Worldschooling Spotlight – The Gilbert Family

June 23, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ World Schooling,Worldschooling Spotlight

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 Gilbert Family, an Aussie family of 7, who left their ordinary lives in Australia in search of an extraordinary life exploring the world.


Introduce your family!

Hi there, We are the Gilberts. We are a family of 7, our kids are ages 2, 6, 9, 12, 13. We first left on our big worldschooling adventure almost 2 years ago, our youngest was 7 months old at the time!



What was life like before Worldschooling?

We felt unsatisfied with the daily grind and had hoped to one day live abroad. This felt very impossible because of the job that my husband Ross had at the time. He worked for a family business, the hours were crazy and the stress was huge. The kids were unhappy in mainstream school, but I hadn’t really thought that there was an alternative.


When and how did you first hear about Worldschooling?

I’d been inspired by blogs I had read where the children were able to learn from the world around them as a hands-on style education. This idea lit my heart on fire and I yearned to give that to my own children. It seemed crazy to travel the world with so many little kids, but we had hope that it would be good for all of us. We were a few months into our travels around Europe before I stumbled upon a few facebook groups with ‘Worldschooling’ in the title, and then realized that that was what we were doing!



Before you started, what worried you about Worldschooling? And how has that turned out?

Before we left, I was worried about many things. First of all…my kids were TERRIBLE in the car. I mean truly horrible. Just to make it the 2 hour journey to the Zoo in Melbourne we would thoroughly prepare, brace ourselves, and hang on through the torture of whining, crying and fighting. I had heard that there existed magical children in the world who like to sit in the car and look out the window…hahaha, it couldn’t be true! I knew it was madness to contemplate traveling around a foreign continent with my crazy bunch…but we did it anyway, haha! And yes, it was often horrible. But not always, and they did actually improve over time.

I was worried about the kids keeping up with the levels of traditional school. Our first trip was 9 months, we figured if they regressed, it wasn’t too much time to have a serious impact. But as we traveled we read much about education. We also met other travelers and other worldschool kids and discovered how wonderful it is to have your mind and world-view expanded through travel. Our whole view shifted to the point that once we came back to Australia 9 months later, we had no intention of returning them to mainstream schooling, and we were very happy for them to learn at their own pace. This confidence came because of our travel experiences as a family. We had confidence in our children and their ability to learn, and much less confidence in the Government to dictate successful and inspired learning!

I worried that I wouldn’t have every little detail prepared and packed. And I didn’t. Despite agonising over this before we left, we have become very good at improvising and making things work.

I worried it would be very hard with a baby. It was. Very hard. This is not the case for everyone, but for me I struggled with the sleepless nights and the breastfeeding and general exhaustion while traveling. But having said that, I am still glad we did it, and I wouldn’t change our experiences. It showed me I am tough, that I can have a sense of humor, and that I have an adventurous spirit that I am willing to follow through with to make my dreams come true…no matter how imperfectly. I am proud of that.


How has life changed since you began Worldschooling?

Before we changed our life and traveled, I had a lot more order and ‘security’. A lot of what I thought was necessary actually wasn’t. We’ve learned that we can live on a lot less and be very happy. I definitely had more time off from being Mum, and I do miss having more alone time and space to pursue things I love. But having said that, my husband was always busy and stressed, and my involvement and relationship with my kids were nowhere near as close as they are now.



We have more family time, and we have created so many shared memories, both good and…ahem…crazy, but at least we are together!

I used to be much more small focused; ie. what I watching on TV, what hobbies I was into, my local area, nearby friends. Now I am inspired all the time and I am constantly pushing myself to grow. I love dreaming and planning places to visit, and my conversations are much more likely to be about dreams, goals and fun experiences. It is not all easier, and sometimes…no often…I feel pushed to my limit, but I still choose this. I like living with great intention and my life is definitely interesting!


What have been some unexpected benefits of Worldschooling?

I have loved the way my children have become closer. They definitely sill fight, argue and annoy each other, but I often catch them playing, hanging out and being the best of friends. Often they have only had each other and I think that has been good for them. They have learned to value each other and cannot be dismissive of that relationship. Also, my children are much more accepting of people around the world with differences to them. I love this.



Could you share your monthly travel budget?

It very much depends on where we are and if we are moving around or staying put for a little while. We are currently staying put in Guatemala for a while and our monthly budget for a family of 7 is $2000 USD per month. That is for food, accommodation and eating out occasionally. We add more if we travel and visit somewhere.

When we traveled Europe, our monthly budget was about $3000 USD…roughly. This was a bit blown out when we got to Italy, lol. Disclaimer – My kids eat like ravenous wolves, so we spend A LOT on food. …and I have a terrible habit of buying souvenirs….so we spent money on that too…




How do you fund your travels?

