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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?

Where is the Red Sea?

Why You Should Visit the Red Sea And Sharm El sheikh in Egypt: A Surprising Holiday Destination

Visit The Red Sea: El Sheikh In Egype

In my quest to find new places to put on my bucket list to visit, I was surprised to learn that you can visit the Red Sea. It’s not only a great place for a family holiday but for longer extended trips thanks to it’s history and culture.

Visit The Red Sea? Where is The Red Sea?

If you’re like me, you probably know about the Red Sea from T.V. or the movie “The Ten commandments” where Charlton Hesten, who plays Moses, parts the red sea. It’s probably the most iconic and often parodied moments in film history. Sadly, that’s where my knowledge of the Red Sea ends.

Visit The Red Sea: El Sheikh In Egype: The parting of the red sea in the 10 Commandments

The Most Iconic imagery of Parting of the Red Sea from the movie “The Ten Commandments”

Be honest! Do you even know where the Red Sea is located? If you do, great. You get a big A+ for doing all your homework in school. If you don’t, don’t worry you’re not alone. Many people know of “The Red Sea” but if shown a map would not be able to point it out.

Visit The Red Sea: El Sheikh In Egype: The parting of the red sea in the 10 Commandments

Have You Heard Of Sharm El Sheikh?

I’m not here to give you a geography lesson or test your movie trivia skills or even test you on your biblical knowledge.

I simply want to introduce a new place that you may not have considered for your next trip.  Maybe even your next long term travel plans to slow travel through this region. It’s called Sharm El sheikh in Egypt which is located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula along the coastal strip of the Red Sea.

What is Slow Travel

If you are unfamiliar with the term slow travel let me quickly explain. The purpose of slow travel is the opposite of the quick holiday you take during a rushed break from work. The ethos of slow travel is all about savouring the beauty of a foreign land and revelling in the feeling that you’ve come to know a place a bit better than most tourists do.

Which brings me back to Sharm El Sheikh, sometimes referred to as “City of Peace” because of the numerous times the international peace conferences have been held there. Sharma is a great place to explore the philosophy of slow travel.

What’s there to do in Sharm El Sheihk?

Prior to 60 years ago, Sharm El Sheikh was nothing more than a small fishing port. Long-term travellers and slow travellers in this region will be delighted with the wealth and wide variety of activities.Sharma has become one of the premier diving and desert adventure destinations for holidaymakers worldwide.

Food and Attractions

The heart of Sharm El Sheihk is Naama Bay which is packed with wonderful restaurants, bars and cafes.

Diving

Divers are able to swim alongside a variety of fish species in crystal clear waters in the healthy, thriving reefs offshore.

The reefs at Tiran and Ras Mohammed are recognized as world-class diving spots. If sunken treasure is more your style, there are wrecks in Dunraven, Thistlegorm and Abu Nuas.

Archeological Attractions: Burning Bush

Those who take their time (slow travellers), in Sharm El Sheikh will also be able to delve into rich archaeological attractions.

St. Catherine’s is a monastery built around a 4th century chapel, which some believe was the site of the burning bush from the Old Testament Bible.

Explore sandy stretches of desert and, if you’re feeling especially intrepid, you can climb the peak of Mount Sinai to watch the sunrise.  You can also visit the beautiful Coloured Canyons, which are a maze of sandstone rocks. Consider riding there on a Sinai-bred camel – with a guide, of course!

Beach Activities

The Red Sea’s warm water is great for swimming with miles and miles of beaches. There are also a whole host of beach activities to do such as parasailing and wind-surfing.

The weather is predictable and warm all year round, making it an excellent spot for outdoor activities for the whole family.

Relaxing

After a long day outdoors, retire to the Naama Bay promenade, which has a festival-like atmosphere at night, and is filled with delicious cooking smells.

Language

Egypt’s national language is Arabic.  Whereas someone on a brief holiday might only learn how to say “hello” and “thank you,” as a long-term traveller you have the opportunity to go beyond just learning “hello” and “thank you”.

The best way to learn any language and feel more like a local is to immerse yourself in everyday life and try to use new words in practical situations.

Climate

Sharm El Sheikh has a desert climate which can have a dehydrating effect so be sure to drink lots of water.

Summary

Egypt is a place long steeped in mystery and it has attracted countless visitors over the years.
Sharm El Sheikh combines the historical appeal with a modern sensibility – found in the large number of luxury hotels and smart restaurants in this Riviera town.

If you take the time to understand the local culture and way of life Sharm will reward you with wonderful memories totally different than your typical trip to more popular or well known destinations.

