Category Archives for "Inspiration"

French tattoos: french pigeon with Eiffel tower

25 Fabulous French Tattoos: ideas for men and women

Known as a country that produces superior wine, wonderful art and mouth-watering food; when it comes to French-themed tattoo inspiration, you‘ll never be short of ideas!

Tattoos that make you think of France

When you think of France what comes to mind?  The Eiffel tower?  A French baguette? Perhaps something less obvious like a sprig of lavender or a painting by Dégas?

Whatever images your mind conjures up when you think of France, they can easily be captured in a French inspired tattoo- and why not? France has been the most popular tourist destination in the world for over 25 years. So whether you’re a Francophile in search of immortalizing your love of France or simply like the look of an Eiffel tower tattoo, here are 25 tremendous French tattoos to inspire you.

1. Map of France Tattoo

Happy Bastille Day!

A post shared by nikki (@nicklesg) on

A cartographers dream tattoo if (s)he loved France. A tattoo of the map of France is not only a fun way to show your love for the country but also your wanderlust heart. It’s not overly obvious like a tattoo of the Eiffel tower- most non Europeans might not even recognize the famous hexagon shape which all Children in France learn at a very young age. But that’s OK because it’s a great conversation starter.

2. French Flag Tattoo

A photo posted by J Eden Storms (@j_ed3n_art79) on

As one of the most recognizable flags on earth, no one will have to guess which country this blue, white and red striped flag belongs to. The number of designs that can be dreamed up to make your ink look individual and distinct are endless.

3. Swallow tattoo

French inspired sparrow tattoo

Although swallow tattoos were originally made popular by British sailors of the past, thanks to famous French fashion designers like Coco Chanel who use the swallow in their designs and the fact that the swallow symbolizes travel, a tattoo of a swallow is perfect for anyone who loves France as well as travelling. Be careful when getting a swallow tattoo because it is often confused with the sparrow.

Coco Chanel French sparrow tattooCoco Chanel  swallow necklace Tattoo Photo source

4 .French perfume tattoo

French inspired Coco Chanel no 5 perfume tattoophoto source of chanel no 5 tattoo via Nyki Bell

Chanel No 5, Guerlain Shalimar, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne- are just some of the classical French Perfumes that have long been synonymous with wealth, class and of course, elegance! A tattoo of your favorite French perfume or even a generic photo of a perfume bottle is a classy way to elevate your tattoo style.

A photo posted by Dany Linhares (@dany_linhares) on

5. French Lavender Sprig Tattoo

Provence France is known for many things but most recognizable might just be the colour, the texture and the scent of it’s world famous lavender fields.

6. Lily Of The Valley Flower Tattoo: “Muguet”

Lily of the Valley flowers, known as muguet in France, have a very special place in French culture. You’ll find it in everything from perfumes to teas. It has long been customary to offer a sprig or bouquet of Lily of the Valley to friends and loved ones on the 1st of May to celebrate the arrival of spring and the good weather that goes with it.

See also: Why you shouldn’t go to France in May: 6 French holidays explained

7. French Fleur De Lis Tattoo

Fleur de lis, simply means”flower of the lily” and is a lily composed of three petals bound together near their bases. This classical French emblem was first used by French monarchs on their shields. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claims to the throne of France.

8. French coq tattoo aka Gallic Rooster tattoo

Classic French rooster tattoo coq gaulois- gallic rooster tattooCoq tattoo photo source via David Hale

“Le Coq Gaulois” or the “Gallic rooster” is one of the most widely recognized and identifiable symbols of France. It has been used intermittently since medieval times on French engravings and coins and has become the hallmark of French country design. French brands which incorporate the coq in their logo include sports brand giant “le coq sportif” and “Pathé” cinemas in France.

9. French Poodle tattoo


Despite it’s name, French poodles are technically not a French breed however the French were responsible for helping in the development of the breed an boosting their popularity which may be why most people associate them with France.

10. French Bull Dog tattoo

What could be more French than a cute or scary French bulldog tattoo- called a “Bouledogue Français” in French.

11. French painting tattoo

Edgar Dégas and other tattoos inspired from famous French painters

Edgar Dégas ballerina tattoo photo source via Angie Leaf

If you’re into art from Famous French painters like Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall and countless others, there are literally thousands upon thousands of tattoo ideas out there waiting to be discovered. Just crack open an art book for inspiration.

12. Tattoos of famous cartoons and comics in France

Tattoos of famous cartoons in FranceAsterix tattoo photo source from LTW tattoo studio

If you’re into comics and cartoons, you have quite a few to choose from. There’s Astérix et Obilix, Les Aventures de Tintin, Lucky Luke and Les Daltons to name a few. Although many of the classic French cartoons are from Belgium cartoonist, they are nevertheless extremely popular in France and recognizable by all French people. Bet you didn’t know that the Smurfs was also a Belgium creation by the Belgian cartoonist Peyou. They’re called “Les Schtroumpfs” in French.

French Landmarks

France is filled with famous buildings and beautiful structures – all good artists should be able to draw any of these magnificent monuments onto your body in any style and size of your choosing.

13. Paris city skyline tattoo

Paris city skyline tattooParis city skyline tattoo photo source via Tatto.com

Home is where your ink is. If your love for Paris goes beyond any one thing or you just can’t get enough of Paris then a Paris skyline tattoo is an unmistakable way to say it.

14. Eiffel Tower tattoo

Eiffel tower wrist tattooEiffel tower wrist tattoo photo source via Travel Each Day

A photo posted by martin acosta (@grafotats) on

15.Notre Dame church tattoo

Tattoos for budding French chefs

Forget the stuffy clean cut image you have of French chefs. Yes they exist but these days there’s a new breed of tattoo wearing chefs. Tattoos have become a sort of status symbol, almost standard attire in professional kitchens. Just take a look at the famous French chef Ludo Lefebre who is covered in meaningful tattoos- like little badges of memory.

16. Butchers cut tattoo: beef, chicken or pork

A quaint way to express your inner chef is to dawn an antique looking butchers cut tattoo. Take your pick, beef, chicken or pork.

Classic beef cut tattoo idea like the great French chefs

photo source of beef cut tattoo: Juanita Mac Photographer

17. Chef Knife

If you’re a home chefs with mad chopping skills, a knife tattoo might be for you. One popular motif is to tattoo the French culinary phrase “Mise en place”- which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.”  In a professional and even a home kitchen, it’s the preparation of dishes and ingredients before the beginning of service.

French food and wine tattoos

France is the founding country of dozens of famous foods, and is known globally for its production of the perfect wines, brilliant cheeses and scrumptious breakfast pastries. If you’re a foodie then the possibilities are endless when it comes to French cuisine-inspired ink.

18. French macarons

French macaron tattoo

Photo source of French Macaron from The traveling McMahans

The French macaron, not to be confused with coconut macaroons are the delight of France. This sweet meringue-based confection is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling in every flavor you can think of. The color of the macaron always matches the filling- Brown ones are usually chocolate or coffee, red ones are strawberry, blue ones are blueberry and so on. Get a tat in every flavor and in full color to show your love of French confectionery.

19.Red Wine or Champagne tattoo

No explanation needed here. The French consume more wine per capita than any other nation of people- possible designs are endless. Just take a look in a wine magazine for inspiration. If you have a favorite bottle of wine or champagne, why not get a tattoo of that?

A photo posted by Matt King (@tattmattoo) on

20. Croissant Tattoos

A photo posted by Dane Tattoo (@danetattoo) on

21. French baguette tattoo

22. French Cheese

The French produce over 450 different types of cheeses. Pick one- anyone for your next tattoo.

A photo posted by Jade Ellen (@jadee.ellen) on

23. Yummy escargot tattoo (snails)

A pervasive cliché is that the French eat snails called escargot in French. Who doesn’t love escargot floating in butter and garlic?

See also: Weird French foods 

French Inventions

A little-known fact about the French is that they’re responsible for many important inventions and technological advances, including (but not limited to): The hot air balloon, the bicycle and the submarine!

24. French HotAir Ballon & Submarine Tattoo:

A photo posted by sarah-k (@sarahktattoo) on

Two French brothers were the first to successfully attempt the first manned hot-air balloon ascent in 1783.

 Although the French didn’t actually invent the submarine, the French Navy did create the first non human powered sub in 1863 called le Plongeur meaning “the diver”.

25. Bicycle tattoo:

A photo posted by @small.tattoo on

Invented in 1864 by Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement. What’s more French than a bicycle with a little basket? Not your style? What about a tour de France bike tattoo.

And Much More

French pigeon tattoo with Eiffel tower and baguette

French smoking pigeon with Eiffel tower, wine and bagueette tattoo: created by Shaw Hebrank

The more you delve into French culture, the greater the chance of exposing even more fabulous tattoo ideas. If you’re still short of ideas after looking through the article above, then other French tattoo inspiration is never far away, with books, magazines and French-themed websites available in the thousands just waiting to light your imagination.

Remember though – tattoos are for life. Make sure you’re certain that you want something inked onto your body forever and make sure you take care of your new tattoo as best as possible to ensure it looks beautiful for as long as you live.

 

Thanks to Authority Tattoo for co-authoring this post with me here at How to live in France
25 reasons why everyone should travel more or live abroad at least once in their lives

25 Reasons You Should Live Abroad At Least Once In Your Life (Or Travel More)

25 Excellent reasons why everyone should live abroad atleast once in their lives

If you want to travel more, live abroad or do a gap year overseas but you’re not sure  it’s the right move for you, here are 25 fabulous reasons why you should just do it.

25 ways which travelling and living abroad will affect you

I think everyone should try to live abroad at least once in their lives. If living abroad is not in the cards for you than travelling for an extended period of time beyond the two-week vacation is a really close second. Heard of slow travelling?

Our lives are defined by experiences. The greater the number of experiences, the better our lives become. Travel is one of many ways you can get the most variety in your life experiences and suck the marrow out of life.

I was fortunate enough to have been born into a multicultural family who also did a lot of travelling. I also left home at 18 to live in Japan for over 3 years where I taught English and did various jobs including modeling and hostesssing. Now as a wife and mother of 3, I’m living in France with my family.

Needless to say, I love travelling and recommend it for what ails you. I could probably think of hundreds of reasons why everyone should make travel a priority and try to live abroad at least once in their lives. But let’s first start with these 25 reasons which I think might resonate with you the most.

1- Slow travel and living abroad is less stressful than a vacation

Slow travel and living abroad is less stressful than a vacationI used to get so stressed out during our families 2 week annual vacation because it felt like a race to jam everything there was to do into those 2 weeks no matter what the cost. The kids were cranky, I was cranky and we fed on each others crankiness.

Living abroad or slow travelling can remove or reduce that stressful element of travel by allowing you take your time- if you have children than this will reduce a considerable amount of stress.

2-Living abroad is not as expensive as you think

Living abroad is not as expensive as you thinkLiving abroad is cheaper than you think and costs a whole hell of a lot less than your average annual vacation. When you travel for extended periods of time or live abroad, you get to rent a house ( cheaper than a hotel room), cook at home because you have a kitchen, do things during off-peak travel and do the lesser known non touristy things that are way cooler in my book and cost less.

