Thinking about Long Term Travel as a Family? A Letter to get you Motivated

Would you like to travel long term as a family? A letter to get you motivated


It’s no secret. Between this website and our social media channels, Micki and I get a lot of questions from people all around world. My favorites though, are the ones from aspiring nomads.

These are questions from readers who have seen a bit of the world or have never even left their home country. The ones who sit in front of their computer screens for hours each day poring over travel sites and travel blogs and wondering why they’re still doing the 9 to 5 thing. The ones who deep down know there’s more to life than what they’ve experienced, and are just trying to find a way out of the box that they call everyday life.

These messages get me stoked because deep down they further my belief that there are others who share our passion to explore the world. To live outside the norm of society. Who question the validity of what it means to follow their dream.

First off, I want to say that living a nomadic lifestyle isn’t for everyone. It’s not even always for us. However it’s always an option for those willing to make it a priority.

Yup, I said it. Nomadic lifestyles aren’t for everyone.

This brings me to the point of this post. You see, a few months back, I got an email from a fellow asking for a few tips on beginning a nomadic lifestyle with his wife and daughter. They had already gotten a glimpse of what’s behind the nomadic curtain and had decided that their current life wasn’t cutting it anymore.

They had come to a crossroad. They were about to sell their house and leave everything they knew behind to see what the world could offer them. The problem was they were starting to get a little nervous about their decision. You see, it still wasn’t too late to call off their nomadic dreams.

I think they just wanted confirmation that they weren’t about to make the biggest mistake of their lives.

Months later, after re-reading my reply to them, I feel that there are probably a few others that need that same encouragement.

That inspired me to share this letter with any other would be nomadic travelers who wonder if it’s the right choice to forgo a traditional 9 to 5 for a life on the road. In truth, this letter is geared more towards older nomads with kids, but most of it can apply to anyone tired of the daily 9 to 5 grind.

A message and a few tips to those dreaming of becoming a nomad.

Congrats on taking a big step towards changing how you view life. Bet you’re starting to get a little nervous right about now. Maybe even doubting your choice occasionally…

I only have one thing to say, don’t worry about it!

Being a nomad is awesome and rewarding and I’ll let you know a little known secret. Just don’t tell anyone else…. You can always settle down someplace new or go back to your old life any time you want. 😉

I can’t guarantee that  everything will always be sunshine and roses for you, but I can guarantee you 100% that you will never view life the same way again.

You’ll realize that you have options. That there are other ways to live your life contrary to what most of your friends and family think. That you don’t have to get on the pathway of bigger house, nicer car, more expensive toys and work, work, work until you’ve climbed that golden corporate ladder.

100% Guaranteed you will never view life the same way again.

You’ll realize that there are other paths. Other more rewarding pursuits. It will help broaden your mind and your soul to all the possibilities the world has to offer.

That’s not to say there won’t be pitfalls and hard times but at least you’re seeing the world while you’re doing it. 🙂

The best advice I can give you, especially when you have a child with you, is go slow.

A nomadic lifestyle is as much about the journey as it is the destination and not the speed in which you go about it.

Long stays

If you’re traveling as a family, then living out of a tiny backpack in an even tinier backbacker dorm probably won’t cut it for long as well. Things like couchsurfing also gets really hard when there’s a group of you.

You’ll want to look at Airbnb and long stays more. Housesitting is another cheap option if you can get into it. For shorter stays, there are even hostels that accommodate families.

Looking for a great deal on your next Airbnb? Click here to get a $35 USD credit (we get a credit too)!

If you can cook for yourselves most of the time you’ll save heaps. Stay away from expensive anything unless it’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing and you feel like splurging.

Saving money

Chances are you’ll have more time than money so seek out free museum or discount travel days. Check out the local papers for any deals or discounts and remember that parades and most outdoor festivals are free entertainment.

Walk and take the metro whenever you can! Search out discount airlines and get a train pass only if it totals less than airfare or includes an overnight stay to save money. It sounds simple but accommodation, getting from point a to b and food will be your biggest expenses.

If you can, always have your first night after a long travel day pre-booked. You can check out other places the next day once you have the energy and patience.

Read next: How to save money for travel.

Micki and kids as nomads on a white beach

Taking your time

The best advice I can give is to go slow and don’t push you or your family to their breaking point. With children, you’ll always need to have a little extra energy in reserve in case they need to lean on you. If you manage your time right, travel with kids can be amazing.

Remember if your family isn’t happy, you won’t be either so spend a little extra time in the pool or the park and a little less checking out another once-in-a-lifetime, can’t believe I’m actually seeing it with my own eyes, monument/temple/church/waterfall/peak/sunrise/sunset/view, etc.

Remember if your family isn’t happy, you won’t be either.

Also remember that you have nothing to prove. How long, how far you go and what you see is up to you. You can stop any time, whether it’s a few months or a few decades. By leaving it all behind you’ve already proven that you can pack up your life and make your dreams of a better one a reality.

