After many trips together and a lot of thought, 38-year-old Martya Bruyel and 42-year-old Daniel Gimeno decided to leave everything behind and travel the world in a van with their three small children, who are aged one, three and six. They have left behind school, their apartment and the locksmith company that supported them, but also Madrid’s traffic, pollution and noise.
We try to give the children a routine within which every day is different
Mother Martya Bruyel
In the first part of their trip, which began in December, the family will spend two years traveling across the Americas, all the way from Patagonia to Alaska. After that, they plan to travel throughout Asia for two years and then around Africa for another two. However, these exciting adventures do have their complications. The family has had to learn how to live together in an eight-square-meter truck and work out what to do when the children become agitated, explains Bruyel on a video call from a parking lot south of Chile, while the children wave in the background. “We try to give the children a routine within which every day is different,” she says.
After waking up and eating breakfast, Tao and Dhara, the eldest children, are home schooled by Bruyel, who teaches them to read, add and subtract, while Gimeno looks after the youngest.
Bruyel is currently following the textbooks that her children began in September in Madrid. Starting next year, Tao will be enrolled in the Education Ministry’s online distance education program (CIDEAD) and will have to study the regulated content so he can be examined online. But his parents value more the kind of education that isn’t found in textbooks, such as communication skills and the lessons learned while traveling. “I obviously passed natural science,” says Tao.
Although they have an itinerary, Bruyel understands that it’s not easy to plan such a long and ambitious trip. “We want to learn how people live in other countries,” she says, explaining that they have proposed shooting a documentary series as a way to finance their adventures, which are currently being paid for by their family savings.
Since the family’s van arrived in Uruguay at the end of 2018, they have been driving south to reach the end of the continent. The family spent Christmas in the Sierra de la Ventana, a village in Argentina, where the children painted images on the van to help Santa Claus in case he got lost, and Three King’s Day in the province of Río Negro, in the Patagonia region of Argentinian. Bruyel’s birthday was spent in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. After Christmas they drove north to the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina and into Patagonia on the Chilean side.
The family has proposed shooting a documentary series as a way to finance their adventure
Before starting their international adventure, “Los Mundo” (The Worlds), as the family is called on social media, went on a few trips to practice traveling with the children. In 2017, they visited Thailand and Vietnam with the two children they had at the time, and last year they traveled around Morocco in a van that they also slept in. It was in Vietnam where the couple decided to leave everything behind and travel the world. “We saw our children playing with Vietnamese children and we recognized their ability to communicate through the game they had created,” says Bruyel.
The internet, although not always available, has allowed the family to remain in contact with relatives and friends back in Spain. Tao and Dhara frequently write to their classmates and Bruyel and Gimeno periodically send videos back to their parents, who never understood their decision to travel. “My parents fought almost until the last day,” says Bruyel. The next time the grandparents will see their grandchildren will be in the summer. And it won’t be in Spain, it’ll be in Peru.
English version by Asia London Palomba.