Did You Know Where The Red Sea Was Located? Would you Visit Someplace like Sharm El Sheikh? Leave your comments below.

susan-michael whitehead family sabbatical mexico

Want To Live In Mexico? Find Out how An Adventurous Family Of 7 Did It.(Series #7)

Susan and Michael WhiteHead family sabbatical in Mexico

Have you ever dreamed of leaving it all behind to live in Mexico or Costa Rica?  Think you have to be rich or save a bunch of money to support that new life?  Think you need to spend years planning it? Think Again. The WhiteHeads are an ex military family of 7 who decided to take action on their dream of travel. Kids and all. Find out how they did it.

Lured by the warm weather and beautiful beaches, every year thousands of people from around the world travel to Costa Rico and Mexico for a vacation.

Many of those same people dream about what it would be like to trade in their lives for a new life in Mexico.

Very few actually take action because of all those pesky hurdles you have to jump over to make it happen. Things like how would you support yourself? How would you keep up with the kids education? Where would you live? Not to mention the fact that you would have to learn a whole new language (Spanish).m

I found a couple who jumped  over all the hurdles and through a few hoops. And they did it with 5 kids between the ages of 3 and 14.  They aren’t rich. They didn’t sell off a bunch of Google stocks to make it happen and they didn’t plan the move over several years either.  They hustled and were persistent.

Snap Shot

The WhiteHeads of www.familytravelbucketlist.com

  • Number Of Kids: 5 kids  (14, 11, 9, 6, 3)
  • Educating Kids: Homeschool and Spanish language tutor
  • Type Of Travel: Long Term, Slow Travel, International
  • Length Of Travel: Since 2011, 1 Year +
  • Where Travelled: Costa Rica, Mexico:—> Atenas, San Jose,  Chapala, Mexico.
  • Challenges: Initially adjusting  to a new location and learning to cook without all the convenience foods found in the US
  • Finances: internet marketing clients, sale of previous business, digital products, kindle books, new travel magazine, teaching English online.
  • Where To Find Them Online: Facebook: www.facebook.com/familytravelbucketlist, Online Travel Mag: www.realfamilytravel.com

 

FamilyTravel Bucketlist

Since 2011, Susan and Michael Whitehead and their 5 kids have been slow travelling in and around Mexico and Central America. So far they have lived in Costa Rica, Atenas, San Jose and now Chapala, Mexico.  

Their goal is to travel indefinitely and knock as many things off of their family bucket list as possible before the kids leave to conquer the world on their own.

Living in 4 places might seem like a lot in such a short amount of time, ~12 Month Period. But thanks to the U.S. military, the WhiteHeads are no strangers to moving around. This adventurous family of 7 has had the pleasure of living all over the U.S. starting in Wichita Kansas, then to Milton Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia and then back to Texas again.

A Chance To Settle Down

It wasn’t until they broke ties with the military that they decided to plant some roots in one place.

That place was Eastern North Carolina. There they set up their version of “THE DREAM LIFE” which included a 9.56 acre rural farm, chicken coops, plenty of land for the kids to play on, fresh blueberries, apples, pears  and more. You get the picture right? Susan and Michael also home-schooled their kids. Life was pretty good.

You would think that they would welcome the routine and comfort of one permanent place after bouncing around to so many different locations.  So what happened? How did they end up living in Mexico?

The Travel Bug

Wanderlust happened.

It’s true, once the infectious travel bug bites, the uncontrollable urge to see and explore more of the world takes over. No matter how much you try to fight it, no matter how much you try to push it aside, it is always there. If you deny this urge, horrible things can happen like regret and wondering “what if… ”

At least that has been my experience and that is apparently how the Whiteheads feel too because  after 3 years of living their idea rural life, they felt that inevitable pull of their wanderlust spirit too.  They longed for somewhere new to explore AGAIN!

Time To Make A Dream Come True

At the time, the economy and the country seemed to be taking a turn and they no longer viewed the U.S. as the BEST place to raise their children. That is when they started to take action on a new dream which was actually an old dream that they had put off for a long time. Susan and Michael always dreamed of travelling and showing their children the world.

First Steps

So Susan and Michael began to actively take steps to reduce their possessions and the anchoring effect of having a lot of stuff has on a family. 

They also started to grow their online businesses that they hoped would eventually help support their lifestyle and life of travel.

Lightening Their Load

They sold most of their things, gave away the rest and stored some of their keepsake items like photos at Susan’s parents home.

