Family Travel Lifestyle: Roadschooling and Adventure for Every Family (an interview with Megan and Daniel Tenney)

Have you ever wanted to just pack a bag, hop in the car with your family, and head out to find your own adventures on the road? Most of us stop with the daydream, but Megan and Daniel Tenney have made it a reality for their family of 6! Not only that, but they’re on a mission to equip other families to live this travel lifestyle, too. Their family isn’t rich, and they aren’t influencers. Can regular families with wanderlust really travel full-time? Check out this interview in the Homeschool Conversations series to learn more!

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Megan and Daniel Tenney family travel interview

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Who are Megan and Daniel Tenney?

Megan Tenney and her husband, Daniel, have been traveling full-time with their four young kids for almost two years. In early 2020, after 12 years of blogging on her first site, Megan founded Family Gap Year Guide, a new site and course that teaches families how to enrich their lives and strengthen their relationships while following their dreams of seeing the world! Any family who wants to travel full-time can make it happen. You don’t have to be rich or an influencer, just a regular family with wanderlust!

Megan and Daniel Tenney family travel interview

Watch my interview with Megan and Daniel Tenney

Show Notes {with video time stamps}

Meet the Tenney Family {1:10}

Megan grew up in Maine and Daniel grew up in Arizona. They met while they were both in college at their summer jobs as theme park entertainers. (How cool is that?!) They met singing and dancing together, fell in love, eventually got married, and lived in Arizona for 13 years. They now have 4 children from 3 years old to 11 years old.

Megan and Daniel Tenney family travel interview

Roadschooling {2:50}

Homeschooling was never really on their family’s radar. Both Megan and Daniel have backgrounds as classroom teachers. Their desire to travel came first, and from that came their decision to homeschool.

It was actually initially a big concern for them. Would this be a positive thing for the kids? Would they be able to keep up with their education?

Originally, they were just going to take off one school year. Their older 2 children were in accelerated classes in their charter public school at the time. Megan and Daniel figured since the kids were ahead, even in a worst-case scenario of no new learning for a year they still wouldn’t get behind.

Over the past 2 years as they have traveled the country, however, any concerns on their ability to keep up and have dissipated. “We found that with one-on-one (or one-on-four) [instruction]…they can go so far, so fast,” Megan said.

Daniel mentioned that school had always been easy for their 2nd child. Suddenly, she realized that now Dad was really going to hold her to her work and keep pushing forward if things were too simple. At first, there was a bit of push-back and some challenges to overcome because of this!

Their 3rd child, Megan said, wasn’t quite reading when they began their travels. “That was daunting,” Megan admitted. But now he’s an awesome reader and they were, in fact, able to teach him to read on the road.

Dad as the primary homeschool teacher {5:45}

Daniel spent 12 years as a classroom teacher. Even then, he explained, he had tried to “teach independence and foster self-driven learning…That has translated to the way that we homeschool.”

Daniel sets up a structure that enables their children to take responsibility for their own learning. He has slowly found ways to set up systems that have brought some order to their day, and continues to tweak and refine their routine to make it better fit their family.

They use an eclectic blend of homeschool resources that fit their family, and have created their own systems to track what the kids are learning.

The kids are independent now because “they know exactly what is expected of them every day.”

Because they’re always traveling, there are many aspects of their family routine that are constantly changing. But the consistent homeschool routine has provided order to their family’s life even in the midst of life on the road. They’re also able to include the unique opportunities that come up on their travels in their roadschooling education.

How the Tenney family began their adventurous, travel-based lifestyle {9:40}

Like many of us, Daniel and Megan had always had this dream that if they “had a billion dollars” they’d pack up and go and travel the world. But they realized that they didn’t have to put their dream on hold until some mythical moment.

They’ve always loved to travel. Living in Arizona with family back in Maine, they several times drove cross-country for visits, exploring along the way.

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So one day? They decided to go for it: they sold their house.

If you’re willing to really cut those ties, all your bills go out the window,” Megan said. No more utility bills, landscaping bills, or pest control! All the financials worked out so that they could use that money to pay for lodging as they traveled.

They’ve found a way to make their lives match up with their priorities, which I find completely inspiring.

They don’t plan on this being a permanent lifestyle, but so far they’re loving it!

Unique challenges and benefits of roadschooling {13:13}

Wonderful sibling memories and relationships are of huge value, Daniel said. “They get to spend a lot of time with each other.”

The kids haven’t always gotten along, of course, but even those harder times have taught the kids how to overcome and work through sibling relationship challenges.

They’ve become adaptable in the changing situations that travel brings.

They’ve also seen amazing parts of the country and have learned so much they wouldn’t otherwise know.

A few of their family’s favorite destinations:

  • NYC
  • SC (the Grand Strand area)
  • South Padre Island, TX
  • Orlando, FL
  • Maine (during the summer!)

Hopefully, their family’s next destination will be Europe!

Any family can make a traveling lifestyle a reality {17:02}

Airbnb makes traveling affordable and accessible to any family, Megan explained. If you’re willing to go anywhere (instead of just top tourist destinations), there may be even cheaper places to travel.

Even if you don’t want to sell your home, you can save up ahead of time, or go away for shorter periods of time. You can even Airbnb your own home and use that money to go somewhere else!

Working remotely means you can work from anywhere, Megan and Daniel reminded us. (And right now, most of us are working remotely, right? I wonder if I can convince my husband to take his engineering on the road…)

Where do they still hope to go? “All the places!” they grinned. But, seriously, the Tenney family still has not visited Kentucky!

They keep a map of their travels. If they’ve driven through a state, they color it yellow. If they’ve had a significant experience there, they color it green. At this point, they have 7 states they’ve never visited, plus 5 that are still yellow.

On their way to Seattle, they drove through Idaho, stopped at a diner, and ate baked potato ice cream! That was a unique experience they had in ID, so they colored it green.

While traveling the US, they just use their minivan. They don’t have an RV. They’ve learned to refine their packing process and keep it minimal. When they go to Europe, they plan to take just one backpack per person, and they’ve started to practice this even now.

“Nothing will teach you minimalism more than having to carry your crap around,” Daniel laughed. “If you don’t need it… you just get rid of it, because it becomes way more trouble than it’s worth.”

What do you need? Megan says all you really need to take with you are clothes and screens. Clothes are self-explanatory. Screens are for books, work, and entertainment.

Now, let’s go travel the world!

Megan and Daniel Tenney family travel interview

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Where will you and your family travel first?

Check out all the other interviews in my Homeschool Conversations series!

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