As previously mentioned, the main reason for our Bali trip was to attend the much anticipated Family Adventure Summit, where we would not only get to meet an abundance of other like-minded worldschooling families, but we would also get to learn from experienced travelers and educators.
Day 1 was a Welcome Dinner at the event site Arma Museum & Resort. We checked in, got our badges for the summit, and found seats at a table with some of our new friends from the cooking class. The dinner was kicked off shortly by a warm welcoming from the founders and organizers of the summit, followed by a traditional Balinese dance performance, and then an open buffet dinner.
The next few days were a whirlwind of learning in classes, socializing with new friends, and processing the abundance of knowledge and information that we gained. Each day would begin with everyone gathered together for some housekeeping announcements, followed by a cultural immersion type of activity. After that, the kids would get checked into the Kids Program before the parents went on their way to attend sessions that featured various topics of interest.
Bridgette, at 12 years old, just made the cutoff for the Kids’ Program. Prior to the summit, kids were asked to choose between 4 different types of program– sports, art, theater, and music. Bridge had chosen art, but quickly changed her mind after the first day because she felt the activities were mainly geared towards the little kids. Fortunately, she and her buddy Rachel were allowed to change, and they joined the sports group where they spent hours everyday playing all kinds of fun sports and games.
As for the parents, we attended sessions from key note speakers as one large group, but we also got to break out in smaller groups for sessions that had different topics of interest. Alan and I would often split up so that we could learn as much as possible and then exchange info with one another when we regrouped. Topics included finding community while traveling, seeking service work in different countries, educating children on the road, and much more. One of my favorite sessions was a teen panel, made up of teens who have been worldschooling for years. It was so interesting and inspiring to hear straight from their mouths what this lifestyle and schooling style has been like for them, and how it has shaped them to be who they are today. I also felt encouraged by how witty, articulate, and confident the teens were, having lived a life against societal norms and expectations.
In order to keep ticket prices low, FAS did not include lunch, so everyday at lunch time, parents would pick up their kids and then venture outside the resort to eat. We had about a 2 hour lunch break, which was more than enough since there were so many restaurant choices right around the resort. Some families would even have time to go back to their hotels or Airbnbs to rest a bit after lunch. As for us, we didn’t intentionally make any lunch plans with other families. Some days, we’d spontaneously gather with a few other families to eat together and others, we would just enjoy lunch as a family of 3.
On our last evening at FAS, we gathered together to watch a performance by the children from the Kids’ Theater Program. They did such a great job given the short amount of time they had to rehearse! Everyone was up singing and dancing together by the end of the show! We all gathered to dance some more after the performance, ending FAS 2019 on a high note. It was really sad to have to say good bye to all our new friends, but we left with the promise to meet up again at the next FAS, or in other destinations near and far.
We are so grateful to have attended FAS, as it gave us an amazing opportunity to meet and to be in community with other like-minded families who prioritize travel as a method of schooling. It felt so refreshing to be amongst other parents who also believe in the worldschooling life as we do, even though everyone had a different path. Some families were on a gap year, some had been traveling for 10+ years, some were just beginning their journey, and some still had home bases like we do. Some had large families with 4 or more kids, some were single parent families, some had remote jobs that allowed them to work while traveling, some sold everything they owned and were living off their savings. Everyone had a different story, but the most beautiful part was just how accepting everyone was of each others’ differences. There were no judgement, only open and honest conversations where we courageously shared our dreams, our fears, and our experiences.
Since then, we’ve kept in touch via social media with many of the families we met at FAS. We actually had plans to meet up with a few of the families this Spring, in Canada and in Japan. But, our plans were cancelled due to COVID-19. We are hopeful that when we are allowed to travel again, we will get to reunite with our FAS friends somewhere in the world!