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A young boy, aged 14, much like any other boy was unaware, an event that would change his life forever, was about to happen…

This boy went to school, he was a straight A’s student, he had a daily routine, he hated homework, and longed for weekends and holidays. So as you can see, he was much like any other boy out there except for the straight A’s.
However, his parents had come across an event that was going to take place just before his Final Term Exams. After a family discussion, they decided to venture and explore the world of UNSCHOOLING.

That November, the family gathered some money and packed their bags and headed on an exciting drive through the Kruger National Park from Durban in South Africa. In the valleys of Sabie, lay a little piece of green heaven called Merry Pebbles, in which the sixth annual “Unschoolers’ Weekend Camp” took place. When this boy and his family had pulled up to the gates, ahead of them was a change, they would never have dreamed about…

Along with the mist from the cold, in the air, hung a silence. The uncertainty of what kind of beings were about to be met, caused a shy to shadow the boy and his sister. A friendly girl with blue hair hops over and says with a smile “Hey! We haven’t met. What’s your names?”. And so the bonds of friendship began to form. After three days of learning, bonding and fun, the boy and his sister had declared that they don’t want to go back to school. And they didn’t. They didn’t even go back just to finish the year.

This story is about me and my family. My name is Tariq Pasha – aka Blandite – and this is my story about the beginning of a journey with no end…

After a lot of thinking, discussion, and discrepancies, a decision was made to “Travel The World”. A year after the event at Merry Pebbles, we had sold all our household items, given away many items of clothing – which was honestly the hardest part for me because I’m all about style – and we sold our car. We had left our home, our friends and family, our city and our country to explore more (more is undefined as there is a lot that it holds. Like more of the world, more of ourselves, etc.). I was all for it. I mean travelling the world at such a young age is an opportunity that not many people get. Sure, leaving behind the people I love and care about hurt a bit, but nothing is free these days. Anyway, we left for the airport on the night of November 1st, 2017 and took our first Emirates Airlines flight to India.

Udaipur is a small city in North-west India and the beginning city of our travels. An Unschooler’s Winter Camp was on there at around the same time as the one in South Africa. It was a two month camp, held in Shikshantar (a resource centre for learners not in school). It was an incredible experience as we were living in a dorm with 23 other kids and no parents. We slept on thin mattresses on the floor and took bucket baths. We had different teams for different tasks (like the breakfast team, morning prep team, etc.) that changed weekly. There was an “entrepreneurs week”.  We had to form groups and start our own business. I loved this. We had to make a business proposal (with a suggested loan sum ) and then start the business and make enough money to pay back the loan and make a profit. Not to brag,  but my team’s company was the most successful. Actually, I am bragging. For the business proposal, everybody else did theirs on a chart while we did ours on PowerPoint. We had taken the smallest loan and opened the company called PlantCil. Yes, it’s like an ordinary pencil, but when you’re done using it, then the end of the pencil has a seed inside so that you can plant it. Shikshantar was amazing and everybody was heartsore when we split after two months.

Quite a few of us went with Shikshantar to Bangalore (south of India ) where the annual LSuC – Learning Societies unConference was held. It was a fun event and very resourceful. It was here that we met friends from South Africa. At the time, two months without South African connections was a long time.This was the family that hosted the camp in South Africa and educated us about Unschooling. It was just wonderful to get back together. It was even better when they moved on to Goa and asked us to join them. We had no plans of where to go next so we did. We joined them.

Goa (South-east of India ) is known for its beautiful beaches. Although it could never compare to our beach in Durban, it was nice. In Goa, was the first time I road a scooter on a road. My mother was anxious to ride a scooter-bike because of childhood scares from a bicycle accident, so I had to learn to ride it insted. I had already begun to learn to drive a car in South Africa but this was so much easier. It was automatic transmission and braking was so simple. I learned to ride it in less than an hour.

After a bit of a holiday in Goa, and when our friends were going back to South Africa, we decided to downsize. We had left South Africa with 5 suitcases and 4 backpacks. We packed the biggest suitcase with all the stuff we were holding onto but didn’t really need and the stuff that was taking up too much space or adding too much weight (including my Ollie toy). I loved it like a pet. We asked a favour for our friends to take this suitcase back to South Africa with them. Lucky for us, they are kind stars.

Our next destination was filled with new friends, reunions, new games, old games, and an epic new adventure…

Wait for the next post for an exciting new tale.

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