Taking Education on the Road

by Dylan DeMichiel / Oct 24, 2013 /
Dylan DeMichiel's picture

Over the past six years, my mom has traveled across America in an RV and visited all 50 states. She has been to major cities all over the world, including London, New York, Dublin, Los Angeles, Miami, and Paris. She has taken several backpacking trips through Europe, visiting Italy, France, England, Ireland, Germany, Budapest, Czech Republic, Austria, and Croatia. Oh, and did I mention that I was with her on all those trips? Yeah, my mom is pretty cool!

Rita DeMichiel - Taking Education on the Road

I recently asked my mother how international travel has impacted her life, and this is what I discovered…

What is your favorite part of traveling?

I love sharing the world with my children! When we first talked about living this type of lifestyle, we heard comments from others, such as “the kids are too young, they won’t remember anything, it will cost too much money, what about school and friends, it’s not safe,” and on and on and on. Sure, those are real concerns, but your father and I wanted to travel while we were young and physically able. We didn’t want to sit in a house and read about far-away places in a book. We wanted you and your brother to experience first-hand what it was like to climb the Eiffel Tower, play gladiators in the Coliseum, stand outside the hotel where Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person, attend mass at the Vatican, visit our country’s National Parks, learn about your heritage, and so much more. It has been an incredible experience traveling and learning together side by side as a family. I wouldn’t trade this dream-come-true lifestyle for anything!

DeMichiel Family - Taking Education on the Road

How has international travel impacted your life?

Seeing things that I have only read about has been unimaginable. Viewing the Mona Lisa, standing under the infamous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and touring the Louvre have left inerasable impressions. But truly, I think the connections we have made with other people along our journey are what inspires me to continue traveling. Being able to help them, learn from them, laugh with them, and enjoy their company has been awe inspiring.

I love that it is possible to find a common bond and communicate with people worldwide, regardless of the language barrier. To me, that is what makes international travel worthwhile. There are so many wonderful and unique people in this world. Whether it is our newfound friend from Budapest showing us the city, preparing a meal in a hostel kitchen with a group of Brazilians, or sharing a bottle (or two) of wine with a couple of Frenchmen, I have found that everyone is an individual that has something special to offer. I have discovered that we all want the same things, regardless of where we come from. We want to have fun, be loved and respected, feel safe, and encourage our families to be the best they can be.

This is a universal theme that repeats itself no matter where we roam. That, I must say, leaves an impact!

How do you provide education for your children (me) when you travel?

Every day is a learning experience when you travel. For example, I love being immersed in a history lesson. There is nothing like standing on the battlefields of Gettysburg, watching a Civil War reenactment, and feeling like you are there with the soldiers. You can see their tattered uniforms, feel the sweat on their brows as they race up and down hills, and even get the chance to carry the weight of their packs and weapons. Being able to utilize all your senses, while experiencing history, is empowering. I don’t think reading about a battle in a history book has the same effect. There are so many opportunities such as this when you travel. There is nothing better!

Is it hard not providing a traditional education, such as in a public school, for your children?

Sure, there are challenges, but life is full of them, right? It would be easy to send you and your brother to a traditional school and have you experience life through textbooks. But, we made a conscious decision early on to give you a world education, exposing you guys to as much as we could. As the world continues to become smaller through the internet, and a global economy becomes apparent, we really wanted to make sure you were both ready to become successful and contributing global citizens. Traveling to different countries, meeting new and interesting people, taking on the challenge of a new language, learning monetary and cultural differences, eating unique foods, and so much more, all lead to what we feel is a well-rounded education. Regardless of what career choice you make for yourself, we are confident that this type of education and travel will help you make informed and knowledgeable choices about your future career path.

Rita DeMichiel - Taking Education on the Road

Of all the places you have gone to, which one is your favorite?

Oh my goodness, that’s a tough one – there have been so many. Watching you receive your First Holy Communion at the Vatican was pretty epic. Celebrating my 25th Wedding Anniversary atop the Eiffel Tower was nothing short of amazing. Staying at an incredibly cool hostel in Budapest, watching hot air balloons drift across the skies of Albuquerque, watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace in London, drinking a cold beer at the Hoffbrauhaus in Germany, learning about the reign of Adolf Hitler in Munich and walking the same streets that he once ruled, standing on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, lying on the beaches of St. Tropez -- oh, I could go on forever. Each place and experience is more amazing than the next. I think that is what I love the most about travel – the unexpected!! If you were to nail me down to name only one place – I would have to say that Zlatni Rat in Croatia would have to be my favorite! Beautiful beaches, sparkling water, friendly people, and the slow-paced atmosphere make it one of my favorite spots on earth!

Zlatni Rat, Croatia

How do you think international travel can change people’s lives?

Travel, of any kind, can open up a whole new world to anyone that is willing to see what is laid out before them. If you go to another country and don’t leave the confines of your fancy hotel, you will never understand the true essence of international travel. But, when you allow yourself to become immersed in another culture and live amongst the locals, your life will never be the same. It is so exciting to go outside of your local community to see the world that exists around us. Helping others, learning from others, and, most importantly, respecting others, guarantees to leave an everlasting impression. You will experience more than you ever imagined and bring those lessons back to your everyday life.

What is your best memory of traveling?

I have experienced so many incredible things while traveling. I have seen places that I never dreamed of and have been given the opportunity to explore new worlds. But, if you really want to press me for my best memory … I would have to say dancing through the hills of Salzburg, Austria, belting out tunes from The Sound of Music – that day was by far my favorite and I am positive that on that day, The Hills Were Alive!

The hills were alive - singing the Sound of Music in Austria

I feel very lucky to have experienced a traveling lifestyle with my family. We plan to continue traveling indefinitely, or at least until I get some more stamps on my passport. I still want to see Rio de Janiero, Costa Rica, Australia, Barcelona, Guatemala, and beyond.
Yes, I am “Living La Vida Loca!”

 

 

 

 

Dylan DeMichiel is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Dylan DeMichiel

 

 

 

 

 

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