Worldschooling Spotlight – The Blizzard Family


September 9, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ World Schooling



Here we get to know our Members and learn about how they got started, how life has changed and other interesting facts.

Today we are introducing Amanda, and Seth Blizzard they are a  traveling duo who have been exploring the world for the last three years. Amanda is a self-proclaimed EXTREME budget traveler, whether you’re into extreme budget travel or not, there is a lot we can all learn from the Blizzards.

Amanda is one of the organizers of the Worldschooling Central Community Summit in San Miguel de Allende this January, so be sure to come along and learn her tips and tricks to travel cheaply!

 

GET TO KNOW OUR WORLDSCHOOLERS!

 

Introduce Your Family!

We are Mom, Amanda and Son, Seth (14).

I am a taco-loving, deal hunting, serial procrastinating, and perpetually late single mom, while Seth is a hardcore gamer with a passion for aircraft, military info, and computers.

We are an unschooling family of 2, going into our 4th year of unschooling and 3rd year of full-time travel.

We are extreme budget travelers from Canada who love road tripping and often house/pet sit in various locations as we travel.

Fun fact: We collect miniatures – turtles as much as we can – as souvenirs from our stops.

 

What was life like before Worldschooling?

I was a career chef, working 60+ hour weeks to just barely make ends meet. Seth was a ‘hockey boy’ and full-time student, who spent more time at his grandparents than at home.

We hardly saw each other- between my work schedule, his school, time with his dad and the hockey schedule.

Life was one big rush. We always had something to do or somewhere to be, and never any extra money to do anything fun. It sucked!

 

When and how did you first hear about Worldschooling?

Three years ago I started looking into homeschooling, which led me to unschooling. In researching this, I came across another new term… ‘Worldschooling.’ I joined a few related groups on Facebook and started diving into information about this lifestyle. I decided almost immediately that this was the answer to everything for us!

It took a few months of research and reading posts in groups to decide that I could do this before I started talking to Seth about it. After one conversation with him, we decided together that this was something we had to pursue!

 

How has life changed since you began Worldschooling?

Well, we’re both much more relaxed. And we spend a TON of time together. And we’ve seen SO many amazing things and places, that were never possible in our past life. Life no longer revolves around money. And I’m not driven by what people think of me, or my decisions (definitely used to be!!) Most importantly though… I’ve found MY PEOPLE

 

What have been some unexpected benefits of Worldschooling?

We’ve learned we both really enjoy change. It’s not a difficult or scary thing for us to sleep in a new bed every night, and have to learn new roads or transit systems. I actually thrive on it! Consistency is boring!

Learning how to balance your entire life with someone you’re literally never apart from is teaching us amazing things that will be a benefit for the rest of our lives. Compromise and balance are skills that come naturally to us after 2 years of this.
Knowing what key phrases we need to learn in a new language in order to get around is cool. Being able to hear pieces of several different languages no matter where we are in the world is cool too.

The kind of life-long connections we’ve begun to make now that we’ve found our rhythm and place in the world is honestly staggering.

Oh, and tacos are the best & most affordable food ever.

 

 

 

NUTS & BOLTS

Could you share your monthly travel budget?

Our budget varies constantly but follows a basic rule: Live as comfortably as possible, for as cheap as possible. Many people would correct me there and call it cost-effectiveness… which it is… But there’s no shame in my game: I’m cheap and proud of it!

We call ourselves ‘extreme budget travelers,’ often living for around $500usd a month or less. We prioritize experiences over things. We would rather live in a cheap, simple rented room and have extra money to do fun things and eat great (cheap) food than have a nicer home but be too financially tight for fun.

Ask anyone who has traveled with us, and they’ll point to me as the one to tell you how to do anything on a tight budget!

 

How do you fund your travels?

There is no one answer to that.

Primarily, I am a career chef with 18 years experience in the service industry. So when we return to Canada to visit family, I pick up temp work from a variety of companies. I tend to work 40-50 hours a week for a month or so of each visit. And because our cost of living is so low, I’m able to stretch that income much further than I would if we were stationary.
I also spend a fair amount of time finding deals on ‘things’ and selling them on eBay, craigslist and facebook buy & sell groups.

I’m also currently building my travel blog, as well as several other ‘niche sites’ (thanks to Karen’s Niche Site Bootcamp!) that will become a more portable income over the next year.

