Author Cindy Ross.  Photo Courtesy Cindy Ross

 

BETHEL — Author Cindy Ross will be visiting Gould Academy Thursday, April 11, to present her newest book “The World Is Our Classroom.”

The book focuses on her family’s 3,100 mile trek from Canada to Mexico and the impact it left on them.

The life-changing experience started in the Rocky Mountains wilderness, where her family, using llamas to transport their children and supplies, embarked on the first leg their expedition. They tackled 500 miles each summer until they reached the Mexican Border in 1998.

Since their journey they’ve taken a unique approach on how to educate their children. Her focus is on nature and travel.

“They spent their formative years out on the Continental Divide when we were doing the whole trail from Canada to Mexico,” Ross said. “That’s where they grew up and when I realized how much we were teaching them.”

A child psychologist told her that their brains develop differently and that’s what happens when they’re stimulated and make decisions at a young age. It causes a massive jump in their creativity levels. Her son is a excellent example. He now works as an illustrator, and Ross thinks how he was raised played a role in this.

Her daughter is “saving the world.” She is Project Manager (the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool) for the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia, where she helps coastal communities better their resilience to coastal flooding.

She is also managing editor for Pennsylvania magazine, a fundraiser for Virginia Sierra Club and serves as president of the Citizens Climate Action Group in Charlottesville, which she started.

“I’ve been raising and educating my kids in this style using experiences to teach them in traveling and being in nature since they were born. I started to realize how much they were learning about 10 years ago.”

The realization got her writing once again.

After a decade of work, her book was published last September.

Making parents and grandparents realize the influence they can have in their children’s lives is one thing Ross hopes this story can accomplish.

“We’re the most important teachers that they’ll ever have, and the most influential and impacting,” she said. “What we say and show them in life really makes an impact, we have tremendous power so we better use it the best way we can to do a good job.”

Her children did a combination of homeschooling and public school for seven years and then they taught themselves the final six years before college.

Another goal of the book is to inspire people who crave more excitement in life. There are many ideas in the book that Ross believes can help get on the track to a “bigger and more adventurous life.”

Outside of her books, Ross has also had several articles published in newspapers and has written more than 1,000 magazine articles. She has also appeared on television numerous times.

Ross has completed the “triple crown” of hiking, having hiked the Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles), Pacific Crest Trail (2,654) and the Appalachian Trail (2,184 miles).

“Being out there, regardless of how hard it is, or what the weather is like, sooner or later the sun comes out and it’s worth it. It’s a pretty popular thing to do all three of them now,” she said.

She grew up outside of Reading, Pa. and still lives in the state today, now residing in New Ringgold. The outdoors remains a huge part of her life.

“I go for a walk or a bike ride everyday just to move and be outside in nature,” she said.

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