TRAVEL DAY FIVE :
The kids were asleep last night when we set up camp in the forest, so when they woke they were amazed to see we had slept on a mountain, under huge pine trees. The temperature was a cool and breezy 63 degrees – in other words, PERFECT, and everything smells so fresh and clean and outdoorsy. It’s like living inside a Bath and Body Works candle. Well, except for in the “bathroom” that is literally a shit hole. They call them “vaulted toilets” which is the nicest way to say “shit hole” I’ve ever heard. It’s basically a toilet with no running water. IF YOU DARE to look inside (which I don’t recommend) you’ll see a huge pile of literal crap about eight feet under the ground. Is it better than squatting in the woods? YES. And that’s the most positive thing I have to say about “vaulted toilets.” Moving on …
My kids love technology. They get all our hand-me-down iPhones and computers and constantly amaze me with how tech savvy they are. Like most kids, the older two have been Minecraft and YouTube obsessed for a couple of years now. Breaking their computer addiction was honestly the only thing I worried about before heading out on this trip. I’m not one of those parents who thinks technology is terrible for kids. I love that they’re computer literate! I know by the time they’re adults, 99% of jobs will require some kind of computer skills, so I’ve always encouraged them to learn as much about computers as they can. That said, I do think there’s such a thing as wayyyyyy toooooooo much of a good thing. Before we left, computer time was all they wanted. I’d encourage them to take a break and go outside and all I’d hear was excuses and whines about how hot it was and how they didn’t want to and that it was SO BORING OUTSIDE. I have such great memories of playing outside for hours when I was a kid – wandering down trails and getting lost in my own thoughts and daydreams. It made me sad that they weren’t going to experience that. I know we shouldn’t expect our kids to love the same things we loved, but it still bummed me out that they couldn’t spend five minutes outside without being bored to death and ready to come back in. There’s so much outside to play with and explore and build with and break down and I wanted them to be creative, damn it! GET OUT THERE AND BE CREATIVE! But how are sticks and mud puddles supposed to compete with 3D worlds and hilarious YouTube cat videos? I knew if they were going to learn to appreciate the real world, they were going to need a serious break from the not-so-real world of screen time. I let them each keep one screen – old iPhones without internet access (unless connected to WiFi) – and we set off with a new rule : no screen time before dark. I expected lots of tears and arguments about how unfair it was and how bored they were, but to my surprise, they took the new rule in stride and have only complained a handful of times. But now we were in the forest, with nothing to do but explore. All morning, I kept waiting for the question … “can we pleeeeeaaaase play on our phones? There’s nothing to doooooo here!”
Instead, THEY PLAYED OUTSIDE. You guys, THEY PLAYED OUTSIDE AND HAD ACTUAL FUN! WITH NO COMPLAINTS!
Rox and Marley ran off together to find more pinecorns (Marley’s word for pine cones.) Kai found a giant nail and spent 20 minutes recreating the story of Excalibur, trying to pull the nail out of a tree stump. Later they spent hours trying to make dye from leaves and plants. Kai found a rock that was shaped like a bowl and smashed up some charcoal and ash from the fire pit, added some water and created a really awesome black “paint.” Roxy used Henry’s pocket knife to carve some sticks and then painted them with some watercolors we had brought along. When it started sprinkling a little bit outside, they sat in the tent and played checkers. It was like watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie, ya’ll! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Not once did anybody complain about being bored or ask to use their phone. It was a full day of playing outside and being creative and all of a sudden, I realized. THIS WAS A DAMN GOOD DECISION! God, I love it when I’m right!
For dinner I made amazing spaghetti on the camp stove (who even knew you could do that?!) and then we made s’mores over the fire. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. I know this outdoor bliss may not last forever, but I sure am going to enjoy it while it does.
(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!)
A few of my favorite iPhone photos from the day : (I didn’t bust out my real camera a SINGLE TIME! Bad photomama!)