They now own 99% less than what they used to own which makes it easier to travel the world as a family unhindered by “THINGS”.   They each have 1 backpack plus they carry an additional 3 suitcases for other miscellaneous items totaling a whopping 10 bags for 7 people. That’s pretty lean.

What About The Kids?

costa rica with kidsThe kids were already being homeschooled so education was not really an issue. Susan and Michael decided to get the kids a language tutor which has worked out pretty well.

Money Money Money

The biggest surprise Susan revealed to me is that when they embarked on their travels, they didn’t have a ton of savings and have had to really hustle to finance their lives.

Now they have more income streams than ever and plan to add more and more as time goes on which include internet marketing clients, sale of a previous business, digital products, kindle books, Travel Magazine and teaching English online.

The cost of living in Mexico is a lot less then the U.S. and they are able to live quite well for under $2,000 per month. That’s for everything; food, rent, medical, clothes, tutors, sight seeing… EVERYTHING.

Not too bad if you ask me.

Want To Live In Mexico Too?

I asked Susan to give me her top tips to families out there who wanted to travel like they are and here is what she said.

  1. Find some way of making money remotely before you go.
  2. sell your stuff and take a leap without letting dream stealers convince you that it can’t be done

So what do you think about the Whiteheads?  Do you think you could do what they are doing with 7 kids in tow to live in Mexico?  Leave your comments below. Ask Susan and Michael questions by leaving comments below as well.


The Whiteheads are one of many families featured on this site. See also other amazing Families & Couples Who Are Making Their Dream of Long Term Travel A Reality. 

Want to get featured on this site like the WhiteHeads? Do you know of someone whom I should feature?  Please fill out this form and I’ll post the story here..

Could You Slow Travel The World For 8 Years As A single parent? Lainie Can:Interview: (Series #6)

Lainie & Miro slow travel the world
Meet Lainie, a beautiful single mom and her son Miro who set out on a mission to slow travel the world letting inspiration be their compass. They started their travels in 2009 when Miro was just 10 years old and they intend to keep on travelling for a total of 8 years.

Lainie and Miro are my 6th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time. Lainie, was nice enough to take time away from her busy travel schedule to answer a few probing questions I had for her.

Snap Shot of Lainie and Miro

You can follow along with their travels on their site www.RaisingMiro.com where they share their adventures from the road of life.

  • Number of kids: 1
  • Educating Kids: Un-schooling and world schooling
  • Type of travel: Slow Travel
  • Where: To date; Central and South America with inspiration as their compass.
  • Length of travel: Travelling since 2009 with the goal of travelling for a total of 8 years until Miro (son is 18 ish).
  • Challenges: letting go of the consumerist lifestyle, money.
  • Finances or how they fund their life: Started out with a couple of years of funds from savings and selling their stuff but now rely on donations and advertising from their site. Lainie also founded Project worldschool– a temporary learning community where you can send your teen to gain the benefits of a group educational experience. It mainly attracts un-schoolers and world schoolers but all children are welcome.

raisingMiro.com: slow travel the world

How long have you been travelling?

We have been slow travelling through Central and South America. To date, we have explored all of Central America and have visited Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Our three year anniversary will be on July 1st, 2012. Want to celebrate with us?

How long do you anticipate travelling for.

Wow, that’s like asking me to plan for the future and that’s something I really don’t like doing. We have said we will travel until Miro turns 18 (and I subsequently will turn 50) but that’s just because the mind wants to have some criteria of gauging things. But in actuality, it’s an open ended trip and we travel as long as we are inspired to do so. Miro may not want to travel with me after 18 or he will and neither of us have no way of predicting the future. But I can say with confidence, this is our lifestyle of choice and it works for us.

How Did Your 8 Year Travel Adventure Begin?

I am a former California business owner who had worked in the advertising, marketing and branding industry for 20 years in total. In 2000, I started my own agency focusing on brand strategy, graphic design and messaging exclusively for green-eco companies, non profits and conscious business.

One of the reasons I started my own agency was to remove myself from the destructive consumerist advertising world and do work for ‘good’.
In 2008, the economy sank in California, so instead of choosing to struggle, I decided to opt for a change for both me and my son. I closed my agency, gave away (or sold in some cases)  all of our possessions and set out to travel the world with my son. That was the opportunity we needed to live the life we were dreaming about, talking about and advocating for others. The real opportunity to make personal change. Today, 3 years in, we continue to choose travelling with no plans, no agenda, and inspiration as our only guide.

Why did you decide to live this way?

