Worldschooling Spotlight – The Norman Family

August 12, 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 the Norman Family from Normans Running Wild. We got to know this wonderful family back in South East Asia and have loved being able to catch up with them in different locations around the world.

The Normans are incredibly inspirational – they absolutely love adventure and take on incredible challenges – their last, hiking to Everest Base Camp, on their own!



Introduce your family!

Hi, we are Stuart, Sue and Annabel Norman.

We’re leading a nomadic way of life, travelling the world full time with our 11-year-old daughter Annabel.



What was life like before Worldschooling?

We used to love spending time with each other as a family but school kind of got in the way of us living our lives the way we wanted to. We got sad when Annabel had to go back to school after the holidays when other parents were looking forward to having their free time back. 

We had a pretty much average kind of life doing the 9-5 thing, the school run, the clubs, the shopping.


When and how did you first hear about Worldschooling?

Well, first of all, we decided to homeschool after much deliberation. Was it the right thing to do? Were we bad parents?

All of those questions that we ask ourselves where our children are concerned because we want the best for them. In the end, we just took her out of mainstream school.

Travelling was not even on our radar back then but something happened about a year later that sparked an idea in us that we might be able to travel full time and go out into the world while educating Annabel along the way.

We’d never heard of world schooling until we researched other families who travel full time and this phrase of world schooling was used.


How has life changed since you began Worldschooling?

Life is amazing!! It has no resemblance to our life beforehand at all.

We couldn’t even have imagined the places we have lived in, the experiences we have had together as a family, the things we have learned as we have travelled.

Most importantly, it’s the people we meet along the way that makes our travel so brilliant.

The connections with the local community we have made which has enabled us to experience things like teaching at an English camp in Thailand, sharing our travel experiences with children in schools etc.

We love adventure and we have had so many wonderful experiences like trekking to Everest Base camp, swimming with Whale sharks in Western Australia, climbing volcanoes in Java to mention but a few.

What have been some unexpected benefits of Worldschooling?

Like I said the connections we have made along the way with people who are now good friends.

Before we left the UK we wondered who there was out in the world that we would meet and we haven’t  been disappointed.

Wherever we have been we’ve met locals and other travellers, people we have house sat for all of who have become good friends.

It’s so amazing to have this global network of friends that we can stay in touch with.




Could you share your monthly travel budget?

We don’t really have a budget that we stick to.

Initially, we said that we didn’t want to spend over £1000 per month but it depends on where we are and what we want to do.

So, for instance, our trip to Western Australia even though we were house sitting for some of it was very expensive as we decided whilst there to do a two-week road trip.

We pretty much will do things the cheapest we can, so the camper we hired was the smallest and most basic one we could get. It all comes down to the things we think are important for us to do or see and experience.

If we really want to do something then we do it if it’s financially possible because that is what our travel is about, living life to the fullest. So then we might balance our more expensive experiences out with cheaper destinations.

We spent 5 months in Chiang Mai where we all shared one room in a small hotel and ate very cheaply and didn’t do too many expensive touristy things. So rather than budget, we make sure we balance things out.


How do you fund your travels?

At the present time, our travel is funded by the money we made from the sale of our house but we want to begin earning extra so that we can sustain our travel and not be forced in to either returning to the UK or something else that we don’t really want to do.

How do you choose your destinations?

Mmm. They seem to choose us in a way. It sounds odd but we have no plan of travel at all so we keep it completely open to possibility and opportunity.

Many times we have no idea of our next destination and then something will pop up out of the blue when we least expect it and show us the way forward.

Obviously, we do have an idea of places we’d like to visit etc. For example, we have been wanting to visit Yellowstone national park for a long long time but it just hasn’t happened yet and although we could make it happen it would feel forced and not organic.

We love the way things show up and it makes it all the more exciting for us. We couldn’t travel with a set plan of where we going to be when but then that suits some families and that’s fine too.


How long do you stay in one location and why?

It depends really. We might be in one location for days or months.

Sometimes we might do a trip that we know will just be a short exploration of a city or town and then move on but other times we might arrive in a destination and like it so much we stay for several months.

Thailand was an example where we stayed in Bangkok for a week and then moved on up to Chiang Mai and liked it so much that we stayed for over four months. 

Currently, we are in Mexico and we know we want to stay quite a while but don’t really have an idea of how long. Again its about traveling without a plan so we can be completely flexible.


