The Road of Life: Interviews with Lainie & Miro – Part One

Burning Man Festival
Burning Man 2008 – night times by Rachel Smith

Being on the ‘Road of Life’ does keep people in a somewhat constant state of flux. There is bad (or non-existent) internet, dead computers, travel time and a host of other issues. I must confess, it also took me a bit of time to compose questions that weren’t in the “So, whatcha up to?” style too. But, between the revolving “I’m sorry.” “No, I’m sorry” e-mails we finally came together on this interview. Actually, it will be posted in two parts as ‘bonus’ Q&As were offered up by Miro and worthy of inclusion. (They will be split into two parts also.)

So, without further ado, let’s see what Miro and Lainie have to say about their adventures in part one!!

Miro: How do you see the difference, if there is one, between a classroom setting with other students taught by many teachers versus the non-classroom setting taught by a few, or just one?

I think regular school sucks, frankly.

I think regular school sucks, frankly. It’s boring and most of the time, too easy. Now, I learn by researching online, watching videos, reading books and talking to others. Learning this way is more fun. I really don’t have a classroom setting now, learning on the road of life is what it’s about.

Lainie: How has the basic education process for Miro, i.e. reading, writing, arithmetic, changed or not changed your thoughts on a formal “classroom setting” for children?

Miro Panama
Panama City by Shea Stone

I have always known that every child has their own learning style, and Miro is no exception. He’s brilliant, has a quick mind and stays engaged when he’s interested. He absorbs quickly and in regular classroom settings, the challenge is to keep him engaged. When he was in traditional school in the states, he would finish his school work in class then read a book, or write a story or draw, because he had time to kill. The teachers got wise to this and put him in charge of tutoring the other children in his class. However, he’d often return from school with complaining that he wasn’t learning anything in school and it was a waste of time. As we’ve been traveling, we’ve adapted the approach of “un-schooling”. Rather, I let Miro choose what interests him, from reading, to video games, research, writing and drawing. It’s self-guided, so he’s engaged in whatever he does. The only topic he does not naturally gravitate to is arithmetic, even though he was great at it school. So be it. If at some point he chooses to go to college, he will have to prep himself in the topics required in order to test into whatever system he’s applying for. He’s smart enough to catch up in any topic, since the American school system is about taking and passing tests and necessarily learning, I have no doubts he’ll be able to do just fine.

How has this process changed my thoughts about traditional classroom settings? It’s not for everyone, nor is our lifestyle for that matter.

Miro: Tell me about the Burning Man Festival! What was your favorite part of the experience?

Burning Man was awesome! Everyone referred to me as “Provolone” or “Cheddar”. Why? For I am “Lord of the Cheese”.

Burning Man was awesome! Even though we didn’t go this year, my mom promised me we’ll go next. My favorite part was the giant slide on the playa and the people at kidsville. Everyone came up with a playa name. Everyone referred to me as “Provolone” or “Cheddar”. Why? For I am “Lord of the Cheese”.

Lainie: The experience of many peoples in many cultures is a valuable teaching tool for a growing mind. How has this helped you in raising Miro?

I have always raised Miro with cultural, political, and spiritual sensitivity…. or at least I like to think I have. I have taught him compassion for people and animals. Our travels has allowed him to exercise that compassion, and those opportunities have helped me give to my son, the one thing I dreamt of giving him when he was born, a kinder and gentler world.

Miro: Your mom and you have been podcasting and blogging a lot in the last year. How do the two of you distribute the “work load” for both of these projects? (And, do you have a title like “Grand Podcaster” or “Miro the Magnificent Good At Card Tricks Too”?)

Um, (laughs a little)… my mom really does most of the work. Now, she threatens to make me start writing my own blog column, so I guess that is coming up soon. I do help her by proofing her articles and of course do the podcasts. Don’t forget though, I’m a vital part of this story!

*Editors Note: Miro has begun writing his own blog at Miro Unedited.

Lainie: Silly question, but… You’ve been traveling for over a year now – how have the REI hiking boots held up? (Inquiring hiking minds want to know!)

Both of our hiking boots have held up fine! Our backpacks have too for that matter. Some of the other valuable REI purchases we’ve not been able to live without include our travel towels, our sleeping bags and our Steripen water purifier.

Miro: Do you have a favorite place you’ve visited? If so, where and why?

Guatemala. Everything was so chill-ax. We had a great community of friends. The only bad part is, my mom made me go to school there and I had to wake up at 6:00 to catch the shuttle.

Lainie: It’s a great big world out there, how do you decide where to go next – throw a dart, GPS, use old pirate maps?

enchantedimagesart piratemap
Pirate Map Courtesy of Enchanted Images Art

I wish it was so romantic or mysterious or technologically smart. Our locations are determined by a few simple things – where we physically are at the point of decision, how much money we have, and if I have work.

To the first point, we are slow traveling and traveling over land, as much as possible. We are trying to travel as light as possible, with both our carbon footprint, our ownership of stuff and our overall consumption. Our “next” location is usually determined by our last location and so on. However after we complete our travels in South America, we will either need to take a boat to Africa or fly somewhere, but we never know until we know…

…we know our podcasts have been inspiring people to live their own inspiration and let go of the fear preventing many women and single mothers living their life to the fullest.

To the second point, money determines our travels as well. We have exhausted our savings after one year of traveling and to continue to live, not just travel, work is required. I work where I can, sometimes remotely for freelance clients in the United States (my former career as a marketer, brander and designer). Other times I take on small jobs locally. We have been totally penniless on the road twice, but alas, the universe always takes care of us. In both cases, I had either received payment from client who had not paid for months or signed on a new project in just the nick of time. I know it sounds risky and a lot of people are not comfortable living without security, (especially in a foreign country) but frankly, if we were back in the states, the stakes would be a lot higher with today’s economy and we would not be having the adventure we are having. Today, Miro and I try to live on a combined budget of $1,000 a month and without receiving child support of any kind, I simply need to make it work and always seem to be able to. Without fail, we always end up having exactly what we need and have no doubts we will continue to.

Along the same lines, we are actively trying to attract the right sponsors to as a way to support our continued journey. From the feedback we receive on a daily basis, we know our podcasts have been inspiring people to live their own inspiration and let go of the fear preventing many women and single mothers living their life to the fullest. That is one of the greatest achievements thus far.

Thank You Monsters
Thank You Monsters by Miro

Bonus Q&As from Miro:

Bonus 1. When you are not traveling, what do you do most of your time?

I am usually playing video games, researching on the internet, or sleeping…

Bonus 2. Which do you prefer? Traveling or staying in one place for a period of time?

I like both actually, although I would prefer traveling.

Bonus 3. What is the hardest thing about your lifestyle?

Probably getting up from bed!

Bonus 4. On your web site, it says you and your mom will be traveling until you are 18. That seems like an awfully long time. Do you ever get tired of traveling?

I haven’t gotten tired of it yet, but I think it may happen.


You can follow Lainie and Miro at Raising Miro on the Road of Life. Also, don’t forget there will be a part two of this interview to be published soon.

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