Zélie Pollon 0:12
Hi, everyone, welcome to we will wander exploring life off the traditional path, a podcast about location independent families living and working all around the world. I’m Zélie Pollon.
Clint Bush 0:23
And I’m Clint Bush. And twice a month we will talk to families about what it’s like to live location independent, travel full time or educate their kids on the road. The world is big and time is short. So let’s get started.
Zélie Pollon 0:40
You know, Clint, I’m a single mom who travels all over the world with her son, so I really like talking to other single moms. I met Shonda Bradford at the world schooling conference want to watch her just as she was starting out on her journey. And in this podcast, she talks about how she wants to school her young son and on why she decided to start her travels in Mexico. Rather than in America yet just consider the relative safety of a black woman in America versus in Mexico. shaunda definitely has some thoughts on that. Have a listen here to shaundra Bradford
Shonda Bradford 1:16
My name is Shonda Bradford and my son noble is five and we’re from New York, New York City.
Zélie Pollon 1:22
And so you’re here traveling? Are you? unschooling? Can you talk about the way you school and why you’re traveling, kind of how you’re traveling?
Shonda Bradford 1:30
Okay, we are radical unschoolers. And this idea first came to me maybe about two years ago, and initially I wanted to do like a Airstream across the US. And when I realized that that would be really difficult with one adult in a in a big rig and, and the logistics of that I sort of let that idea fall away. But this idea of wanting to travel and see more than what we were seeing still stuck with Me and see the seed was planted. And through many conversations with friends and acquaintances, I realized that we could do this if we came to a place that was affordable. And so this conference that we’re at was sort of the jump board for us the springboard for us to begin our travels. So this first three weeks of doing this gave us sort of permission, and gave me a way to give us permission to tell other people, the people I was working with and my son’s caregiver, that we were going to be away and that we had to basically sort of press pause on what we had been doing so that we could take this new opportunity, this new adventure,
Zélie Pollon 2:45
and so are you still working remotely? Or how do you finance your job? No.
Shonda Bradford 2:48
So we own two properties outright, and so there’s no mortgage or anything, so we’re renting them out. And that’s how we’re in New York City. So You can imagine the rents are high. And so that is what how we’re funding the gym. You traveled a lot before
Zélie Pollon 3:06
is this one of the first long term travel? Yeah,
Shonda Bradford 3:08
this is the very first long term travel. We’ve been to on vacations a week or two weeks at a time, but never anything this this big. So this is our big adventure.
Zélie Pollon 3:18
And why did you want to do this specifically, long term?
Shonda Bradford 3:21
I really always wanted for my son to have sort of an epic childhood. I did not know what that meant. So I always wanted something unusual for him. I did not know what that meant. I knew that the homeschooling would be a part of that. But then I did not know how, how else it would be epic. But I knew that I wanted him to experience other cultures and, and see things a different way. And this was what happened.
Zélie Pollon 3:52
So you’re kind of at the beginning, but have you already had any kind of challenges, either real or imagined that you faced you’ve overcome
Shonda Bradford 4:02
challenges. Ah, I say we’re in this initial this beginning stage of figuring it all out. And because he’s five and a half, trying to impress upon a five and a half year old, the importance of doing something like this is, I think, my biggest challenge, because for him, he’s wondering, Well, why why, why this? Why are we choosing this? What is this all about? Because he’s not seeing it yet. And, of course, being an adult, and I understand the reasons why. It’s just, you know, so I basically explained it to him that because we aren’t going to a traditional school that this is how we’re going to learn, we’re going to learn from the world, and the world will be our classroom. And so we can’t just sit in our apartment in New York City, and do that we have to get out and so this, this is the way we’re going to do that. So I think it’s maybe starting to seep in a little bit, but he’s still On an every other day basis a Why are we doing this? Why aren’t we just sitting at home? Like we were before? So that is my biggest challenge, I think.
Zélie Pollon 5:09
And did you have friends or family who? I don’t know if they tried to talk you out of it, but kind of tried to project their fears onto you? And how have you kind of worked through that to get over the fear because I think that’s the biggest thing that most people face when they want to travel with their kids.
Shonda Bradford 5:23
I guess I’m fortunate in that I haven’t had a lot of negative response or a lot of negative feedback. I think a few people say, you know, because of Mexico be safe was their first thing or you it’s the Wild West out there, you got to be careful, which I never really felt. I mean, obviously common sense is important. But outside of that, I think people people have just outright said I’m so jealous. And so I’ve had to be a little bit cautious with not being too excited about it because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to, I don’t know hurt their feelings or make it make it seem like you’re stuck here. We’re out of here, you know, that sort of thing. So I didn’t want to rub people the wrong way. So I’ve had to just say we’re doing this. And these are the reasons and I’ve had support from nobles, grandma mom, and my aunt and lots of lots of very supportive people.