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

I don’t think there is a typical day or week.

Sometimes we are just living day to day without anything special going on. We may be just posting of FB or Annabel might be doing a project of drawing /reading etc.

Other times like when we were in Nepal we were trekking for 30 days to Everest base camp and back.

I suppose that is what we love about traveling and world schooling, the fact that we never know what is going to happen rather than having a routine.



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

The most challenging part is when we come to move destinations. There’s usually a few days that seem stressful while we are working out how to get to a place or where we are going to stay, booking things etc. It’s nice once we get somewhere to settle in again to the new culture, currency and our local surroundings.

Also, the worst thing about moving is the people we may have to say goodbye to. It is hard on all of us. You spend time getting to know people then its time to move on and leave them. The upside is that we have all these wonderful friends all over the world that we can visit again sometime or friend/families that we meet again as we travel.

There’s no real way of handling these things, it’s part and parcel of the way we live and like anything in life you get used to it or put up with it. There is so much that we are grateful for that to moan about a few little things would seem silly.




What are your Top 5 Travel Products?

  1. Our backpacks. We love our Osprey Backpacks and Sue recently downsized to a 36 liter pack that she can carry onboard aircraft. I still have a 70 liter and Annabel has a 35 liter.
  2. Uno
    Uno is a brilliant card game that we can play on long journey’s and takes up such little space.
  3. Hair Cutting Kit
    Although sometimes we have haircuts in local hair salons as we did in China etc we find having the kit is really handy and nice and small to carry and saves money where getting a hair cut might be expensive for three of us.
  4. Pens and paper
    Simply having a pencil case with coloring pens for Annabel. She loves to draw and passes many an hour on journeys etc creating wonderful drawings.
  5. Small Torches
    We have a couple of very small torches and head torch that come in handy especially if there are power cuts where we are or when we are trekking.


What Tech Gear do you travel with?

We all have tech. Sue has an iPad, I have a MacBook Pro and Annabel used to have a tablet but she likes editing and making movies so much that while in Thailand we invested in a small MacBook for her.

We have a Sony Mirrorless Camera that is mostly used by Sue as she’s the official photographer. Annabel has her own Sony Compact CameraSony Compact Camera and I use my Samsung Phone that has a good camera on it.
I also have a GoPro Silver 4 for filming.
We carry an external hard drive to put all our photos on as well as store them in Google photos.

What are your favorite booking sites and why?

I tend to use a mixture but for flights either Google Flights or Skyscanner.
For accommodation,, Airbnb and I check things like Expedia etc

Other than that its usually local bus ticket sites or train ticket sites etc. It’s not a booking site really but I do love for train travel info and links to ticket sales. We used this extensively in Java, Malaysia, and Thailand.




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

To be honest there isn’t a great deal we would have done differently but the one thing that comes to mind is we would have packed lighter when we left the UK.

We left with too many learning materials for Annabel and stuff we didn’t need. We literally could hardly lift our packs when we arrived in Singapore which was our first destination after leaving the UK.

We learned to travel lighter and if we need something in a destination we might have to buy it and leave it. I think we have left some things in nearly every destination we have been to.

But it’s nice to give things as gifts or donate to charities etc.


What would you tell someone who is considering Worldschooling?

You can spend so much time wondering if it’s the right thing to do or not. We would say just go do it – it doesn’t have to be permanent if it doesn’t work out for you. You can never know if something is the right thing or not until after the event.

We worried a lot and we still do sometimes about the future and what it holds but that’s not a reason not to do something.
Fear is the biggest reason people don’t fulfill their dreams but most of the fears we have are unfounded and never materialize into anything and if they do then we will cope with it when it comes.

The reward is too great for us not to pursue our dreams. Be bold and have fun.


Where Can We Find You?

Blog: Normans Running Wild




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  1. Barbara Fitzsenry said on August 14, 2017 12:27 am:

    The Normans are a fantastic family who spread light and joy wherever they go. All 3 participated in an English Camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand where they were able to interact with children of many ages, sharing their knowledge and experiences with all. Annabel is indeed a very lucky young lady — smart, articulate, well-mannered, curious, adventurous, kind, and loving. The education she is receiving is global by nature, intensive through immersion and long lasting by experience. Kudos to her parents for a brilliant job, well done! I feel honored to have known them as a family and as individuals and totally respect their choices for the future.

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