The pros and cons of nomadic family life – the 21st century way

How has technology made this possible? To start, the breadwinners in many nomadic families are able to earn an income without being tied to a desk – for example, writers, coders, designers and online traders, while the phenomenon of paid blogging – and particularly paid travel blogging an Instagramming – can fund the experience. Indeed, CN Traveller notes that roughly half the UK and US workforce will be freelancers or contractors by 2020 – meaning that their office could be anywhere with connectivity, whether it’s a shared office space in Paris or a café in Thailand.

Services like Roam provide a network of co-working spaces and related services to help nomadic workers find suitable ‘office’ space.
Technology also makes homeschooling possible – wherever a family’s home may be – although many families who choose this lifestyle do so because of the first-hand exposure of nature, history, and culture outside of the real or virtual classroom.

The internet is on hand to help travelers find just about anything they need – whether it’s affordable accommodation, the local laundromat, cultural experiences nearby, or which restaurants offer the most cost-effective and authentic food. Furthermore, social media adds an extra layer of recommendation, offering the opportunity to ask the world at large for recommendations for any of these needs.

Children also learn lessons they never would in a conventional schooling system as they experience the joys and challenges of other countries, cultures, and different people first-hand. It’s true, though, that many families that choose this lifestyle do so for a limited time – a year or few – although there are some who have chosen to become permanent nomads, despite the contradiction in the name!

Adopting a nomadic family lifestyle is not all perfectly posed pics in idyllic locations – there are still very real-life issues that need to be considered, although many are balanced by the opportunities made possible by this lifestyle:

 Wherever you go there will be laundry… although staying in AirBnBs or hotels means that there’s no linen to be washed! Shop around for the best deal, and make sure you’ve loaded something good to read on your Kindle if you’re not comfortable leaving it.

 Wardrobes will be limited because everything has to be taken everywhere, so this lifestyle is not for fashionistas or those with a shoe habit. However, choosing a functional and simple wardrobe, when you set off, has its own Steve Jobsian joy – and think of the money saved by not keeping up with the latest trends!

 While it’s easy to navigate cultures that are similar to your own, it’s important to research local norms in unfamiliar cultures to avoid offending your hosts or even getting into trouble with the law.

 There’s no point in traveling the world long-term if you don’t have adventurous food tastes. While McDonald’s and Burger King do have local items on their menus, embrace the fact that you’re going to be eating plants and animals that you never, ever would have considered at ‘home’.

 Nomadic travel often means living in smaller spaces than you would at home. However much you love your family, get used to the fact that you may not have as much of your own space as you’re used to. However, your chances of spending more time on beaches, in forests, and having amazing adventures are likely to balance this out!

 Working remotely sounds very glamorous, but it can be hard if you’ve got to juggle child-care, life admin (like that laundry) and you’re constantly in search of reliable connectivity – not to mention finding local agents for your technology should anything need to be repaired or replaced. Good planning is important here – structuring your day and managing your deadlines just as you would in a desk job – and making sure that you choose technology solutions that are near-ubiquitous should anything need to be replaced. If you’re looking to be inspired by families that have adopted this lifestyle – for long or shorter-term periods, have a look at The Bucket List Family, Courtney Adamo, Nappy Nomad (who specifically started a business that they could manage while traveling… and traveling markets their product), World Travel Family, and The Nomadic Family.

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