Don’t trash your friends’ lifestyle

At first, it’s hard to break away from traditional living, and your family and friends might even resent you a little for it, but don’t trash their way of living unless you want to alienate them. Make sure they know that your choices are what you feel are right for you, not necessarily what’s good for them.

Chances are that they’ll eventually realize that they have more options as well and you might be surprised who you see on your doorstep in the middle of wherever one day.

Lastly, being a nomad isn’t about just packing up your things and constantly moving. New destinations are exciting and thrilling but the most important aspect is just enjoying where you are and what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

Hope this message finds you well. Good luck on your new life and take it one day at a time.

Like most nomads, one day you might wake up in the city you want to call home for a while and when that happens, don’t fight it, just realize that you can always move on again if the mood strikes.

To me, being a nomad is about choices, not necessarily destinations and becoming one is the first step to choosing how and where you want to live your life.

Congrats on making that choice and enjoy the freedoms that come with it!

Safe travels,

Charles

Read next: 31 Tips for Better Family Travel.

Thinking about becoming a nomad and seeing the world? Here's a letter to a reader that just might help you get motivated.

2 Responses

  1. Malika

    Hi Charles!!
    Hoping this finds you and all three of your sweet gems abundantly glowing.

    I’ve just read your letter, and the phrase “where do I start?” is the understatement of the century! Haha, at least for me, but I’ll try here.
    Something I’ve always believed in was the idea/power of divine intervention. My favorite book as a kid and now still as an adult was “Catcher In the Rye.” My definition of divine intervention has changed as I’ve grown, but only for the better, if not completely cemented within me what I had already been established by my parents. My mom and dad “papa” gavel and my sister the greatest gift of my life…well, besides my life. And that is the gift of discovery. I can’t say that I’ve honestly had a lifelong aspiration in terms of a career or lifestyle and that probably just because I’ve been too busy doing everything I thought was interesting. My dad liked to show my sister and I ALL the things we could do and that “way” to do something/anything regardless questions should both required and optional. Which at first I didn’t get, I was like “how can it both?” And he simply said “because the universe is and also isn’t.” I don’t know how to articulate what my brain though at age 7, but I knew I got that completely. So whenever we did stuff, I wasn’t thinking about is this the way we’re supposed to do or don’t do something, it was more about whatever our gut told us and/or whatever grabbed my curiosity. Here’s one of my favorites: when my sister and I were in the 3rd and 4th grade our teachers gave the class an assignment to bring a new word to class to share with everyone. When we told this to my dad, without missing a beat, he pulled out family dictionary and said “Erika, you get A and Malika, you get C. You have to read every word in your section until the assignment’s due. If you finish, come to me so I can test you, because I’ve read and I know every single word in that book” (I already know what you’re thinking, and you can relax because I’m still right there with you. It’s only now does it sound crazy that anyone could know the ENTIRE dictionary?!! But that was my dad, he was a genius. Mensa certified and all.) So when it was time to present our word, I chose to go last because I was nervous about pronouncing the word right and wanted more to say it to myself. Of the words shared were “ Kitten” “Refrigerator” “Because” “Nocturnal” my word?
    “Conundrum.” It’s my favorite memory because from one idea of my class assignment, my dad just grabbed the dictionary like it was nothing! It wasn’t traditional in any way and it also wasn’t trying be exception. It just was. Very free. And that’s actually what then made my dad decide my sister and I had to start reading the dictionary. And more often than not, doing homework gave me more homework. Now, to sprinkle in my moms ingredients to her kids’s recipe, real simple. “As long as it makes you happy” that’s it. She’s been so nonchalant on this point that I know I’ve actually annoyed her if I asked for her opinion/permission. I mean we weren’t hoodlum kids (well…depends on who you ask) because we were firmly disciplined and inebriated with manners. So the combination of it all has been at the root of where I’ve been, where I’m going, what I’ve and what I’m doing. There was no plan to any of it. And having finally worked hard on myself to get back to remembering that I can easily see the moments of what lead to the more painful situations and choices I made but they also lead to all the great ones too. I’ve never had a plan. I’ve just always had love and appreciation for everything and anyone. One of my favorite quotes by his royal airness, Michael Jordan is “ I still understand little, but I’m capable of accomplishing a lot.” And that’s tells me everything I need to know every time I read it.

    Phew! Sorry I can sometimes go off on a tangent, but if I can say more thing, which is the most important sentiment I want to share is that I’m so grateful of you and for you to share your letter!, not a “story” which in and of it self, tells your story as a person and offering of lessons at the same time. Especially seeing it now, today it brings full circle for me, the (tiny) doubts about holding firm to doing whatever makes me happy -the only doubts I need to be supportive of and not dismissive are that of my friends who, ultimately care very deeply because you have to care to express to concern, just the same has showing love. Of behalf of my crazy mind and unwavering heart, I infinitely say thank you for this letter of intervention. The blessing has been indeed divine.

    Here’s to your continued journeys which I hope bring even more unknown destinations in 2020 and beyond.

    Kindly,
    Malika

    Reply

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