Raising Miro On the Road of Life

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

The internet is full of inspiration - millions of websites that teach, inspire, and inform about the world. A very few stand out from the crowd. I've found one such shining website, full of joy and enthusiasm about living fully in the world, in the moment, together. It's a site put together by a mother and son (Lainie and Miro), about their slow travel and unschooling around the world. It's about the real people they meet, eat and laugh with, learn from. From intercultural learning to quirky explorations to gorgeous photos of their life abroad, Raising Miro is one of the best sites I've ever read - inspiring, joyful, and full of curiousity about the world. We caught up with Lainie Liberti and asked her to share more about Raising Miro with our Wandering Educators. Here's what she had to say...

 

Raising Miro

 

 

WE:  Please tell us about your site, Raising Miro...

LL: A single mom & son's travel blog & podcast, chronicling their nomadic adventures as they travel around the world together; Raising Miro on the Road of Life. Miro and Lainie (mother 44 and 11 year old son) share their adventures from the Road of Life, discussing issues of humanity, global citizenship, slow travel and living in the moment as they backpack through the world.

Lainie and her son Miro began their open ended adventure in 2009, starting in Central and South America. They are slow traveling around the globe allowing inspiration be their compass. The pair is most interested in exploring different cultures, contributing by serving and connecting with humanity as ‘global citizens’.


They invite you to travel along with them, share their experiences, on the Road of Life.

 

Raising Miro

Miro in Medellin

 

 

WE:  What led you to move abroad?

LL:  In the beginning of 2009, we sold or gave away all of possessions and hit the road for a permanent adventure beginning in July of that same year. We have been traveling throughout Central America for a year and a half an currently find ourselves in South America, with no stop in sight.

We are here, and there’s no desire to turn back. The “where is here?” question is unimportant, since our physical location continues to change. The freedom in that movement is part of the answer. We are a mother and son, living a nomadic lifestyle and have no destination in mind or an end date to count down to, only the world to look forward to and enjoy.

The circumstances that led to our current lifestyle were an amalgamation of many things lining up to create a path of least resistance. There are three main factors that led to our jumping ship from the conventional lifestyle: inspiration, economy and mental sanity.

Being inspired means living a simpler life, something that is now trending in progressive circles, defined through the term 'lifestyle redesign'. Before I had even heard this phrase, I was itching for a life off the 'grid' and outside consumerist cycle of ownership and debt. Professionally, I owned and ran a small branding agency which focused on serving green -eco business, non- profits and conscious business. I really tried to create as much peace as possible within my professional life but I still recognized I was still contributing to the world of consumerism and marketing.

For all of Miro's life, I have been the primary care-taker, responsible for the well being of my son on my own. This has been a responsibility that brought me the most joy. In addition to being a full time mom I built from the ground up a successful brand, marketing and design agency called jungle [8] for 8 years. In reality, this meant that most of the time, I was overly busy. 

One of my most tearful memory is recalling a common phrase I heard from my son say, time after time (after “I love you” of course):  “Mom, you work too much. You never spend  any time with me.”

In 2008 the economy took a tumble and businesses in California were greatly affected - especially those that relied on the non-profit world as its clientele. As a result, jungle [8]'s “bread and butter” clients started going away.  

One evening in September 2008, Miro and I were sitting in my office after everyone had left for the night. I remember letting out a grand sigh and looking at Miro and saying “I don't want to do this anymore... Let's get rid of everything and find a simpler life, climb a volcano, plant a garden, live in the jungle. Let's go have an adventure in the world away from this consumerist lifestyle and get back to what really matters… Each other and enjoying life.”

Miro looked at me and smiled. Then he said “I'm in!"...and that was all it took.

 

Raising Miro

 

 

WE:  How did you decide on unschooling for Miro? What are your inspirations?

LL:  Our original plan was to travel for one year. I initially though for one year, the world would be our school. This was before I ever heard the term “unschooling” or “radical unschooling” or “world schooling”. When we left I knew without a doubt that traveling had its benefits and the experiences would provide everything Miro needed. I wrote this prior to our trip:


“What about school? What about 5th grade?


Take a year and gain valuable life experience, learn a language, travel through many countries, work on sustainable farms, learn about ecology, volunteer time and energy to make a difference, participate in new cultures, be empowered to make decisions, learn geography, navigation, budgeting, independence and respect. What does 5th grade have to offer in comparison? Nada.”