We sort of fell into the long term traveller’s lifestyle. Initially, we planned on travelling for one year, but as that year anniversary mark came closer and closer, we both decided to continue our travel lifestyle as long as we were inspired to do so.

Before we set out, our perception of travelling was very different.

Before we set out, we were in a ‘defining’ mind-set and it seemed very important for us to have a plan.

Before we set out, it seemed scary and unknown.

Before we set out we defined our travels ‘doing’, instead of ‘being’.

But being on the road, our perception of life actually shifted and we have learned to live in the moment without the need for plans, that life and traveling were not scary at all, and it was ok to live at a slower pace guided by inspiration and doing the thing that bring us joy.

What were or are your biggest challenges to living the way you do.

I am not sure how to answer this. I suppose the challenges have changed as we’ve changed. In the beginning it was letting go of the consumerist lifestyle we were once accustomed to. We no longer measure our value through what we have, now we are more interested in having experiences together. We are always challenged with money as it relates to freedom, but at the end of the day, we always have enough. Other than that, living a life based on inspiration, no plans, no schedule and no stress does not really allow for many challenges.

How do you deal with your day to day challenges?

As all things, we deal with things as they come. Miro and I have learned to be really open and communicative about our feelings, wants and desires. We are experiencing the world together and we rely on each other. We also make all decisions about what we are doing and where we are going together.

How would you describe the way you travel.. Slow travel, RTW travel, Nomadic or multiple ways?

We do slow travel. Sure, you can call it RTW travel or nomadic as well. I don’t mind. But we like to call our style of traveling as visiting locals. We are visiting, but we are living in local housing versus staying in tourist accommodations. We eat local and play local and have a full immersion experience. We stay as long are we are inspired to stay, and pack up and go, when we are inspired to go.

Single mom lainie and son miro slow travel the world

Can you tell me more about being a ‘global citizen’ (something you talk about a lot on your web site).

I truly believe borders and boundaries are a thing of the past. There is only one citizenship that holds value, and that is “global citizenship”.

I come from a background of activism, which I no longer subscribe to. In the past, I strived to change the world, make a dent is issues that mattered to me, usually surround civil rights, peace and the earth’s health. This activism was a huge part of my education in compassion. However activism strives to change the world from the outside. Through traveling with my son, I have discovered that all change happens from the inside out. In other words ‘being’ the compassion can effect the world just by virtue of being in the world. By being compassion and interacting and through interacting with the adults and children we encounter, we cannot help but to effect our collective future.

Whether someone chooses to extend that further and volunteer, that’s fine. But it’s definitely not necessary. For us, we both have a lot of passion for animals and my passion for nurturing children has rubbed off on Miro through our latest volunteering experience, where we actually spent two months reading to children, getting them excited about stories and imagination and learned that Miro is a very good teacher. All of our experiences have been in one form or another of serving as we try to immerse ourselves within the communities we settle in.

We live like visiting locals but no matter how hard we try we will never be mistaken as a local. So we embrace our differences and live each day with respect and gratitude for the communities we live in.

Another way we immerse our selves is through learning as much as we can about the history and culture and local rituals, sometimes in the form of cooking, or learning about the local crafts and other times through volunteering. Most of the time though, the best strategy for immersion has been to participate within a given community by being present and connecting through smiles.

How are you educating your son while you travel?

As we started our trip, I had no idea such a thing called Unschooling existed. However I noticed Miro was talking about geography, sociology, history, economics, mythology, language and second language, literature, math, science. I sat back one night and realized how brilliant the idea of having the world teach my son was! Engage in life and children (and adults) learn!

Soon thereafter, I discovered the formal name for what we were doing as ‘unschooling’. In some circles it’s called ‘Radically Unschooling’, ‘World schooling’ and Road schooling. There are similar principals to each of those ‘disciplines’ which is based on child-led learning. This is a radical departure form homeschooling circles that teach a formal curriculum only in the home environment.

The philosophy behind unschooling is that children will learn what they need to know when they are ready and want to learn it and this flows through every other aspect of life. The whole essence of unschooling is that children, when empowered, will learn based on their individual interests.

I’ve seen games spark Miro’s interest in mythology, quantum physics, history and culture. We’ve had an open platform to discuss humanity, violence, and choices because of video games. I’ve also seen Miro’s research skills improve as the internet and Google are second nature to him. I didn’t like going to the library to research when I was his age because it was so overwhelming for me. To have the library at your fingertips is a drastic change for this generation.

