I’ve encountered a number of traveling families who bounce around quite a bit and cover ground really quickly. That’s cool and all, but it’s not for us. We did a long Europe trip in the fall of 2015 and hit London, several spots in Germany, and France. We survived and made a lot of good memories, but came back to Texas completely exhausted and burnt out. In hindsight, I wish we would have seen 2 places during our stay, maybe just one.
We work full time everywhere we go with few exceptions. We manipulate working hours each day to be more flexible for daytime activities, but it’s hectic to move around a bunch and get re-settled each time. A travel day usually means we lose several working hours that have to be made up at other times and figuring out the internet situation at each new place can be stressful too. Finding the food we eat on the fly is no simple task either. It requires planning and lots of prep work. There is no such thing as popping in to McDonalds in our world. Kyle seems to function and behave better when we’re settled in to a place and things feel more homey and familiar to him. So, we are embracing the art of slow travel.
Life for us looks a lot like regular life, just in different places. We cook the vast majority of our meals at home, work, clean, do home school, make friends, go to church, sleep, poop, you get the idea. Our living expenses are vastly simpler than they were at home. We have rental payments, food, auto insurance for our paid off car, gas, renters insurance, giving, and some miscellaneous expenses here and there. We don’t spend much extra on touristy stuff. Our entertainment usually consists of exploring the town/city/area where we’re staying, hiking, biking, going to the beach, and attending local free events like the summer concert series in Tahoe.
We are offsetting some higher cost places (like Tahoe, Boulder, the UK) by staying in less expensive places other times of the year, or staying with family. We aren’t doing much air travel this calendar year, so that saves a lot as well. Our annual spend should work out to be very similar to what we were spending at home in Texas. We live off of our regular income and are not staying in luxury resorts or dining at five star restaurants. We are extremely mindful of our spending, just as we were at home.
Oh, I almost forgot – this is hard. We left our community, support system, family, church, and familiarity to travel. We have hard days, often harder than they were at home, but we love our life. We love our choice to do this – to adventure, to be intentional, and to be together. We’re not constantly torn in different directions. My calendar is no longer full, and although I miss a lot of the events and play dates with familiar faces, it’s so refreshing to have an open schedule and ask every single morning, “what awesome thing do we want to do today?” – and then go freaking do it!