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 Wagoners Abroad
Could you tell us a little about your family.
We are Wagoners Abroad, a family of 4 that left the rat race in search of a more fulfilling, higher quality of family life. Guess what? We found it in Spain!
I am Heidi, Mom travel planner, Budget Guru and Maker of Experiences.
My husband Alan is the fun guy that seeks adventure and is the humorous practical joker in the family.
Lars just turned 12 and he is our creative perfectionist, with a never ending thirst for knowledge and experiences.
Then we have Anya who is 9. She is our free spirit, adrenaline junkie that helps the rest of us get our of our shells and enjoy life to the fullest. Anya and her brother get up to mischief together and are as thick as thieves.
Where are you now, where have you been and how long have you been traveling?
We have been living in Almuñécar (Southern Spain) for 20 months and we have just 2 months left before we move on to new and exciting travel for a year. We do have rough plans to return to Spain in the Summer of 2015, but we will let the future just play out as it may.
Why do you travel as a family?
Oh this is a tough one to narrow down. The main reason we travel is to connect with other people and cultures. We seek experiences and diversity to help mold us into global citizens. It is important to realize that we are all just people, with similarities and differences that should be observed, embraced and not judged. We hope to inspire other people to think out side of the box and travel more (even in their own country).
What inspired you and your family to incorporate travel into your lifestyle?
Over 20 years ago, I lived in Tijuana Mexico and crossed the border everyday to go to work in the US. Later I backpacked Mexico and Central America for 6 months and have never been able to shake that travel bug. When Alan and I married in 1997, we moved to London, England for nearly 3 years, and of course did loads of travel.
For us travel is just part of life and has helped us mature, grow and become who we are. We wanted that experience for our children, so they would understand that the world is theirs. Nothing is too far or out of reach. If they want a dream to come true, they need to work hard and make it happen.
How do you address education while you are traveling?
The kids have been attending public school in Spain for full language immersion. We also supplement at home with English, reading and some extra activities. They naturally learn while we travel as well, so that is really the best for us. They are sponges ready to soak up knowledge and travel helps them not only see history, but experience it.
How do you and your family experience being global citizens?
We do our best to meet the local people, eat where they eat (most of the time) and take time to absorb the culture. We usually read up on a place prior to visiting and each family member states what they would like to see, do or experience in that location. This is how we get the kids involved in research and we all get to experience something we may not have otherwise selected.
Can you share one of your family’s most memorable experiences?
We have so many, but I would say one of our most memorable was in Castril, Spain. We were spending a few days staying in a Cave House. Yes, a cave! We were the Flintstones for a long weekend and it was great.
We ventured out around the countryside during the day and were heading towards the small town of Castril, to check out their local Friday Market. We arrived and noticed the main street was blocked off and this had us thinking it was some special market. We walked into the town center and asked about the market and instead we were informed the running of the bulls was going to begin in 30 minutes. Running of the Bulls!
How in the heck did we get so lucky? We climbed up the makeshift scaffolding and for the next 2 hours were one of a very few tourists to witness this annual tradition. I asked the older lady next to me how many years this has taken place. Her reply was “As long as time exists, my grandfathers grandfather…”. Wow!
Can you share one story from your travel experiences when you and your family had an ‘aha moment’
We have always traveled and most often it was a one or two week vacation from work. We were at the point where that just wasn’t enough for us and we were plotting and planning on how to extend our time away. We had planned to use 2 weeks vacation from one calendar year and 1 week from the next year, and head off to Peru. I was looking at costs and finances and then realized, it may be cheaper to just go live somewhere.
Then the real “ah ha” came. If we weren’t working we could take a year or two and really immerse ourselves into the culture. That was a big leap in thinking and the best “Ah ha!” moment in our lives. We could make it happen all on our own!
That is when Peru quickly turned into moving to Spain. We felt we could expose the family to more diversity, languages and culture in Europe. We still need to get to Peru, as that is still a dream.
The next “ah ha” was that we can make this open ended and that we don’t need to have plans to return to the US quite yet. If we continue to live our lives simply, we can make this last a while. It is a great feeling to not only have a dream, but to make it a reality. The funny thing is, it is easy to do if it is your priority.
Ah what next? Well, we have changed our plans a bit from 1-2 years in Spain and return to the USA, to an open ended journey. We will be leaving Spain at the end of June 2014 and we’ll be roaming a bit more of Europe for the month of July. Late July we will fly to Bangkok and spend a year exploring and experiencing Southeast Asia. We do plan to return to Spain the following summer, but are very open to letting our plans just evolve and see where we end up.