See also: How much does it cost to live in France for one year

3-Travelling and living abroad encourages you to live your life to the fullest

Travelling and living abroad encourages you to live your life to the fullestYou know how you go on vacation and try to cram in as much as you can because you only have 7 days to do it all and you don’t know if you’ll ever be back? Living abroad is kind of like that but less manic and rushed.

Suddenly, because of time restraints and the newness of the place you are in, your eyes are open to all that life has to offer. You’re more inclined to take advantage of it all. Too bad most of us don’t feel so inclined when we return home.

Living abroad also means you can’t live on autopilot anymore simply because everything is so different, foreign and new. As a result, you need to make more conscious and deliberate choices about your life and your daily routine. It can be a bit stressfull to step out of your routine and comfort zone but shaking things up has it’s rewards. It gives you new experiences and can help you grow as a person. You might even learn something about yourself.

4- You’ll get to view your culture from another countries perspective

traveling has taught me that McDonalds is ruining the world and the American image

Living abroad gives you another cultures perspective about your home country. For instance, if you’re American, you may be surprised to learn that many people in France would love to live in America. You may also be surprised to learn how your home country is negatively viewed abroad. Did you know that most of the world thinks all Americans love McDonald’s and are obese?

See also: Do the French eat McDonalds: Fastfood in France.

5- You’ll get a different, broader view of the world

When you live abroad You'll get a different, broader view of the world

You already knew that other countries have different cultures but until you actually experience that other culture first hand, you will never truly understand what that means. Once you do, you may see the world in a whole new light.

6- Travelling is not the cure to your life’s problems. You can’t escape them

Travelling is not the cure to your life's problems. You can't escape them

If you want to move abroad or travel just to escape your problems, you’ll be extremely disappointed because unless you get to the root of your problems and try to solve them, they will follow you to the ends of the earth or be waiting for you once you return home.

7-Travelling makes you appreciate home

traveling makes you appreciate the comforts of home

It’s natural to take things for granted. When we’re at home, we dream of escaping off to some adventure however we often forget to notice the comforts and beauties of home all around us. It’s often not until we are actually away, seeing home from the other side that we begin to appreciate it. Travel can give you that distance you need. You may even begin to appreciate the routine of your life that you thought you wanted to get away from.

8-You may realise you don’t need as much crap as you think you need to be happy

traveling has taught me that You Don’t Need As Much As You Think You Need To Be Happy

Travel inherently opposes materialism and consumerism. Afterall, you can only put so much in your luggage or backpacks.  It can be hard at first to be away from all the stuff you bought and own and you’ll definitely miss certain things from home but after a while you’ll get used to living with less until finally you realize, you don’t need as much crap as you thought you did to be happy. It is actually quite liberating.

9-You learn what is truly important in life and what really makes you happy

You learn what is truly important in life and what really makes you happyJust as living without things makes you realize you don’t need the things you thought you once needed, being away from your life can help you discover what is truly important to you. Maybe climbing that corporate career ladder is not what you wanted after all. Maybe being away from your friends and family makes you realize how important they are to you. Or maybe the time you spend abroad makes you learn something new about yourself that surprises you.

10- You learn to make do with what you have

Traveling and Living Abroad as a a family has taught me: to make Do With What I Have.

You can only pack so much and buy so much when you travel. Same is true if you spend a year abroad someplace.  Who wants to lug around extra stuff or pay expensive fees for shipping things back home. You end up learning to make do with what you have and buying only what your really, truly need.

11)- You’re kids will get to go to school in another country

You're kids will get to go to school in another countryMain streaming your kids in school while living in another country is probably one of the fastest ways for them to adjust to local life. It’s also a wonderful experience for them not to mention a great way for them to make new international friends.

See Also: Preschool in France- what’s it like?

12-You have the chance to learn a language really well or become bilingual

If you live abroad You have the chance to learn a language really well or become bilingual

See also: Will I be bilingual if I live abroad?

13- Travelling as a couple can make or break you- It can test you too

Travelling as a couple can make or break youTravelling long-term as a couple means spending almost everyday all day together.  You need to align your goals, your focus and connect on a daily basis with the other person. All this constant togetherness can lead to some head butting.  You want to see all the museums and the other person wants to lay at the beach all day. You may want to get up early to see the sights while the other person wants to party all night. You want to live abroad while the other person just wants to go back to their small hometown.

14- You’ll learn that you can accomplish more than you think

Living abroad will help you discover that you can accomplish more than you think

 Bodies in motion stay in motion. It’s just the nature of travel-to do and try new things you wouldn’t normally do at home. You might try escargo, train for a marathon or go spelunking in a cave for the first time. All these new experiences stretch and test your limits pushing you further beyond what you thought you could ever accomplish. It’s a snowball effect and you’ll never want to stop because it’s so satisfying.

See also: Spotted Dick: 10 traditional british foods you will either love or hate

15- Getting lost can get you places you didn’t think you would find

You'll get lost when you travel and land in the most wonderful placesWhen you’re in a new place and new surroundings, it’s only natural that you might get lost once in a while. Getting lost is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it can land you somewhere unexpected and wonderful. Just make sure you have GPS to get back **wink wink**

16- Travel or living abroad can recharge your batteries and give you a new lease on life

Travel or living abroad can recharge your batteries and give you a new lease on life

Between your busy work schedule and hectic life, your daily routine can become all-consuming and automatic-a series of unconscious acts that just happen without even thinking. Each new day begins to look like the previous day. That’s a rut isn’t it? A year abroad can give you perspective. It can give you the time you need to recharge your batteries.

17- You learn to appreciate your family more (hopefully)

travelling has taught me more about my family
Two things can happen when you travel with your family. You’ll either learn to appreciate them or they’ll start to annoy you. One of the things I have noticed about living abroad is we tend to spend more time together which is great in many respects but at the same time, spending too much time together can be stressfull too. The important thing is to seek balance between together time and alone time.

18- You may learn it’s ok to question the culture you were brought up in

travelling teaches you that it's ok to question the culture you were brought up in

19- What you thought was an authentic recipe is not really authentic

What you thought was an authentic recipe is not really authenticThat local Chinese joint is probably not serving you up authentic Chinese food. That expensive French restaurant you like to eat at is not really how French people eat in France. Guess what, you’re getting localized versions of food from around the world which is fine. But if you want to try authentic anything, you almost need to go to that country or know someone from that country who can cook it for you.

20- Time is precious: Make the most of your time

Don't wast time. use every moment to do something funWhen travelling or living abroad, every minute counts. You have a sense that your time is limited so naturally you try to make the most of it. Even when you are at a bus stop waiting for the next bus, you can do something together. Break out that hacky sack.

21- Travel can help you be more present and conscious of life as it happens: If you let it

 Travel can help you be more present and conscious of life as it happens: If you let itFor many of us, our routine and our habit is to be off in our heads somewhere- anywhere but where you actually are now. Seldom are we fully here, living in the moment. We’re struggling with something that happened in the past or fearful and anxious about the future. Travelling can inherently help you be more present, in the moment and enjoy life as it is happening if you let it but you still need to take conscious steps to truly enjoy life as it is happening. Learn to live with less, smile more and forgive past hurts,

See also: 10 steps to living in the moment

22- Sometimes you need to see it rather than read or hear about it

A Day at the Berlin Wall near Warschauer Strasse Station: Travel can be educational for you and your kids

(photo source: Catherine on Blake’s shoulders writing on the Berlin Wall :very concerned about the survivors of the Holocaust.)

Some things are worth experiencing first hand, rather than through photos or books. When we stayed in Berlin Germany, the kids saw the remnants of the Berlin wall, contemplated what it was like to live through the holocaust and stood on the same soil where people were shot.  They showed no previous interest in these things prior but being there touchd them in a way and expanded their minds in a way they could not comprehend.

23- You might adopt new customs that you didn’t know you would love

You might adopt new customs that you didn't know you would loveLiving abroad can introduce new ways of doing things which you might not have otherwise tried.  Some of the customs we as a family have adopted while living in France are: eating more like the French in terms of quantity and time schedule. Going more often to the market to get fresh produce because our refrigerator is smaller than the massive American one we had back home. Your experiences will be different of course depending on where you are, how  long you stay and who you travel with.

See also: Why travel with kids

24- You will love living like a local and not a tourist

You will love living like a local and not a tourist

Travelling as a tourist is great but living somewhere like a local is sooooooo sooo sooo much more satisfying. The longer you stay, the more friends you make. The more culturally authentic things you will try to experience beyond what tourists do. You’ll get a sense of the daily rhythms and more.

25- For the stories and the hell of it

travel so you can tell stories and for the hell of it

There are literally thousands of people out there (right now) who are backpacking around the world, living nomadic-ally, taking a family sabbatical abroad or zig zaging the continent in an RV: with and without kids.

They are ordinary people like you who decided to live a little unconventionally. To make it happen, some have saved for years. Others sold their house and their possessions while still others work while on the road or some other combination. You can read about some of them here.

Here are other lessons learned by the following travellers

Ramble Crunch-  15 lessons I’ve learned traveling the world.

Four Jandles  50 lessons learned from travelling the world.

Raising Miro 12 simple principles for a happy life on (or off) the road

Bohemian Travelers:  Travel Lessons: Can You Embrace the Unknown

Edventure Project – American Thanksgiving: 22 things we are thankful for

The Nomadic Family: I Know Nothing (and 99 Other Things The Road Has Taught Me)

Peace On Earth: 5 Life Lessons Learned from Traveling

Travel with Bender: So it’s been 6 Months – You won’t believe what we have learned!

Life Changing Year: Life Lessons From The Road – A Little Bit Of Planning Goes A Loooong Way!

Living Outside of the Box: 6 Life Lessons From the Road (why 6? I have no idea!)

A King’s Life: Two things I know for sure

Flashpacker Family: Lessons From the Road of Life

Family on Bikes: Complaining won’t change a gosh-darn thing

Family Travel Bucket List: 3 Things We’ve Learned While Living Outside of the USA

Grow in Grace Life: By Any Road..Lessons from the Journey

Our Travel Lifestyle: Travel: Teaching us about ourselves

jobs you can do from anywhere: 10 jobs you can do remotely

Work Anywhere And Support Yourself Abroad: 10 Remote Jobs You Can Do From Anywhere

jobs you can do from anywhere: 10 jobs you can do remotely

If you would love to travel or live overseas for an extended period of time but you’re not independently wealthy, don’t have a tonne of savings or a job lined up overseas, you’re only option to support yourself may be to find a job which you can do remotely. Here are 10 remote jobs which require skills you probably already have.

10 portable careers you can do from anywhere in the world

Thanks to the internet, video conferencing software and other modern technologies, more and more companies are becoming open to the idea of hiring remote workers.

Remote jobs not only benefit moms and dad’s who need to stay home with the kids but also people who want to live abroad or travel but need to keep working to support themselves.

Even if you’ve never considered it, you may already partially or wholly possess the skills necessary for certain remote jobs which you can do from anywhere in the world. Here are 10 remote jobs to get you started. Do you have any of these skills?

