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What It Takes to Start & Raise a Nomadic Family

Being a digital nomad is a dream for many – after all, what can be more exciting than traveling the world while being able to work from anywhere? It became more of a concept throughout the coronavirus pandemic, yet there are lots of freelancers and self-employed professionals doing it for ages.

Now, lots of people naturally assume that the digital nomad lifestyle is for certain people only – most specifically, singles. You do not have to be a childless youngster to do it. The age is irrelevant, and unsurprisingly, you can also start a nomadic family.

Indeed, you can find a partner, get kids, and even pets with you. Sure, it takes even more work, but it is totally doable. After all, if you have ever worked online or from a different location, you probably know how lonely you will feel after a while.

Starting a nomadic family asks for plenty of preparation, as well as numerous adjustments on the way – things that work for both you and your family. There are more options for adopting the nomad lifestyle, and just like you have probably guessed already, it is not for everyone.

Now, before digging deeper, you have to understand what freedom truly means for you, as well as the type of lifestyle that would actually suit you. There are lots of different choices out there. Being a nomad is not all about hopping from one country to another every few months.

In fact, hopping so often is not even too exciting after a while. Imagine moving – it takes over a month. Imagine the hassle you need to go through. It would be exhausting for both you and your nomadic family. So, what are the pros and cons of this lifestyle first?

Benefits of a nomad lifestyle​

Most importantly, you will have the opportunity to make more money. Basically, you can choose a nice and safe place with a low living cost while earning income from a better-developed country. In other words, you will live above average.

Then, you have the flexibility as well. Sure, different countries may come with some restrictions, but overall, you have the possibility to go wherever you want. If the weather is an important consideration as well, you can pick it too.

As you move around – regardless of how often or rare you do it, you will explore new cultures and languages. You will be more open-minded, but also more cultural about one thing or another. Even though you feel lonely, there are nomad communities pretty much everywhere, so you can make friends.

Set your own schedule if you are self-employed and take some time off whenever you feel like it. If your work is project-based, you can also organize your time accordingly – just make sure it suits your lifestyle. All these things will teach you self-discipline.

Disadvantages of a nomad lifestyle​

The nomad lifestyle is definitely not suitable for everyone, especially if it also involves a nomadic family. If you are not the organized type, you will end up failing. This kind of lifestyle asks for plenty of organization in the smallest details.

Then, there are not too many things you can own – small things normally. You will find it difficult to get a car or perhaps buy a home. In the long run, you may also feel lonely – it depends on how easy and outgoing you are.

Your partner and kids may not always appreciate the idea of moving. Then, there is lot of planning required in terms of visas, fees, and taxes as well – you need to pick your jurisdictions very carefully and be ready to keep going if things get bad.

Minor health-related issues could be easy to handle pretty much everywhere, but major issues could be difficult to deal with if your residency is ambiguous. As for your actual work, if you work for a different company, your salary may not always increase with inflation because you are abroad.

Now that you understand the pros and cons of a nomad lifestyle, what does it take to have a nomadic family? Most people in this situation adopt the same lifestyle, so they understand each other. But then, what happens when kids kick in?

How a partner can change everything​

Most people naturally assume that the digital nomad lifestyle is for singles – and especially men. This is only a misconception. People assume that you can, indeed, find a partner at some point in some random location – eventually, they will get sick of traveling. Kids can also take everything down.

These are only some general thoughts from those who have no clue what a digital nomad lifestyle is about. These are the types of ideas coming from people who do not even believe in the digital nomad lifestyle.

Generally speaking, when most people say you cannot do something, chances are you can. The same rules apply to starting a nomadic family. If you want to get married, you can find a partner who likes this lifestyle – perhaps someone who does the same thing. It is even easier.

For example, find someone who does not like where they are from. Find someone who would like to explore the world, find new places, and perhaps find a place that makes you feel at home – a place where you feel like you belong.

It is all about getting someone who shares the same mindset. After all, this is what having a partner is about – finding someone who is on the same page. Most importantly, you need to be able to communicate with no restrictions at all.

Indeed, in the long run, your feelings could change. Your decisions may also be different as you grow and change your mindset. A compromise every now and then is just as common – but then, such things occur in a regular marriage as well.

