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Christina | Rooted_Homelife | Upstate New York

Welcome back to another edition of Cozy Cabin Chats!


In this series, we chat and hear inspiring stories of Airbnb hosts who have worked hard to transform their spaces into cozy havens for travelers. Alongside these hosts, the series also features insightful conversations with creators who use travel to connect with a broader audience, explore new communities and cultures, and ignite their creativity.


On the blog as a whole, we aim to share our family's exciting travels and experiences and those of other inspiring women. That's why we regularly feature interviews with everyday women just like you! 


In this interview, you’ll meet Christina, who shares her experience of homeschooling her kids while working full-time as a travel content creator. 


Christina and her delightful family of seven reside in picturesque upstate New York. She spends her days crafting homeschool curriculum and hanging out on snowy slopes while skiing or hiking through stunning landscapes of the Northeast. Additionally, she makes and enjoys scrumptious family-style breakfasts at cozy Airbnb with her cozy fam! 


It's impressive how Christina seamlessly incorporates travel and nature into her children's learning experiences, igniting their curiosity and passion for growth! 


If you want to follow their exciting adventures through upstate New York, the Northeast, and homeschooling, check out their Instagram at @rooted_homelife.











Tell us a little about yourself and your family!


We are an unconventional homeschooling family of seven living in upstate NY. Our children are ages 4, 5, 8, 12, and 16, and we focus more on living life together and learning along the way than on trying to recreate school at home. We love our home and cultivate this safe space, but we spend much of our days outdoors, often traveling and exploring the Northeast.











The Wandering Tourists is about stepping outside the box and diving deeper into travel, nature, and life! We are on a mission to inspire other mamas and families to explore and adventure! What is your great wanderlust? What makes you come most alive? 


If budget weren’t an issue, we would travel at least 50% of the time worldwide! Maybe one day we will hit more National parks, backpack through Europe, or zipline in Costa Rica, but airfare for 7 is EXPENSIVE. I have a limit to how long I can tolerate being in a car—especially if I’m driving—so for now, we stick to around a 3.5-hour drive from home (5 at best!). 


But I’ve quickly learned how much there is to explore within that radius: Multiple states, mountains, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and unique places to stay. Seeing my children in nature—the summit after a hike (or a chairlift li

ft ride), exploring a stream, or building a fire in the backyard of a cool Airbnb makes me feel most alive.



 





 



Our readers would love to hear about how you incorporate nature into your daily routine! 


How did you discover your love of nature and the outdoors? Have you always known you were passionate about it, or was there a time or event that made you fall in love with it? 


Okay, this is actually a running joke in my family—I grew up in the inner city, hated bugs, and am notorious for pouting my way through Muir Woods (I know, I know, I regret this, trust me…). But when the world shut down, I had five very energetic kids 12 and under, and I quickly realized we had to find SOMEWHERE to go… this is where it all started.


We embarked on a hunt for all of the wide open spaces we could explore, and I realized little by little and all at once that it was the most peaceful place I remember any of us being. My super-active crew could run wild with reckless abandon, and all we needed was our bag of snacks, water, binoculars, and the occasional field guide.



In what ways have exploring, being in nature, and traveling impacted your identity and your experience of motherhood? 


Watching them wait to see a bald Eagle emerge from its nest or search through milkweed for a monarch caterpillar, watching them balance across slippery rocks and push that last stretch to the summit, has made me more flexible, simple, and yet more adventurous.


I used to be the mom throwing elaborate birthday parties, and I don’t regret those memories either. Still, the pressure to be the Pinterest mom loses all appeal when I realize I can be the mom who sits at the top of the mountain, sweaty and free, passing out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from my backpack.



💭This is an important message for parents to hear. We share the same sentiment that there are many places to visit and things to do within just a few hours of our home base. Sometimes, parents are urged to travel far and wide to create grandiose vacations. However, they often find themselves depleted after the trip or feel things did not go as planned.


You mentioned earlier that you no longer feel pressured to be a "Pinterest mom" after realizing how comfortable you are with yourself and your parenting choices. Social media has created a need for us to constantly showcase the highlights of our lives and compete with other parents, making it difficult sometimes. 



