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

five amazing couples who travel the world

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.

Sherri

One of my major concerns is health care?? Getting your prescribed meds??? I want to take my family to Italy its a scary idea and wish I could sell everything and go. What about bringing pets???

Phil

Inspirational post Annie and a great read. Some of the stories are truly amazing, it takes a lot of guts to give up on security in exchange for a life that is less secure. However, it is empowering and gives a new lease of life.

Whilst my story may not be as glamorous as some. My wife and I both left behind secure jobs and lifestyle to re-locate to a fairly remote Scottish island. To be honest we have never looked back though it did take a lot of soul searching and thought before finally making the decision.

So I can relate to some of the stories and would recommend to anyone who has the urge to try a new experience to give it a go.

Thanks for sharing, I have bookmarked your site and look forward to reading more of your posts.
Phil recently posted..Isle of Mull Photography BlogMy Profile

Michael

Hello Annie,

And all this time I thought I was alone in my dreams. Yes, I too have the travel bug and I have done my share already. But like you and your husband I too find myself in Palm Beach, Florida unemployed for the past two years.

I started an online business and an annual event which will bring me back here yearly. I have no interest in going back to the corporate world and waisting my years away to make money and wait to die. I would rather eat peanut butter and jelly and be happy then rich and miserable.

I too love France but the cost is simply too high for the best locations. Hard to beat Paris.

I have a love for eastern Europe and my ancestors are from Lithuania so it feels right to live there. The cost of living there is much lower (50% lower then Palm Beach) then many places I would ever consider living in.

I am doing all this as a single dad with my 14 year old son. This will be a little scary but I am find myself so excited that I can hardly sit still.

Putting the house on the market next week and I am going for it!

I will keep an eye your progress.
Michael

A King's Life

Giving up the security was easy. Realizing that all along it was a false sense of security and looking through a lens with a different paradigm is easy.
Watching others in the old paradigm be barely alive by being stressed, faking it and filling it with stuff is the hard part.
A King’s Life recently posted..The Wandering & Wondering of Creative NewbiesMy Profile

Anne

Six months ago our family left our comfortable job, sold everything we owned and moved to China. Three of our daughters are adopted from China and we wanted them to have a deeper experience with their own culture while they were young! My husband and my 15 year old daughter are attending Nanjing University in the 2 year intensive language program, my younger three are working daily with a Chinese tutor and I am the pit crew keeping it all going! We are having the experience of a life time and I recommend that everyone do something like this, at least once in their life! Dare to take a chance! Dare to really live!

    Annie Andre

    Amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with me and the readers on this site. I love how you coined yourself the “PIT CREW”.

    What i find most interesting is you have a teenager like. Many of the family travellers i’ve come across have younger children who are pre school aged and therefore don’t need to be in school. Question, In addition to the kids Chinese lessons are you homeschooling the kids?

      Anne

      Yes, in addition to the Chinese lessons, we are homeschooling our children. We always have, so this is nothing new to them. There are no laws in China that affect how expats educate their children, so in a way, I feel more free here to homeschool than I do in the U.S.
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Heidi Wagoner

Hi, I watched your story on HHI last year sometime. At that time, we were planning our “life abroad” Just ran across your site tonight, hopefully all is working well for you. We are in Southern Spain and loving it! Just need to figure out how to keep it going longer than the 2 years we plan. Thanks for sharing.

    Annie Andre

    Well Hello there Heidi. I just popped by your site and read up on your story. LOVED IT. You’ve inspired me to write a post about “our French public school”. I have not found many travelling families that are putting their kids in public school like you and i so i am super excited to get to know you.

    We are doing fine. And we are on our second year now. We’re workign hard to make it last longer than 2 years but money is an issue of course.

    I would love to feature you and your family on my site. I have a section about travelling families. All you have to do is fill out this questionnaire and i’ll do the rest.

    http://www.annieandre.com/traveling-families-get-featured/

Gigi Luke

Hi there! Too bad we didn’t find your site sooner! We are a family of four on a year abroad adventure and we too lived in the south of france for three months near St. Tropez from October 2012 to January 2013. The village was called Grimaud and we had a wonderful time. Where are you? We are now on our Southeast Asia leg of the journey having visited Singapore, Sri Lanka, Indonesia. Next week we leave for China and then Japan before heading back to the states and home by July 1st. It’s been an amazing year with out kids and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

All the best!

Gigi

    Annie Andre

    Hello there Gigi,
    we are now in la Garde France. last year we were in Marseille.
    That is too bad indeed since St Tropez is only an hour from where we are now. Crazy isnt it, so close yet so far.
    We may be heading to Thailand for the summer. We are not sure if we want to do Asia or not. me being half Asian and born in Thailand has a little to do with that i suppose. By the time we do get to Asia you will be back in the states. :(
    We are planning on staying for one more year in France. All our kids are integrated and mainstreamed in French school. One of our goals was to make sure they were fully bilingual which they are all now but one more year will solidify that. After next year, we plan to return to the US or Canada and set up a homebase again. Where that is, or will be we have no idea just yet.
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Joanna

Hello Annie!

We are a family of four (our girls are 3 and 5)from Vancouver, BC. We lived in Costa Rica (in the jungle) and our first daughter was born while we were living in Bermuda. We are getting a bit desperate for our next adventure as we have now been back in Vancouver for almost 5 years. My husband is a chef and restaurant manager and I have an extensive background in restaurants/wine and recreation. We are thinking that we could be great as resident managers of a B and B or gites in France. Any advice on how to look for such an opportunity? Love your site! Any info much appreciated!

    Annie Andre

    Joanna,
    Let this is a great question. I have some ideas but let me ask my network of travellers and do some research on the matter of finding B&B’S or Gites.

    Off the top of my head, I think you will have no problem finding a place that is willing to exchange lodging for your work however whether you can find paid work this way is going to be a bit harder as this to me seems like a very sought after job. Plus, you would have to deal with the visa issue if you are not an EU resident. Meaning, you would need that Gites or B&B to sponsor you which is probably going to be pretty hard to do.

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