Creating Community On The Road

October 29, 2012 in Asia, Thailand, Travelogue

“This is almost as good as Camp Wood!”

Ezra announced, with a grin of delight before he snapped his goggles back over his eyes and bombed back into the pool.

That’s high praise. Camp Wood is the annual campout that our home school community in NH puts on instead of sending our kids to camp. It’s a five star blast. We’re sad every year that we miss it.

“Don’t your kids miss their friends?” 

“What do you do about socialization?”

Of course they do (and so do their parents!)

What do we do about it?

We create community.

We’re traveling so that our kids can learn about the world. Their world. The world is made up of places, but more importantly, it’s made up of people.

Community can be found, or created, anywhere if you’re open to it.

  • We’ve created community on long bus rides
  • Camped in the jungle
  • With music
  • On long hikes
  • In boats on the Perfume River
  • In hostel common rooms
  • Around countless dinner tables and picnic blankets


It starts with being open.

“Don’t talk to Strangers” has to be the single worst piece of cultural brainwashing done to my generation. All the best people are strangers and they all have fantastic stories to tell.

Last night we sat around a pool and watched seven kids splash and carry-on like frogs in the rain. Some music was played. Some laughter shared. In fact, I think we’ve had dinner alone exactly once since the 6th of September.

Who have we been spending so much time with?

And people worry that travel is isolating, or that our kids won’t have playmates, or that we’ll suffer from lack of “Community.”

Au Contraire.

Because we travel, our community is ever expanding.

It includes, literally, hundreds of people who have fantastic lives and stories that we get to share a tiny slice of because we happen to be here, instead of there. Our kids have learned from Jazz greats, to the military top brass because we’ve cross paths and shared dinners on the road.

Travel is a great equalizer. You might be staying at the Four Seasons and we might be camped in our hammocks, but over beers on the beach much common ground is found among people who share expatriation and it’s surreal “between worlds” experience.

This week we celebrated Amy’s birthday on the beach with sand and sun, a magical purple sunset, painted just for her and we released a Thai paper lantern into an ink black sky, carrying with it the wishes of many laughing children and parents with full hearts.

Today we are making costumes for a party tomorrow night. Halloween is very important and very missed by two little boys in our current community, so we’re going to do it up Thai-style-right for them. Even the big people are dressing up. There’s going to be a “talent show.” If we’re lucky, Hannah WON’T humiliate us all by posting the videos to Youtube. Excitement is running high.

Tonight I’m making pork roast, potatoes and carrots for 9 in my toaster oven… we’re hoping to make that 13 if the Sztupovszkys make it back from their visa run on time. The party just migrates from house to beach to house, in much the same way that it did on long summer days in our community in New Hampshire.

How do you create community in your world? Do you have questions about what it’s like for us while traveling?