Zélie Pollon 6:16
Yeah. And so if you were to then again, you’re at the beginning, you may have different things that you would advise later. But if you had advice that you would give to another family who would be contemplating this, what might it be? advice,
Shonda Bradford 6:30
just use your instincts and go with your gut. And if it’s something you want to do, start to plan for it. And I have just found that the moment in my brain where it starts to the thought starts to fester, and is the moment that the universe starts to conspire to help me. So I haven’t had to, it’s just the seed is planted, and I just let that I allow that to happen. So allow that to happen for yourself. It’s so have like a waterfall or I can’t figure out the word. It just the momentum starts to take hold, and you should go with it. If you feel that’s something you really want to do go with the momentum that starts to take place. You start to research, you start to meet people who are doing some. And just just to go with that, and information is key. And it has been for me, I do tons of research. And I always I’m the type of person who does more research than the average person without even knowing it. When I feel passionate about something. I read every book, every magazine, I google it, so I know what it is I get a feel for it. I read reviews, I do all of this. And once you’re armed with that information, you feel very powerful, I think and so that would be my advice for someone contemplating this, get lots of information, go with your instincts and allow the momentum to help you progress to the next thing. Yeah, has there
Zélie Pollon 7:58
been anything that you brought with you to make travel smoother, softer thing an item an idea practice.
Shonda Bradford 8:06
Well for my son, I knew that even though he’s only five and a half gaming is a huge thing for him. And so I figured out ways and research ways that he could continue to game while he’s away because without that he I think that would be a big stumbling block. So we brought the iPad we brought, he’s really into Skylanders. So we brought the portable trap and lots of batteries to keep that going. Minecraft I bought a specific controller that works with the iPad so that he could play Minecraft. So doing those things I think are helpful. We did make a deal then next time we go out on a big trip that I would number one, make sure we could get a really good Wi Fi connection and to try to bring the Xbox because I think he wants the full experience. And that’s really important for his happiness. And so I wouldn’t take that next step to do that on our next adventure. But I would say that’s the main thing. The other thing I knew for us that was important was being able to cook. And so even though we’re in Mexico, I think we’ve, and we’ve been here two weeks, we’ve only had one sort of traditional Mexican meal, we’ve been cooking at home, like we always do, eating the same foods that we always eat, which I think is helping to make it feel like home, even though we’re away like we’re still it’s still the comfort of being at home, but in this different place.
Zélie Pollon 9:39
Nice. Yeah. Is there anything else that you want to add that I didn’t ask or that you feel has been kind of a powerful experience or revelation for you?
Shonda Bradford 9:48
I guess just knowing that as a single person, you could do this. You’re doing it. We’re doing it we’re here. And so I think that that don’t let that hold you back. If you are One adult and one child or one adult and many children that it is possible to do and you can figure it out and you can get help and their resources for that help. So I think that that is the biggest thing is that you don’t have to have two adults in order to make something like this a possibility.
Zelie Pollon 10:20
I can speak to that here here. You know, I always find it ironic when somebody says, so dangerous traveling you like I’m a black woman in America.
Zélie Pollon 10:29
Well, that was huge. I didn’t mention, but that was a huge, huge thing is that once I started to map out where where would we go? The entire South was out of the picture. For me. I knew I just knew being a single black female in the south was just not a possibility. Like, it is a scary place to be and so I couldn’t go anywhere south of Virginia or not even. So what the Northeast Okay, and then we’d have to go across the country to the west. You know, like I just it started to not make sense, which is so sad. So yeah, so that was also part of the reason the airstream idea was was off the table. There was a big chunk of America that I could not go to.
So do you want to travel America? Is that why you just jumped over American?
Shonda Bradford 11:20
You know, you know, what I realized is that we can do America anytime I wanted different cultures. So going out west, yes, we’d see the beauty of the nature and all of that, but we still be with Americans more people like us, which is not really my main point. My main point is for us to see other cultures so America is there for us. We can do that. I’m sure there. I know that there are amazing places we haven’t seen at all I as a 42 year old have not even seen and that I want to see but for now, I think that this is the age I wanted him to get outside of being an identified with only being an American And also there’s that other baggage that comes with being an African American that was starting to be felt, not by him necessarily, but by me, I was starting to see that that was happening. And I wanted to remove him from the baggage. Not the not the understanding or the knowledge of what’s gone on in America, but the baggage of carrying that with him. I want him to be a global citizen, and and to know where he came from, but not to carry that baggage with him as he lives.
Zélie Pollon 12:31
And do you feel here again, in your short time here in Mexico, that that decision is exactly proper that that baggage is not?
Shonda Bradford 12:38
It’s not here. It’s not here. I mean, I’m sure there are. Mexico has its issues, but I definitely know and New York is a melting pot and there tons of variety of people there. But in our day to day, he was not seeing people who look like him. The neighborhood we lived in, it was just there is just one type of person and it’s So here he’s saying, Oh, I’m sure he’s not aware of it, but everyone is brown. And that’s huge. That’s really huge to see people who look like you are similar to you or, and it’s really it’s big.
Zélie Pollon 13:25
Well, that’s the show. Thank you all so much for listening. If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple podcasts. It really helps others find us and let us know what you think.
Clint Bush 13:35
You can find links in episode notes at we will wander calm. Also, if you want to leave feedback or ask us question, go to our website. We will wander calm and click on ask the question. Looking forward to hearing from you. But we will wander I’m Clint Bush.
Zélie Pollon 13:49
And I’m Zélie Pollon, reminding you to get lost
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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