I have discovered first hand that by virtue of being in this world, we can’t help but to learn. Children learn naturally and retain so much more when they are engaged and leading the process themselves. I realized this just by observing an empowered Miro blossom daily. As a result of my unschooling education, I am growing as Miro teaches me how to be a better and more effective parent in the process.

I have written about unschooling extensively on our site, and I invite you and your readers to read more here.


Lainie and Miro are my 6th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time.

An ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time. Some travel just for a year while others have been travelling for more than 5. These are not lottery winners or rich people. They are just ordinary people like you and me who made travel their goal and decided to work at that goal to make it happen. I hope it inspires you to do the same no matter what your goals are.

What do you think of Lainie and Miro’s story?  Leave your comments below.

five amazing couples who travel the world

5 Inspirational Families Who travel long term with their kids: Series #1

Meet five amazing couples and families who travel full time (in this ongoing series).

Not only are they making their dream of extended and long term travel a reality. they are doing it despite having kids, despite not being rich and despite all their obstacles and challenges.

1- The Dennings of Discover Share Inspire

  • Number of kids:  5 kids ( Under 10 years old)
  • Type of travel: Road Trip In a Veggie powered truck and slow travel.
  • Where: Alaska to Argentina
  • Challenges: Internet connectivity. Balancing work time, education time etc..
  • Finances: Currently use their savings but their long term plan is to grow their online business.

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The Dennings are homeless on purpose. They are living in a veggie powered truck and are travelling from Alaska to Argentina with 5 kids in tow. That’s right, FIVE KIDS, Five. 

I think you are going to be in total awe with this amazing family and what they have done so far. The Dennings don’t just want to live abroad, they want to explore the world. Since 2007, they have been determined to create a location independent lifestyle so that they can live the way they want to. Who doesn’t right but they have gone to great lengths to make this happen and in a very interesting way i might add.

They’ve simplified their lives to the bare essentials. No mortgage, no utilities, nothing except their truck and what they can put in the truck. To fund their lifestyle originally, they were living off of an income but they lost that in 2008. Now they live off of their savings and have all they need to continue to live simply – which they are more than pleased with. However their long term strategy is to grown their online business which is already generating some money. They even have a few products teaching other people how to design their own lifestyle like they have.

The Dennings are a special case and it looks like there is no end in site for their adventure. Their latest adventure is taking them across North and South American. They ‘live’ in their truck when they are traveling in between places but whenever they get a chance, they stop and rent a place so they can stay longer. The last time i spoke to them they were renting a house in Panajachel, Guatemala and were there for almost two months. Before that they spent 7 weeks in Bacalar, Mexico. Go read about them at Discover Share Inspire and you’ll never say “i can’t again”.

2- The second family is the Burns Family of Our Travel Lifestyle

  • Number of kids: 2 (Under 8 years old)
  • Type of travel: Slow travel 6 months travel and six at home base in Malaysia
  • Where: Goal is to travel the world
  • Length of travel: 1+ years
  • Challenges:
  • Finances: They started their own a web programming company which the run completely online.

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The burns family say that they are a pretty average family of four who decided they weren’t happy with their lives in suburban Australia. They were trying to juggle careers, maintain a house, pay the bills, have a social life on the weekends and most importantly, still finding time for to be with their children. They decided they needed to do something different with their lives.

They considered a bunch of options including career changes, selling the house and moving from the suburbs to a smaller town and even considered  finding work overseas. But none of that seemed like the right answer. in late 2009 the Burns decided to take ACTION and act on a long-term fantasy of long term with their two young children.

The Burns didn’t have a huge savings so they opted to use the skills they had which was web programming and set up their own business online. Exactly two year after they decided to take action and pursue their dream of long term travel, they set up a house in Penang Malaysia to use as a base to travel the world from. They aim is to spend 6 months of the year in Malaysia and 6 months of the year travelling. They also have a great site for other travelling families and couples to meet called Vagabond Family.  I joined it myself and love connecting and reading about other families. It makes me feel less fringe and more normal.

3- 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure is our third family

  • Number of kids: 1 (Under 10 Years old.)
  • Type of travel: Slow travel
  • Where: South America, Asia, and who knows where else
  • Length of time: 1+ years
  • Challenges: Single Dad with a special needs son
  • Finances: Started teaching Scuba Diving, various jobs writing, photography and medical transcription

1 dad 1 kid 1 crazy adventure   Our next family is a father son team.  Talon is  a single dad to an amazing 10 year old boy named  Tigger.  The fact that he is a single dad travelling is simply amazing but what really blew me away was what he told me about his son. You see his son has special  needs. I’ll tell you more about something amazing that happened in a bit.