Things are a bit different once kids kick in, but the nomadic family lifestyle is still doable. However, kids are picky and have more requirements, so you need to prepare even better. Here is what you have to know.

Preparing for kids in a nomadic family​

Generally speaking, traveling does not require too much. In fact, this concept is all about simplicity. At the end of the day, when you go on holiday, you only grab a few things in a suitcase or a backpack, rather than your whole home.

The same rule applies when you adopt a digital nomad lifestyle. Packing for the first time when you have kids is more difficult because you need to make some major decisions – giving up things. You need to reduce what you already have, adding even more simplicity.

The secret is in your power to adapt, which is perfectly normal. Basically, you have to find comfort and happiness in small things, but also appreciate the idea of minimalism. Life could be described as an idea of possessing things, but it is essential to never allow things to possess you.

Planning a nomad lifestyle with a kid sounds challenging. However, it is totally doable if you keep things simple. You will leave behind many things – things you may like, but also things that are not necessary. To help your plan out, here is a simple rule – if you get something new, get rid of something old.

Keep in mind that each nomadic family has its own needs when it comes to packing, so slight adjustments are normal. Overall, you should come up with a list that will allow you to adapt to all sorts of situations.

First of all, the luggage must be light – stick to basics, as well as things that are mandatory. Second, consider your portable office needs. At this point, electronics represent the most significant consideration in the process – choosing the right gear depends on the work you do.

Keep things neat and organized. For example, when it comes to clothes, you should get different suitcases or bags. Give each family member a different color, so you know precisely what goes where – losing things could be very problematic.

Now, what does your kid need? How about some games? Are there any books required? What type of activities do they like? Your kid's emotional well-being is a priority, so when it comes to your little one, you can bring things that may not seem necessary to you.

When it comes to documents, take everything with you and ensure you have photocopies of everything – keep photocopies in a different folder. On the same note, a first aid kit is a must – unexpected issues may arise when least expected.

In terms of money, avoid carrying too much cash with you. Instead, stick to cards only – indeed, there are places where you will need cash, so small amounts are perfectly fine. Finally, avoid the just-in-case category or at least limit it – stick to things that you just cannot find anywhere else.

Considering your kid’s education​

Raising a kid is a daunting job and requires plenty of attention. While having a kid in your nomadic family is a blessing, there will be situations when you will feel overwhelmed – nothing to worry about, everyone goes through the same issues.

Some people pack their kids for the day to a daycare center or perhaps a nursery if you have this option. If they are about school time, a tutor or homeschooling could probably be the best choice if you move a lot – otherwise, your kid will find it difficult to keep moving.

It is normal to ask yourself – am I doing the right thing for my kid? Kids with a traditional lifestyle may have other opportunities, indeed. But then, a nomadic family will provide something similar – the opportunity to socialize with kids in the area or meet new people.

Besides, kids in nomadic families tend to grow up with an open mind. They are more empathetic and can accept cultural differences without too many issues. Plus, they learn how to adapt to different situations. More importantly, they become citizens of the world.

Of course, each age will come with challenges that require some flexibility. If you have a baby, they need a lot of sleep, attention to their health, and plenty of food. The next half a year will have your baby become more curious – life becomes a bit easier.

Traveling with a nomadic family is a great idea because kids develop most of their brains within the first five years. They will find passions and hobbies that they are less likely to discover in a confined classroom that turns kids into robots.

Considering the cost of living for a nomadic family​

If you think buying things is the only way to belong to a society, you are only seeing things the wrong way – this is what your government wants. Long term travel is a dream for many, as most people can barely afford one-week holidays.

However, long term travel is not something you buy – not just a thing. Instead, it is a lifestyle you embrace and support. The freedom to travel and work is not necessarily given by your income, but it implies using your income to do these things, as well as simplicity.

Simplicity does not imply quitting everything – instead, it implies a bit of compromise, flexibility, and a few adjustments to your routines. After all, you will thank yourself later. For example, you may need to quit ice cream or go out for clubbing – a bit of a sacrifice, but totally worth it.

Of course, it depends on where you live. But even if you end up with a developed country salary in an undeveloped country, you should still keep it simple and humble – why waste when you can invest or put it in your kid’s education?

