Hello and welcome! I’m Janelle Schroy, the mom of the bunch here and usually the writer behind Adventure Family Journal. The Adventure Family includes myself (the mom), Jedd (the dad), and our four daughters Reagan (11), Madison (9), Devyn (7), and Peyton (4). As you explore this site, you’ll see that we are traveling the world to 50 countries or more, on a personal journey of education and discovery. And we are excited to share the learnings with you and hear yours as well.
Starting Our Family | 2006
Jedd and I met in Thailand as teenagers while on a summer trip. We lost touch for eight years, and then met randonly again while living in Washington DC. There, we were both working in the field of International Development. We were married a few months later at George Washington’s family home, a nod to our shared love of history. Little did we know how much history and travel would become part of our family’s story.
Ten Countries in a Year | 2007
Jedd and I knew from the start that we wanted t o spend at least a decade working to help empower people who were living in material poverty. Both with degrees in International Studies and well-traveled by the age of 25, we had already been to 30+ countries.
Yet we felt we needed a more in-depth understanding about what was currently happening with regards to poverty alleviation efforts, specifically what strategies were and weren’t working in various places. That led us to a hard core, year-long research trip to ten countries, which included Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan.
During that year of research, we stayed mostly with local families and worked hard alongside relief workers and practitioners. We thoughtfully and deeply studied the best practices of non-profits and development efforts in those ten countries, journaling it all and capturing what we learned. At the end, we had a clear idea of what would come next, which was living and serving in South Africa.
A Decade in South Africa | 2008 – 2018
Selling everything we had, we recruited a team of other young professionals, and, armed with a big dream and humble hearts, we moved to Johannesburg, South Africa. There we created a new model of micro-enterprise development centered in holistic learning. That became an NGO which is now called Paradigm Shift.
Throughout the next ten years, we lived in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where our team trained thousands of micro-entrepreneurs and Master Trainers. They went on to establish Paradigm Shift business development bases in 12 other African countries. Later, we transitioned the non-profit to African leadership, now based in Cape Town.
Also during those years, we were delighted to welcome our four daughters: Reagan, Madison, Devyn, and Peyton, all of them born in South Africa. As new parents, we were discovering new needs in our community and in our lives, so we launched a new business, an app-based upstart called Adventure Clubs.
San Diego | 2018
Adventure Clubs facilitated exciting, small-group childhood adventures for families like ours who wanted to make unique memories with their young children. In the process, we were honored to partnered with both global brands and local businesses in delivering those adventures.
That took us on an exciting ride of growing a fast-paced startup, being accepted into an exclusive business accelerator program, and launching Adventure Clubs in African, European, and American cities. Eventually, we closed up a decade of living in Africa and moved to a new home city, which was San Diego, California.
40 US States | Spring, Summer, Autumn 2019
As our older girls grew into school-aged children, we become very focused on wanting to provide our girls the very best education we possibly could. Knowing that the best way we had learned personally was through real-life experiences, we felt that the best education we could provide wouldn’t come in the form of a classroom environment, but instead, through TRAVEL.
In May 2019, we set out from San Diego with our then 2, 4, 6, and 8 year old daughters. We had established the big, audacious goal of traveling continuously to 50 US states and 50 countries, while working and schooling the kids along the way, with no home base to come back to. We estimated that the goal could take somewhere between two to seven years. After that, we’ll decide whether to settle somewhere or continue traveling.
For the first six months, we drove and stayed at Air B&B homes, working our way first through 40 states in America. We wanted to expose our children to American history, culture, and landmarks, since as they had previously spent most of their lives in South Africa and new little of the American side of their family heritage.
Settling into a Life of Travel | Work & School
With both of us working remote jobs, we quickly found that travel suits us very well. Jedd works in the field of philanthropy, and I work in the field of education. The girls have iPads loaded with online learning programs (blog link).
Each week, the girls enjoy World Studies, which includes English, Foreign Languages, Geography and Social Studies, The Arts, which covers poetry, visual arts, performing arts, instruments, photography, opera, and STEM, which consists of of science, technology, engineering and math. This is possible in about 2-3 hours a day, typically early in the morning from 7 – 10am, leaving the rest of the day to learn through our on-location experiences.
Europe | Winter 2019
After winding our way through America, we jumped the Atlantic Ocean in October 2018 to begin exploring Europe, first on the Schengen 90-day visa provided to Americans.