1) Do you speak English? -Teach English Online

If your an English teacher or if English is your native language than you already have the skill-set necessary to teach English.

People around the world are clamouring to learn English. Fortunately for you and for those wanting to learn English, video conferencing software like Skype make it extremely easy for teachers and students to connect at a distance – to see, hear and interact with each other.

Getting clients on your own can be a bit tricky. You can set up your own website to attract potential student or search classifieds for people looking for English teachers.

If setting up your own website it not your thing, you could teach at an online language school where teachers and students from all over the world come together to teach and learn through virtual classrooms using Skype.- like in a traditional language school, just online. Here are two online language schools where you can apply to become a language teacher.

Lingoda = 8.50 € / hour or about 8 USD depending on the exchange rate.

italki.com = Charge your own rate. Most teachers charge about $16 to $20 USD / hour

You probably need to get certified to teach English

If you don’t have a teaching or education degree, you will most likely need to get TEFL certified which stands for “Teaching English as a foreign language”. It’s recognized around the world and can open the door to thousands of English speaking jobs worldwide.

A TEFL certificate is not that dificult to get. You can get certified online and need about 120 to 140 hours of online training.

I highly recommend LoveTEFL also known as i-to-i.  They have been around for over 20 years and are very reputable. Their TEFL certification will cost you around 200 to 400 dollars. They have job boards listing English speaking jobs all around the world and even have paid internships you can apply for.  All of their courses can be taken at your own pace. You can get your TEFL certificate in as little as four weeks or you can take all the time you need.

2) Do you play a music instrument? – Teach Music Online

If you know an instrument well enough to teach it than you can join the ranks of other musicians who are teaching music online. Learning and teaching music online has really taken off in the past few years and is still in it’s early years. My friends daughter learned to play the fiddle through online lessons. I am learning guitar through Marty Scwartz Guitar lessons.

Getting clients is again going to require you to use the internet. Many musicians put videos on YouTube by offering free lessons with the goal of attracting students to sign up for either private lessons or an online music course.

Another option is to join or apply to an online music school. For instance, Guitar Tricks is somewhere you could apply to teach music online.

Creating a sustainable career teaching music remotely is going to take time. It’s something that you will need to start building now so you can reap the rewards later.

3) Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) usually provides professional administrative, technical, creative or social assistance to clients remotely.

For example you can become a real estate virtual assistant and do various things for a real estate broker such as update their listings, respond to their email inquires, manage their calendar and whatever else they need help with.

Many virtual assistants have their own website but many people find work on freelancing sites such Freelancer.com, Upwork and Golance .

4) Can you write? -Copywriter freelance writer

Like teaching English, freelancing as a writer or copywriter is not the best paying job but if you enjoy writing, you can earn around $15 to $20 / hour depending on how fast you can write. A growing number of businesses are hiring freelance writers and content creators to create news articles, blog posts and other web related articles rather than having in-house writers on site.  Look at traditional job boards and on the freelancing sites for work.

5) Can you write and do you know a specific industry? Technical writer

Similar to a copywriter, you can become a technical writer. You have to be somewhat technical in a specific field, whether it be software or science or some other domain. And you need to be able to write clearly about it.

6) Can you type fast? Transcriber

A transcriber listens to dictated recordings and transcribes them into written reports, correspondence and other materials. Many professional transcribers use a foot pedal to pause the recordings but many do not. You’ll need a computer and word processor to transcribe and be able to type fast since you are usually paid either by word or by the length of the recording in terms of minutes.

You can look for online transcription services and apply online like at this site https://www.rev.com/freelancers

 

If you are familiar with medical terminology, you can specialize in a certain type of transcription such as a  Medical transcriptionists. You’ll need to comprehend and accurately transcribe medical recordings and may need to know about anatomy, physiology or legal issues related to healthcare.

Although Medical transcriptionists are not required to have a university degree, many employers prefer to hire those who do. There are vocational schools and community colleges that offer degrees or certification. There are also online schools that offer medical transcription training.

Here are two certifications which you might want to look into- (RMT) Registered medical transcriptionist and (CMT) Certified Medical Transcriptionist which can take you anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete. Career-step is a good place to start your search for online medical transcriber certification and will cost about $3,000 USD.

7) Do you have good phone skills? Call-Center Representative

A growing number of businesses are going the route of hiring customer service workers who work remotely from home. This eliminates the need for office space and the need to purchase equipment for workers.

You will be responsible for answering phones- possibly at all hours, assist customers, process orders or deal with returns.

You’ll also need your own computer and may need specific software or equipment in addition to a pleasant phone voice.

There are dozens of sites that list job openings for call-center representatives, including Upwork.com and Freelancer.com however you should also look at traditional job sites including monster.com and even linkedin.com job listings.

8) Do you know your way around a 10 key pad? Data Entry

If you’re fast a data entry than you could try your hand at turning that skill into a job. There are a wide range of businesses that need workers to enter data into their systems.

According to the Bureau of labour statistics, the median salary for a data entry clerk is about 30k / year topping out at 44k per year. You can find many data entry jobs on Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, and SimplyHired.com, as well as dozens of other traditional job boards.

9) Can you speak another language? Translator

If you are bilingual or proficient in English and some other language, you could work as a translator. Many translating jobs are done remotely and also on a freelance basis. Look for translating companies, book publishers that publish books in multiple languages and websites that publish news stories and articles in multiple languages.

According the bureau of labour statistics, the median income for a translator is about $44K per year. If you work for the government, it could be even higher.

10) Do you  have a nursing degree? Telephone Nurse

Health insurers and other health management companies such as Aetna, United Health Group and Humana hire registered nurses remotely to perform duties such as case management, patient education and treatment authorization. Check out Indeed.com for  telephone nurse jobs.

Tips on finding and choosing tellecomuting and remote jobs more easily

There are so many other jobs which you can do remotely just however there are also some pretty scammy “work from home jobs” that just don’t pay a livable wage – remember envelope stuffers? They would get paid pennies for stuffing hundreds of nvelopes?

Always use reputable job sites for your searches or go directly to a companies website and search for the jobs they offer remotely if any. Check Glassdoor to get feedback about a companies work environment from other current and past employees.

Lastly, if you don’t have time to sift through all the job posting sites and just want to see jobs you can do remotely aggregated in one place than you should try FlexJobs. It does cost $50 per year but it’s worth it if you value your time. All the jobs are added in manually so you won’t see any scammy jobs on their site. Just the quality jobs.

A year in France is great but is it really the best travel adventure for you? Here are over 15 different travel types and travel adventures you can go on instead!

Should You Spend A Year In France? 15 Travel Adventures To Go On Instead

A year in France is great but is it really the best travel adventure for you? Here are over 15 different travel types and travel adventures you can go on instead!

If you are considering taking a family gap year or sabbatical from life to live in France , congrats. Spending a year abroad can be life changing.

There is only one thing.

Are you sure it is the right thing to do? I am not talking about if France is the right place to spend your year abroad, or if it’s practical or financially feasible.

I want you to ask yourself if there isn’t another type of travel that might suit you better than spending a whole year in France.

Just because everyone on tripadvisor says a certain spicy Tom Yum soup at the new Thai restaurant in San Francisco is to die for doesn’t mean you will love it too. It’s nice to have choices when you order food.

Travel is just like that. 

And that is why you should pick a travel type like you would pick your main course on a food menu.

Look through the travel types below and see which one(S) align best with your soul, your travel goals, your pocketbook, your family and your style.

I guarantee you’ve probably never heard of half these terms. 

A year in France is great but is it really the best travel adventure for you? Here are over 15 different travel types and travel adventures you can go on instead!

I asked over 100 seasoned travellers how they travelled. Then I categorized and sorted their answers into a kind of travel menu with examples and explanations.

Below are the results of my survey.

Travel based on length of time you can travel

Are you a weekend traveller? Do you only have 2 weeks a year to travel?  Do you want to travel for longer than 3 months maybe a year or more?

The length of time you have to travel will determine the pace, the cost and even your activities you do while on your trip.

Here are a few terms to describe travellers based on the length and amount of time you have to travel. Which one best describes the way you can or would like to travel?

1- Short (ish) Trips:  

Most of us are very familiar with the annual vacation(er). Because of certain lifestyle restrictions like work, your children’s’ school schedule or just a tight budget, your trips are shorter; sometimes just a weekend.

It can be stressful during your short trips if you only get to do it once a year for 2 weeks or less because you try to pack as much into the vacation as possible.

Here are some terms to describe shorter term travellers.

Vacation Traveller, Holiday Traveller, Family Vacation Traveller

Take a cue from Amy and her family at Atlanta with kid or Debbie at  jersey kids

2- Long (ish) Trips: 2 months to 1 year or more!

Gap year, Sabbatical, Career Breaker
Career break travel

You have a career but you’re feeling a little burnt out from the 9 to 5 lifestyle. You want to travel and see the world for a few months to a year. Maybe longer.

Along the way you might even do something you’ve always wanted to do like learn a language, write a book or build clean wells in Africa. Whatever you do, you are determined to make this trip count.

Take a cue from this family of dropouts living in Vietnam: The drop out diaries

Sabbatical

Sabbatical is a term that has been used to refer to tenured teachers who take a year off from teaching to further their education or do something worthwhile. Nowadays,  the term sabbatical is used by anyone who wants to take a break from work usually to travel.

Gap year

Family Sabbatical: Travel For extended periods with kidsGap year is a term that has traditionally been very popular in Europe and the UK but it’s gaining in popularity in other places like the US and Canada.  Originally, a gap year referred to a young person just out of high school who takes a year off to travel and maybe do some volunteer work or back pack around the world for a year before entering University.

As of late, many people have adopted this terminology to describe their travels; particularly adults, professionals, and even families.

All three of these terms (gap year, sabbatical year, career break travel) are very closely related and some would argue that they are the same. You be the judge.

Family Gap Year- Wander mom.com ( a site that no longer exists)

Take a cue from Suitcases & sippy cups on a Family Sabbatical – Suitcases and sippy cups

Go check out Sherry a career breake who travels at Otts World

Take a look at Dave and Deb over at Planet D who are strong advocates of a sabbatical year to travel.

3 -You Travel For Longer Than A Year

The world is your oyster and your backyard. You’ve ditched the daily grind and dropped out of a normal life so you can travel full-time for as long as you can. Forever if you can.

You are at home wherever you are and have no real permanent home-base.  You pretty much travel with what you own in your backpack and move frequently from location to location. Staying anywhere from a few days to a few months in one place. You’re probably a flash-packer or backpacker.

Long Term Traveller, Full-Time Traveller, Vagabond, Gypsy, Hobos, Nomads, perpetual traveller

Take a cue from: Wader lust and the girl

4 – You Want To Live Abroad In One Place For  3 months or more

Expat

As an expat or expatriate, you choose to live abroad in one place for an extended period of time.

It might be permanent or it might be for a year only. Either way your home-base is another country.

Maybe you have a job that transplanted you or you decided to take a life sabbatical or career break and foot the bill yourself.

