This family of storytellers are giving their kids a global education, and creating something pretty amazing along the way to share with other families.
Interview with Tania and Matt Landin
Can you introduce your family, where you're from and what you're currently doing?
Tania and Matt (the parents), Maya (14), Mirabel (11), Lacey (8) and Elsie (our 4-year-old labradoodle)
We’re a full-time travelling/storytelling family on an 18-month adventure around Europe. Currently, we’re exploring Cornwall England enjoying the mild autumn and cream tea.
In June 2016 — after years of late night “what if” conversations — we quit our jobs, sold all our possessions and left Portland, Oregon to start our own company — Around the World Stories. We create original audio stories to teach kids about other countries and cultures, and we write the stories as we travel around Europe.
Why did you decide to travel the world and write stories along the way?
We’d spent several years overseas, both before and after the kids were born, and learning about other cultures became a natural passion for us. We’ve always loved bringing other traditions into our own home, and as parents we think it’s vital for kids to have a broader view of the world and an understanding of different cultures.
When we moved back to the US, we didn’t find anything that really approached teaching about other countries in a way that was fun and memorable. We realised that engaging, fun stories were the next best thing to an actual foreign experience, so we came up with the concept of writing original stories about other countries and turning them into audio stories. We absolutely love writing and sharing the stories with other families!
Which countries have you been to already? Can you some up each in a few words?
Germany - outdoor cafes and beer gardens, beautiful mountains and idyllic small towns
France - croissants that melt in your mouth, amazing lavender fields, Monet, Degas and that cool metal tower 😉
Denmark - positive Danish mentality, Hygge, kind people and the smell of cinnamon rolls everywhere in the morning
Czech Republic - magical
Slovenia - beautiful countryside - definitely want to come back
Croatia - gorgeous coast, but a bit warm in July in an RV
Switzerland - one the scariest drives of my life over the mountains at night during a snowstorm. The hikes made up for it.
Austria - The mountains, Vienna and the Danube all spectacular. Stunning views everywhere.
England - amazing cliffs and caves in Cornwall and endless wonderful places to see in London
The Netherlands - Van Gogh, biking and seas of tulip fields in April
Spain - Barcelona is so full of life, loved Granada’s flamenco shows, delicious tapas and Alhambra.
Portugal - surprised by the rich history and culture. Promised ourselves we’d come back.
Liechtenstein - Tiny. Bought a keychain to prove we were there.
Andorra - Great skiing in the Pyrenees. And another keychain.
Gibraltar (albeit also UK) - Mugged by a monkey.
Your husband left a secure job as a diplomat to travel the world. What do you think the act of chasing your dreams is teaching your children?
It was a huge leap of faith for us. One of the great side-effects was how it has positively affected the kids’ ideas about their own life and potential. Particularly as things have worked out, it’s such an awesome feeling being able to show our kids a lesson about taking chances and following dreams. I can say that their dreams have gotten even bigger since we left.
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What have been your favourite stories unearthed so far?
We’re not actually collecting stories, but creating our own original stories. That being said, many of our stories are based on our experiences on the trip. Two of our stories about France were inspired by a tiny French town in Provence. We ate in a plaza, watched locals play pétanque and saw the sun set over the lavender fields. So many of our characters are also based on people we’ve met. It’s a way to keep the stories authentic and rich in their descriptions.
What drew you to Europe for this kind of journey?
My mother is German and my father is Czech, so Europe has always been a second home for me. There is just so much here in Europe that we wanted to show our girls and experience as a family. One of the big advantages to travelling in Europe for us is how easy it is to jump from one beautiful country (and culture) to another. Just a couple hours drive can bring you to a very different culture — new food, language, traditions and an entirely different way of thinking. We love experiencing that. We’ve biked and even hiked across international borders.
How are your travels working in with homeschooling your girls? Do you have more of an unschooling or structured approach?
It’s been wonderful for us and the kids. As far as the approach, just the act of travelling and being exposed to so many new ideas really lends itself towards unschooling. It’s been one amazing field trip! We’ve found that, for us, it works best with an open mind and flexible schedule. There’s just so much to learn everywhere — history, language, food, traditions. Getting outside as much as possible and meeting new people is a must. Our kids have learned more this year, even with little book work, than we even imagined.
What's next for your travelling adventures? Do you have any plans of when to go home?
Right now we’re plotting our next big story-writing trip. We’ve not yet decided where to go, but it’s a frequent dinner conversation and everyone (minus the dog) gets a say.
Where can people find out more about you?
Try the audio stories for FREE!
We offer our 52-story Europe set and our 6-story Artists Around the World set. Until the end of Jan 2018, Mulberry readers can use the coupon code MULBERRY20 to save 20% on either of our story sets. Or for a one-month free trial of our Europe Story-a-week subscription, readers can use the code MULBERRYMONTH on our website.
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