Sometimes we don’t know what we’re missing until we stumble into it.
This happens all the time in our lives – think of the stories of people adopting rescue dogs, picking up a new hobby, finding a compatible partner, trying a unique cuisine, visiting a new culture, converting religions… we never really know when we’ll make a connection, no matter how big or small.
For our family, we traveled fulltime for nearly two years before we landed in our first worldschool gathering place! We’d always been avid travelers and never really needed to find community. We figured things out. We were self-sufficient. We hung out with locals and created our own social connections, so we didn’t think worldschool community was that essential.
To say we were astonished when we landed in the worldschool hub in La Herradura, Spain, is an understatement. We were absolutely amazed with how much we were missing out!
*La Herradura, Spain, February 2022
We knew we’d make friends but had no idea what it felt like to be part of a social network where we didn't have to explain ourselves and our lifestyle over and over again. Not only that, but these humans were the exact people I wanted to talk to about their travels and how they educate their children and how they make tough decisions and how they overcome difficulties in the path.
Hanging out with worldschoolers made us feel like kids in a candy shop, we wanted to talk to everyone and hear all the stories… everyone was so interesting and there was so much catching up to do.
The kids talked about their favorite travel destinations and foods they love to eat around the world. They were able to commiserate over the challenges in a traveling lifestyle such as finding social outlets, being with parents and siblings 24/7, securing employment, or missing out on everyday experiences of “normal” people. Discovering other kids who understood their point of view was invaluable!
*Pop-ups in Madison 2022, Bentonville 2022, & Madison 2022
And for the adults, the feeling was the same… we connected over the joys of this lifestyle as well as the common struggles that occur when one lives outside-the-box. Our conversations spanned numerous topics including travel, parenting, addressing naysayers, supporting our mental health, reintegrating into a former community, helping our kids develop the skills they’ll need as adults, giving our kids more autonomy as they age, and even things we miss from our former lives. And because no two families navigate these issues the same way, we found diverse strategies for keeping our families happy and healthy on the road.
It feels so good to feel seen and recognized and understood, isn’t that what we all need? A place where we don’t need to justify ourselves and can freely share our ideas and experiences?
*Pop-Up in NYC 2022 & crossing paths organically in Florida 2022
This is what community is for me. The opportunity to share space with people we connect with on multiple levels: being parents, digital nomads, or travel geeks. We share similar experiences in leaving the traditional workforce, valuing travel as an educational strategy, and steering away from traditional living arrangements, roles, schooling, and thinking patterns. Perhaps more importantly we share challenges such as ensuring our kids feel safe and secure in our lifestyle, diffusing concerns from loved ones (and strangers), compromising with the family unit on a more frequent basis, and creating a sustainable mobile lifestyle in which all the family’s needs are met…
…AND when we can share physical space together and chat over a walk in the park while the kids connect, this enriches our already fulfilling lifestyles!
To date (June 2023), the Worldschool Pop-Up Hub has welcomed over 250 families into our events, many of whom return for a 2nd, 3rd, or 8th pop-up!
Some may ask if it’s really possible to create “community” in a short period of time, but I can assure you it is. When we begin with so many similarities, it just takes finding the time and space to converge.
*Pop-Ups in Guanajuato 2022, Bentonville 2022, & Madison 2022
After every event, I’m always amazed by the families in our extended worldschool community, especially to see how open we are with sharing the details of our lives we don’t always share. But this is what brings us closer… we ask questions, we hear relevant strategies, we relate to one another, we grow stronger connections together.
Our family has changed our travel plans to jointly travel with those we’ve met, plus I see many of our attendees reuniting with each other as their travel paths cross. This is what it’s all about for me!
We all deserve to find a place where we are valued and accepted… and once we have our people, we can recreate this wherever we roam whether via an organized gathering or not.