We started with a month in England, mostly in London and Nottingham. We then spent a glorious few months touring around France, diving deep into the French Revolution, World War II history, art history, and culinary learnings. We stayed several weeks in Paris, Marseille, and Normandy and took side trips for a week in Belgium and one in The Netherlands.
Our Christmas that year was spent in the French wine region of Bordeaux, at a French farmhouse set in the rolling hills in a storybook village, the smallest town in France. The girls’ learning of the French language was coming along well by then, and they were making friends and loving their learning process.
At the beginning of 2020, we starting making our way south. Our first month was spent in and near Lausanne, Switzerland, which had our littlest one, Peyton, swooning with love for soaring, snow-capped Alps. We soaked up more of the French language, sledged down the mountains (blog link), and explored all the castles and museums we could.
My personal dream of visiting Italy came true just after that. Italy was indeed special, and we took our time working our way through the country, slowing exploring Milan (blog link), Venice (blog link), Florence and Rome, relishing the history, the art, the music, and of course, the food, all while working hard on a new language for us – Italian. The girls found the similarities between French and Italian to be really fun, and picked up the language with ease, their brains like sponges at their young ages.
The Balkans | Spring 2020
From Italy we headed around the Mediterranean coast into the Balkan region, spending a month in the balmy country of Croatia before heading down to beautiful Bosnia & Herzegovina, and then into the jaw-dropping country of Montenegro.
While we were there, global covid lockdowns began and we were unexpectedly “stuck” for four wonderful months. We didn’t mind, though, as the scenery was beautiful, our home there was lovely, and we had a gorgeous sea-side view to wait and study and work and grow together as the world held it’s breath during the covid pandemic (blog link).
At the conclusion of lockdowns, we were able to go spelunking, white water rafting, boating, and hiking, and we found ourselves greatly enjoying freedom and nature after months of isolation. Thankfully visas were completely waived during this time due to covid, so we were able to stay longer than usual.
Greece | Summer 2020
Finally, in July of 2020, we were released from lockdowns in Montenegro and caught one of the first flights down to Athens, Greece, where we spent three months immersing ourselves in ancient Greek history, and the Greek language, culture and food while driving the mainland, circumnavigating the Peloponnese, and island hopping to six islands in the Cyclades.
Ireland, Scotland & England | Autumn 2020
Once our Schengen 90-day visa for the European Union had been used in the down to the final day, we opted for the rich colors of Ireland, Scotland and England during the time of the fall foliage. There we rested in the countryside, making friends with many locals, and enjoyed learning about all the Irish history, music, and culture. It gave us a chance to speak English with everyone again, giving us a rest from language learning after more than a year of simultaneously studying French, Italian, and Greek.
We explored Scotland, with all stunning beauty, being mesmerized by the Highlands, the Isle of Skye, and Edinburgh, as well as the castles, kilts and bagpipes. That was followed by a longer stay in London, going further in the historical studies of Medieval History.
The Wild West in the US | Winter 2021
December 2020 was marked with a rise in the London strain of the covid virus, and Europe shut its doors to all coming from there, causing our plans to head to Austria and Germany to fall to pieces overnight. We opted to fly instead to Colorado, where the girls could spend the winter learning to ski each weekend at various ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains. We took side trips to the Grand Canyon, New Mexico, and California too, focusing on Native American history.
The Deep South in the US | Spring 2021
By the time March arrived, we’d had our fill of snow and cold, and decided to take a long, lazy trip into the Deep South, learning about the Civil War, African American history, Cajun culture, New Orleans jazz, and exploring the latest space projects at the NASA sites in both Florida and Houston.
That led us to Texas, where we took a month to work our way through that huge state. We dove into Texan-Mexican history, explored San Antonio and Alamo, and the food, culture, music and history of cowboy culture too.
Hawaii | Summer & Autumn 2021
We were excited when Hawaii finally opened it’s doors again post covid so we could introduce the girls to their 45th US state. We left Texas and flew to the Big Island, where we are now joyfully filling our days with Hawaiian history and Polynesian culture.
The girls are learning about the 10 microclimates here, and getting to know the flora and fauna of the rainforests, marine ecosystems, volcanos and more. They are steeped in weekly ukulele lessons, hula dancing, surfing and tennis, with warm evenings swimming in the sea, snorkling and scuba diving for Jedd and Reagan, who were scuba certified in Santorini, Greece last summer.
From here, who knows? We’d love to get back to Europe and resume our travels as soon as it’s open again to visitors. Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, and the Scandinavian countries await, plus all of the Middle East and Egypt too.