Families on the Move
We have been blessed to connect with many amazing families online, all of whom have adapted a travel lifestyle in one form or another. We wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to them here and highlight the positive aspects travel has had on their families. Welcome our interview series called Families on the Move. Miro & I are honored to a part of this global community we consider our extended family.
Meet the Amazing Family Behind TheBarefootNomad.com
I’m Micki and my husband is Charles and we travel with our two little ones.
Our oldest is seven and he told me yesterday that he wants to be an astronaut robot builder superhero secret agent when he grows up. I fully support this. He’s an easygoing little guy who has a crazy amount of self-confidence. He’ll take anything on.
Our little girl is almost four and a spitfire with enough personality for ten kids. She’s been making us laugh since she was tiny, and has a mischievous sense of humor. She blames everything on our cat, Cozzie. Funny how the cat has learned to go into the fridge to steal chocolate and hide our nail clippers in the dishwasher detergent box… She’s going to give her future partner in life a run for their money.
About a year ago, we decided to try to make a go of being completely location independent. Before that, I worked as a technical writer, and before that I was on the road to being a neuroscientist (yes, you can say it – I’m a geek).
Charles was a computer programmer before our son was born and was a stay at home dad after. He loves writing, spending hours floating in the ocean and is a tech and gadget fanatic.
We started traveling together pretty much the instant we met, and took our first year long trip in 2003. Travel got into our blood, and we never wanted to stop. Now that we have two little ones, they’re teaching us new ways to explore and have fun in this big world.
Where are you now, where have you been and how long have you been traveling?
We’re currently in the interior of beautiful British Columbia, Canada. We’ve been stationary for almost a year right now but we’re planning to be back on the road within the month! Our next journey is open ended but we’re guessing we’ll be continuously traveling for the next eight months.
Why do you travel as a family?
We love travel and exploring so much it would be just plain wrong to deny our kids that adventure. Our kids have taught us a new way of travel: to slow down and spend time looking at the simpler things we may have glossed over on our way to bigger attractions. In return, I hope, we’re teaching them to see the world as a collection of people, cultures and wonderful landscapes, and to see that the lines drawn on a map are just artificial boundaries.
What are some of the benefits your family has experienced as a result your travels?
Creating a location independent life where we travel has been wonderful for us. I used to work at the office, and even with a short commute, it just felt like there was no time in the day for anything fun. I’d rush home from work to make supper, rush to finish homework, get the dishes done, and weekends were just busy catching up. Working at home means that I get more time to just chill with the kids, and it’s also meant that Charles gets to have more time for his projects. It’s not always easy to draw boundaries between work and home (after all, our work is always just in the other room begging to be done), but it’s so worth it!
What inspired you and your family to incorporate travel into your lifestyle?
Charles and I fell in love with travel when we took our first trip together in 2003, and it’s become so much a part of our lives that I can’t imagine not traveling. We’re trying to find a balance between creating a community and friendships for our kids, and exploring our world. It’s a fun challenge. We don’t have a permanent home or mortgage, so there’s nothing really holding us back.
Our kids are pretty young, so this trip is our first dealing with education on the road. Our province, British Columbia, offers online schooling for traveling kids. The curriculum is the same as for kids in school, and it’s overseen by a teacher, the same as in a physical school. So our little guy can come back and be in exactly the same spot academically as his peers. If we stay someplace for long enough, we’ll definitely consider putting him in a local school.
How do you and your family experience being global citizens?
We try to fit into the culture around us, rather than expecting the rest of the world to fit to us. Practically, this means trying to get by in the local language, and trying to eat local foods. We still grab a burger and slice of pizza once in a while, but for the most part, we try to fit in.
Our kids are awesome at showing us how to be global citizens. At seven and three, they really have no concept of political borders, and just see the world as one big group of people. I’ve found that people will come and talk to us in a nanosecond when our kids are with us. It’s a real ice breaker. I think people respond to the trust you’re showing of their culture and country when you’re traveling with little kids.
Can you share one of your family’s most memorable experiences?
How to start! There are so many small things that make up a great trip. Costa Rica was full of so many great family moments. Teaching our son to boogie board at Tamarindo, Costa Rica, one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world was one. Dodging howler monkeys throwing poo at us was another :). Peering into volcanos that were still belching and standing under waterfalls was pretty darn cool, too.
Can you share one story from your travel experiences when you and your family had an “aha moment”.
Charles and I had traveled a lot together before having kids. So, when we first had our son, we got a lot of “well, at least you got the traveling out of your system before you had them” and similar comments. I was absolutely determined to show people that we could travel with our little ones. And we did, it just took some serious adjusting.
Our first extended overseas trip was with our little guy when he was about two and a half. We were used to being carefree travelers: taking off on a moment’s whim, wandering around in places like the Indonesian jungle for hours on end, and really just making do with whatever was thrown at us. So, our first trip, we tried to relive those days. We were miserable picking up and moving every few days, and staying in backpacker digs with no air conditioning and dirty floors.
Our “aha moment” was when we realized we’d have to seriously adapt our style of travel. The minute we did that, traveling became a lot more fun. Now, we stay in one place a lot longer, and get accommodation that’s more comfortable.
We’re starting an open-ended trip in about six weeks. Our first stop is Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and then hopefully stops in Belize and Guatemala before we hop over to Southern Europe in January. We’re planning to do an extended European road trip this winter, and we’re all pretty excited about it!
Name: Micki Kosman from The Barefoot Nomad