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Reflections

A Day in the Life of Erin: Digital Nomad, Mother, Traveller

I’m sitting in a café in Antigua by myself. I am eating the most delicious tostadas with a bottle of water and I know the bill will come to $3.93. I’m listening to conversations, watching people, taking a moment to just be by myself. I love these rare moments I am by myself. I wonder how the other people see me. They don’t know I’m married, they don’t know I have kids. I wonder if they pity me for eating alone? I wonder if they realize how much of a treat it is for me and that I am excited to be here, alone. You see I was once one of those people sitting there looking at the person by themselves and feeling sorry for them, that has changed.

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Travelling has opened my eyes to so many things. It’s changed my views on several things, but hasn’t changed my core. There are many things I still know about myself. I am Erin. I am a mother, wife, sister & daughter. I miss and love my family. I am a Christian who believes in God the creator and that I have purpose and meaning in my life.

Then there are the things that have changed. I no longer believe I need two suitcases, one suitcase to myself, half a suitcase or less will do.  I no longer fear flying with my children, they are great flyers and am so blessed to have them along for the journey. And of course other deeper personal changes have occurred that I believe are too personal to share in such a public forum.

Anyhow I started this post to talk about me, but less about change and more about my day. Would you like to know what we do everyday? It won’t be 100% accurate because each country, each town brings a new way of life, but we try to have some order in our nomadic life.

School Day

In a lot of places we find a local school or daycare for the kids to socialize, learn the language and to play with toys (since they don’t travel with much). Sometimes they go several times a week, sometimes once, sometimes never.

Our kids are only 3 & 4 and not yet of a "schooling" age. The topic of schooling is still being negotiated since my view had always been school, but since travelling and realising the amazing education they are getting so naturally my husband is leaning towards homeschooling. But anyway for now we don't have to think about it, yet. The time is moving fast! 

Anyway on a typical school morning my kids will get up about 6am, but are in training not to come to our room until 7am… the training is ongoing.

About 7am my husband or I (we take turns) will get up and make them breakfast and sit and chat with them.

By 8am we are getting ready. Sometimes this takes longer, sometimes shorter so they can be dropped off to school anywhere between 9am – 10am.

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Then my husband and I get down to work. Him on his businesses and me on his and mine. That will usually have us both at a computer. But even working can be fun, sometimes it's on a cruise ship, overlooking the ocean. Sometimes in our house with a volcano in the backdrop, sometimes at a cafe, sometimes at an airport - it's hardly ever boring.

Around 1:30pm we can ignore the hunger pains no more and we will head to lunch together. I love our date days. No rushing through the meal, just a beautiful relaxed time to sit and talk and plan.

We will talk business, we will talk life, we will talk kids and then we will plan parts of our journey.

After lunch we go collect the kids. If they are at an all day school we might sneak off to a movie, however if they are at a half-day school then we will take them home for a nap, after of course feeding their little tummies.

During the nap we continue to work.

After naptime we will determine the mood. If the kids are happy we will attempt to go out for dinner, if they are still tired and grumpy we will stay in, maybe watch a movie.

Around 7:30pm the kids are in bed. We read a book or two or three and then Daddy is begged for a song.

Sometimes once the kids are in bed we have more work to do, especially Josh with the time difference for Australia. He will be sometimes working till 1 to 2am making phonecalls that otherwise cannot be made in the daytime.

Other times we will sit down to watch a movie together or book flights, accommodation and finalize plans for the next leg of our journey.

Non-school days

Everyone takes a lot longer to get started. I will usually make a lunchbox full of fruit the night before so the kids can grab that to eat when they wake up and by 8:30am we are all up and eating breakfast.

Some days we lounge around together as a family, spending time in the pool, watching movies, wrestling.

Other days we spend touring. Walking tours, theme parks, temples, road trips, etc.

When the kids are down for a nap Josh starts answering emails and I usually waste time on Facebook or putting up a new blog post.

