Browsing Category

Blog

Blog

Hiking New Hampshire’s 4000 Footers with Children

June 30, 2019
Stopping briefly on the trail to Mount Pierce, one of New Hampshire’s forty-eight 4,000 footers, in the White Mountains.

Hiking New Hampshire’s Forty-Eight 4000 Footers is a tall challenge, and for some the perfect short or long-term adventure.

In the tiny little state of New Hampshire, you can find forty-eight (48) 4,000 ft high mountains. Locals and avid hikers call them the 4,000 footers. The majority of them are found within ‘the Whites’ (White Mountains), including Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288.2 ft.

The idea of hiking all 48 peaks is fascinating to many people who love to hike and also to those looking for a short or long-term challenge. I have several friends who love hiking in the White’s, some of them make peak bagging in the Whites a regular outdoor activity.

People come from all over the US and world to hike in New Hampshire. People who hike all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 Footers can earn a respectable NH48 patch.

If you’re looking for a new life goal or short-term project, hiking in New Hampshire might make a good adventure. It should be said, however, don’t be fooled by the precautions and preparations you must make to hike in the Whites. The 4,000 footers may be smaller than say mountains in the Alps, but the conditions, geography, and isolation of the mountains can make hiking unprepared or hiking without smarts, simply dangerous. Mount Washington alone is known for its unpredictable weather and warning signs inform hikers that it is one of the deadliest mountains. Even in summer, one can find snow, freak storms, and other dangers, such as rockfall.

A few years ago, the kids and I attempted a hike in the Whites in mid June and turned back after several hours of hiking due to the snow and ice we encountered.

Early this month, we lucked out with early summer weather and had the opportunity to hike two of the forty-eight footers, Mount Pierce and Mount Eisenhower. The bugs, however, below treeline were horrendous–and I accidentally left the bug spray in the car!

Peak Bagging in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Hiking 4,000 Footers with Children

While my list of 4,000 footers in New Hampshire with my children is short, we have extensive hiking experience, as I have previously blogged about, including our recent 100K St. Cuthbert’s Way Hike in Scotland, The Camino de Santiago, and The Tour du Mont Blanc. I have previously followed a family of three on Instagram who recently finished hiking the forty-eight, and I recall seeing a blog one of a woman who was attempting to hike them with her two young daughters.

I certainly believe that many things are possible with children. This adventure may certainly be one of them, provided you do some independent research on the peaks before you set out so you know what you are getting yourself and group into, including ensuring that you are prepared, know the weather, have some prior hiking with kids (or outside) experience, are adequately packed with the right gear, have a map and know how to use it, and have a backup/change of plan strategy. Keeping in mind its imperative to consider the age, fitness, abilities, and unique personality of your child, and know that this adventure is not for everyone, not only so you don’t bite off too much to chew too soon, but to ensure that everyone has a good, positive experience.

Some people complete all 48 quickly; some in less than a year, others over a span of many years. Whether you’re hiking with children, solo, with a friend, or in a group, with plans to do one, several, or all 48 peaks, you’re sure to create an experience you’ll remember. And, if you can’t make it to New Hampshire, look for trails closer to home and create your own challenge! Happy hiking!

Blog

Fake and Real Aspects of the Travel Lifestyle on Social Media: What You See Isn’t the Complete Picture

June 27, 2019
Julie, Wandermom, in Nantes, France. The travel lifestyle often looks shiny, but it’s not always easy. You don’t see homesickness, long distance relationships, tears on pillows on Instagram–you don’t feel what a heavy heart feels like when you’re across the ocean from someone you love.

The travel lifestyle often looks shiny, but it’s not always easy. You don’t see homesickness, long distance relationships, tears on pillows on Instagram–you don’t feel what a heavy heart feels like when you’re across the ocean from someone you love. – Julie, Wanderschool.com

Not pictured above: Dirty Laundry: The agony, struggle, heartbreak, sadness, frustration, the buckets of tears, and ups & downs of a difficult month of slow travel.

