financial setup and so on.
Eating together is the simplest way for a community to come together and research shows that the more often people eat with others the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives. That is why communal meals will be an integrated part of our weekly schedule.
Researching successful cohousing concepts, the best of them often have communal dinners 4 times per week.
🏠 Every family with their own place
From studying cohousing projects across the world, we know that residents say that one of the most important things is the space to withdraw from the community and to be able to have privacy. That’s why every family will book their own place to live, so everyone has their own place to just be themselves.
🛖 The Community Livingroom
We need a place to meet and a place to default to. A place you go to hang out and where you casually meet other people from the community. We see it as quite important to have this place within walking or biking distance from your home. This will probably be one of the biggest challenges of the project and it can come in many forms.
Travel dates are January 15th, 2024 to May 15th, 2024 (over a year from now).
We launched the idea and website in September 2022. By October we had a full team of founding families and in November we had decided on the locations.
We are now working hard on exact dates, areas, places, and financial structure.
We have a fully public decision log/timeline, where we publish everything that happens behind the scenes (meetings, decisions, and so on). Find it here.
Possible to work remote
We imagine that some will join as a kind of sabbatical, but we expect many will work remotely. It’s also the dream to try to do an experiment of something that could be a more permanent way of living, so of course, in all locations it should be possible to work remotely. Maybe we work from a local coworking or we create something ourselves.
👩👩👧👦 Founding Families and Member Families
The first step is to find 4-5 families who are 100% in on the project and where we develop it together. This includes locations, financials, and the core principles. We call these families “Founding Families”.
The Founding Families will develop the project further and afterward open the project up for Member Families. The only difference is that the core of the project will be developed by Founding Families.
The day-to-day life will be developed by us all. Maybe someone will make yoga classes, maybe someone wants to do weekly hikes, and we arrange activities for the kids. Maybe you dream of learning to surf or build in bamboo and want to create a group that does that.
We also think it would be very interesting to create different work groups with different purposes. One example could be about how we engage with the local community in a meaningful way.
👩🌾 Learning through play and exploration
This is also an experiment in living with kids differently. Where play, exploration, and self-direction are in focus instead of classrooms.
Everyone is 100% responsible for their own kids and their learning, but as a community, we create meaningful opt-in activities. We imagine that we use our collective skills and interests to create learning experiences.
The Founding Families need to decide on locations, both where and how many and the overall travel plan. We imagine enough time to settle and have a daily life and no rush. One of the strengths of traveling as a community is that it will probably be easier to go further out to locations with a little less infrastructure than mass-tourism destinations.
The first step in the project is to gather 4 founding families, which was achieved in October 2022 (The goal was by the end of 2022). The role of the founding families is to develop the project together with consensus-based decision-making.
The founding families have per October 2022 started the work that will result in member families joining. The work consists of workshops and deciding on the following:
- Location/travel plan
- Financial framework
- Guidelines for group process
Irene, Andy and Ani (9)
We slow travel and world school (home school) our daughter. We have a long history of unicycling and have both won world titles and arranged trips and events for that community, so we have a lot of experience with non-profits. Prior to slow traveling, we were running an organic farm that won multiple sustainability awards.
Nritya, Kiran and Sakshi (1)
We have roots in the US and India. We are both PMs (Nritya in Ops and Kiran in Tech) currently on sabbatical and have just begun a year of slow traveling across the world with our one-year-old (Sakshi). We are curious about how we can reframe our relationship with work, society and life.
Leheng, Nanna and Eigil (3) and newborn Isak
Nanna is self-employed as a yoga guide and postpartum counselor. Leheng is studying innovation and process engineering, and has experience with start-ups and developing concepts. Our son Eigil is 2,5 years old and is soon becoming a big brother when a new baby arrives. Together we love to travel and discover alternative ways of living.
Nikolaj, Michelle, Iris (1) and Kai (4)
We are both self-employed, big travelers who used to travel full-time. Unschooling our two kids and originally got the idea to Worldschooling.com in 2017. Lots of experience starting companies and being self-employed, mainly online.