Most likely you have applied for special visas which allow you to live in that country beyond the usual 30, 60 or 90 days allotted amount of time tourists are usually allowed to stay.

You are totally immersed in that culture.  If you have kids, they’re also immersed maybe even attending school with other kids.

expat travel lets move to France with Annie AndreTake a cue from us, we’re in France: AnnieAndre

Take a cue from Paz and family who spent a year in China but nos live in Holland: International cravings

5- Slow Traveller

Some like to travel fast, while others like to take it slow, really slooooow. You like to take your time spending as much as a few weeks to a few months in one place before moving on. You have a certain mindset and your goal is probably to explore each destination thoroughly and experience the local culture.

Take a cue from a couple who slow travels : Never Ending Story

6- The extent to which you circumvent the globe

(RTW )Round the World traveler

Maybe your goal is to travel for a year visiting 20 countries, maybe it’s for 4 months visiting 12 countries. No matter how long or where you go, you’re in for a trip of a lifetime.

This is a special breed of traveller. Many RTW travellers are backpackers or flashpackers. Their goal is not so much to visit every single country in the world, but to travel around the world and visit a set or unset number of countries before landing back home.

Take a cue from 5 discover the world

7- The traveller who never leaves the country

Local Travel

You prefer to stay close to home. Not too close but close enough so that you are driving distance from all your destination.

Take a cue from Laura who travels at  Cascadia kids almost exclusively in and around the Pacific North West (Oregon and Washington State) and British Columbia with her family.

8- What Kind Of Luggage Do You Travel With

As strange as it sounds, your luggage can define you as a traveller. Do you want to travel light with just backpacks or do you want suitcases with wheels and pack for almost any occasion?

You Carry A Backpack:

The Backpacker

Forget about the grungy backpacker who is hitch-hiking on the side of the road and smells like dirty socks. Backpacking has evolved and it’s a growing sector of the travel industry.

Typically you travel with all your possessions in a backpack or bag that can easily be carried for long distances or long periods of time.  You are on a tight budget and need to make your money last so you eat on the cheap and stay at inexpensive accommodations like hostels where you share rooms, bathrooms and a communal kitchen with other backpackers.

It’s not uncommon for you to wash all five pairs of your underwear in the sink and hang them on the portable laundry chord you carry in your backpack along with your portable sheets and your instant Ramen before moving on to your next city.

It sounds treacherous but you love it. Besides, your young and there’s something to be said travelling this way and meeting interesting people.

“it’s a more organic way to see the world and a better way to interact with the locals and get to know the local culture.” –Nomadic Matt

Just look at Alyson Long and her family at world travel family

The FlashPacker

The flashpacker is essentially a flashy + backpacker. Flashpacker is a fairly new term that is catching on and is being accepted into mainstream language.

You’re probably older than the average backpacker. You might even be married with kids.

Much like the backpacker, you love the mobility of having all your possessions in one bag so you can move freely and quickly from place to place staying as long or as short as you like. Also like the backpacker, you are price conscience; however if you felt like it, you could easily stay at swaynkier hotels, eat at higher end sit down restaurants and splurge for for the latest and greatest travel gear and electronics.

Checkout Bethaney. Her husband and son are a flashpacking family. Fash Packer Family

You have a suitcase with wheels

Self explanatory. You want to travel with a suitcase that has wheels. You probably stay longer in each place you visit and prefer to carry a litle more than just the bare necessities.

Take a cue from Travel by suitcases A community of travellers who share their travel experiences around the world with suitcases instead of backpacks.

9- How Much Money You Got?

Luxury Travel

Luxury Travel, who wouldnt love to travel like this?For you, luxury travel goes beyond staying in a four star hotel, or sipping champagne on a yacht in the Bahamas. It’s more about a unique experience. Those rare ones that have all the tiny details covered where you feel pampered and all your personal needs are met.

No work, no stressing, just relaxing and upon your return home you feel refreshed.

Take a cue from these luxury travellers: A luxury travel blog

Budget Traveller

You might be surprised to know that a large part of the traveller I know are budget travellers.

A budget traveller is someone who either does not have a lot of money to spend on Five star hotels or chooses to travel on a budget so that they can travel longer and make their money stretch as far as possible. Typically you try to keep your expenses down by eating on the cheap, staying in low-cost accommodations, hostels and take public transportation over more expensive modes of transportation.

10- Do you travel alone or with others

Who you travel with has as much to do with your style as where you go and what you do during your travels. That’s why I’ve broken out travel by the people you travel with or travel without.

Solo Traveller

You’re a guy or a girl and you are travelling alone. 

You’re probably young but you could just as easily be in your sixties or older. You love the challenge of travelling alone and meeting new people as well as befriending the locals. You can come and go as you please because you are not hindered by the opinions of a companion traveller. You are probably learning a lot about yourself along the way too. If you’re a female solo traveller, you take a little extra precaution over the solo male traveller for obvious reasons.

Take a cue from this solo female traveller = Girl About the Globe

Take a cue from this solo male traveller – Nomadic Samuel or Nomadic matt

11- Travel With Others

Couples Traveller

backpacking travel blog of a couple who travels

You’re married or dating and you both love to travel.

In any case, you might be a backpacker or flashpacker or on a vacation with your wheely suitcases.

Sometimes it’s tough travelling with your partner because you need to take into consideration the other persons travel interests and needs which don’t always align with yours but that’s ok because the rewards outweigh any sacrifices you make.

Together you’re creating memories, growing closer, sharing experiences and learning what makes each other tick along the way.

Take a cue from this backpacking couple  backpacking-travel-blog

Travelling Family With Kids

How the Barnes family plan to travel indefinitely with their kidsIt’s hard travelling with kids and you don’t always get to take the romantic trips you took before the kids came along but you enjoy letting your kids see the world and then seeing the world through their eyes.

Check out all these families who travels full time for years on end with kids in tow. Many of them work while on the road.

Gay and Lesbian Traveller
Globe trotter girls travel. Two girls in love who travel the world together

globetrottergirls.com/


Technically you would or could fall under one of the other groups like solo traveller or couple traveller but because you’re gay or lesbian you might also like to find gay-lesbian friendly venues and activities once in a while just so you can meet with other like-minded individuals. No big deal if you don’t because it’s all about the travel experience.

Take a cue from a Lesbian couple travelling the world long-term:Globe trotter girls Travels

Take a cue from a solo gay guy who travelled the world but who now lives in Berlin: Travels of adam

12- You Want To Travel Based On A Theme

You Have a passion, an obsession, an affinity towards something? Why not use it to lead your travels like these people.

Adventure Traveller
family on bikes travelled with their 2 kids from North America to the furthest point in south america

www.Familyonbikes.com

You like the thrill of adventure and stepping outside of your comfort zone, doing and seeing things that the average person wouldn’t normally try or see.

You might like going on an African safari, or skydiving or biking across north and South America.

Take a cue from these adventure travellers

Bike touring family who cycled from north America to South America on their bikes. Family on bikes

Foodie Traveller

You love food. So much so that you even let your stomach be your compass guiding you wherever it may be as long as there is good food, you are happy.

Take a cue from www.legalnomads.com

Quirky Traveller

You love side shows and anything that’s a little off beat..

If it’s big, tall or long, this family of four is going to go and see it.  Go big or go home

Sports Traveller

Sports are your compass; Travel the world visiting different sporting events. Budget travel adventures

Baby Boomer Traveller

Not really a theme but I didn’t know where else to put this type of traveller. In any case, you are a boomer. You’re independent and don’t care that others don’t see you as the typical traveller. You’re optimistic, positive, hard-working and goal oriented. Now that the children are gone and older you have more free time and more room in the budget for travel.

Take a cue from these boomers: My itchy travel feet

You’re A Responsible Traveler

You’re probably a volunteer Traveller or cultural Traveller. You want to change the world and do some good. You might volunteer to teach English or build a well in some remote part of Africa. Whatever it is, you are doing good by this planet and it’s people.

You would rather experience life in a foreign culture as a local rather than as an outsider or temporary visitor.  You left your home and brought with you a desire to become part of the new cultures you visit hoping to get transformed by your experience.

check out this family who travels the world with their kids. It’s full of cultural travel ideas. wandering educators

13- You define the way you travel by your mode of transportation.

You’re A Road Tripper

You’re a roadie and you love the sights, smells, sounds and culture of the open road. You believe that the journey is the destination that’s best enjoyed with an RV, a car or a trusty motorcycle?  If have kids, you’re most like in an RV touring and homeschooling and your probably connected in the road tripper community.

Check out Road Less Travelled

14- You Work While You Travel

Digital Nomads – Location Independent travellers

FYI, a good majority of the travellers on this page and many long-term travellers work while on the road. You might be surprised that many of them are not independently wealthy.

You love to travel but you need to make some cash along the way to help fund your travels. You might teach English here and there or you might have a job back home that you can do remotely. Still others are working to create a business using nothing but your computer, the Internet and an idea. An example are freelance writers, photographers, consultants, web & graphic designers and Internet marketers to name a few.

You’re pretty tech savvy and you’ve figured out a way to leverage technology and work wherever and even whenever you want – whether it be from home, a beach in the Bahamas, at your favourite coffee shop or on the other side of the world!   You’re basically a nomadic or location independent entrepreneur and you use your phones, tablets and laptop along with some useful web-applications to earn an income.

Earning your income this way allows you to travel freely because you are not tied down to a desk or office.

Take a cue from Erin Bender: Travel with Bender

15- Homeschooling and Educating While On The Road

Homeschooling- Homeschooler

You’re a family who travels full-time or long-term with school aged children and being the good parent you are, you want to give your kids the best education you can. Many people who travel long-term and choose to do a form of homeschooling.

Your kids don’t attend school in the traditional sense. You the parent are the teacher, using the world around you and material either online or you have purchased following a curriculum created by yourself but probably guided by some standard in your home country.

If you are unfamiliar with John Holt, he coined the term un-schooler which essentially is a system where parents help educate their children using the resources and guidance around them and inside of them. It is more of a “child driven learning” based on following your instincts, your child’s interests and not necessarily using any of the usual school resources.

Un-Schooler / WorldSchooler / Travel Schooler / Educational Traveller

The term un-schooler has some negative connotations to it mainly because it is a term that is used to describe what it isn’t. The term world schooler is a broader more descriptive and is often seen as a more positive term than un-schooler by some people.

Just like it sounds, “the whole world is your school, instead school being your whole world.”. It’s un-schooling beyond your neighbourhood without the support of your family and friends and learning and DOING what you’re meant to do in this world! In some ways, world schooling is when you grow up! Travelling is a great way to un-school because rather than seeing and reading about things in a text-book, you are there experiencing things first hand.

Single mom slow travelling the world with her son : www.raisingmiro.com

Single dad also slow travelling the world with his son:1 dad 1 kid

and finally World School Adventures

Conclusion

A lot of the travellers and traveller types I mention above could fit into multiple buckets. Knowing all your choices can sometimes shed light and open new doors to opportunities you didn’t know existed.

I truly believe that when you choose the right type of travel, it  will knock your socks off and leave you with unforgettable memories that you can’t stop talking about. 