Let me first tell you how their journey began. Everyone has their reasons for wanting to travel or live abroad and their story is a great one.   In May 2011, after years of working in intensive care, trauma, and with the dying, Talon left his traditional work life to embark on a round-the-world trip. Now you would think that they at least had a ton of money in the bank right? NO!!!  Talon and Tigger began their journey with $900 in the bank. Talon has been very creative in how he manages to support he and his son from doing medical transcription and writing to photography.  He even became a scuba instructor while in Honduras which has helped them bring in some descent money. Talon says their expenses usually average about $1,000 USD a month and says he could even cut it down further if he wanted but doesn’t because they really enjoy eating out.

His son Tigger has done so well that he is now off all his meds. Talon attributes the marked improvement in his sons anxiety and sensory issues to the amount of time he spends with his son and “world schooling”. His sons progression has reaffirmed and eliminated all the doubts he used to have and he is now 100 percent positive that his decision to live abroad, travel and home-school his son was the best decision he could have made for his 2 man family.

4-  International Cravings

  • Number of kids: 2 ( Under 5 years old)
  • Type of travel: Expats living in one place.
  • Where: Guangzhou China
  • Length of time: 1+ years as of 2011
  • Finances: Dad works remotely as a web designer. Mom teaches English. Created a product online, teach and run a web based business.

image Our fourth story is another family and rather than living nomadically and constantly travelling, they chose to stay in one place, China.

Their story is similar to the Burns in terms of why they chose to live abroad. Basically they were a family that was tired of waiting for the right time to travel, the right time to experience things, enough money to do it all, and tired of waiting for the pieces to fall together so they took action to make it happen.

In Feb. 2011 they moved their family of four to Guangzhou China. With two small children (1 & 3 at the time) there were many things that they were unsure of but they knew one thing for sure and that was that they wanted to go on adventures with their children and experience the world as a family. They have made some amazing friends and have had some unforgettable experiences together.

Mom says that  the ability to give her her older child the opportunity to learn Mandarin and experience a culture at such a young age has been both fun and exciting. Now both of their children speak Mandarin and their almost 5 year old is fluent.  Mom told me a funny story; Their 2 yr old son has learned potty training “split pant” style and she just thinks it’s hilarious watching him flip back and forth.

Dad of the family is a web designer and asked his U.S. company if he could work remotely. Something that before they never would have dreamed of asking. Mom of the family completed an online TESOL certificate before moving to China so that she could teach English while living abroad. While living in China they lived on $16 a day per person….much cheaper than their U.S. cost of living.   They have also spent a month in Thailand and hope to experience more of Southeast Asia while we can. Check out their story at www.internationalcravings.com

5- Man vs. Debt, The Bakers

  • Number of kids: 1
  • Type of travel: Expats living in one place.
  • Where: Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, Thailand
  • Length of time: 1 + years
  • Challenges: Had over 18,000 us dollars in consumer debt that they paid off.
  • Finance: Sold his crap on eBay and got out of debt. Now makes a living online and can literally work anywhere he wants to when he wants to.

image   Adam Baker from Man vs. Debt  is probably the most famous modern day family i know who decided to leave it behind for a few years to travel. If you haven’t heard of Man vs. Debt than let me fill you in.

In 2008 after the birth of their daughter, Adam Baker and his wife Courtenay spent a year selling all their crap and paid off over 18,000 dollars in consumer debt. Then In June 2009, they left for what was to be a year in Australia, but quickly turned into more mobile travels through Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and finally back to Indiana.

Now Adam and his wife are running several business online, have several products that help other people do the same thing they did and he’s not done yet. That’s it for now. Stay tuned as i add to this growing list of amazing and inspirational families and couples who left it all behind to travel or live abroad.

What Do You WANT?

So…. do you WISH or do you WANT to lead a location independent lifestyle? Are you willing to TAKE ACTION and are you DETERMINED to follow through? The next time you say I wish I could travel but can’t,  I can’t, I hope you think of these five families who despite having kids, despite having debt, despite not being rich or whatever reason you keep telling you that you CAN’T, they did it. Because they did they took action and had determination.

 


Part of an ongoing series showcasing and featuring families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time. Some travel just for a year while others have been travelling for more than 5. These are not lottery winners or rich people. They are just ordinary people like you and me who made travel their goal and decided to work at that goal to make it happen. I hope it inspires you to do the same no matter what your goals are.

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