We are building a community
We are a village rather than a group trip. Joining is a commitment, not just to be a passive traveler, but to be an active member of the community.
A Worldschooling experiment
This is an experiment in learning. We will help create activities for the kids, focusing on learning through play, exploration, and local immersion.
We are trying to create a new way of combining work, family, community, and adventure. We are intentional and curious about life and how different parts of our lives can be combined in new ways.
You can get involved in 3 different ways:
1) Take the leap and join as a Founding Family FULL
2) To show your interest in becoming a Member Family (we will then get back to you first, when we are ready to open up for members)
3) Sign up to get email updates on the progress of the project
Worldschooling is an educational movement where families live, learn and develop through traveling.
There are more and more communities growing based on self-directed learning, alternatives to school and simply a more holistic way of looking at life.
One of the biggest challenges with nomadic living, especially with kids, is the social element and this is an experiment in trying to solve that.
This is an experiment. There are lots of unknowns and stuff we haven’t figured out. We initially started with 12 months, but most of the feedback we got was to make it shorter. 4 months is enough time to make it a real adventure, to really try to live differently, but also a timeframe that many people can commit to.
In the beginning of November 2022 the founding families decided on:
- Hội An, Vietnam
- Ko Lanta, Thailand
- Kyoto, Japan
That means approx 5 weeks in every location with a good travel window in between.
The founding families are now working on the exact timeline, areas in these places and much more.
We want to create a super simple framework for the financial side of the project. First of all, we want every family to book their own place because everyone has different needs and budgets.
We will collectively have to pay for community living rooms + communal meals. We will try to make this as simple as possible.
The founding families are working on making this public as soon as possible.
We, the four funding families, have decided on the following definition: A village needs all types of families and while the Traveling Village will be kid centric, all types of families with or without kids are welcome.
It’s important to note that this is not a travel agency. No one will create a day-to-day itinerary. We are simply a bunch of families traveling to the same places at the same time and committing to a community.
The four founding families have a lot of travel experience. One family (Andy & Irene) used to arrange unicycling tours around the world and another (Nikolaj & Michelle) used to arrange retreats and adventure trips for entrepreneurs. The other two families have a lot of experience with long-term traveling.
We don’t have any fixed rules and we want to create a village with different people. We are not targeting any specific ages. The age of the kids for all signed-up families will be visible, so every potential family can take their own decision.
The original idea was to base it on chemistry and shared interest. To make the project so big, it was to be a challenge in itself to take the decision to join.
Now we are four founding families and soon we want to open up for more families. We haven’t yet decided on how that will work. We will decide and publish the process as soon as possible.
We know from experience that when a lot of interesting people are put together, interesting things start to happen.
We want to create the frames, but the community will create all the day-to-day content.
First of all, it’s important, especially with kids, that we have a normal day-to-day life with a lot of time and freedom to just be a family, for privacy, and so on. This is why everything will be opt-in.
We need a setting where it’s possible for people to work, where we help each other with learning experiences for the kids and where it’s easy to stumble into other people from the community. We hope there will be created small “study groups” where people decide to learn something together, there will be people arranging yoga, hikes, meetups on different subjects and much more.
This is an experiment and we want to go all-in on community and one adventure of a life-time. Worldschooling.com can probably develop to a lot of things down the road, but our only focus is just this adventure.
We are planning this quite a lot in advance, so we can slowly get the word out organically and so we have better chances with booking locations.
Of course, not everyone can commit so far in advance and we know that a lot of people would probably like to follow a long before eventually taking the final decision.
We will create a small email update every month where we will give a status on the progress, where we are right now and the families who are showing interest.
We want to experiment with a new way of combining work, family, learning, and community.
We expect many will work, but also expect that some will take a sabbatical to join. We are working actively on having a coworking space close to the community center.
The dream is to have multiple traveling villages at the same time around the world. Maybe with different founding families, values and focuses.
But for now, we are 100% focused and invested in creating this first experiment.
We are trying to be as open as possible, sharing our decision log and more, so it will be easier for others to do similar projects.
The trip has been planned for January 15th and take 4 months, which means it will end on May 15th, 2024.