If you have your sights set on living in France great. 

But don’t limit yourself into thinking there aren’t other just as amazing adventures and travel types that might be better suited to you.

ps

If you are a traveller who travels in a unique way, and you have a website. Contact me and I will be more than happy to add you to this list.

live abroad or travel the world for a year carouges or stupid

Selfish, Courageous or Stupid? Use Your Savings And Move To France For A Year With Your Family!

live abroad or travel the world for a year carouges or stupid

Do you want to travel around the world or live abroad in with your kids but you’re afraid of the backlash and negativity from others? Been there! Here are 6 responses to 6 things naysayers might say to you. I hope it empowers you to go with your gut and do what is right for you rather than letting others shame you into conforming to their idea of what is the right and wrong way to live your life and raise your children.

You did what?Strolling on a foot path On st Margerite island

I always get a kick out of people’s reaction when they learn we used our savings to move to France with our three children while we were unemployed. “Are you crazy?”, “what about all your stuff and your life here?”, “You’re so lucky I wish I could do that!” or “You’re selfish parents for uprooting your kids and disrupting their routine.” And finally, people wonder if we are rich.

And the list goes on.

Travelling the world or living abroad for a year might seem like something only the rich or frivolous can do but you don’t have to be rich and it’s done more often than you think. 

I don’t blame those negative naysayers for thinking what they do about us folks who choose to leave our conventional lives behind to travel and see the world. What else are they supposed to think?

Most of us are raised to believe that we are supposed to live our life a certain way and when we stray from that way of life that we are taking risks or being bad parents or whatever it is that naysayers say about folks like us.

nice-cheese

Nowhere in the manual of life does it say take a family gap year to travel or live abroad. It just goes against the social grain. But just because it is not a common occurrence does not mean it’s the wrong thing to do. Great things in this world have happened because someone did something different, extraordinary or outside the bell curve.

But travelling the world for a year or taking a year off from life to live abroad is not really all that unique. Every year, thousands of people do it. I will admit that it is easier to do while you are younger with no attachments, no mortgage and before you get married and have kids.

I did it when I was 18- I lived in Japan and travelled throughout Asia for almost 4 years.

But Families do it too. It’s just harder to do as a family with kids. You have so many more obstacles to overcome. More of a financial burden. More lives to consider. Nevertheless, there are other families out there doing it. Here are a just a few Families who travel long term with their kids in tow. (Long term means that they are travelling the world indefinitely or until it no longer suits them.)

These people aren’t rich. They are people who got creative with how they earn a living so that they could lead a location independent life.

Leaving San Francisco

I’ve gotten my fair share of negativity from certain people I know and from complete strangers via email who say moving to France and using our savings to fund it was stupid, irresponsible or bad parenting. I don’t agree with them of course and they are all allowed their opinion.

In fact I agree with them to a certain degree. It is not right for certain people.It’s not right for them so they think it’s not right for me either I suppose. But my life is not their life. What makes them feel safe and happy does not make me feel that way and I want to raise my children differently.

Not everyone I come across are naysayers. Most are actually very positive.

Below are a few snippets from emails I have received from other readers.

  • I admire your courage to live life to the fullest with your kids.
  • Congratulations on your tenacity to live life unconventionally.
  • We would love to do what you and your family are doing but we need  a little advice….

We were even featured on the 500th episode of House Hunters international called Dreaming of Marseille.

However for every 100 positive emails, I receive a handful of emails from people who basically think we are either selfish fools or bad parents. Here is an example of one of the nastier ones I received.

“Just saw your house hunter program. I have never seen a more self-absorbed person in my life as you. You have given no consideration to parenting skills.

Two unemployed parents spending their savings on chasing a dream. You have not taken into consideration your children, especially your two eldest whose body language in the program showed two boys withdrawing from reality.

Your idea is something that should be pursued once your 3 responsibilities have been properly met and achieved their 18th birthday(s). In closing, I feel sorry for you, you are a very self-centred person, one who I hope fails at every turn of the screw.

signed anonymous”

catherine-school

Needless to say,  I am not so thrilled to get these and sometimes they even **piss me off. Not because someone dares to have a different opinion than me, but because selfishness was the furthest thing from our minds when we decided to leave our life behind to live in France for a year. But how would they know that. Most of people negativity comes from their very narrow point of view and life. I grew up living in different countries in a multicultural house so to travel and give this experience to my kids is a gift I wanted to pass on to them.

6 responses to negative feedback you may receive if you want to travel or live abroad with your kids for a year or more

Here are some things you may here from family and friends or even be thinking yourself.

1) You are selfish to impose your dream to travel (to live in France) on your children

swimming-st-tropez

A handful of emails said that we were selfish to impose our dream to live in France with our children. My response is this. Yes my husband and I love to travel and yes it was OUR dream to live in France, but our decision to actually DO IT was not merely based on a selfish desire but a strong belief that spending a year or more abroad would also BENEFIT our children.

That’s right, WE BELIEVE that our children will benefit from living in another country: exposed to another culture, speaking another language and so much more. We could have sent our elder sons to France on a year abroad program, instead we decided to spend a year abroad TOGETHER AS A FAMILY. You don’t have to agree or want to enrich your children’s lives as we have chosen to do. You just have to respect that we have our beliefs on how best to do it and you have yours.

Besides, we didn’t just wake up one day and say ‘oh let’s move to France’. On no mon ami. We carefully weighed our options, listed out the pros and cons, poured over our finances, conducted countless hours of research and went back and forth on our decision for months until we finally decided to JUST DO IT.

2) You are selfish to use your savings to live abroad when you have children.

It is selfish to use your savings to for a gap year in france when you have children?

We are not buying a Porsche or some other luxury item that we can’t afford. We worked hard for years at the expense of valuable family time and now we are choosing to use some of that money for a couple of years of family bonding; experiences and memories abroad.

FYI: We use a combination rental income, freelance work and savings to pay for our family year abroad.

If we really thought we were putting our future at risk, we would never have taken the leap to live abroad and take a family gap year in France. Only you can decide if it is financially viable for you to spend a year or more abroad with your family.

Not Familiar with our story?  Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

We lived a pretty conventional middle class family life in the San Francisco bay area right up until the point where we were laid off from our high-tech jobs, the economy took a dive and jobs became scarce. Rather than sit around and wait for the economy to improve, we decided leave the bay area and take the road less travelled. We packed our suitcases, rounded up our three kids, ages 4, 13, 14 at the time of our move and moved to France temporarily (for what was supposed to be one year but has since been extended).

3) You are selfish to move the kids to another country far away from relatives and or friends!

la-garde-mira

First, this is your life and you have to do what makes you happy and what you think is best for your kids.  You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness.

Second, yes your kids will miss their friends and family but with technology being so readily available, there is no reason why you can’t stay in touch with family and friends back home via video calls like we do. In some ways, we stay more in contact now than we ever did before.

Third, you have to do what is best for your family.

Lastly, It’s only temporary. A year or two abroad is not going to kill anyone.  If your move abroad is longer or more permanent, I want you to think about this. The US and Canada are filled with people who left their homeland and their families behind to start a new life they thought would be better so why can’t you?

4) Your kids are too young. They won’t remember or benefit from your time abroad.

The kids are too young. They won’t remember or benefit from your family gap year abroad

I have heard this argument so many times and frankly it’s R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S.

If we follow the logic that we should not do something with our kids just because they won’t remember then we also shouldn’t read to our babies or hold them or even speak to them simply because they won’t remember. Sounds silly doesn’t it?

Some developmental specialists even believe that much of a person’s brain development happens within the first few years of life.  In other words, a child’s experiences during the first few years of their life will become the hardwired connections responsible for better cognitive and emotional functioning, including vision, movements and language.

Want to learn some of the ways my kids have benefited from travelling? Read this article I wrote called 10 Reasons Why You should Travel With Your Kids Even If They Won’t Remember.

5) You should wait until your children are 18 to  pursue your family gap year to travel abroad.

Kieran leaving for the summer

Seriously?  Our time with our children is very precious and relatively short. Whey wait to experience the trip of a lifetime until after the kids have left the nest?  It just does not make sense to me. Yes it’s true there are going to be risks and challenges but I think the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot.

  • We get more time with the kids: Our kids get us full-time before and after school where previously they went to school and then straight to daycare because we worked mad crazy hours and commuted almost 2 hours everyday to work.
  • We are working on creating a portable income through writing and freelancing. We have chosen to use the time that the kids are in school to work on our freelance careers and some writing projects.  Maybe when we return to north America we will have grown our freelance careers to the point where we can make our own hours and continue to be home for the kids.
  • The kids have a chance to be bilingual.
  • Family bonding time: All this time together exploring another country creates the perfect environment to spend more time together..

6) Your kids look withdrawn: They must Hate Living abroad in France.

The kids will love / hate their gap year in France

In one of the emails I received, someone wrote that the body language of my two teenage boys on the episode of House Hunters showed two boys withdrawing from reality. First of all, I find it strange that someone would draw this conclusion about the state of mind of my children from less than a few minutes of footage.

Second, clearly the person who wrote these words does NOT understand what it’s like to have teenagers. My teenage boys can be moody as hell. Add in the fact that they had the stomach flu on the day we were filming and that they were embarrassed to be filmed  in public on the streets of France and voila.

Are my boys always happy in France? No they are not but that is true wherever they are not just because they were living in France.

Will your kids hate living abroad?  Maybe, maybe not. It just depends on your kids and the extent they are able to handle change.

As parents, don’t we make a lot of decisions for our kids that benefit them whether they like it or not? If your kids hate eating broccoli, or doing their math homework or practising the piano or some other thing that you MAKE them do for their own benefit would you stop?  Probably not.

Conclusion: Don’t let other people’s judgmental attitude, limiting beliefs or fears stop you from doing what you think is best

Stop judging people based on your limiting beliefs and fears.

Some parents move to a better, more expensive area because the schools are better. Others parent keep their kids constantly busy with violin lessons, sport camps or private tutors. Some parents home school.

I grew up experiencing the world and I thank my parents everyday for giving me that gift and now I want to give it to my children. You may not agree with our choices but that’s ok. I get it, travelling and spending a year abroad with your family may not be your cup of tea. Just don’t judge us lesser parents or bad parents just because we believe in providing  and enriching our children in a different way than you do.

If you are reading this and still shaking your head that’s OK. Go away and live your life and never come back here again. If you are contemplating spending a year abroad, here are my final thoughts.

nice-bay-of-angels

It is your life.

You have your own unique set of circumstances and obstacles.

Ultimately only you can decide if a family gap year in France is right for you.

Just promise me you wont let the fear of what others think or social norms stop you from doing it

train-nice-dignes

10 Reasons Why You should Travel With Your Kids Even If They Won’t Remember

why you should travel with your kids even if they won't remember it

If you are considering a trip and aren’t sure whether you should bring the kids or not then let me help you decide with a little personal insight.

“Why bother travelling with young children? They won’t remember their travels anyways!

“It’s too much work to travel with kids, besides they won’t appreciate it!”

These are just some of the sad things I’ve heard people say about travelling with children.

