As a relatively new fan of The Art of Simple and The Simple Show, I jumped at the chance to be on the launch team for Tsh Oxenreider’s new book, At Home in the World. Over the years I have done a bit of travel with some or all of my twelve children. We roamed from Texas to the Midwest and back again in a rented minivan with three children ages 3 and under. Several years and four more children later we wandered from Texas to Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. A few times I have visited Colorado with between 6 and 10 children, listening to audio books to pass the time on the road. I’ve spent a week in a beach house on the coast numerous times with numerous children, sometimes with and sometimes without my husband. I’ve crossed the ocean to Europe twice, leaving pieces of my heart behind because finances and logistics did not allow the whole family to travel. But I have never even dreamed of trying what the Oxenreiders accomplished — traveling around the world for nine months as a family of five, and doing it in an affordable way.
While reading Tsh’s travel memoir, I experienced the world as if through the eyes of a thoughtful friend while musing together with her about our place in the world and what it means to be at home. As a result of reading this lovely book, some places have been added to my bucket list. The Great Barrier Reef and New Zealand are calling to me. I am also eager to try the food in Turkey and Thailand, but I am not keen to visit China, unless I need a reminder of my own insignificance.
In addition to enjoying a good read, I’ve used this book to home school. I’m teaching my four youngest “geography by the seat of our pants.” We read about different areas of the world in a textbook (kinda boring), fill out maps, and fill in the gaps with real books (always interesting). We have been studying Asia, and I have used Tsh’s chapters on China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore to give the kids a feel for how a family from our culture experiences these places.
At Home in the World helped me realize that travel is not just for the young and free and unattached. According to Tsh, “Giving birth to new life doesn’t mean the death of your passport: kids are remarkably fantastic travelers and can open more doors to cultural experiences than going solo.” Maybe it’s time to brush off the whole family’s passports and get some stamps on those pages in the years we have left before the nest empties. In the meantime, it’s OK to be a homebody.
Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review, and liked it so much that I pre-ordered my own hardback copy with my own money.