We are a german couple Timm (37) & Michaela (36) with 4 kids.
Our kids are 2,5/ 4,5 / 7/ 10 years old. Fortunately the two older ones are girls and the small ones are boys, a perfect match that makes family live much easier.
To be honest there are not many ways one can travel with 4 kids except camping. And that we have been doing a lot over the last years. When our oldest was 2 years old (8 years ago) we shipped our Defender down to Cape Town and spent every european winter exploring Southern Africa. When she had to start school and we were less flexible, we decided to move to the Mothercity and she started Grade 1 at the German school. Over the last 4 years we have hit the road whenever we had an opportunity, have cruised South Africa and its neighboring countries, spent many nights in the roof tent and many evenings at the campfire.
When we tell people in Germany about our travels, they often do not understand, think we are risky or do not consider our childrens needs enough. It might look like that from far away Europe, but having grown up a far bit of their lives traveling in Africa, its is part of their lives. They love it! They have the gypsy gene and Africa is not the scary unknown continent for them, but their home. They are used to the heat, they know the dangerous animals, they know how to behave in the bush, even the 2,5 year old knows, he is never allowed to just run away. And he does not in Africa (but in Germany).
They are extremely excited going on our long trip- but also a bit scared. No other friends but only sibblings for 11 months, no school, no TV, no own room, no privacy, not many toys, not the usual food, all the things that make our live an “every-day-live” will not be there. In Cape Town we will leave behind a wonderful live and many good friends and start new again in Germany. That is not easy to digest, especially for the girls. But we think we will get into new routines while traveling, will find ways to keep in touch with our loved ones and will develop a sort of “every- day- live”.
Our eldest daughter is in grade 4 now, the smaller one in grade 1. As the start of school terms in Germany and South Africa differ about 6 months, we could either push the girls 6 months ahead, so they can start Grade 3 and 6 when we arrive- or we could just take it easy and give them an extra 6 months of freedom. An easy decision. They will miss the last term of their current grades , so we will homeschool them on our journey (with the books they already have). As we are not registered in Germany right now and the South African Law does not force us to go to school, this is quite an easy way. Traveling, we think is the best teacher. Seeing, feeling, touching, smelling our kids will learn more than from books and if they finish school one year later, so what?
Still, it will be a challenge to keep everyone happy, healthy and make the journey a pleasure for all of us. It will cost nerves, tears, sweat, we will be scared, exhausted and close to divorce sometimes. But we are prepared!