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 me (the mom), Jedd (the dad), and our four daughters Reagan (12), Madison (10), Devyn (8), and Peyton (6).
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 our learnings with you and hear yours as well.
Click HERE to purchase pieces from our travel photography collection.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN (1997)
Jedd and I met in Thailand as teenagers while on a summer trip. We lost touch for eight years, and then met randomly 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.
Around the World in A Year (2006-2007)
Jedd and I knew from the start that we wanted to spend at least a decade working to help empower people who were living in material poverty. We both had degrees in International Development and Political Science and were well-traveled by the age of 25, having already been to 30+ countries.
Yet we felt we needed a more in-depth understanding of what was currently happening with regard to poverty alleviation efforts, specifically what strategies were and weren’t working in various places. That led us to a year-long research trip to ten countries in the majority world.
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. In the end, we had a clear idea of what would come next, which was living and serving in South Africa.
A Decade in Africa (2007 – 2017)
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 a nonprofit organization 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 welcomed 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 startup company. Through that startup, our team 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 partner with both global brands and local businesses in delivering those experiences.
That took us on an exciting ride of growing a fast-paced startup, being accepted into an exclusive business accelerator program, and launching our company in African, European, and American cities. Eventually, we closed up a decade of living in Africa and moved to a new city, which was San Diego, California. We lived and worked there for a year.
Getting Started in Full-Time Travel (2019)
As our older girls grew into school-aged children, we became very focused on wanting to provide our girls the very best education we possibly could. Knowing that the best way we 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, California 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 then that the goal could take somewhere between three to seven years.
For the first six months, we drove and stayed at Airbnb homes, working our way first through 40 states in America. We wanted to expose our children to American history, culture, and landmarks since they had previously spent most of their lives in South Africa and knew very little of the American side of their family heritage.
America (Spring / Summer 2019)
With both of us working remote jobs, we quickly found that a traveling life suits us very well! Jedd works in the field of philanthropy, and I work in the travel and film industries. The girls have iPads loaded with online learning programs and are enrolled in learning communities like Kubrio.
Europe (Fall / Winter 2019)
After winding our way through America, we jumped the Atlantic Ocean 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 of a storybook village in the smallest town in France. The girls’ are learning the French language and it was coming along well by then. They were making friends in France and loving their learning process.
At the beginning of 2020, we started 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 Alps, and explored all the castles and museums we could.
My personal dream of visiting Italy came true soon after that – Italy!
Italy was very special, and we took our time working our way through the country, slowly exploring Milan, Venice, 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 exciting to explore, and they began picking up the language with ease, their brains like sponges at their young ages.
The Balkan Countries (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-droppingly gorgeous country of Montenegro.
While we were there, global covid lockdowns began and our travels were unexpectedly put on pause for four months. We were essentially “stuck” in Montenegro, but we didn’t mind. The scenery was beautiful, our home there was lovely, and we had a gorgeous seaside view to wait and study and work and grow together during the pandemic.
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.
The Greek Islands (Summer 2020)
Finally, in July 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 peninsula, before island-hopping to six islands in the Cyclades.
The United Kingdom (Fall 2020)
Once our Schengen 90-day visa for the European Union had been used to the final day, we opted for the rich colors of Ireland, Scotland, and England during the time of the fall foliage season. There we rested in the countryside, making friends with many locals, and enjoyed learning about 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 studying French, Italian, and Greek.
We explored Scotland, with all its 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.
America (Winter 2021)
December 2020 was marked by 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.
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 of America, 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 and explored San Antonio and The Alamo, Austin, and Dallas. We loved learning about Texan food, culture, music, and history.
Hawaii (Spring / Summer / Fall 2021)
We were excited when Hawaii finally opened its 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 spent eight months joyfully filling our days with Hawaiian history and Polynesian culture.
The girls learned about 10 of the world’s 12 microclimates in Hawaii and got to know the flora and fauna of the rainforests, marine ecosystems, volcanos, and more. They loved spending their days in ukulele lessons, hula dancing, surfing, and tennis, with warm evenings swimming in the sea, snorkeling, and scuba diving for Jedd and Reagan, who were scuba certified in Santorini, Greece a few years ago.
Patagonia (Winter 2022)
In January 2022, we left the Big Island of Hawaii and spent two months exploring the Patagonia region of Argentina where we soaked up the sunshine in Bariloche, immersed ourselves in the history of Ushuaia, and learned the tango at the harvest festival in Mendoza’s wine country, and in between flying around the country, we found a love for the glamour and charm of Buenos Aries.
Europe (Spring 2022)
In the spring of 2022, we started our time in Europe with a two-month Eurorail pass and we covered ten countries in that time.
Paris and Strasbourg in France were first up, before heading on to Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. The rich history, culture, museums, and food were delightful after being away from Europe for over a year.
We took the time to train over to Slovakia and discover the historically important city of Bratislava, and then headed up to the famous city of Prague in the Czech Republic, a true beauty! This was a time of studying Soviet politics, the Cold War, and the Iron Curtain, along with learning some of the Czech language and enjoying heaps of fantastic architecture and artwork.
We made it up to the Netherlands in time for the 2022 Tulip Festival just outside of The Hague and it was unbelievable, truly something to cherish forever. The Hague is filled with mind-blowing museums and fun cultural experiences. We also spent time in Amsterdam learning about key Dutch artists, the diamond trade, and World War II history, while working on our Dutch.
From there, we took the train down to Brussels in Belgium to dig further into EU workings and the construction of a unified Europe.
As the summer heated up, we decided to spend a week in Brussels, Belgium being floored by the incredible palaces and exploring more about the European Union’s headquarters there. Then we went on to the French Riviera where we spent a lovely month in Nice and were able to attend the Film Festival in Cannes and the Grand Prix in Monaco (a highlight of our year!) During the long, hot days of June, we decided to take up residence in a castle in the wine country of Bordeaux where the girls perched themselves in their tower.
Middle East (Summer 2022)
We spent the next three months in the Middle East where we had a month on the island of Cyprus and nearly two months road-tripping around all the historical sites of Turkey (wow, it was epic!), before heading to nearby Israel for a beautiful month exploring where historical land of our Judeo-Christian faith from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem to The Sea of Galilee.
Italy (Fall 2022)
After our time in the Middle East concluded, we were back on track for another 90 days in Europe, so we flew to Rome where we revisited some of the historical places we’d enjoyed several years before. In the Eternal City, there is never enough time to see it all!
Lake Como was next, and we enjoyed a month in a villa on the sparkling blue waters as the autumn leaves changed to rich colors punctuated with evergreens. The place lodged in our hearts and will be a place we return to again and again.
From there, we headed south to Tuscany where we took up residence in the heart of Lucca, a walled fortress with a stately history. The small city oozed with character and we cozied up on rainy days, followed by long walks on top of the city walls.
Iberian Peninsula (Winter 2022)
To end the year, we flew to Barcelona where we embarked on a week-long cruise around the Mediterranean – back to the French Riviera, the Italian Riviera, Rome, Sicily, and Malta with a grandparent. When we returned to Barcelona, we rented a house in the south of Spain for a sunny holiday season. Based in Malaga, we loved visiting Gibraltar and exploring Spanish cities like Grenada and Sevilla.
We spent the final week of the year traveling along the coast of Portugal and spending New Year’s in Lisbon before heading up to Porto and then back into Spain to be in Madrid for their famous Three King’s Day Parade!
North Africa (Winter 2022)
To follow our new journey for 2023, read about our Journey Into Wild! We are currently in Morocco filming our new show. Follow along if you like!