First Monday of the month is Family Travel Bloggers Series here in the blog! Yey! I’m so excited with these interviews, I’ve been learning so much and connecting with such beautiful souls out there. One of the families I contacted even interviewed me :D
Let’s read about Talon and his son story! Please feel free to ask anything in the comments below.
1- Hello! First of all I’d like to thank you to collaborate with your fantastic and inspiring words. Can you introduce us your family?
We’re a father-son duo slowly traveling the world since 2011. We’re about to visit my son’s 32nd country. We left when he was 9 years old, and he’ll be turning 14 in a few months.
2 – How was your life before you decided to travel as a lifestyle?
It was a good life, but we didn’t have as much as time together as I wanted. I worked full time plus was involved in other activities. He went to school and then day care. During the summer, he was in day care all day while I worked. Definitely not an ideal situation really.
3 – Why did you take that decision?
Because of my work I’ve been around people on their death beds for decades. Through their stories I’ve come to the point where I had decided to live a life without regrets. Why wait until I retire to live the life I want? It just made no sense. I’ve always loved traveling and wanted to raise my son in different countries. While I was on a solo trip in Peru, I met up with a long-term traveling family, and it helped really cement into my mind that I could do this. That was the spark that led to this big change.
4 – So far, which places you think are more kid friendly? Why?
I’d say the Balkans and southeast Asia are probably the most kid friendly places we’ve been to. There is just more acceptance that children aren’t meant to sit still for an hour in a restaurant. When kids aren’t in school, you’ll find the parks packed with them playing, and there seems to be more of a family focus.
One of the absolutely most kid friendly places would also be Utila, a small island in Honduras. My son had the run of the island because it was so safe. When he would take the big pillows on the couch in the restaurant and make a pillow fort, they just smiled and that was cute. When he was literally climbing up the building, they just laughed and commented on how agile he was. He didn’t wear shoes or a shirt, and that was just accepted as normal. Everyone knew who he was and who his dad was. If he needed help, there was this huge “village” ready keeping an eye out. It was amazing.
5 – From all countries you have been, if you only could choose one country to live, which would be?
If it was completely up to me, I’d probably say the Czech Republic. We spent a few months there, and I absolutely loved it, especially Prague.
6 – How do you travel? Do you rent an house? Go camping? Use bus or plane?
We use Airbnb quite a bit so that we have an apartment with a kitchen. We also do a lot of housesitting. We avoid buses as much as possible and prefer trains to planes. We do enjoy camping, but we haven’t done it all since we don’t have the equipment and don’t want to lug that around the globe with us.
7 – Which kind of advices would you give a couple who have kids and want to travel badly but are afraid?
I’d say there’s really nothing to be afraid of and to just get out there and do it. Once they survive their first trip, they should feel better about the second. It’s really a LOT easier than I ever expected.
8 – Is it possible for a single mom or dad to travel with their 3 children? In your opinion, which are the main obstacles and how to find solutions?
Absolutely! There are some single moms doing that right now. I think travel days, i.e., plane, bus, train trips, are probably the biggest challenge with really small children, but plenty of families do it. You pick up tricks that work best for your family as you go along. I would look at family travel blogs and see how they handle it to find ideas for what might work well for your particular family. There’s no “one size fits all” to travel.
9 – Do you have future plans? How is going to be your life the next 3 years? Do you want to keep traveling?
We don’t make many plans at all, and I rarely think beyond the next month or two, so I have zero plans for the next 3 years. We try to live in the moment as much as possible.
Now that my son is a teen he wants to slow down and have more of a long-term base, a place we travel from and return to. So, we’re working on identifying the place that we both really enjoy AND that makes obtaining temporary residency readily achievable. The place is easy, the visa restrictions not so much, especially in Europe. We’ve identified a few possibilities and are now working on identifying which has the best probabilities for a long-stay visa. Once we have that settled, we’ll take fewer trips of shorter duration. I’ll also take more short solo trips.
10 – Why is travelling so important for you? What about your kids?
It’s just part of my makeup. I love the excitement of new places, foods, and cultures. While most people fear change, I adore it. When life has too many predictable patterns, it isn’t as fun for me. I also love the challenges of being in an unfamiliar place with different foods and having to figure out how to communicate in a language I don’t know.
My son enjoys new experiences and the chance for adventure.
11 – How do you manage your kids and school?
My son is “worldschooled.” He does child-led education, and we use practical teaching moments throughout the day. For example, math is often done in the supermarket doing currency conversions and volume-value comparisons. History is done by actually standing in the place rather than just reading about what happened. He is able to pursue the things that interest him, and daily life provides so many educational opportunities.
12 – By your travel experience, what would you do differently?
I had to learn to not feel guilty for spending a day in our apartment just relaxing. In the past when I’ve traveled for a vacation, I was constantly moving. I felt like I had to see absolutely everything I could. With long-term travel, it’s a completely different attitude. Often we don’t see the tourist sights in an area because we’re more interested in soaking up the typical local life and seeing a place through an experiential process rather than from a typical tourist point of view.
In Asia, I fell victim to the temptation of incredible airfare sales. We ending up bouncing around so fast for a few months that I became incredibly burnt out and was ready to give up this lifestyle. We stayed in an area for a couple of weeks rather than seeing more of the country, and it was a saving grace. It allowed me to recharge my batteries. So now I avoid going crazy with travel sales. Moving constantly just isn’t sustainable.
13 – How do you fund your travels? While travelling or saving? This post answers your question: http://1dad1kid.com/2013/01/04/how-i-fund-our-family-travel/
14 – Anything else you’d like to add?
I encourage people that are considering any form of travel to just set a date as a goal. Even if it’s just a weekend trip. Continuing to say “I’d like to go to XYZ place at some point” is a great way of making sure you continue your procrastination. If you want to go somewhere, fix a date, put it on your calendar, and tell everyone that’s what you’re doing. It really helps to be focused when you have a tangible goal.
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