What was the first country you visited? Who with and why did you choose it?
We started with the UK in April, 2008, on our bicycles as the beginning of a 1 year cycle journey through Europe and North Africa. Our kids were 5, 7, 9 & 11 at the time. We started there because we wanted to minimize culture shock and ease into the many transitions of life on the road. The museums in London provided a great overview of so much of what we would see that year. It would be great to go back now, with three teenagers and our youngest 11 to see it again with new eyes, having been the places we've been!
When did you start a travel lifestyle? What inspired that change?
We have always traveled with our kids. We made the leap to full time travel in the spring of 2008. We have always known that we wanted to do some big time adventuring with our tribe, but were waiting until everyone was potty trained and old enough to remember it. We travel as an intentional aspect of our children's educations; so it's been one big field trip! We intended to be gone for a year and then come back and be "normal." But somewhere along the road our gap year became our lifestyle and we reconfigured everything to keep going! That was almost six years ago! We value making memories and cultivating relationships over collecting stuff and the illusion of "security." For us, spending most of a decade traveling has been a fantastic way to bond with our kids.
Do you have a base you travel from? Or is it continuous travel? And why do you choose that style?
We do not have a base. We rent them when we want to hunker down for a while. We travel continuously, but slowly. It's our habit to spend a month to six months in a given country trying to get below the surface a bit. Because we're traveling to learn with our kids we need to take the time to dig a little deeper. We've only managed about thirty countries in five and a half years because it's not a race and we're not trying to check things off the list, we're trying to open our hearts and our minds; that takes time and patience. Also, because this is a lifestyle for us, and not a year off, we work as we go which means that we have to create time for our careers and the kids' formal educations in addition to the adventuring. Renting fully furnished houses anywhere in the world is a simple matter. We've done it on five continents! :) We are in the beginning stages of building a base in Canada, but that will take us a few years to complete.
How do you fund your travel lifestyle? Is it something you do when travelling or are you a saver?
We work! :) Tony does database development and design/implementation as well as iOs and Android programming. I'm a freelance writer for the travel and alternative education markets. I also teach a class and do some educational consulting and curriculum design for families that live and school differently. We've more than replaced our income from "before" when Tony was working for a major computer company. We aim to work about twenty hours a week. For us, that's the right life-work balance.
If you could tell yourself one tip before you started your travel lifestyle, what would it be?
That we weren't coming back! We packed our house up with the idea that we'd be back in a year and would "need" certain things... so we have a lot in storage that is silly to have saved over a 6 (or 7? or 8?) year gap!
What does “Living The Dream” mean to you?
Living the Dream means the freedom to order our own days, to create our work around our life, to be able to live intentionally with our children and make the best choices possible for their upbringing and education without the boundaries of school, work schedules or international borders. Living the Dream means being the masters of our own destiny and the joy of creating life instead of just living it.