Backpacking tends to be associated with young people with few responsibilities.
But more and more parents have been opting to take their children off on extended trips around the world in the past few years.
In fact, a recent travel trends report by American Express Travel found that 76% of those parents surveyed planned to travel more with their family in 2022.
For those traveling with kids for long periods of time, this often means pulling them out of traditional school and homeschooling while on the move.
However, trying to provide a high-quality education to their youngsters while living a backpacker lifestyle, along with working remotely in some cases, is certainly no easy feat.
Here, parents who’ve chosen to go backpacking with their children discuss the joys and challenges of homeschooling while living out of suitcases.
It was a passion for travel and adventure that brought Emma and Peter Tryon together back in 2011.
The UK couple, who are both teachers, began dating when they were both on separate backpacking trips in Cambodia, and took many vacations together before getting married and having two sons, Hudson, now five and Darien, now two.
While they planned to stay in one place once they became parents, they soon got restless and the lure of globetrotting with their children in tow proved too tempting to resist.
“We were drawn to the idea that there is another way to live,” Emma Tryon tells CNN Travel.
After months of saving and making plans, they sold their home, officially withdrew their oldest son from school, and set off on their travels.
“I get why people would think we’re nuts,” she adds, admitting that they questioned whether they were doing the right thing at first.
“When I actually had to sign the papers to formally opt out of UK education – it hit differently. Just seeing it in black and white. I thought, ‘This is a big deal.’”
Under UK law, there’s no specific requirements for the content of homeschooling, only that parents must provide their children with a suitable education.
Peter Tryon stresses that one of the main factors behind their decision was the desire to spend more time together as a family.
“We’ve found that the adventure, spontaneity and the challenges of traveling bring us together and also create the opportunity to bond in a unique and strong way,” he says.
Over the past year, the Tryons have traveled around much of Thailand, as well as Singapore and Malaysia, all while juggling homeschooling.
While they have no regrets, both admit that their new lifestyle has come with its challenges. Although being teachers themselves has proved to be an advantage in many ways, Emma Tryon feels they perhaps “went in too hard with the education” at the start, explaining that they’ve since gone for a more relaxed approach.
“You’re so used to going through schooling more traditionally,” she explains. “We took a lot of misconceptions into homeschooling.
“But it’s amazing how quick, fast, natural and easy learning becomes when it’s done by intentionally living and learning as you go.”
In terms of structure, the couple each have one-on-one “intentional” teaching periods of around 30 minutes with both of their sons in the morning, and have found that this sets them up well for the day.
According to the couple, Hudson and Darien are progressing well and benefiting hugely from having individualized lessons.
“One of the things I’ve loved seeing recently, is that our [eldest] son is actually waking up and asking when we’re going to do schooling,” says Peter Tryon. “He’s getting excited about it.”
Aside from the morning learning periods, their teaching sessions are relatively informal.
Peter Tryon, who describes himself as a “science geek,” says he often uses swimming sessions to carry out floating and sinking experiments with the children, and recently taught his eldest son about buoyancy while they were in the water.
“There’s so much science in all the things