Why am I writing about this today? It stems from the kindness of a few worldschoolers we know. This started off as two stories, but now I'd like to log these stories of kindness as more worldschoolers are gifting community to others:
The first story is of two worldschool families who met each other at our Merida, Mexico pop-up in 2022. One has gone on to host pop-ups with the Worldschool Pop-Up Hub and the other family purchased a ticket to one of those events not even knowing if they could attend. Their purchase was to support their friend and their endeavors.
The second story is of a family unable to use their ticket to our Athens 2022 pop-up. Instead of taking a credit with the Worldschool Pop-Up Hub, they chose to donate their ticket to another family and give others the gift of community. It warms my heart that our worldschool friends would do this for a stranger. The anonymous family's credit was given to Chiara.
Our third story... the Anderton family from the UK joined us for the Iceland 2022 pop-up and had full plans to reunite with us at the London pop-up the following month. However, it just wasn't meant to be. They changed their direction but donated their credit to a traveling family with limited funds. Again, it's really beautiful to watch our community take care of each other. The Anderton's donation was given to MK. Thank you!
And a fourth: If anyone understands changes in travel plans, it's a gaggle of worldschoolers. The Dawson family intended to attend a popup in Williamsburg... when that fell through, they switched popups to London and bought tickets to Athens as well... and guess what? They couldn't attend either. But not to worry, they're set with one credit and are gifting their second credit to a family with limited financial means. We deeply appreciate these donations to others in our extended community. This scholarship was given to the Happy Squids family.
An anonymous family purchased tickets to Florence but then found out that their house sold and they needed to stay home to finalize the sale. They passed along their ticket to any family who was able to head to Florence last minute and the scholarship was given to MK's family. Thanks so much!
Another anonymous donation stemmed from a family unable to use their Porto tickets due to some travel snags. Instead of taking a credit, they've passed it along to Ana's family. We're thrilled that our worldschool community is so kind to share these events with unknown friends!
This scholarship was offered to a family with teens or tweens. It comes from a family unable to use their Veracruz pop-up and was awarded to Family Vagabonders... a family of five who recently attended their first pop-up and is super excited to plan for their next one. Thanks Veracruz friends!
We had a trio of scholarships from families who were unable to attend events in Prague, Florence, and Tokyo. Their gifts were passed on to Katarina's, Miriam's, and Audrey's families. We're looking forward to seeing you soon!
On July 1, 2023 we gave away two $70 scholarships, one to a family in need and another to any family available to utilize the funds. Both donations came from families who were unable to attend in Siem Reap, however, there were other families ready to utilize the credit. The Lawrence Family and Lau Liz were our recipients. One of these families booked into a pop-up as soon as they received their coupon code. Thank you!
Our August 1, 2023 drawings went to two different families. First a thank you to the Willis family who donated a $70 scholarship to AidaYoga and a second thank you to an anonymous family who donated a $100 scholarship to LC. The donors were unable to attend events in Valencia and Siem Reap... thanks for paying it forward!
Sept 1st drawings for 2023 are a $70 donation from an anonymous family unable to attend our LA Pop-Up and a $35 donation from an anonymous family, unable to attend in Valencia, who thought it would be neat to share this credit with a family who hasn't been to any of our events yet. The $70 scholarship goes to Ali and the $35 scholarship goes to Katrin. Welcome aboard!
Nov 1st drawing (we skipped October this year): This was a donation from an anonymous family unable to attend in Valencia who passed their credit on to a family in need. This scholarship goes to KM's family who is excited for this chance to join a pop-up. Thanks!
Final drawing of 2023 on December 1st goes to Sanja's family. They've attended events with us before and are excited to use a $50 scholarship toward a future event. The donation is from a family unable to attend in Malaga in October. Thank you for sharing!
If you'd like to make a donation to our platform, please reach out to email@example.com and we can set up parameters for your donation. Thank you for sharing the gift of community.
We never know what sort of connections we will make in life, but worldschool connections are some of the most genuine and profound. We look forward to welcoming you into our mobile communities. Here are our Upcoming Events and some FAQs about our gatherings.
*Merida Pop-Up 2022, PC Chong See Ming