Mia Lockhart– Mother, wife, entrepreneur, and traveler.
The Lockhart family is from Nova Scotia. They have 4 kids — two daughters that are 17 and 15 and two sons that are 13 and 10 years old. 5 Years ago Mia’s family reached a point where they wanted a change and they took action to make it happen. What they wanted was Experiences Over Things.
Mia’s family started by simplifying everything. They cleaned out their house and cut down on things. Simplification gave them greater freedom in their life. They were no longer tied to their things. Mia’s husband then sold his business and they both started working online. They went from a quiet life in Nova Scotia to become a travelling family that camped across the United States for 4 months. The kids did well on the road and Mia felt that was a start to new experiences for them.
After the 4 months on the road they they became more serious about downsizing — cleaning out everything and getting their belongings down to a minimum. With less to tie them down they decided to relocate. To Vancouver.
Mia and her family moved to Vancouver, rented a home and enrolled in school. Enrolling their kids in school in Vancouver was an important learning experience for them. Being in a new school, and new city, with new classmates was another opportunity for her kids to step out of their comfort zones. It gave them a chance to find a new part of themselves away from the pre-defined roles of their old home life. But by now they were bitten by the travel bug and they longed to be back on the road. They prepared for their next destination — Costa Rica. This was their chosen destination because they had travelled there before, were familiar with the area and loved the “pura vida” culture. The culture is close enough to home that it was not a large culture shock, and it is also a place where they feel safe with their teenage girls.
Mia and her family planned to spend 3 months in Costa Rica and when I caught up with her at the beginning of the summer they had just returned to Nova Scotia from this trip.
When they had announced their first road trip across the United States the kid’s teachers were extremely helpful. They sent the kids school work which the kids completed and then emailed back to their teachers. This worked well for their family life on the road. The biggest advantage that later became clear to the kids was that even though they would only work for an hour or 2 everyday they came back to school ahead of their classmates.
The timing for Costa Rica was a bit different because at this point her daughters were now in high school. Mia looked at options for schooling while in Costa Rica and decided to use online school through the province of BC. It was important to Mia to have all options available, especially university. This way they could keep up with credits and curriculum. Mia also liked the idea of not having to take on the curriculum and teaching herself. This meant they scheduled their own days and managed their own time. This choice brought pros and cons.
The online program offered them flexibility to complete school within their own time frame- they knew what they needed to get done and they knew they could do it a lot faster than in school. They had to become self reliant, finding answers on their own. But, for her older daughters in high school it became more about getting the work done, not about building interest and curiosity. The girls also missed having the social interaction to work with classmates.
For the youngest of Mia’s kids online school was centered around an exploration style which allowed them to apply more of the local region and life to their lessons.
They loved their life in Costa Rica. The warm weather, the swim breaks in between book time. They also met many people from different backgrounds while living there. Expats, Worldschoolers, and European students learning Spanish on their Gap year. But after being away from Nova Scotia for quite a long time Mia’s kids started to miss their friends from home. They decided instead of returning to Vancouver or extending their stay in Costa Rica they would go back to Nova Scotia and give their kids a chance to reconnect with home and friends. They are keeping the title “nomadic” because they know they are going to go back on the road.
Coming back did have some challenges. Travelling brought about changes and growth, especially for her teenagers. They had seen and experienced many things that their peers back home had not.While in Costa Rica Mia’s oldest daughter decided to go off of social media for a while. “Teenagers judge each other by their Instagram accounts.” Her daughter is really trying to go against it. Costa Rica was “enough space for her to be away to do those kind of things which you can’t always do when you’re right in the middle of a peer group”. They miss their friends, but at the same time they grew. Travelling gives more space to do what you want to do, not what everybody thinks is cool.
Travel wet their appetites and opened their minds to possibilities. The family now sees travel can be more of a way of life. And they don’t need to have a big home and place.
Travel has also changed ideas around learning for them. Learning has become curiosity based. What are you interested in? How can you make it interesting? What would it be, where would you take it?
Mia, her husband and 4 children are currently back in Nova Scotia. Her oldest daughter plans to take a Gap Year after finishing high school this year. For their next family adventure they are looking towards Eastern Europe and then possibly Asia.
Mia has recently launched a non-profit organization that teaches teen girls confidence and leadership. Girls on Boards sponsors standup paddle boarding trips for teen girls and spreads the message of healthy body image. Check out Girls On Boards – http://www.girlsonboards.co/