The Family Adventures Summit wants to encourage and empower families who are just starting out on their journeys towards long-term family travel. That is why we are bringing you our Community Wisdom series!
We have asked families who are living a lifestyle of travel to contribute a piece of wisdom that they would like to share with the traveling family community.
Here is what they had to say…….
Mary Hickcox from Bohemian Travelers
My community wisdom is two fold. To start you will most likely run into people that simply do not get what you are doing at all. They may mock, ask rude questions or flat out tell you how selfish and dangerous what you are attempting is. My simple advice is to totally ignore them. They don’t have to get it and if they aren’t willing to jump into a new adventure in life they probably never will. But I can say from experience that in time most people change their tune and while not fully understanding, you usually find that they tend to understand a bit more. After seeing you and yours thrive for a few years people change their tune! So do what you love and feel a passion for, it rubs off on people because as they say seeing is believing!
Second, when it comes to the actual travel I think the most important thing to do is to be flexible and realistic with your expectations. You may think hostel stays and living on $10 a day will be exotic and exciting but measure your true ability to live that way. It’s OK to spend more or less depending on what will give you more lasting power in this new journey. It is, after all, YOUR journey! You will have days where you question yourself and the decisions that were made, but that’s all part of the journey. All experiences are worth it, even the bad ones. In fact, some of our best stories come from those “bad” experiences so soak in them, learn from them, and move on!! You’ve got this!
Erin Bender from Travel With Bender
Two of the biggest things I wish we had taken more notice of before heading out on our nomadic journey was 2 very normal, everyday life items – banking and mail.
Setting up a PO Box service to scan and email mail is a must for someone who is never home. And a bank that doesn’t charge exorbitant overseas transaction fees is important too. The fees are not the only thing to contemplate, but also extra bank cards. One day we were renting a card and our credit card was placed on hold, it made things very tricky without the backup and with a timeline difference. Always have backup cards for emergencies. And, of course, this is easier to organize before you go nomad.
Although the life of a nomad is exciting and spontaneous and often very fluid, before you get going you must be prepared. It takes just a few small things to make digital life that much easier.
Monique Alvarez from Monique Alvarez Enterprises
For those starting out on the journey of becoming a traveling family, I would say it’s natural for those around you to discourage your ideas and path. For the most part, they mean well. They love you and will not only miss you but are worried for you. For those who do not have a love affair with travel, it’s difficult for them to wrap their minds around. This doesn’t mean you have to break the relationship, nor does it mean that you have to change your plans.
If you haven’t traveled other than on vacations it’s important to remember that moving to another country is a completely different ball game. It’s about creating a lifestyle in your new location and shifting out of vacation mode. It’s important to slow down and go with the flow. Things won’t happen on your timetable. Things will be different and that’s a good thing. Relax and look for what’s perfect around you. Focus on relationships, meals, and conversations and it will be a very meaningful time in your life.
Amy Sztupovszky from Worldschool Adventures
My husband and I started dreaming of family travel soon after we got married, before we even had kids! It took us years to get to a place where we could begin to travel as a family but we did it because we committed to that goal. My biggest piece of advice for someone just starting out on their traveling journey is to decide what it is that you really want and then fully commit. You will most likely need to make sacrifices in order to make your dreams your reality but those sacrifices won’t seem so hard when they are in line with your dreams!
Know that just as you are always changing, your travel dreams will change as well, and that is OK. The important thing is to always be re-evaluating what makes sense for you in this moment and what makes sense for your family. Always keep your goals in the forefront and work towards them. It is not always easy to live life unconventionally but it is worth it! So keep on turning those dreams into your reality!
Nancy Sathre-Vogel from Family On Bikes
My main piece of advice is to just do it. Don’t over plan. Don’t try to figure out each and every possibility. Don’t even attempt to cross every t and dot every i. Just go – and figure it out on the road. Too many dreams have died due to over planning.
Josée Bergeron from Backwoods Mama
When my three children were seven, four and two years old we took them on their first big adventure across the globe to Thailand. Some people thought we were crazy but we didn’t let the naysayers hold us back. There was a lot of preparation and planning that went into that trip but there was one thing that made our trip absolutely amazing: friends!
We travelled through Thailand with not one, but two families. All together we were six adults and seven kids! One family had already travelled extensively through Thailand, and had travelled ahead of two months early. When we arrived in Bangkok they welcomed us with open arms and yummy food. Those are the best kind of friends! Then we rented a van, piled in and drove through Thailand from Chiang Mai to Phuket. It was crazy – crazy awesome!
I can’t say enough about travelling with friends. Our kids were never bored, always having someone to play with. The adults would hang out, taking turns watching the kids and cooking meals. When things got tough (and trust me they did!) we were there to support and love each other through it.
So if you have friends that want to travel with you, jump on that opportunity! I promise that you won’t regret it.
Greg Denning from Worldschool Family
We were in Morocco again in Dec., just leaving the Sahara and stopped at an ancient library. I was walking around the courtyard with my 7 week old baby who was fussing a bit. I saw an elderly homeless man with a full white beard laying on the ground with his head hanging down. I almost kept walking… but I thought he might like to see a baby. I approached him and held her out to him. He immediately lit up, kissed her and put his hands on her head and spoke to her tenderly and intensely in Arabic. I got the distinct impression that he was blessing her. He kissed her again and then looked into my eyes with so much emotion and feeling and said shukraan, shukraan! Thank you, thank you!
For me, the very best part of traveling is connecting with other people around the globe.
Clark Vandeventer from Family Trek
It’s okay to make big declarations and it’s also okay to change your mind. I remember first discovering this community of nomadic families and making up my mind that we were going to take a year to travel the world. Then I decided we were going to travel indefinitely. Over time, I figured out that I really loved having a home base and that I didn’t need to hold myself to this big declaration I’d once made. Then I declared that we would have a home base and travel for three or six months at a time. Did a few of those trips and it was awesome. I wondered why anyone would ever go to Thailand and only go for two weeks. If you’re going to fly to the other side of the world, my reasoning went, especially with young kids, it didn’t make sense to go for a short period of time. You’d want to go for a long period of time. I was making another declaration all over again. As I write this today, though, all I want to do is be home, and maybe take a few short trips a year.
Make the declarations and begin moving. Don’t worry about other people judging you if you end up doing something than you originally declared. The goal isn’t to look good among your peers. The goal is to have a great life. I figured out that in this season of my life, I just want to be home in Lake Tahoe, settle into some routines, and take a few short trips every year. If that’s what I want, that’s what I should do. That’s the season I’m in now. Over the course of our life I think our family will take an “All the Above” approach to the way we travel. They key is to remain flexible. Also remember that with families you are never dealing with stagnant scenarios. Kids grow, needs change. Routines and rhythms that are perfect now won’t work a year from now because those kids are gone and replaced by kids a year older.