I spent many of my childhood years travelling with my parents. Before I had turned ten, I had travelled around the world three times. This horrified some people as they said I needed “routine” while others thought it was the best schooling I could ever have.

World Travels

Mexico Organics Love and Co Laila Helena

Washing my own clothes in Mexico

My parents met while backpacking so travelling was in their blood. When I was two and a half years old they invented an adventure to travel from Los Angeles to the very bottom of Brazil. Even though I don’t remember this particular travel, I know it changed the way I saw things. We travelled through colourful Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia. The we floated down the Amazon and crossed into Brazil. My mother tells me how I loved to travel down the river, sleep in hammocks and feel a part of the boat community as we all watched the giant trees all around us. I feel that the Amazon “imprinted” on me. This was my first taste of travel and the beauty of languages was introduced. I started speaking Portuguese and Spanish.

Travelling School Pedagogy

By the time I was six, my parents decided to return to Brazil. My mother, who is an educator decided that learning whilst travelling was probably the most exciting school I could do.  With her patience and our craziness, I learnt to reflect, analyse, engage and understand the environments I was visiting. Diary after diary was written.

Reflect, analyse, engage and understand the environment.

Permaculture School Travel

One of the main reasons my parents travelled so frequently was because they were teaching Permaculture courses (PDC) throughout Brazil. I remember sitting in classroom after classroom making my own permaculture and plant notes. When Permaculture Kid Organics Love and Costudents were separated into groups to make their permaculture design I would join in and draw my own design. At 9 years of age, in Manaus, a city of the Amazon, I remember presenting my first permaculture design. I always had to participate in course whether it be in the kitchen, gardening activities or planting trees. This experienced helped me learn how to live in community. By the time I was 15, I successfully completed my first PDC.

I learnt that everyone has a task to fulfil to keep the ‘community’ functioning and flowing.

Pros and Cons of Being a Child Traveller

Parents who love travelling and want to travel with children often ask me about the pros and cons of being a child traveller. People often wondered whether I got lonely or whether my schooling was up to scratch with the curriculum.

Mum and I

My mother, Lucy Legan, was, and still is, an incredible educator. She always had a bag full of tricks that were fun and educational. If I ever got bored, she would whip out a novel, pass me my binoculars or I would write a story based on the place that we were visiting. She organised three hours of each day for us to work on a curriculum that was inspired by our travel. She also taught me how to meditate and practice mindfulness, which is still something I work on every day.

As for the loneliness I can’t really remember ever feeling lonely while travelling. I became very proactive at making new friends. Each new town meant I was given the opportunity to play and learn from different kids. To this day I still have the ability to arrive at a new location and make friends quickly. When I reflect about all the traveling that I did as I child two main ethics pop into mind.

Travelling teaches you empathy and humility.

Portugal Organics Love and Co Laila Helena

Mushroom Course in Portugal 15-years-old

There is much discussion about children today and the word ‘entitled’ seems to pop up a lot. I believe that when children travel to countries and are encouraged to participate in daily community affairs they learn first hand about empathy and humility. And maybe if kids from ‘first world’ countries learn to serve community they would feel more gratitude and not vibe into the ‘entitled’ feelings.

The only real down fall of being a child traveller is that you get the ‘travel bug’ and  you really want to keep travelling. At times I feel like I didn’t know where home was. But I quickly learnt to make every stop my home. These days I like to have a home base but I like to travel every 6 months otherwise I get itchy feet.

Highlights of my Travelling  Studies

When I was 17 years old I had a few doubts about my education. By what other people were saying, I thought that maybe I wasn’t up to scratch. So I challenged myself by entering the initiative called International Climate Change Champions organised by the British Council. This initiative brought together young people who were passionate and committed to action on climate change. In 2009 I was selected to represent Brazil at the Youth Summit for Environment meeting in Kobe, Japan.  I fiercely argued in favour of my belief that creating sustainable lifestyles is what would change the world.  I suppose I have followed some of my parents footstep as travelling can also mean working for the planet.

Today I am completing my Bachelor in Health & Science (Naturopathy) at Endeavour College. Read more here.