My response is, you don’t know what you are missing and if you truly believe this than you are missing the whole point of travelling with children.

Consider the following statements.

“Don’t read to your child or hold your baby as much as possible because he or she won’t remember” .

“Don’t spend time with your kids when it’s inconvenient, they won’t appreciate it anyways”.

Ridiculous right?

I think it’s ridiculous when people say that they don’t want to travel with their kids because it’s too hard or because they won’t remember.

Travel with kids for me is not necessarily about giving them a  memory or doing it when it is convenient. It’s about giving them an experience. After all, experiences are the building blocks that make us who we are whether we remember them all or not.

10 reasons I travel with my kids and how I think it has changed our lives.

1- Travel Can Help Broaden The Horizons of Your Children.

1- Travel Can Help Your Kids Understand and Accept that there is no one way to do something.

One of the many reasons I love to travel is because it teaches me about the different ways that people live and do things. For my children this translates to them understanding that there is no one single way or right way to do some things.

Consider the simple act of what to eat for breakfast on a trip to.. um  ….. China?

If your kids are used to eating eggs and toast, imagine how eye opening and different it will be for them to eat something foreign like rice porridge or Chinese donuts for breakfast. My kids love eating this for breakfast by the way. I have been exposing them to different foods through travel since they were born.

Food is just one example of how travel can expose your kids to different ways of doing common everyday things.

Photo via Flickr from Brett

2-Traveling With Kids Expands, alters and stretches their little minds.

Traveling With Kids Expands, alters and stretches their little minds.

Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see my kids step outside of their comfort zone and be more willing to try new things.

Just by the nature of travel, your children can easily learn to stretch themselves and experience things outside of their everyday life and comfort zone. Each time they do this, they will gain the confidence to push themselves further and further even when they are not travelling.

3- Travelling Helps Kids Become Great Little Travellers.

Travelling Helps Kids Become Great Little Travellers.

The younger your kids are when you start travelling with them, the faster they become better travel companions.

All three of my kids are used to travelling. They learned from an early age what to expect, what to do and what not to do.

It doesn’t take years of training either.  Even if you only go on one trip a year, they will learn to become good travellers quickly.

My youngest child was already a great traveller by one year old because we started taking her on road trips at 11 days old. By the time she was 9 months old, she didn’t even cry on her first international trip to France.

4- Travelling helps kids learn to acclimate and adapt to change.

Travelling helps kids learn to acclimate and adapt to change

Sure stability and keeping a schedule is great for your kids but so is change. Travelling with your kids is a natural and easy way to help them learn to deal with change.

5-Travel Can uncover your children’s hidden interests.

Travel Can uncover your children’s hidden interests.

One of my sons has discovered through travel that he loves art and loves to draw. Sure he could have discovered these things on his own but travelling put us in museums and surrounded by ancient works of arts that gave him that initial spark.

6- Kids Can Let Loose and be themselves.

Kids Can Let Loose and be themselves

When your kids travel, they get to explore a side of themselves outside of their everyday life. They get to let down their guard, have fun and be themselves.  

7-You Will Create And Cherish Lifelong Memories

-You Will Create Cherish Lifelong Memories Together

It stands to reason that all the good times we have travelling together are memories i will cherish. You may be surprised to know that some of my fondest memories of travel were actually of times when we were the most stressed.

Like losing one of my sons in Nice France for 3 hours and freaking out only to find him hours later and just being happy is was safe.

Or realizing that our huge American stroller was not going to fit in most restaurants.

Changing diapers on the grass in front of the Eiffel tower after searching for a bathroom that was free for over an hour.

Convincing our kids to eat some new foods and putting up with all their whining.

These are all memories I will keep for the rest of my life and laugh about too.

8- You will see the world in a whole new way.

 You will see the world in a whole new way

Travelling with your children let’s you see even the simplest of things in a whole new way. Sometimes it’s a useful reminder of how wonderfully strange some things are, particularly when you see them again through fresh eyes.

9-It’s Easier To Travel When Your Kids Are Younger: You don’t have to wait until they are older

It's Easier To Travel Wen Your Kids Are Younger: So You don’t have to wait

I have travelled with all three of my kids from birth. **My oldest is now almost 17 ( at the time of this writing 2013).

I have spent countless hours with each of my kids either attached to my back in a sling or sitting in a stroller while we travelled.

So trust me when I say this but you don’t have to wait until the kids are older to travel. In many ways, it can actually be easier and better to travel when the kids are younger.

Kids are amazingly flexible and resilient if you only give them a chance. They can sleep almost anywhere.  Everything fascinates them. They will and can eat almost anything and they don’t give you attitude like a grumpy teenager.

All you need is a sling or a stroller and you are set to go. Don’t forget the diapers and a few snacks too. You have the added bonus of raising children who adapt easily to change and creating good travel companions for both far and near travel.

10-Travel is a fun bonding opportunity.

Travel is a fun bonding opportunity

We are all so busy through out the year. Travelling on a vacation is often one of the best if not the only times we actually get to spend quality time with our kids.

Our kids get to see us in a fun and new environment. We get to loosen up on the rules and everyone gets to spend quality time together.

What Do You think?

Our Family in Le Pradet France in 2013

I don’t want you to think that travelling with kids is all rosy rainbows and unicorns.

There are definitely a lot of downsides to travelling with kids. It’s hard, stressful and can be expensive for example.

However; it’s totally worth it. The unexpected joys of travelling with children far outweigh any negatives for me.

Don’t take my word for it. Below are over a dozen articles written by other families who travel with kids who also think that travelling with children is worth it.

**NOTE: When I mention travel in this article, I realize that money may be a limitation. To reap the benefits of travel with kids you could opt for travelling to places closer to home. The next town, state or province. Just as long as it’s somewhere new and different and you all are together. 

Other Articles From Families Who Travel

Mary from Bohemian travelers

Nancy from Family on Bikes

Catherine Forest from Catherine et les fées

Alisa from Living Outside of the Box

Melissa from Break Out of Bushwick

Bethaney from Flashpacker Family

Jenn Miller from the edventure project

Kris Herwig from Simon Says – Traveling With Tots: The World is My Playground

Heather Costaras from Living Differently –

Kalli from Portable Professionals

Kirsty from Barts go Adventuring

Jenni from Witness Humanity (link coming)

Anne from The Journey is the Reward

Laurel from Capturing la Vita (Link coming)

Sharon from Where’s Sharon –

ME:Annie: from Practical Adventurology – Why You Should Travel With Kids Even If They Won’t Remember

Lainie from Raising Miro on the Road of Life (and Aimee from Suitcases and Strollers):

The 3 Year 17,000 Mile Bike Ride: A Family Cycling Trip To The End Of The World (#12)

Vogel 3 year family cycling trip:

When was the last time you did something that scared you? Something that was completely out of your comfort zone? I’m not talking about painting the walls in your bedroom hot pink or eating at that dicey Mexican joint down the street with questionable meat. I’m talking about doing something of epic proportions- life changing!

Meet The Vogels

See also Other ordinary people who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time. Want to get featured? Please fill out this form.

The Vogel Family: They cycled 17,300 miles along the Pan America Highway with 2 ten year old boys

In June of 2008, Nancy and John Vogel, two school teachers from Idaho set out on a journey with their 10 year old twin boys, Daryl and Davy to be the first family to cycle the pan American highway. (The longest road in the world which goes from Alaska to the very tip of south America)

For three years the Vogel’s pedalled 12 to 15 days a month, 4 to 6 hours a day using nothing but their bikes and pure leg and feet power the entire 27,300 mile journey that would take them through a total of 15 different countries.

This is the Pan American Hwy from tip to tip

This is the Pan American Hwy from tip to tip

Along the way they did and saw some amazing things.

The tandem bike for two

  • -They cycled through torrential rains.
  • -They got chased by a big ass bears.
  • -They endured food poising and soiled pants en route.
  • -They broke language and culture barriers.
  • -They had near misses with traffic, countless scrapes and bike repairs.
  • -They slept anywhere and everywhere along the way: in hostels, camped in tents by the side of roads, behind restaurants, in peoples yards, on the beach and even stayed with people they met along the way.

They had a true life family adventure that tested them both physically and emotionally.

They Must Be Crazy!

The Vogel Family is a down to earth normal family

When I first heard of the Vogel’s back in 2011, I thought they were crazy to drag two 10 years old kids on such a long and  physically challenging bike trip.

The more I read about the Vogel’s, the more I realized they weren’t crazy at all. In fact, although I did not know them personally, their life resonated with me very deeply. 

They Led A Pretty Normal Life

They worked hard as school teachers for years saving money for retirement like everyone else .

Everyday before heading off to teach other peoples children, they dropped their own two sons off at day care.

They chauffeured their kids to and from after school sports and activities. They cooked diner, pinched their pennies and pretty much lived like the average family would.

The one defining difference that separates the Vogel’s from most is that they decided to take the road less travelled and acted on their seemingly impossible dream despite their fears, despite the naysayers,  despite going against the grain of what society considered “NORMAL“.

If going against the grain makes them crazy then yeah, I guess they are crazy. I want to be crazy too then. 

How Did They Pay For The Trip? They Must Be Rich.

I know what you are thinking. They quit their jobs to cycle for three years. They must be loaded and rolling in dough.

NOPE!  Nancy and her husband John are long time school teachers. I don’t know a lot of rich school teachers do you?  They aren’t t trust fund babies either.

They Did It The Old Fashioned Way.

Their trip was made possible using a combination of years of savings and rental income. You can read in more detail about how they made it financially happen by reading this article Nancy wrote called “How To Afford Long Term Family Travel.

They also kept their monthly spending relatively low during their 3 year journey. Their average monthly spending was about 1,500 USD per month.

How Much Gear Did They Carry?

family on bikes

The Vogels had a total of 3 bikes between the four of them. Nancy and Davy rode single bikes while John rode a tandem bike with their other son Daryl.

Each bike was equipped with bags that were filled with clothing and other items that they needed for all four seasons including sleeping bags and winter jackets for when the temperatures dropped below zero.

They also carried a small stove and pot for cooking and occasionally had to carry a few days worth of food for the longer hauls when they would be out in areas where there were no other humans.

School For The Boys

To keep the kids on par with their peers, Nancy and John road-schooled their kids. Road schooling is a term used to describe children who are home-schooled while travelling long term.

The boys each did mathematics, wrote journal entries, essays and researched the areas they passed through. If they had time they also did earth sciences.

Where Are They Now?

Vogel Family: Family on bikes reach the end-of-the-world

The Vogel’s completed their 17,300 mile journey on March 21st, 2011 when they arrived in Ushuaia in Argentina, often regarded as the southernmost city in the world (pictured above).

They are now back in Idaho where they are enjoying a different type of adventure that is until they decide to go on another adventure.

What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid?

Changing-Gears-a-family-family cycling trip

If you are interested in learning more about this families amazing journey from Alaska to Argentina, you can read about it in a book Nancy wrote chronicling her families adventure from start to finish.

It’s called Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey To The End Of The World.

I guarantee by the end of the book you’ll be inspired, humbled and in awe of what they did. So much so that you might actually go out and do something that scares you.