The travel lifestyle often looks shiny and irresistibly tempting on Instagram (or anywhere on social media, for that matter),

An addictive rush,

New places, new people–

New everything whenever or wherever the mood or opportunity strike,

A chance to be who you are without preconceptions or limitations,

But the truth is,

It doesn’t matter where you go,

Or where you are now,

Or how popping your insta page is,

Everyday is a new day to–

Recreate,

Reinvent,

Redefine,

Reshape,

Recommit to

Who you are,

Who you aren’t,

What you need

What you want–or don’t

Where you ultimately want to go,

Everyday is a new day

To do your laundry–

To clean up,

To shine brighter than anything that could ever possibly be contained or displayed in square boxes.

To make this life yours.

To do you.

-Julie, Wanderschool

Follow us on Instragram @wanderschooling

Blog

How You, Your Teen, or Your Homeschooler Can Study or Go to University in France

June 27, 2019
My teenager reading “90210” in French on the train to Paris; she found the book in a free “Little Library” near the station.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately researching how my teenagers can gain admission to university in France. My oldest teen is currently taking university classes in the United States, however, she wants to explore her degree granting options in Europe.

She is particularly interested in going to France.

First, off, that pesky little language thing. While I am no expert, my research does consistently point to the need for demonstrated French language proficiency to gain entrance into universities in France. The French are big into diplomas and certificates for just about everything.

So, if you, your teen, or your homeschooler is already a French speaking pro. Cross the language hurdle off your list.

However, if French skills are lacking, you have options. Beyond the obvious, yet complicated, option of packing everything up and relocating to France (or another French speaking region, such as Quebec, Canada), you can consider language schools, American school/university exchanges, work exchanges, or trying to gain university admission that will grant admission, but require preparatory courses before beginning credited course work.

To demonstrate French skills, you or your student will like have to prove language skills by way of DELP or DALF diplomas. From my research, these diplomas are awarded by the French Ministry of Education. Language schools or self-study guides can prepare you for the tests.

If you make your way to France, there are language schools that offer weekly classes for beginners, as well as many teachers offering private lessons. A few years ago, when I spent a month in Paris with my children, they attended language school for one week; I probably would have enrolled them for a longer period of time, however, I wanted to spend time exploring the city with them!

Campus France

Non-French residents, such as American students, can find schools, programs, entry requirements, visa information, and apply for those programs in France through Campus France. My research suggests that students who already have degrees or are beyond their first year of post high-school studies can contact and apply to schools directly.

Recently, I met a California woman in Nantes, France, who was working on her Master’s Degree at the local university. She explained that admission itself was straightforward, but that there was a lot of paperwork to do. Lots and lots of paperwork is so very French. She explained that when she arrived she had zero French language skills, but she was required to enroll in the university’s French as a foreign language courses before she could proceed with fulfilling the requirements of her degree.

Funky Degree Names

When you are researching French schools, don’t be surprised when you see the term ‘License’ which is used to describe the Bachelor level of studies in France. Master and doctoral level degrees are also available to pursue, and they seem to use familiar naming conventions that most Americans are likely to understand.

Cost of Higher Education in France

The significantly lower cost of higher education in France is likely worth the time and effort that might be required of taking French classes, passing any language proficiency tests, or going further in university studies. Non EU-students, while they have to pay differentiated registration fees, still pay a much lower price tag for university education than that in the US, thanks to French government tuition subsidies.

Homeschoolers

Homeschooling is a legal and acceptable, although still uncommon, way to complete education requirements in France. Accordingly, it’s my understanding that there is a route for French homeschoolers to attend university (typically, they have to satisfy tests), so it stands to reason that homeschoolers from outside France who can satisfy requirements (e.g., diploma, transcripts of their home place or satisfy tests) should also be eligible for admission. In the coming months, my family may go down this route, and if so, I’ll write an update.

If your homeschooler has gained admission to a French university, please leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experiences, as I’m sure my readers would also appreciate learning about them.