Food is likely to become the most expensive thing apart from accommodation. You can still go and eat out a few times a month, but do not make it a habit. The health insurance will probably be the next most expensive thing.

Bottom line, to make your nomadic family work, you need to cut unnecessary expenses, keep an eye on your money, leave no debt behind (if possible), keep a budget and stick to it and take everything you truly need from home.

Whether you are young and single or you have a partner, life will not be too difficult. But when you start a nomadic family, and you get kids too, things will change to 180 degrees – challenging, but totally rewarding overtime.

Potential challenges and obstacles in a nomadic family​

Traveling with your kid is difficult at times. Some people choose to relocate every now and then, while others make it even more authentic – van life. They simply turn their vans into actual homes and hit the road in the adventure of a lifetime.

If you do it by van, you will need safe places to park, filling up the water, and getting good Internet. If you find regular accommodation, you also need a safe place for your whole family and a decent area that will not expose you to risks as foreigners.

Money is by far one of the main issues and it is easy to tell why. If you work for a company and you have a specific salary every month, it could be easier. But if you and your partner are freelancers, your income may vary and it could be quite stressful at times if you cannot find work.

You and your partner must be on the same page or it will not work. Some people like to plan their moves in advance and lock themselves into a calendar. Some others prefer to be surprised and make decisions based on what happens.

You also need to figure out how often you can move. Some people do it twice a year. Some others do it once every two years – rarer will make you feel more comfortable, rather than feel like you always need to pack.

Finally, you have to understand that no matter where you travel and what you do, you are not a tourist. You should not go out in touristy places, but get your groceries from a local market instead. You are a full time worker and not a tourist, even if you can go for a swim in the ocean after a day in work.

Dealing with aging parents​

Dealing with your aging parents becomes a thing later in life, as they get old. If you are not young enough to enjoy a nomad lifestyle without worrying about parents, chances are you need to discuss this with them first.

Sometimes, you may not necessarily be there. If you have siblings or there are other family members around, they can look after them. Sure, there might be a point when caring for your parents is critical. Just because you are a digital nomad, it does not mean that you always need to be abroad.

Sometimes, it is perfectly fine to take a break from this lifestyle and come back home for a while – it could be months or perhaps a few years. Family comes first. Things change though, so you may not need to make a decision straight away.

Living overseas may also give your parents the opportunity to have them travel the world and visit you. Or, for example, you can have an agreement with your partner – when there is only one parent left, you take them with you.

Recommendations for a successful nomadic family lifestyle​

Being a digital nomad is not necessarily about gaining personal possessions, but about boosting your personal options. It is about yourself and your family, rather than the possessions you can keep throughout your life.

When starting a nomadic family and having kids, your levels of discipline must go to another level. You also need plenty of motivation, not to mention the necessity to keep your productivity at the highest standards.

Again, simplicity is the main recommendation. The fewer things you cling to, the easier your lifestyle will be. You do not need to work too hard to get things that you do not necessarily need. After all, it will end up disposed of or in a storage box later on.

The health insurance is another important consideration and unexpected situations can always arise. You never know. The health insurance is mandatory in your early days as a digital nomad, when your body is getting used to something else.

Medical bills can get quite expensive regardless of where you live. Besides, you want access to an emergency assistance line, not to mention the possibility to find local medical care if you need it. The health insurance is a must.

The actual destination is just as important. You can go to Australia, then Thailand and Cambodia. You can order a pizza for two at home in Australia, but you will buy enough food for a whole week in Thailand with the same amount of money.

Affordable places with a low cost of living are more common among digital nomads because they make life easier. Talking about budget, avoid debt and things you do not need, so you can stay financially free. The idea is to appreciate little.

Finally, learn to overcome prejudice. People will question your values – no one cares. Let them tell you whatever. Most people would live the traditional way, rather than try something like this – but they will definitely be envious about it.

Conclusion​

As a short final conclusion, the nomad lifestyle is easy when you are by yourself and more difficult when you have a partner. Things change to 180 degrees if you end up with one or more kids too. However, just like for anything else in life, you need to get out of your comfort zone to be successful.

Plan everything in the smallest details and try to reduce risk to a minimum by embracing simplicity. Once you cover these aspects, your nomadic family will be much easier to look after – plus, you will enjoy the experience of a lifetime.
 
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