World-schooling, adventuring, life-learning, whatever you call it, more parents are doing it – if the proliferation of blogs and books by families on round-the-world trips is anything to go by. To our minds, they are learning more interestingly. We don’t know if we’re right, but it’s our gut instinct.

David Hurst

Driven by a desire to spend a greater amount of time with their children, escape the pressures of work and discover new cultures and lifestyles, a growing number of parents are jacking it all in, taking the kids out of school and setting off on an adventure.


Take Jo and Jamie Robins, two weeks into a four-month South America trip with their daughters, aged 10 and seven. “We want to take some time to step back from life, the treadmill of working hard to pay a mortgage, not having enough time for family or to follow our interests,” says Jo. The Robins have only just begun their adventure and are planning to come back home later this year – maybe. However, many parents find that they can’t imagine going back to their old life once they are on the road.

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David and Debs Hurst’s three-month mission to visit their Facebook friends, with their sons, aged six and four, turned into an extended campervan trip across 13 countries, which they dubbed “education by astonishment,” visiting people and places with a “wow factor.”

“To our minds, they are learning more interestingly. We don’t know if we’re right, but it’s our gut instinct. We don’t have a TV in the van, and the boys only have one small box of toys each. We encourage them to spend as much time as possible outside,” says David.

Their journey so inspired them that they are setting off again, this time to Spain, where they hope to buy some land and set up a family campsite focusing on learning through outdoor play.

Jo and Jamie Robins and family next to a fast-moving river.

Jo and Jamie Robins and family

In 2014, Martina and Julian Tyrrell sold their house in Cambridge, their car, and 90% of their belongings to sail off into the sunset on a 36ft yacht with their daughters, aged five and four. Nearly two years on, they are temporarily based by the Guadiana river on the border of Spain and Portugal, while the girls go to a Spanish school and are wondering where the wind might take them next.

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