Live authentic Reconnect with the world​

Intercultural colive-cowork-community 

at the Ecuadorian coast.

Intercultural colive-cowork-community at the Ecuadorian coast.

Live authentic
with the world

How to make friends during worldschooling experiences: insights

Friends, worldschooling experiences: Is your kid struggling to make friends on the road? Are you afraid you’re doing them wrong by moving around? You’re not alone. The topic often comes along in deeper conversations between traveling families, and last April, meaningful friendships for the kids was the topic for Punta la Barca’s online circle co-facilitated with Tiago’s traveling family. Follow along with the feelings, concerns, thoughts, and insights of various traveling families on one of the most difficult topics for nomads with kids.

Why is it an issue

As long term travelers, we are getting out of our routine, out of our habitat, out of the community that we know. The challenge we face is to meet new people, in a limited time frame, and with a language and cultural barrier. On top of that, we are the ones who need to take the initiative, as the locals are still living their routine in their community. No, we’re not making things easy for ourselves..

Tips for making friends with locals

Getting to know the locals in an authentic way is ultimately one of the biggest reasons we travel. We want to immerse, get to know their culture and ways, learn the language.

Live together with locals

The top tip to make local friends shared by most families, is definitely to find spots to live together with other families. Becoming friends takes time and trust, and living together nourishes both of those. Tiago describes our kid-friendly traveler+local coliving Punta la Barca as “his favourite experience in a year of travel”. Other families mention also good experiences with host families found through Airbnb. A great website that gathers similar initiatives is this one.

Search for activities you love with locals

The circle also revealed another interesting recipy to stimulate authentic connection for kids without living together. First, find a group activity around what your kid loves, wether that’s football, dance, art or a forest school. Connection, especially with a language and cultural barrier, needs something in common, and love for a certain activity serves as that catalysator.

Secondly, and often forgotten: make contact as the parent with the other local kids’ parents at the activity and invite them over quickly to spend time together again. With a big cultural gap, seeing someone else trusting to bridge the gap is key. Thirdly, . Know it is no more than normal to feel uncomfortable in these first interactions.. remember you are the one who is gonna have to take the initiative if you want something to happen!

Tips for traveling together with other travelers

Connecting with other travelers instead of locals has the advantage of less cultural and language barrier, and both parties are looking for connection. Big win! This traveling village is the best traveling-together initiative I’ve heard of so far, although you can each year find more groups starting up –this facebook group does a good job in gathering them.

Why it is maybe not an issue

But let’s not forget to look inwards. What do we actually want for the kids? Are they actually really struggling, or are they enjoying their freedom? What opportunities do these challenges give our kids? We all carry the typical school-image of a big group of same aged kids around… Do we need to replicate this on our travel? Or are we actually seeking another type of more meaningful, autentic connection? And what can that look like?

If what we look for is freedom and play, free from expectation and constraints as a family mentioned in the circle, this can take so many different forms. Thanks to the emotional mental space and alignment that travel out of the routine gives, it opens the opportunity for more adventure, more creativity, and more initiative. Family reconnection is also high on lots of long term travelers’ priority list. The bottom line: let’s not stress that we need “stuff for the kids to do”. Let’s allow them to feel into the void and find their own way.

Final reflections

*We travelers are taking a radical step into another kind of life that feels more aligned. Let’s not fall in the trap of having to make it perfect. It will always have its downs. We can accept the downs and enjoy the ups.

*Travel also comes with goodbyes, and goodbyes also come with grief. Although children grief quite quick, it is a process to learn to go through. The opportunity in these temporal connections? The temporal aspect makes us connect, live and cherish way more the moment.

What are your feelings and thoughts about this issue? Let us know in the comments, and inscribe here to join in the community-led online circle for long term travelers. Each month a new topic, free, only your full presence required ❤🤙🔥



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