We first had a solid plan; rent our house, sell our stuff, and use my husband’s accrued long service leave. This all came crashing down when halfway through our trip the company that he used to work for collapsed. We had lent the company money that was in plans to be paid back, and consequently, we lost a scary amount of money! No long service leave, no owed wages and no loan to be repaid. We absorbed all of the fallout debt onto the equity of our home-loan, and also completed our travels in Europe borrowing from that equity. So…new plan.

Once we returned home we organized to sell the house to pay off the debt. My husband trained and qualified as a high school teacher (a further one year study) with the intention of teaching internationally. He studied online and so we moved to a new part of Australia to continue with the adventures. Once he finished, we left to pursue our great dream of living in the Middle East. We couldn’t find any job there for newly qualified teachers and so we have moved on and are living in Guatemala for a while. He is teaching with three different online teaching companies. Two are teaching English to Chinese students, and one is a fantastic online high school. He has also set up a website to work as an online English/Japanese/Business freelance educator This might sound like a lot, but it is about 25 hours per week and is mostly in the mornings. He has lots of time with us and is much happier 🙂


How do you choose your destinations?

Um..this isn’t really a problem, I seriously want to go everywhere! As we travel I discover places I absolutely love, and others…not so much. We are happy to just try somewhere that sounds interesting or inspiring and just see how it goes. There is something special about every country, so it’s hard to mess this decision up! Basically, I just pick from the top of my list of places that I’m desperate to explore…and then see if we can actually afford it and make it work.




How long do you stay in one location and why?

We started by traveling around Europe for 9 months. We moved roughly every month. Sometimes it was quicker, like 1 or 2 weeks. This was waaaay too fast for us for that long a period of time. We were sick of it by the end and just wanted to slow down. Now we are trying 6 months. Our next place will likely be at least a year. I miss settling in and making friends and feeling a bit ‘at home’. So I would move around quickly on a travel trip again but for a shorter period of time, maybe 3 or 4 months.


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

We balance out ‘going out’ days with ‘at home days’ or we get too worn out. Sometimes we go out and have adventures; hike or swim or explore a city or museum. Other times we read, crochet, cook and play games. The kids do study online often. We are all very social, so we are also busy getting together with friends around the world. This is important because we miss having family around.


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

I find it hard not having enough time by myself. I am always surrounded by my little people! I just try to schedule in days when Ross takes the kids out somewhere and I can regroup. Sometimes I get thoroughly sick of feeling like such a foreigner and if I’m having a bad day I can get very impatient about that. Sometimes I miss having everything easy and comfortable. I handle this by trying to look at the positive things about where I am and then maybe reading a good book…

I’m kinda ashamed of this…but I do miss my things, hahaha!! I’m not supposed to, I’m supposed to be a carefree traveler who has freed myself from material possessions…but I love clothes, and decorating my home with beautiful things, and having photos on the wall and the quilts I’ve made laying around the house. I figure I’ll get to enjoy all of that again one day. For now, I’m enjoying the good things about this different kind of life.





What are your Top 5 Travel Products?

An eye mask. I use it every-time I sleep! An excellent passport holder that keeps all of our travel stuff together. iPods for each of my kids to listen to while we drive (this is how we survived). No bonding and chatting in the car, nope, plug them all in separately to an audiobook and we might just get through the drive! Paperwhite kindles, each. Any book, anytime, with a light! Yes, please! A fold up trolley that we strap our baby’s car seat to and use to wheel him around the airport – invaluable!


What Tech Gear do you travel with?

We have three laptops. We could do with more, so hopefully in the future. Paperwhite kindles. Old fashioned iPods that the kids can only use to listen to music or audiobooks. Splitters for headphones in case someone forgets to charge their iPod. Portable batteries. Smartphones x 2. We hire movies on iTunes and purchase audiobooks through


What are your favorite booking sites and why?

Definitely Airbnb as we are such a big family. Booking for at least a month always helps to reduce costs. Our second choice is





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

Probably pack less. I’m a chronic over-packer…and it makes life very difficult. Although…i keep doing it…


What would you tell someone who is considering Worldschooling?

Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and go and make your own adventure. We get one beautiful crazy wonderful life, make it amazing!


Where Can We Find You?

We are writing about our crazy adventures on our blog I am particularly focusing on telling the stories, the REAL stories. All of the fun, funny, crazy, and downright awful moments on the journey! Before we left I had read a lot of blogs about how wonderful everything is when traveling as a family, hardly anyone addressed the very real challenges. The extremes that seemed to come so often. Also, I’m a bit sick of only reading tips and tricks…I want to tell the heart of it. How it changed us, what was difficult, what was amazing and inspiring, what changed our life forever???…plus the tips and tricks. Through this, I am hoping to connect with other people who feel the same, the good the bad and the ugly of traveling and life.





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