 

How do you choose your destinations?

We don’t choose them… They choose us!

Sounds cliche, but we honestly don’t put too much forethought into where we’ll go. We spend a fair amount of our travels house & pet sitting, so often our next destination is decided by the requests we get.

Another huge piece of our travels is that we have family in a couple of places in Canada, so we make trips to see them fairly often. That also makes decisions easy!

 

How long do you stay in one location and why?

That is the single biggest variable in our whole lifestyle. The longest we’ve stayed in one place in the last 27 months is 3 months, and that happened just this spring when we stayed at my parents for that long. But included in that was a 2 week housesit at their home, and an 11 day housesit at my brothers in the neighboring city.

Beyond that, we’re known to never stay somewhere for longer than a month. And often closer to a week. But it’s not unheard of for us to move every night or 2. It’s hard to keep up with us!

 

What does a typical Worldschooling day or week look like for you?

Typical? I don’t know the meaning of the word!

There really is NOTHING typical about our lives. Some days we stay home, hardly talk and immerse in our respective computer activities. Other days (like yesterday, for example) we spend a day exploring a nearby museum, factory, town or other interest-based activity.

We’re both extroverted introverts, so we need a fair amount of ‘down time’ after any significant activity to compensate. For us, this means we can typically ‘tourist’ for 2-4 days, then need 1-2 days to ‘turn off’ and focus internally. This usually means staying in- usually in our studio or room rental, sometimes in our car- side by side, but almost completely ignoring each other to focus on our respective computer-based hobbies. We’ve had to learn how to respect each others introverted-ness while maintaining typically very close quarters.

We tend to go ‘hard’ for 2-4 months, then when we get back to visiting family in Alberta, we take it easy and call that vacation where we relax for a month or 2.

 

 

 

What has been the hardest part of Worldschooling & Traveling? How did you handle it?

Dealing with the disapproval of my family. THAT was hard. Not surprisingly, they were less than thrilled that we wanted to sell everything we owned, give up our rental home, and throw caution to the wind to become ‘travelers.’ Coming from a family of shift workers and ‘blue-collar’ employees, this just isn’t something one DOES. Especially with a child in tow.
But, being the strong-willed person that I am, I didn’t let that stop me. We pushed through the disapproval and followed a path only we could see.

Nearly 3 years after announcing this decision, our family is finally starting to appreciate the things we’ve learned along the way, and support us in our decision making. I wouldn’t say they understand our lifestyle yet… but they do support us in it.

 

TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS

What are your Top 5 Travel Products?

1. My buff
2. My camera
3. Laptop
4. Lush solid shampoo
5. Packing cubes
It’s hard to narrow it down to 5 though! I actually wrote a blog post about exactly this… www.thetravellingblizzards.com/20-items-must-pack

 

What Tech Gear do you travel with?

Between the 2 of us, we carry 2 laptops, 2 cell phones, a mirrorless camera, a waterproof camera, a 7″ tablet, a backup battery charger, 2 portable hard drives, 3 pairs of backup ear buds, gaming headphones, a gaming mouse & joystick and all the associated chargers, memory cards and data transfer cables.

And we travel carry on only….

 

What are your favorite booking sites and why?

My #1 is skiplagged.com. When I find a good price on there, I check it against skyscanner.com, tripdelta.com, and cheaptickets.com and the airline’s website. I always aim to book direct with the airline, but if I can’t I make sure to read all the fine print.. Sometimes the third party sites don’t offer too many protections against canceled flights or lost reservations.

 

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SUMMARY

As Worldschoolers, if you could step back in time, what is one thing you would do differently?

Start sooner!

I’ve wanted to travel since I was a preteen. My ONLY regret is not realizing that I could pursue this lifestyle sooner!

I also would have started blogging the day we decided to start selling everything, instead of thinking no one wanted to read about our experience until almost 2 years in.

 

What would you tell someone who is considering Worldschooling?

I know it seems like an intimidating path to start down. And you WILL encounter people that try to stand in your way. But it is SO WORTH IT when you manage to sidestep them and take just one more step down this road. There ARE people out there that WILL support you in this!!!

 

Where Can We Find You?

Website: http://www.thetravellingblizzards.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thetravellingblizzards

Instagram: www.instagram.com/thetravellingblizzards

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/manders1397

 

 

 

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