Since then, we've revised our plan to travel until Miro is 18 years old. During our 18 months on the road, I've connected with other traveling families, I've researched education, and I've learned about the concept of “Radically Unschooling”. I read a lot about the concept of child led learning and realized that was exactly what we were doing. I was inspired by Eli Gerzon's writings about Worldschooling and decided that was the best form of education for us. 
I have learned a lot from reading about this concept and have adjusted my approach with Miro ever so slightly. I have learned to take cues from his interests and seek opportunities together for further learning. I have become more involved in his education since he's left the traditional school environment. I have consciously become more aware and present with his choices. And I have learned to be more communicative with my support and encouragement. And most of all, trusting the process. He is learning and we are sharing the experience. I couldn't think of a more important role to take in this wonderful world of ours.


As a result of my unschooling education, I am growing as Miro teaches me how to be a better and more effective parent in the process.

 

Raising Miro

la Boquilla

 

 

WE:  What do you find that you both learn from most, in living overseas?

LL: I think the most profound discovery is people are genuine and kind all over the world. It is easy to connect authentically with anyone by offering a smile and making eye contact, even when there are language barriers. A smile can be an opening to a world of discovery, learning about different cultures and points of views, an experience Miro and I cherish. We have connected with homeless people on the street, children in impoverished neighborhoods, indigenous mothers, and the cosmopolitan socialites. We have made so many wonderful friends and have had the honor of being invited into so many peoples' homes to experience a slice of their lives. The people have been the gift in the entire experience and they are the reason we keep exploring.

 

Raising Miro

Manizales

 

 

WE:  How can you afford to live and learn overseas?

LL:  Wow, how could we afford not to? From the nuts and bolt perspective, we live frugally. We couch surf, we eat local, we try to cook for ourselves. We walk a lot and we volunteer. We have been living on a $1000 a month budget for two people and that's doable. Twice on our travels we've been down to $10 but both times we have been expecting money from clients from past jobs I did on a freelance basis. However, I am completely and totally burned out on branding, web design and strategy for clients, I have vowed not to do it anymore. I am walking away from my past.  I am indeed committing professional suicide. That's ok for now.

So, where we are at the moment financially? Well, we have very little money left. Seriously less than $200. How will that last? Not sure, but we are resourceful. I am completely and one hundred percent committed to making a living through our blog and podcast, and I can't think of a better time to do that, than when we have literally no money. We've received a sprinkling of donations in the past and that's helped keep us afloat, but this model is not sustainable. Now we are seeking sponsors and advertisers for our blog and podcast and the same way I have learned to trust the universe, I trust my intuition that we'll be fine.

 

Raising Miro

Manizales

 

 

WE:  What do you love most about extended living abroad? What have you learned from exploring the world?

LL:  I love the experiences every day offers. We are never sure what the next day, week or month will look like, but somehow it doesn't matter very much. We are present in the world and open to whatever opportunities come our way.

I believe our experience of the outer world is a reflection of what's going on in our own inner worlds. If you travel with fear, you attract situations that fearful. We feel safe in the world, therefore the world is a safe place, for us. We are filled with love and compassion, therefore our experiences are filled with love and compassion. It's an awesome lesson and one we probably couldn't have had being somewhat entranced in a conventional lifestyle.

 

Raising Miro

 

 

WE:  How do you envision travel and intercultural understanding changing children (and our future)?

LL:  Truly believe borders and boundaries are a thing of the past. There is only one citizenship that holds value, and that is “global citizenship”.

I come from a background of activism, which I no longer subscribe to. In the past, I strived to change the world, make a dent in issues that mattered to me, usually surrounding civil rights, peace and the earth's health. This activism was a huge part of my education in compassion. However activism strives to change the world from the outside. Through traveling with my son, I have discovered that all change happens from the inside out. In other words, 'being' the compassion can affect the world just by virtue of being in the world. By being compassion and interacting and through interacting with the adults and children we encounter, we cannot help but to affect our collective future.

 

Raising Miro

 

 

WE:  Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

LL:  Education happens. A child learns no matter what.  If a child is engaged, interested and empowered, he or she will learn. Parents, there is no to feel stress over the process, since children are learning from your stressful thoughts. Simply trust and they will learn.

It was such a pleasure being interviewed by Wandering Educators. We are so honored by this opportunity. We invite your audience to visit us at our blog at www.raisingmiro.com  and listen to a podcast or two. Miro and I both research, write, and produce our podcasts, which always strives educate our audience a little about the places we visit. Also, we include an interview in every podcast that Miro and I alternate conducting. We always meet people on our path who are living from their passion and their stories are always inspirational.  We also invite your audience to support us however they can, either though commenting on our web site, sending us a note of encouragement or a financial donation. A little goes a long way and we are always grateful for all the support we receive.

 

Raising Miro

 

 

WE: Thanks so much, Lainie – your journeys and life together are inspiring!

All photos courtesy and copyright Lainie Liberti

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