After the nap it’s out for dinner, maybe some markets, or planned activity.  We don’t spend a lot of nights out, but on the odd occasion we gather the courage to take the kids out past a sensible hour.

So the week may look like 3 days at school, 4 days playing tourist. Or if the kids are with us and not in any type of social interaction it would be 2/3 days rest, 4/5 days playing tourist. But then we might only be somewhere for a short time and it is full on playing tourist every day and working in the evenings. 

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Both days are necessary. We need days where the kids are being stimulated and learning so we can work and ensure they are taken care of. But I love the other days where we are hanging out as a family, seeing new things, trying new things, and just being together.

In a way our life is much the same as when we were living in one spot, except instead of those days where you sit at home wondering what to do and end up cleaning or washing or something, we are out. We are out doing something new every time. It’s exciting and fresh and sometimes exhausting. 

What do you think? Is our life still fairly similar to yours? When you nomadic travel it is not the same as a vacation. We don’t take every day to tour and wear ourselves thin. We take time to rest, to work, to learn and then to tour. It’s why we spend 3 – 6 weeks in most places to be able to fit all of the above in.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my insight today. I am going to stay here a bit longer and enjoy just being me. It’s not a regular day and I’m kinda enjoying it.

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Posted by Alyson on
That's really interesting and just the sort of post I like to read. I was wondering how you got so much work done!! Our life already looks very different as I take responsibility for my kids' education squarely on my own shoulders, they are with me 24/7 and I like it that way. You'd maybe see half an hour of "school" here and there, but learning happens all the time. It doesn't matter about days of the week, we forgot about those years ago. But that's my choice, we all have a choice. I really love sneaking off for a coffee, a walk or to the shops,, by myself or with just one of the kids, it's lovely to have some one on one time with either of them, they're totally different. It feels like a holiday to not have both of them with me! Keep doing what you do Benders, it sounds good to me!
Posted by karin on
love this Erin....
Posted by Wheres Sharon? (Sharon) on
Thanks for this post!! I love reading how you spend your day. I'm going to email it to my husband right now as part of my ongoing mission to show him why we should restructure our lives!!
Posted by Bethaney - Flashpacker Family on
Great post! It sounds quite similar to how we structure our days.... except Lee does the stories and I do the songs!
Posted by Kiera-EasyTravelMom on
Great post, I always like reading about parents making it work while traveling.
Posted by Heidi Wagoner on
Nice post Erin. We just published one similar on Monday about our life living in Spain. That is probably one of the most frequent questions we get "What do you do all day?", because we aren't officially working. Though we aren't as Nomadic as you, but will be for the summer, we have a similar take on our routine. It is great getting time to work from "where ever" and just soaking in the moments that present themselves. It is fun when work, doesn't feel like work too.
Posted by Gabi Klaf (The Nomadic Family) on
Love it. We're the same. We don't move too much or else we get too tired. Love how you break it down and I see feel what life is really like. Yes, this is a longer one for you, and I love reading your insights Work with it love, It suits you Gabi
Posted by Sofie @ Wonderfulwanderings on
Great post. I think it's good that people get to see the 'normal' side of being nomadik for once!
Posted by Ann @ Travel Turtle on
You know, I actually always think of nomadic travelers as doing less siteseeing and more day to day stuff. This is really interesting. How do you find schools for your kids? Have you done this in Germany? I'm in Germany and I feel like it would be difficult to do, but that's because I really just have absolutely no clue.

And I feel how you feel when I'm on my own.
Posted by Rhiannon on
Loved this Erin. I completely get what you mean about eating or going out by yourself. Even moving from one city to another, I love going out to someplace new and trying food, and feel comfortable just being by myself doing it! I don't pity people by themselves anymore but wonder about their story... Are they new to the city like me, do they travel like you?
Wonderful to see how you make that wonderful life of yours work!
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