Your account, Rooted_Homelife, and ours and others, including Erica Lewis and Whitney Cardosi, confidently demonstrate that slow parenting and traveling at a relaxed pace are both okay and beneficial for families.



Click here for more tips on making family traveling streamlined and stress-free. 


What are some challenges you face in getting outside more with your kids? How do you overcome those challenges and make it happen anyway? 


The biggest challenge is getting out of the house! The scavenger hunt for the missing shoe, water bottle, or glove can sometimes be frustrating, but I can’t recall a time I regretted the adventure. Ok, maybe that one time last fall when we were hiking in the Adirondacks and were attacked by mosquitos the entire way up the mountain, but that will be a memory that we didn’t give up!


I think traveling and adventuring build character, grit, flexibility, and fuel to the fire for more adventure.


What advice or tips would you give for moms who see the benefits of spending more time outdoors with their kids, but just don't know how to get started and maybe feel overwhelmed by the process of figuring out where to go/ what to do?


Start small! 


Our first adventures were within a half hour of home, planned for only a few hours, and with very little expectation. We packed lots of snacks and water (still do!) and visited state parks with short trails and some kind of nature center. They often have bird-watching stations, some small creatures to meet, and usually a nature expert who is excited to show us all about the native species to be on the lookout for!


It makes my job easier as a mom to be outdoors—they can’t bounce off the walls if there aren’t any!




💭If you’re looking for more tips on traveling with kids, click here for a few of my favorites.










Following up with the last question, what are some tips for getting the kids excited and on board? 


Starting with small trails, with big payoffs on mild weather days, instead of massive hikes on a sweltering or freezing day, keeps everyone wanting more. We slowly built up to more extensive hikes and still try to stick to no more than a 3-mile hike out and back, so we are no 46ers, but we are getting out there!


State parks with beaches, hidden waterfalls, and breathtaking views are usually enough to convince even the most reluctant homebodies. And if all else fails, make it a tradition to stop for ice cream on the way home!


We have to know your favorite flavor of ice cream. Do you have a secret ice cream spot that you love? 

Oh, I couldn't pick just one ice cream shop, but I definitely love chocolate!



What’s one thing you MUST have with you when traveling? 


I think I’ve said this quite a bit already, but FOOD. If we are hangry, none of us will have a good time! But also water and a natural bug repellent!



💭 If your family is like mine and Christina's and get hangry you will want to check out our Top 10 Delicious and Easy Travel Snacks.



Can you share with our readers which family vacation stands out as the most memorable and enjoyable for you?


There are so many, but the one that sticks out is Acadia National Park. It’s the only National park we’ve been to, but we fell in love. In the weeks leading up to our trip, we borrowed countless books from the library, so each kid got to choose their top must-see spot in the park. It excited them to push through to get to each spot—even though it was a torrential downpour and we were soaked through our giant ponchos! 


But let me tell you—we made lifetime memories, and I’ll never forget cooking chili over a fire with the rain and wind coming sideways under our little tarp.


How do you feel about winter? What do you do to embrace seasonal changes?


We started warming up to winter last year, getting more adventurous with snowy hikes and snowshoeing, but it wasn’t until this year, when we learned to ski and snowboard, that we fell in love with winter. We’re excited for spring, but this is actually the first year we’ve been a little sad to see winter go. 


We’re already excited for next winter and the snowy cabin stays, finding new favorite places to ski, and returning to our favorites!














💭 We also love cozy cabins! We have compiled a list of the most charming cabins in the Northeast region. If you're already thinking ahead to next winter and want to explore the best cabin options available, head to our blog for more information.













Please share your experience in homeschooling with me. How long have you been doing it, and what motivated you to take this path?


Our homeschooling journey and our adventurous lifestyle bloomed simultaneously. When the world shut down, I was teaching high school English and quickly became a virtual teacher, and my children were virtual students. It did not take me long to realize I would not be sending them back to school in the fall, even after schools reopened because having them home cracked open my heart in a way that could never be closed.


I always grieved having to leave them to go to work, and the end of every maternity leave left me gutted. I always accepted it as a natural part of the process, but this was different.