Please do stop by her blog Family On Bikes.  It’s full of tips, tricks and aspiration to help you get off your butt and do something that scares you.

All photos used are property of the Vogel family.

 

See also Other ordinary people who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time. Want to get featured? Please fill out this form.

she met the man of her dreams on a boat on vacation

What Happens When Two People Hook Up On Vacation, Get Married And Have Babies? (series #11)

she met the man of her dreams on a boat on vacation

Believe it or not!

People hook up on vacation and fall in love all the time.

Unfortunately, relationships started on the road, usually don’t last very long.

They either end soon after the trip ends or they fizzle out over time when the starry eyed lovers try to maintain a long distance relationship from opposite sides of the planet.

Don’t let that sad fact stop you from finding love on the road because once in a blue moon, one of those romances started while travelling have a happy ending.

She Met Him On A Boat On The Nile

Meet Alyson, a nice girl from Wales who over a decade ago booked a adventure holiday which entailed a 5 day sailing trip on the Nile of Egypt aboard a felucca boat.

The actual boat they met on

A felucca (Arabic: فلوكة‎) is a traditional wooden sailing boat used in protected waters of the Red Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea in places like Sudan, Iraq, Malta and along the Nile in Egypt. These types of boats are popular among tourists because they offer a calmer, quieter mood over the noisier fast paced motorboats. 

Around the same time, 14 other people booked that very same adventure holiday, including a 21 year old Australian guy named James who was living in London to further his chef career.

Guess what happened?

She married Him!

Today Alyson and James are married and have two adorable sons who apparently like to eat oysters because James is an executive chef and that’s what chef kids eat.. OYSTERS.

But what happens when two travel addicts meet and fall in love? Do they stop travelling? Do they continue travelling?  Do they retire to suburbia?

Before I tell you what these two world travellers have planned, I thought it would be fun to share the story of where Alyson and James married.

Interview With Alyson

Tell me a little about where you are from!

She was from Wales, He was living in London. over 400 KM away

Over 400 KM distance between their two homes

I am a Welsh girl from the valleys and James is an Aussie.  We met in Egypt, moved to England and ended up emigrating to Port Douglas, Australia in 2007.

We have two children, born in London.

Everybody in our family has British and Australian passports, except me.

I’m all British, although, I could now get an Aussie one if I wanted to. Passports are really expensive to renew when there are 7 of them in the family!

Why did you choose to get married in Sri Lanka?

James carrying Alyson's bags up the stairs during that trip to Egypt

James carrying Alyson’s bags up the stairs during that trip to Egypt

Getting married in Sri Lanka, on the beach at a hotel near Galle was an excuse for another trip!

Because we met through travel, it was massively important to us and we particularly love the Indian Sub Continent.

I’d been to Sri Lanka before and loved it. The Chef (James) had never been, so it seemed perfect.

We weren’t interested in having a big wedding, although my Mum, Dad and God mother did come in the end, I’m glad they did.

They had a brilliant time plus of course, we could slide in a week of diving in Maldives as a honeymoon!

Did you do need special visas or have to do anything special to marry in Sri Lanka?

Alyson and james on an elephant at their wedding in Sri Lanka

Alyson’s white outfit was filthy black by the end of the day.

No, nothing, it was all very easy.

We actually cheated a bit and booked a wedding package through a luxury travel company where everything was taken care of for us.

We just had to sign the certificate.

It was our first time taking a fancy holiday like that, we’re very much budget travellers.

How did you handle the language barrier?

English is widely used in Sri Lanka but we do have two wedding certificates.

One in Sinhala and the other is in English.

What was the best part about getting married in Sri Lanka?

Alyson and james on an elephant at their wedding in Sri Lanka

We had an elephant!

I can’t see that happening in South Wales.

We rode off into the sunset on her, such a gorgeous creature. I really love elephants.

The ceremony itself was Buddhist based and we had our fingers tied together, lit oil lamps and did a thing with leaves for good luck.

What didn’t like about getting married abroad in Sri Lanka:

Alyson and james riding into the sunset on an elephant at their wedding in Sri Lanka

Riding off into the sunset on an elephant.

I actually wish we’d organized it ourselves, rather than through the hotel.

Some of the things included were rather cheesy, like the free hair do ( terrible) and the photographer/videographer ( even more terrible).

I was also a little annoyed that the hotel charged us $200 for having the elephant there.  I bet the guy who brought the elephant didn’t see much of that money.

But the whole thing was great, kind of crazy great. We laugh now at the terrible photos and how absolutely filthy my white outfit was after bare back elephanteering.

One of the things we love about India and Sri Lanka is the general crazyness.

I’ve got a great piece of video that my Dad took of James toppling off one side of our elephant as she stood up. A Sri Lankan guy tugging on his leg to keep him on.

I’ll put it on you tube one day!

What’s Next For Alyson, James and Family?

“What happens when two travellers meet on vacation, fall in love, get married and have kids?”

As of this writing, Alyson and family are getting ready to take an extended – open ended trip with THE KIDS starting in Asia.

Here is what Alyson had to say.

 “Having children slowed us down for a while, but now the boys are 6 and 8. We think they are ready to leave on this adventure, round the world, indefinitely, and get a lot out of it, including an incredible education.

Travelling with children will add a whole new dimension to the trip for us, seeing things through their eyes is magical.”

And NO!  They don’t have loads of money, they are doing it on the cheap: budget travel.

How Are They Paying For Their Long Term Trip With The Kids?

Alyson and James have been working hard to meet their savings goals that will allow them to take their extended family trip.

They have about another 6 months to meet that goal. (at the time of this writing in 2013)

How have you prepared your sons for travel?

Alyson and the kids

From the day the boys were born, they’ve been hearing stories of our travels, playing with objects from all corners of the globe and seeing photos and films of amazing things.

“We’re going to the Himalayas” seems normal to them.

We home-school so we’re big on geography and world history.

I think kids need to know something about where they’re going before they get there to get the most out of it so I introduce topics before we get there.

It sounds silly but I made them watch The King and I before we went to Thailand just so they would be as blown away as I was to see real palaces and images of the king in the musical.

I did try training them for trekking but I ended up carrying D up a mountain. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

When your sons are old enough, do you want them to travel as you have been able to do?

Well, yes, I’d like them to, but I think there is a danger in exposing them to the world so young, they may be “over it” by the time they are able to carry a 70L pack. They may think of it as “Mum and Dad’s thing” i.e.. uncool.

It’s something that actually worries me.

I don’t want to spoil it for them but at this stage, the educational and fun benefits far outweigh any future issues.

I’m hoping they’ll be conquering the world through travel blogging while other kids are still in school.

Off The Cuff Question

Do your two sons have British or Aussie accents or something in between?

James with his two sons

They both sound exactly like me, British.

I’ve seen that in a lot of displaced families here. (Australia).

The children have the Mum’s accent because they spend the most time with her.

D went to school for 2 years and started to pick up a slight Aussie twang, but he’s now been home-schooled for 2 years and lost it again.

We are a very mixed community. Hhis best friends have been from New Zealand, Texas and Swiss/British. Thy actually don’t encounter Australian accents that often.

Conclusion

If you love to travel and are worried that travel will end once you have kids don’t because as Alyson stated, yes it may slow you down but it can be done with careful planning. What better way to to share and teach your children about the world beyond the comfort of their backyard.

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You can read more about Alyson’s wedding by reading this Finding Love Through Travel.  You can follow along on their journey before they leave and while they are on their trip by visiting their travel blog at www.worldtravelfamily.com.

Alyson and James are the 11th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing ordinary people;  families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time.

I Hope It Inspires You To Take Actions on all your dreams, not just your travel dreams.

Want to get featured on this site like this family? Please fill out this form and I’ll post the story here..Know someone who should be featured?  Send me an email annie[@]annieandre.com.

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How the Barnes family plan to travel indefinitely with their kids

How To Travel Indefinitely: The Barnes Family Quest To Travel With 3 Kids (Series #10)

How do you travel indefinitely if you aren’t rich and have kids? Katie and Jeff are two Californians with itchy travel feet. If they had their way they would travel indefinitely or at least until that itch to travel goes away. Find out how they currently travel and how they plan to make the dream of Full-time travel last as long as they can with three kids under the age of 6.

How To Travel Indefinitely

Hint, it’s not just about making the perfect plan. 

How To Travel Indefinitely: Barnes Family

Meet the Barnes family.

The Barnes family are an American family of five from Southern California who have been travelling with their 3 children since 2011.

The Barnes family are what we call Long Term Travellers who Slow travel.

Meaning, they travel for extended periods of time ( more than a few months) and rather than moving quickly from city to city every few days or weeks, they travel slowly. They choose a home-base, hunker down at that home-base for 6 months to a year before moving on to their next home-base destination.

Snap Shot Of The Barnes Family

  • Number Of Kids: 3 kids under 6 years old  (1, 3 and 5 – as of 2013)
  • Educating Kids: Combination Homeschool / Traditional Classroom Learning
  • Type Of Travel: Long term travel / Slow Travel with Home-Base / Location Independent travel
  • Length Of Travel: 1+ year
  • Where Travelled: —> Pre-kids: sailed for 3.5 years from Florida to New Zealand, —>Post-Kids: Costa Rica, France, Belgium, England, Germany with a home base in Prague. Italy
  • Challenges: Keeping a regular routine for the kids. Creating sustainable incomes while on the road.
  • Finances:  Combinations of savings, sale of home, investments and day trading
  • Budget: $117 / day.  $23person per day. $3,500 per month Total

Why They Travel The Way They Do!

Staying for six months in each place allows them to fulfil their dream of travel while also meeting their other goals without all the stress of travelling at break neck speeds.

Some of their goals include..

  • Spend more quality time together.
  • Raise globally minded, creative and independent thinkers.
  • Allow the children to pick up languages along the way.
  • Soak in the local culture and food

Now, before I get into how the Barnes are making their dream of Full-time travel a reality, let me tell you a little bit about Katie and Jeff’s story.

Theirs is a story straight out of a romantic adventure novel.

The Great Sailing Trip Before The Kids

sail-florida-new-zealand: How To Travel Indefinitely:

Pre-Kids

Jeff and Katie are no strangers to travel.

In fact, their desire to travel with their kids stems way back to a time before they were married and before they had kids.

These two love-birds met and eventually fell in love while working at the same mergers and acquisition firm in California where Jeff was working as a manager and Katie worked as the market researcher.

Eventually, they quit their jobs, sold everything, moved onto a sail boat and sailed from Florida to New Zealand over a period of 3 1/2 years.

How to travel indefinitely: sailing

Jeff giving Katie a sailing lesson. She had no sailing experience

As romantic, adventurous and dreamy as it sounds, it was not all a bed of roses.

Because of the nature of living in close quarters, that romantic sailing adventure proved to be the ultimate test of their relationship. In the end, their relationship survived, probably stronger than it was before.

While on their sailing adventure, Katie and Jeff met many families with kids who were travelling long term and that’s when they both knew that they wanted to do the same thing with their future children one day.

