This interview is the fourth installment of our Child and Teen Travel interview series. Launched with an in-depth interview with Hannah Miller of EdventureGirl.com and The Edventure Project, this series strives to provide a look at what long-term travel is like for children and teens through the eyes of the experts…. the kids themselves!
Dylan is 13 years old and has been traveling throughout the US since he was born and internationally since he was 7. He lived in Costa Rica and explored Central America for several years before heading out over a year ago to explore Asia nomadically with his family. He writes for his own blog wanderingkids.com and also posts on his mother’s blog bohemiantravelers.com from time to time. Be sure to check out both sites to find out more about what this traveling teen is up to!
What do you think are the benefits of traveling with children/teens?
Coming from a kid who has traveled a lot already I can honestly say that traveling has changed my whole perspective on how the world works. It has opened my eyes to be more tolerant and recognize similarities in people rather than focusing on all the differences. I now know that the whole world is open to me and that helps me to know how endless the possibilities are for my life!
After 5 years on the road your family has been to some pretty fabulous places. Do you have a favorite destination and if so what makes it your favorite?
There are a lot of places I loved for different reasons but my favourite has to be Pai, Thailand. The main reason was the freedom we could have there. I was able to drive around on a motorbike and see elephants, waterfalls, strawberry fields, caves, and so much more. They also have Chinese ferris wheels, which is basically a ferris wheel but with swing seats that you need to manually push. I was too big so no one could push me so I ended up doing all the pushing, it was exhausting but fun!
What does “school” look like for you? What do you think “education” means?
School for me is traveling around the world. I like to call it edventuring. Education is learning things but it is a lot more enjoyable when you are doing it on your own terms. I retain more knowledge when it is something I care about or something I feel I need to learn to reach my goals.
I think people learn in school but I also think that people can get an education without ever setting foot in a school. We unschool and a lot of people think that means I am not doing anything, or that I don’t learn anything but that’s not true. I hope people read this and try to understand that just because I don’t go to school doesn’t mean I don’t learn. I learn what school kids do and so much more!
What is the best part about being with your brothers all day long?
I think the best part is in knowing that I get to see them all the time. I know if I was home and in school I wouldn’t see them very much because they are quite a bit younger than me. This way I get to hang out, have someone to talk to, play with, and I have other kids (my brothers) that understand what we do. In a foreign country you can sometimes feel lonely. I hardly ever do and it’s because of them!
What is the hardest thing about being with your brothers all day long?
Well there are a lot of different little things I can say here. I think the main 2 issues I have with it is not having much time to myself and having to do everything for them. They ask for my help a lot which I typically do not mind as I know I am older and can do more but sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming and I’d like to just have a small break. But then I know I would miss them pretty quick too so….
Can you tell us about your least favorite place to travel to?
I would have to say the US or Cambodia. I loved the culture and people and all the things we did in Cambodia but it made me feel so sad all the time. Poverty is extreme, the worst we have seen and I just kept wanting to do something to help. The US is the US, pretty much the opposite as Cambodia and that I find depressing as well! The land of excess! After seeing real poverty it makes me sick!
Dylan, what is your level of freedom while traveling? Do you feel like you are missing out on independence in any way?
In some ways I feel very independent. I have a lot of freedom in my family and making personal choices. We rent motorbikes and I drive one and usually have a good amount of freedom to head out and explore our surroundings alone when I want. My parents make sure I feel free. But I also think part of independence is going to movies with friends and stuff like that and I don’t really get those opportunities much. I do know that I would be able to if the opportunity presented itself. I definitely feel like I am missing out on some things but I love our lifestyle and I know that no matter what you are always missing out on one thing in order to do another.
Can you tell us about your favorite memory from the road?
Again this one is really hard to pick. I just can’t tell you less than 2. In Costa Rica I learned how to surf and immediately fell in love with it because just being out there on the waves makes me feel happy and at peace.
The second one has to be the time I got to ride elephants into the river in Pai Thailand. I discovered how playful, sweet, and engaging they are. As soon as we got in the river they flipped me off and you could almost see a glimmer in their eyes. They are amazing creatures!
If you could travel to just one place, without any worries about cost or distance, where would you choose to go?
Well if money is no object I may as well pick one of the places I know is really expensive. I would go to Hawaii. I love to surf and they have great waves there. There are also sweet volcanoes, scuba diving (which I am dying to start), and the landscape looks pretty amazing as well.
If you could only pack 5 things for your next adventure, what would they be?
Ok well the first thing I would bring would be my computer. I use it for everything from writing to reading to gaming to communicating with people I can’t be close to. Next I think I need some clothes so I would need my swim suit and a T-shirt..I will count that as 1 thing. Hmm, 3 more? Ok then the last 3 would have to be my awesome slingshot, my leatherman (multipurpose tool), and for my last pick… my kindle. Forget soaps and deodorant a kid’s gotta read! (Notice it was my last pick
What does the future look like to you?
The immediate future looks like a lot more travel. I think we’ll be meeting a lot more people, exploring more cool places, and hopefully this summer I will be heading to Peru to hang out with a great friend I met online and attend an unschooling retreat. I am hiking up to Machu Picchu as well which I am really looking forward to.
More long term I hope to get a bit more settled down and be able to have more friends I can hang out with in real life. I would love to have pets again and a place I feel more established in. I definitely want to keep traveling my whole life, even when I have a family of my own but eventually having a home base is something I think I would like.
Is there anything else you would like everyone to know about traveling kids/families?
I just want to say to all the people that don’t travel yet and are thinking about doing it that traveling has been the best experience of my life. It takes some getting used to sometimes but it is well worth any effort needed. It is awesome and I will forever be grateful that I have had these opportunities.
Another great interview from another engaging, traveling teen! What would you ask a traveling teen? Do you have any questions for kids and teens who are unschooled while traveling?