Nayla is 4 years old and since her birth, she is nomad on a bike. She discovers the world to the rhythm of the bicycle. 25,000 km meeting local people and their customs. Everything is an excuse to discover and quench her thirst for learning through the countries we are passing through. Of course, her education is very important. We then sit together to learn writing, reading and mathematics. Nayla does the school next to the tent on the roads of the world.
– Come! Try my taiko! Said Kanon. Look at me, and hit the drum this way! She adds with a smile.
Nayla attended a traditional Japanese drum concert. She met Kanon, an 8-year-old girl, with whom she got along well. Here we are now at the training. The group of children, ages 3 to 12, is training for the next concert. The movements of the children impress Nayla. They sometimes turn into dancers, sometimes into a warrior, while the rhythms change and the beats combine with each other. Here we are at the heart of Japanese traditions. The drums have punctuated the lives of the inhabitants for centuries. At the time of striking the taiko, Nayla realizes, however, that it is not so simple to make the skin vibrating.
On the Roads of the World
– Travel before you have children! After it is no longer possible! our friends told us.
Nayla was born in 2013 in Malaysia during the long journey that we undertake. Swiss couple, we started this adventure on our bicycles from our homeland in 2010. We never thought that the adventure we dreamed up, imagined then created, will turn out to be more than a journey, more than an exploration. In fact, it has become our life. A life of nomads by bike as a family. Little by little, we took our daughter into this life. Today Nayla rides on her small bike thanks to a tandem system. When she is tired, she sits peacefully in her trailer. It is her house sheltered from all external elements. She then enjoys reading, playing, writing or resting. Today, our nomadic life continues after more than 60,000 km on the roads of the world.
-How are you going to do for the education of your daughter? A Taiwanese family questioned.
The reality of this nomadic life is that everything is an excuse to learn, for Nayla and for us. It is learning experiences on the Earth scale and tinged with the traditions and cultures of the countries we are passing through. How do they fish for salmon on the island of Hokkaido, where rice grows in South Korea, what are the traditional or national sports of different countries and different ways of writing?
Meeting With the Local Population
– Jump up! Make a roll! The master of Hapkido in Korean said.
Nayla has the chance of attending Hapkido classes. It is a Korean martial art based on self-defence. More than a fighting sport, it is above all a philosophy of life, in search of harmony with the body and spirit.
-“A pirouette!” exclaims the Chinese dance teacher.
This time Nayla is meeting the young ballerinas in Taiwan.
In each country, Nayla meets the local people. And our bikes are often an excuse. Every time we can, we stop at playgrounds. On Hokkaido Island, at each break, Nayla played with children of all ages, developing her social skills, as well as empathy. Language is never a problem, especially between children. They take each other by the hand and go play!
She discovers the customs and traditions of the countries. On Shikoku Island in Japan, she learns to pray in Buddhist temples as we follow the pilgrimage of the 88 sacred temples. She discovers the Geishas in the narrow streets of Kyoto. She marvels at the fabulous Angkor temples in Cambodia. She learns how to make the Chinese tea ceremony in the heart of the Yunnan mountains. She watches a child taking part in a buffalo race in Thailand. She participated in the Bunun Festival, one of the indigenous tribes of Taiwan. She is amazed by the draft horse races, called Ban’ei, in Hokkaido.
– I would like to sleep here! exclaims Nayla.
Nayla makes friends all over the world. This time she refuses to leave. She wants to stay alone for a few days in a Taiwanese family that we know well. They are our friends, and we stayed in their home for two weeks. We agree! Nayla plunges into Taiwanese life for three days. She tries to eat noodles with chopsticks, like her hosts, a fun game! It is also in this family that she will learn some Chinese words. It was in this way that she learned Japanese, simply meeting people. She is also fluent in French and English.
The School at the Tent
Nayla enjoys the school at the tent a lot. These are important moments when she can quench her thirst for learning and where we help her to discover mathematics, writing and reading. She then sits in the confined space of the tent or in the wilderness, and takes her pencils. For us, it is very important. We are then at her side to teach her and to give her the necessary basic for her learning. She already knows many letters and has been able to write her name for a long time. We also spend a lot of time reading stories, mainly in the tent, when the weather is bad. In her trailer, it is also her privileged moment to read her books. Then Nayla tells the story out loud so we can hear it. She also likes to create, we spend time doing things, like origami in Japan. When the weather is fine, she brings out her paintbrushes and paints with euphoria. She also likes to look at the map of the world and follow our route. Lately, she learns songs in all languages, simply by listening to them through a small speaker in her trailer. Then she sings at the top of her voice as soon as she has the opportunity. For her, a Monday looks strangely like a Sunday, on the other hand, she knows the north, the south, the east and the west. She is only 4 years old, and the school will gradually take up more and more time, integrated in our nomadic life.
Nature as a teacher!
Nayla loves to live outside, and she helps us to set up the camp or run after her ball. Above all, she never gets bored. Nature is an extraordinary teacher. She plays in streams, chooses flowers, selects dead leaves with autumn colours, bathes in lakes or natural hot springs. She discovers the cycle of seasons and the life of animals. Insects are an eternal wonder, but she has also discovered deer, Japanese cranes, snakes, water monitor, scorpions, monkeys, foxes, turtles and tropical fish. She crosses completely different environments: deserts, high mountains, tropical forests, oceanside, the winters in the Far North, the islands. And once again, it is new experiences, like water scarcity, or life in altitude.
– And her passion? asks a child in South Korea.
Nayla loves the water. Since the age of two, she knows how to swim! She is as graceful as a dolphin. Coordinated and agile, she climbs trees, downhill skies at two-and-a-half, and is cycling alone at three.
– How long will you continue this life?
This question comes back in a loop. We plan to cycle through the Northern countries. This life of nomads and simplicity, which we create every day, is a choice of life. The most important thing for us is that each member of our family is in balance. And the result is that we feel in harmony and happy. Nayla is extrovert, open to others, empathetic and speaks several languages. She is coordinated, athletic and full of life. She is assiduous and takes advantage of every opportunity to learn.
Celine, Xavier and Nayla