After Their Sailing Adventure

How to travel indefinitely: sailing panama canal

Katie and Jeff Passing through the panama Canal

When their amazing sailing adventure ended, they returned to California, married and had kids with the intention of someday returning to a life of travel with the kids.

Unlike some people who dream and do nothing about their dreams, Katie and Jeff started making plans right away.

The first thing they needed to figure out was how they were going to pay for their future travel. 

The Long Term Family Travel Plan: The Money

How To Travel Indefinitely: Build a log cabin and sell it to finance your trip

The money plan was simple. Build a few houses, pocket the profit and take off with the kids.

Plans don’t always work out the way we want them to.

Their plan didn’t exactly work out the way they planned. For one, they only built one house not four. A gorgeous log home on the side of a mountain in Big Bear Lake, California.

Two,  it took much longer than expected to build just that one house, almost 4 years.

Finally, they didn’t profit quite as much as they had hoped to leaving them short of their financial goals.

Katie and Jeff were at a fork in the road.

Jeff’s job was not going to last much longer which meant they would be free to travel but….they hadn’t quite met their financial goals.

They could wait and build more houses like they planned or take the money they had so far and figure out how to make more cash while travelling.

The urge to travel was too great and they decided to start their family travel adventure sooner rather than later.

Where To Go First?

The Barnes family had a lot of things to consider for their travel adventure. Namely where would their first adventure begin?

The kids were just 4 and 2 and the youngest was just a newborn.

At first they thought of heading to Costa Rica where the cost of living was much lower but an earlier trip down their left them feeling like maybe that wasn’t where they wanted to be.

How To Travel Indefinitely: Figure out where you want to go

Then they set their eyes on Europe where the food, architecture and culture were more in line with their current travel desires.

Narrowing Down Where To Go

Katie and Jeff didn’t know where in Europe they wanted to go but they did know that they wanted to stay in a city with all the amenities of a city.

it was a change from their small town living and that was just fine for them since both Katie and Jeff had never lived in a biggish city before.

Hello Prague

They narrowed their options to a few European cities like Munich, Strasbourg, and at the last minute decided on Prague where they ended up staying for a good part of 2012.

From Prague they travelled out on mini trips to Germany, France, Belgium, England and Poland.

After Prague

So far sticking to one place for 6 months or more is working out and at the beginning of 2013, they left Prague and moved onto their next home-base; Italy. From Italy, they plan on travelling out to Greece, Turkey and around Europe as much as they can.

After that, they have no idea but hinted at spending time in France and Spain.

Kids Education

How To Travel Indefinitely: set up a plan to educate the kids on the road

When it comes to education for the kids, the Barnes take an interesting hybrid approach.  It involves a form of home-schooling (which has turned into more of a world school / unschooling philosophy ), combined with more traditional classroom learning.

For instance, while in Prague, the kids took art, drama, music and reading classes while Kate applied world school / unschooling philosophy learning at home.

In Italy, their eldest school age child may attend school with other Italian children to take full advantage of language immersion.

The Technical Stuff

How much stuff do They travel with?

How To Travel Indefinitely: don't bring too much stuff

They flew from California to Prague with a total of 10 bags. It was the maximum they were allowed to take on their flight (2 bags per person) plus one seat for the newborn.

They eventually bought an Audi while on one of their trips out of Prague to Germany and they used the car to make their latest move from Prague to Italy taking only what could fit in the car and on the roof.

How Do They Finance Their Trip

How To Travel Indefinitely: Have a plan b, c and roll with the punches

Since their plan to finance most of their trip with the profits from building homes didn’t quite work out as planned, they finance their trip by pulling from several different resources.

  • First they sold most of their stuff. (The rest they put in a very small storage unit in California.)
  • Then they sold the house they they spent 4 years building . (This was part of their plan all along).
  • They also have savings and investments that they can pull from.

Long term, they needed to create an income while on the road:

To subsidize their funds, Jeff planned on creating a location independent business (one he could run from anywhere in the world). His business idea involved combining his passion for beer and travel into one. He wanted to give beer tours around the world.
He also started learning stock trading/day trading as an additional income stream.

“It feels amazing to get on a plane and know you don’t have a bunch of things to worry about at home.”

As time went by, Jeff found he had less motivation for beer tours and more for stock trading and has been spending long hours learning and practising methods for making steady income through trading.

Jeff says he actually loves day trading and after a year of learning, he feels confident that he will be able to support their travel lifestyle.

What Were their biggest Challenges?

How To Travel Indefinitely: Create a life balance. it's hard spending all your time together

Three of the Barnes’ biggest challenges were…

  • Creating enough routine for their toddlers while on the go.
  • Spending too much time together in a small apartment with Jeff working (a lot) from home with noisy kids in the house.
  • Deciding where to live next because there were just too many great options.

What is their ball park daily budget?

The Barnes Family spends about $3500 USD a month. This is their total cost including travel, car, food, rent etc. That works out to about 116 USD per day.

How Long Do They Plan To Travel This Way

How To Travel Indefinitely: Make sure the kids benefit

There is no end in site for their current way of life.  Once the kids are old enough, Katie and Jeff hope to end up living back on a boat again sailing hither and tither with the kids.

A lot is riding on the fact that Katie and Jeff will be able to create incomes while travelling.

Words Of Advice- For Would Be Long Term Travelers.

I asked Katie to give me her top 3 words of advice for anyone out their who  dreams of travelling full time and here is what she said.

  1. “Don’t over think it. It takes some of the fun out. We keep doing that and it drives me crazy.”
  2. “Don’t bring too much. The less stuff the better, its easier and you will find what you need or some version of it wherever you go.”
  3. “If you are considering it, sell the house rather than rent it. Unless it provides good income…It feels amazing to get on a plane and know you don’t have a bunch of things to worry about at home.”

Conclusion

There are some important lessons to be learned here.

First,  if you want to travel for any length of time, having a plan is great and even necessary but…..It’s not enough.

You need a Plan and you need to be FLEXIBLE and willing to adjust your plans on the fly.

Just look at the Barnes family. They started off with a plan to finance their trip with the profit from building homes but when that plan fell through they didn’t postpone their dream or give up. They rolled with the punches and decided to figure it out as they go.

If you wait until everything is perfect, you may end up waiting a very long time to live your travel dream or worse; you may never do it. 

It’s not clear how long the Barnes family will travel but it is clear that they are working hard to give themselves options.  I’m pretty sure they won’t regret their decision either.

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

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The Barnes family one of many families feature. See other families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time.

I Hope It Inspires You To Take Actions on all your dreams not just your travel dreams.

Want to get featured on this site like this family? Please fill out this form and I’ll post the story here..Know someone who should be featured?

5 REAL Deathbed Regrets of the Dying!

deathbed regrets of the dying: Don't let dream to travel or live abroad become your death bed regret.
The most dangerous risk of all– the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” — Randy Komisar

You Could Die Tomorrow!

When I was 21, my father walked to the grocery store like he did almost every morning to check his blood pressure on the blood pressure machine that was installed in the pharmacy section of the store. It was free to use.  I was supposed to go with him on that morning but I had stayed out too late with friends and was too tired so I stayed in bed.

He never came home after that day because just as he arrived, a robber was trying to escape with a bag of stolen cash.

Witnesses say…….”The thief jumped in his car and tried to speed away but Jean-Louis (my father), stepped in front of the getaway car in an attempt to stop the thief from escaping.” The robber didn’t slowdown and hit my father head on. The impact was so strong my father flew almost 10 metres in the air and landed on his head causing severe head trauma and uncontrollable brain swelling.

I never spoke to my father again.  He died three days later in the hospital at the age of 64 despite several operations to relieve the swelling in his head, leaving me and my then 14 year old brother behind and alone. Even though my father lived a very adventurous life, I always felt he was cheated out of his chance to do more and I have wondered from time to time what his regrets would be if he were alive today.

Expect The Unexpected

I never expected to lose my father so suddenly and losing him so violently has left an un-erasable mark on me that that has shaped and defined my life. From that day forward, I Promised myself to live my life to the fullest because death can happen any time to any of us, EVEN YOU! 

Top 5 Deathbed Regrets

I hadn’t thought about my father in long time until I read an article by Bonnie Ware. Bonnie is a former nurse who worked with the dying and as a result she spent a lot of time talking with her dying patients.  She noticed many of them shared the same deathbed regrets.

I’ve paraphrased the top five regrets according to Bonnie’s patients below.  After reading them, you may find yourself nodding your head in agreement to a few and wondering if you might also have these same regrets on your own deathbed.

I know I did and I also couldn’t help but wonder if my own father would have had any of his own deathbed regrets.

Paulo live your life to the fullest now not later

WILL YOU HAVE SOME OF THESE SAME REGRETS?

1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Bonnie says this was the most common regret.  At the end of your life, it’s easy to look back and see how many unfulfilled dreams you have.

I can’t stress to you how important It is to honour or at least try to honour some of your dreams.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

Many of the male patients regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence which caused them to miss their children’s youth or neglect their relationships with their partner and loved ones.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep the peace or to spare other peoples feeling. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became or expressed who they really were.

You can’t control how other people will react to you speaking more honestly but you will at least have shown your true self and either raise the relationship to a new level or rid yourself of unhealthy relationships.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Many of Bonnies patients were so caught up in their own lives that they neglected friendships and eventually lost contact over the years only to find themselves regretting this on their deathbed.

Keep building you friendships and seek out new friends on a regular basis.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Many people settle for the life they have rather than the life they want.

If only these people had given themselves permission to pursue their dreams or a version of their dreams rather than sacrificing their happiness and enduring a life they were not completely happy with.

Let yourself be happy. It’s a choice. 

What’s this got to do with travel?

I have lived abroad several times before marriage and kids including as a small child with my parents, as a teenager, as a young adult and as married woman with children (we moved to France for a few years).

My biggest dream was to pass on the gift and my love of travel to my children just as my father passed to me. I can’t explain it, it just is what it is.

I am very lucky that my husband shared my love of travel. Bu if he hadn’t I probably would have been happy and settled for some version of my dream like a summer in France with the family or another country or maybe not travelling abroad at all but staying within the US and Canada.

We can’t always live our dreams to a “T” but we ca at least live some version of it.

What can you do to start living a life with fewer regrets?

Whatever your dreams are……

  • Don’t let your regrets fester and grow.  Accept them and use them to propel you to make change and adopt new behaviours.
  • Live for today: You never know what the future holds for you so live your life to it’s fullest and if you have kids teach them the same with your actions not just your words.
  • Be Happy! You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to live your life in such a way that brings you happiness and joy. It would have killed me to know that my father regretted not doing something because he felt guilty or sacrificed for me. It brings me joy to know that he led a happy and fulfilled life.
  • Don’t let fear of failure stop you! Even if you fail or if you can’t achieve your full dream, in the least you need to try or try some scaled down version of it. Don’t let the fear of what might happen stop you. Imagine what could be if you tried!
Back to you. Do you have any regrets that you’ve been putting off?  How would you feel if someone you loved had a deathbed regret and didn’t do anything about it?
Please share this if you think someone might benefit from this story. 
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