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SANTA ELENA CANYON | TRAVEL BLOG | DAY 3 : BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TX

TRAVEL DAY THREE

Three days in and still not sick of sleeping in a tent, cooking on a camp stove and living out of a suitcase. In my iPhone journal, notes from Day Three start with “SO HAPPY.” Parts of this life might be difficult and frustrating, but nothing beats the feeling of living life exactly how you want to live it. No complaints yet. Let’s see how the rest of the week goes, though!:)

Early in the day the kids were exploring the grounds and found a baby bird on the ground! He wasn’t obviously injured, but couldn’t fly, so we picked him up and held him and tried to feed him. He was so sweet and snuggly and became very attached to me very quickly. When Kai was little, one of his favorite books was “Are You My Mother” – a book about a baby bird who falls out of the nest and then wanders all over town looking for his mother. He doesn’t know what she looks like, so he asks everybody he sees “are you my mother?” Kai asked me to read him that book almost every night, so when he noticed how the bird wouldn’t let me put him down, Kai said “he thinks you’re his mama, just like in the book!” Eventually he let me pass him over to Marley, who had been begging me to let her hold him since we first picked him up. Marley is such an animal lover. She’s held turtles and mice and kittens and puppies and dreams of going to Africa so she can “pet the giraffes and elephants and lions and tigers!” She’s never been afraid of any animal, no matter it’s size. I love that about her. She has such a big heart. After holding the bird in her hands and petting him, she asked me to move him up to her shoulder. I snapped a few iPhone photos (see below!) before he jumped back onto my hand to snuggle some more. Marley named him Little Tweeter and started trying to figure out how we could take him with us on the road. Kai and Rox made a nest for him with sticks and grass and we put the nest in one of our bowls. Henry saw it and said it looked like a bird salad. Ha! By then, the kids wanted to swim again, so we went swimming at the pool by our tent. Little Tweeter stayed by the tent in his nest/salad bowl. When we got out I told the kids we needed to put him back where we found him in case his mama was looking for him. I had looked it up online and read that he was probably a fledgling and his mom would pick him up and put him back in the nest. We put him back and told him bye and hoped he would be safe.

The original plan for the day was to go to Marfa, but we decided to skip it since there’s not much to do there. Instead, we drove to Big Bend National Park! Before we left we bought a National Parks Annual Pass and this would be the first time we’d get to use it. The drive was long and full of nothing, but it was cool to see Texas’ only mountains getting closer and closer. Once into the park, we decided to go to Santa Elena Canyon, which is right on the Rio Grande River. We had to wade across the river to get to the trail, but it was easy and only got us wet to the knees. The trail was awesome and took us all the way up into the canyon where we yelled to make echoes and relaxed by the river for a little bit. When we got back down to the river, the kids splashed around and collected cool rocks on the shore. I told Henry “See this? This is what I wanted!” and he knew just what I meant. Our kids, out of the house, away from their screens, seeing the world first hand. Getting dirty, feeling the cold water on their skin, sweating from the exercise and looking down at the ground knowing they had what it took to climb all the way to the top. This is what World Schooling is all about. This is how they’ll build the confidence they need to succeed in life. This is where they’ll learn to find joy in the simplest things. These are the memories they’ll share with each other long after Henry and I are gone. Some people think these travel plans are crazy, but I honestly can’t think of a better way to learn.

As much as I hate to end this post with something sad, Little Tweeter didn’t make it through the night. The kids were asleep when we got home, so we carried them into the tent without going to check on our baby birdie. Kai woke up and went to see him first thing in the morning, though. A few minutes later he came back to me crying. I said “oh buddy, what is it?” and he sobbed “I don’t want to tell you!” I knew right away it was our sweet baby bird. Poor Kai was so upset. Rox and Kai have this imaginary world that they have “gone to” since they were little called “The Ghost World.” Rox came over and hugged Kai and told him “it’s okay, Little Tweeter is in the ghost world now! We can see him anytime we want!” We aren’t a religious family and don’t believe in the concept of Heaven or Hell, but at that moment, I was so thankful they had something to comfort them. RIP Little Tweeter. You were loved!

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(NOTE : I’ll be posting each day of our travel adventures here on our blog and would love for you to follow along! To keep up with us on Instagram, follow my personal Instagram account here : SarahQ on Instagram. You can also follow along by visiting our Facebook page here : The World School on Facebook. I’ll also be posting my thoughts on traveling with children, family tent camping, world schooling, unschooling and home schooling. Have a suggestion or just want to say hello? Use the contact form above to send us a note! We also love comments! Leave a comment below or on Facebook! Thanks so much for coming along on this crazy adventure with us!)

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Making echoes!

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And some iPhone photos, too! (Remember – to see these posted in “real time,” follow us on Facebook and Instagram!)
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