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 The Enlightened Globetrekker Blog
Could you tell us a little about your family.
Me: Crystal, mom, 36 years old. Cultural anthropologist and finishing phd in international education. World traveler/writer/free spirit/bohemian/free thinker/academic. loves sunshine, happiness, travel, water, nature, different cultures.
River: daughter, 6 years old. Independent, brave, curious, creative, happy. Loves seeing the ocean underworld. Has just started snorkeling and free diving the open ocean and seeing all of the beautiful colors and fish. I can never get her out of the water. She is excited to start scuba diving when she turns 8. She loves nature and animals and anything that has to do with the ocean, playing with coconuts and palm leaves, hiking, sunshine, swimming, and exploring. She is just like her mama.
Where are you now, where have you been and how long have you been traveling?
Right now we are living in Tulum, Mexico, in the Mayan Riviera. We have been here since July. Before that we lived on Cozumel Island for 6 months. We left the US last February 9th.
Why do you travel as a family?
I have always been a traveler. A culture and adventure seeker.
My first international experience was when I was 20 years old when I traveled to live in Western Australia. I traveled to Indonesia and Fiji, then moved to California. I went on to travel to India and work in the Himalayas near Tibet. And always trips to the Caribbean in between, to this Mexican Yucatan region as well as Dominican Republic.
Traveling changed my life, and continues to do so everyday. It impacted me so strongly that it influenced and inspired my entire academic career, in global cultural variation, that of cultural anthropology, and in international education.
Studying different cultures, examining reasons for different lifestyles, and extracting the common threads of humanity that runs through all of us and makes us equal. Intrinsically, traveling conditioned me completely as well. Through being a conscious traveler, I learned long ago what priorities and values I wanted in my life. I learned about open-mindedness and equality and respect and difference and freedom and nature and self-discovery and strength and challenge. Mostly happiness and non-materialism. I decided I wanted to live through experiences, and place emphasis on places and people and freedom and happiness, rather than things and money. Money never gave me the satisfaction that travel did. America never gave me the challenge that my mind and heart craved.
I wanted to share this beautiful world with my daughter. I wanted to show her at an early age what I didn’t begin experiencing until I was 20. I wanted to show her all of these lessons and watch her develop from this foundational perspective. I wanted to watch the awe in her face when she discovers nature. I wanted to be happy away from stress. I wanted to have time for her. And mostly, I wanted to show her that dreams come true. That we can achieve anything we believe. That her mommy gave her the gift of life the way she believed.
I wanted to cultivate a globally-conscious human being that we so desperately need in today’s world. I wanted to foster a daughter who would be natural and strong, knowledgeable, respectful, insightful, intelligent, happy, and unique.
What are some of the benefits your family has experienced as a result your travels?
Where do I start. It has changed our lives, relationship dynamic, and life perspective in every way humanly possible. All beneficial. As I just stated most of these reasons in the above answer, I will elaborate on that with spending more time together, bonding over explorations and adventure sharing, having to rely on each other when everyone else is different. Having to support each other and be an equal team. No tv, lots of outdoor activity, productive time together. We are learning and sharing and growing together, not as parent and child. It has changed our relationship, love, and experience together completely.
What inspired you and your family to incorporate travel into your lifestyle?
See above question.. Because of my past in travel and life changing perspective shift. I wanted to teach that to and share that with, my daughter.
How do you address education while you are traveling?
I am working on a PHd in international education and therefore I am teaching and doing research abroad in the place we live. I always coordinate teaching positions at the same school she goes to, all private bilingual schools based on the international uno educational system. She receives total immersion in a different culture and language in a productive and challenging educational environment.
Other education she gets from me and the environment, and cultural lessons and self-discovery are interwoven into all aspects of our life abroad.
Can you share one story from your travel experiences when you and your family had an ‘aha moment’
My biggest aha moment was when River had her first best friend abroad. This little girl is Argentinian and Mexican and only speaks Spanish. They giggle uncontrollably together and play barbies, jewelry sale, lemonade stand, and arts n crafts just like all little girls and it is all in Spanish. So my aha moment was when my daughter finally knew another language enough to the point to form best friendships in them and act like nothing was different at all. She has become a global citizen in a very short time. I realized how amazed I was, how proud, how thankful that I have done this for us and opened her eyes to all she can achieve, from becoming fluent in another language, to anything else in the the world that she puts her mind to.
Can you share one of your family’s most memorable experiences?
My most memorable experience thus far is the first time I ever took River out into the ocean snorkeling. It was last year right after we arrived in Cozumel. She had never snorkeled before, but was a good swimmer back home. To see her be so brave and enter that open ocean with me in the middle of nowhere, without even a lifejacket, to see her eyes get so wide when she saw the beautiful fish, to watch her discover and experience amazement like that I had never seen before and it made me so happy I wanted to cry. All the while, I was holding her hand as we snorkeled. Holding my baby’s hand and sharing those special moments of life and nature and self-discovery are the proudest parent moments, and make me so proud and comfortable with my decision to begin this lifestyle and provide her with this upbringing.
We will be in Tulum until July and then we will be moving to the Marshall Islands in the south pacific. We will live on Majuro atoll in the republic of the Marshall Islands. We are going for a new job there. I will be a kindergarten teacher for the Marshallese and do my phd dissertation research on one of the tiny islands there with the native islanders. We look forward to the island lifestyle, the culture, beautiful remote environment, learning ebon the native micro-polynesian language, and the unlimited ocean-related activities in the sunshine. We are moving there indefinitely.