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Who’s Out There Now? Lainie and Miro

Written By: jeff

Posted On: December 13th, 2011

career break travel adventures in Colombia, Los Nevados

Atop Los Nevados in Colombia. Copyright RaisingMiro.com

In this week’s ¨Who’s Out There Now¨ feature, we bring to you Lainie and Miro, the mother-son traveling team behind RaisingMiro.com. As Lainie describes it on the website, the trifecta of inspiration to see the world, the 2008 economic downturn and a desire to restore balance to her and her son’s life put them on a path to see the world.

1.  So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

Hello there! We are coming to you live from Mancora, Peru. We travel slowly and had found ourselves stuck in this tiny beach town for the last several months, soaking in the sun, surf and culture. (I could think of worse things..) But alas, we are gearing up to move again, heading southwards, off to see more of this magical land of Peru (and settle into our next volunteer opportunity).

2.  You’ve spent the past 2+ years in Central and the northern part of South America. How do you decide where you’ll go next and how long you’ll stay in one place?

Wow, funny you should ask that. We travel pretty much without an itinerary. But we are traveling, no matter how slow it may be. We plan based on our geographical location, traveling the next town, the next country, or the next continent. We read, take advice of other travelers, do our own research. But our greatest deciding factor is ‘inspiration’. Makes life so much simpler. (Cue up the Clash’s ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’)

career break travel adventures in Colombia, San Cipriano, Raising Miro

Tubing in San Cipriano, Colombia. Copyright RaisingMiro.com

3.  A lot of parents I talk to aren’t sure how to make the schooling work for their kids. You write a lot about unschooling on your site. Is that different than home schooling?

Yes, actually the term unschooling is a form of homeschooling, but the core concepts are different. There are many definitions of unschooling just as every unschooled parent and child will provide a different definition because the experience is so personal. In essence, unschooling is Interest led, lifelong, self driven learning. The core concept behind unschooling is that learning is a natural phenomenon, that it happens without force, and  children learn based on their interests.  In other words, learning happens without any form of curriculum or teaching which is different than traditional homeschooling. Unschooling does not place a ‘classroom’ in the home, rather it abolishes the idea of having a formalized classroom altogether, and considers all of life as potential learning opportunities.

4.  Question for Miro. How is your Spanish? I imagine after a couple of years traveling around that you’ve picked up quite a bit.

Since children pick up languages and knowledge in general much quicker, it’s quite good. My moms on the other hand, is not so good. It’s terrible, but my greatest hobby is watching her fail miserably. So. Much. Fun.

career break travel adventures in Ecuador, Raising Miro

At the equator in Ecuador. Copyright RaisingMiro.com

5.  Career break, nomadic adventure, backpacking, how do you characterize your trips?

OK. I’m all of those, plus a few more like: global citizen, traveling family, cultural explorer, volunteer, vagabond, gypsy heart. Our ‘trips’ aren’t separated from our lives, therefore, they are our lives. In other words, we are always creating our experiences / lives which encompasses all of those things.

6.  What are some of the secrets to travel that you’ve discovered that you think more people who aren’t traveling should know?

Traveling is not scary, the world is populated with interesting, kind and giving people. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. And most importantly, travel always invites you to experience the moment as if it was the only movement there ever will be.

7.   Another question for Miro. What’s the best life lesson you’ve learned so far that you don’t think you would have learned if you still lived in LA?

Be spontaneous. Life back in the conventional world usually restricts acts of randomness, and in my opinion, they tend to be the most fun actions. Loosen up. Have fun with life. Take that trip you’ve wanted to do forever. Do it with your child? Hell yes.

career break travel adventures in Panama, Raising Miro

Getting around Panama City. Copyright RaisingMiro.com

8.  What was your first ¨We’re not in Kansas anymore¨ moment?

Our first, we’re not in Kansas moment would have to be after we got off the plane in San Jose, Costa Rica in the beginning of our trip. We did not know the language (shamefully, my Spanish is still pretty bad), we were tired, exhausted, carrying our much too heavy backpacks, and tried to navigate through crowded and busy city streets in San Jose. It was raining and our packs were too heavy and and I had this panic stricken moment where I silently asked myself “what the f—k did I just do?” Alas, it soon passed and as the fear faded excitement took over and each day we felt more comfortable in our new travelers skin.

Wow, that was almost 3 years ago…. sigh… how we’ve grown and changed…

9.  What’s been your most ¨local¨ experience so far?

That’s so difficult to answer because we tend to settle in and live like visiting locals where ever we go. We don’t veer off the tourist trail just because it’s a travelers destination, but we don’t miss the off the gringo trail destinations either.

10. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Hands down, it’s got to be my experiences with ‘Altitud-ies’. With a group, Miro and I hiked up nearly 4,500 meters above sea level into the Los Nevados mountains in Colombia. And now, for the embarrassing part:  Imagine what a bag of chips looks like. Now imagine what that bag of chips looks like when yo

u are on an airplane. The bag puffed up with more air than it should.  Now imagine the slightest touch and a grand ‘pop’!  Well, that’s how I felt. Only this ‘air’ that was filling up my middle section was actually gas. In fact, I had such bad gas that it seemed every step I took as I hiked  through those beautiful mountains, I needed to fart. In fact, not only did I need to fart, I DID FART! Wanna read about the whole hike? We did a post on that, the good the bad and stinky, here:

career break travel adventures in Colombia, Raising Miro

At the mud volcano outside Cartagena, Colombia. Copyright RaisingMiro.com

11. What’s your secret for getting the most out of your journey?

First of all, we don’t treat it as a trip or a journey. This is our life. There’s a lot less pressure to achieve, do or see with this perspective. And with no time pressure, we are never in a hurry. Together, my son and I live in the moment and somehow life becomes much more exciting, intensified and calm, no matter what we are doing, even if we find ourselves simply enjoying a late afternoon breeze from the comfort of a swinging hammock.

12. Finally, our lightening round. (Just a quick short answer please. Indicate an answer for each of you)

  • Best dish you’ve found so far l: cebiche (Peru) m: Paisa Bandeja – (Colombia)
  • Most exotic food eaten l: not cuy (Guinea pig) because we just couldn’t. Seriously. I tried beer and tomato flavored ice-cream m:  avocado & carrot flavored ice-cream (Guatemala City)
  • Most breathtaking moment l: awakening to humanity m: hiking in the giant wax palm valley in Colombia
  • Biggest disappointment l: Costa Rica m: Costa Rica
  • Most memorable place l: Antigua, Guatemala m:  Antigua, Guatemala
  • Most memorable person l: A former, heavily tattooed gang member deported back to Nicaragua m: coke-head Nicolas in Ecuador
  • Best thing to have on a long bus ride l: ipod & kindle m: functioning eyelids
  • Worst thing to have on a long bus ride l: dysentery m: really violent movie with Liam Neison in Spanish. Or Twilight.
  • Best thing you packed l: My full length body pillow. Seriously. m: my invisible teddy bear
  • Dumbest thing you packed l: a PC (I’m a Mac person) m: my cybernetically enhanced helper monkey… I never use it.
  • Funniest travel habit you have l: sleeping like a baby with my full length body pillow on overnight busses m: pooping in sinks, accidentally.
  • Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer l: Mexico m: Honduras

You can follow Lainie and Miro online at RaisingMiro, on Facebook, on their podcast and on Twitter @ilainie

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because Life Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world. 

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