I saw a life I never imagined—one where we had freedom in our days and didn’t have to miss a moment with them. It remains the best decision we ever made as a family.







You're hosting the Rooted Homeschool Retreat, where other homeschooling families can unite, step out into nature, and embrace the season. Where would it be located, and what activities do you plan to organize?


We hosted our first retreat this past fall along the Catskill Creek at a tiny house resort and it was really special. 12 homeschooling families came together for a few days to rest, explore, and connect. I would love to host my next one somewhere in the Adirondacks, but I still need to discover the perfect spot!


As a confident homeschooling mother and content creator, how do you balance both roles?


These two roles developed alongside one another. I took to Instagram to find guidance and inspiration from other homeschooling moms, as we didn’t know anyone who homeschooled then. I slowly started sharing our journey and connecting with other homeschooling moms, and my account grew.


I’ll never forget hitting 1,000 followers—I was blown away as it was something I never expected. I started a YouTube channel shortly after a push from my husband and my oldest son, and I never imagined we’d be where we are now. As far as balancing it all, I’m still figuring it out. It is often either late nights, early mornings, or both, and some seasons are busier than others, but I try to be picky with what I choose to say yes to, which has helped a lot.


How did you become such an accomplished travel content creator?


I still don’t see myself that way, but I’m honored! It is an interesting story about how we started frequenting Airbnb. To bring me home full-time, my husband took a job three hours away, which meant he was gone five days, and home two days.


This was hard for us because he’s a very hands-on father, and we all missed him. So as we searched for homes and land and tried to decide if we’d move, we realized that we had to do what was healthiest for the kids, and at that time, it meant renting an Airbnb every few weeks between his days off. So it became an adventure we looked forward to, to find a place near his job where we could still see him each night and explore during the day while he was at work. 


We fell in love with Airbnbs! When he eventually found a job closer to home, we still had that thirst for adventure, but it was no longer a priority line on our budget, so I started wondering if it was possible that Airbnb(s) might want to work with me. I reached out to a few, and to my surprise, one said yes!


It inspired me to keep going, and although I heard lots of “no”s, and many that didn’t respond at all, I started receiving more and more yeses until eventually, I started having Airbnbs reach out to me! It has been the most incredible adventure, and I’m so excited to see where it goes next!


In May I’m attending a Creators Retreat hosted by Jon Kreye, and Hayden and Nikki from Journey More, and I’m so excited to learn from some of the best in the business!


💭That is incredible. In our field, it's crucial to establish connections with other creators to continue learning, growing, and thriving. Being an independent social media content business owner can be isolating, so having a group to connect with is helpful in navigating this journey.



Last question: Let's pretend we are hosting a travel content weekend. Where should we go, what other travel content creators are we inviting, and what activities should we plan?


Oh man, this is a tough one! I fell in love with the central coast of California last year, so that’s the first place that comes to mind, but that’s a long trip for a weekend! Zion National Park could work, too, but it is also very far. But since I’m being a little unrealistic, let’s add Scotland and Greece to the list, too!


We need Lindsey from @wanderingdarlings, Lindsay from @lanelesstraveled, Sammy from @bigheartstinyspaces, and Dominique from @welltraveledchild! I want them to choose what we do because they have the best adventures!



What else would you like to share with our readers? 


I share most of our adventures on Instagram @rooted_homelife, more long-form homeschooling content on YouTube at Rooted Homelife, and I have a newsletter that I try to keep the first place where I share new things!


I can also be found as a contributing creator at Made2Homeschool, an online homeschool community. I usually drop new resources in Homeschool MEGA bundles before listing them in my Etsy shop or sharing them with Made2Homeschool members.




 


💭 Thank you, Christina, for taking the time to chat with us today! Learning more about your background and how you began this incredible journey was a real treat. It's truly inspiring to see how you make homeschooling, nature, and traveling a priority for your family. 


We appreciate how you use your platform to inspire other moms to cultivate their homes while chasing adventure!


Interested in reading more Cozy Cabin Chats? CLICK HERE to explore other conversations on the blog!

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