Revelations from 1 Year as Family Nomads

It is a week for great celebrations for our family nomads. We have officially reached our one year anniversary as family nomads! With it, come so many reflections on life, choices, and circumstances. Moving into our “van”, saying adios to a traditional life, and throwing all caution to the wind has certainly had its impacts. Big and small, far and wide, these are my thoughts on this first year of our nomadic lifestyle.



Listen to the Universe

The ultimate theme of the whole year has been to let go of everything. Really, everything that signifies a conventional life in today’s society. We started saying “Listen to the Universe”, and we started living by that, too. For us, this has meant to give up trying to control everything in our lives, or rather, anything. You might think of it as learning to go with the flow.

Today, for many people life is completely dictated by a series of decisions, plans, and goals. Many of those flow right down the vein to calendars, clocks, schedules, and requirements. We have removed all of that from our life. Most people do not really believe us when we say that we don’t actually have a plan for this lifestyle, our route around South America, or any part of the extended future.

We know when we enter a country and how long our visa lasts. That is just about it. We keep a very loose, very vague itinerary of the places we want to see in each country. The only reason we do that is so we don’t overstay our visit or miss the things we really wanted to see. It is not uncommon for us to change this so-called route every week. We like to go where ever the road leads us. Half of the fun is stumbling upon places we didn’t know we wanted to see because we didn’t know they existed.


The Reoccuring Theme of Education

Every couple of days someone asks us about how we plan to educate our kids. When it comes to this, we have come to feel a bit like outlaws from the days of the Wild West. Our answers always make us sound like the ultimate rebels. Why on earth do so many people care about how we choose to raise our children? Well, as it turns out, they are more curious that critic.

We have become quite confident and passionate about our choice to unschool. To teach them at home with the purposeful exclusion of curriculum..which in our case, means to teach them through the world. Our kids are worldschooling as preschoolers and we could not be more proud of their accomplishments.

We know that they are not learning what other kids their age are learning. They are learning about the topics that are important to them. We are allowing them to find a passion for their own interests. They are learning about the craziest things, like anatomy, natural science, and astronomy. They are 4 and 5!


Embracing This Thing Called Minimalism

Two years ago when we left the USA to become expats in Ecuador, it was a really big deal to give up everything we had. We said goodbye to all our stuff, our home, and our acreage for only what fit into 8 duffel bags. At the time, it was the ultimate sacrifice for a better life.

Then a year ago, we gave up even more. We decided that even living in a house was excessive. Once again, we got rid of everything. Except what would fit into the custom storage bins in our Toyota Landcruiser. We all rotate through approximately the same five outfits until they fall apart or the kids outgrow them.


We keep a bin full of books and crafts, and two small children’s backpacks with toys. The rest are all necessities. We carry our own kitchen stove and propane, and water, as well as minimal kitchen supplies, dry food goods, and pantry items. We carry basic toiletries (I do not wear makeup, we don’t use perfume, hair products, or even deodorant anymore), over the counter medicines, and first aid supplies.

It still feels like at least half of the stuff we carry are things we don’t actually need. We have genuinely come to that point where we just don’t need things. They hold no value to us anymore. We just need to be together, exploring the world, in a car that runs. We need food, shelter, and water. And travel. We need to travel.

The Impacts of Nomadism in a Nutshell

We are really happy. We actually completely understand what it means to be happy. We don’t long for anything else, anything different, anything more. We love what we are doing, how our life has unfolded, and where it seems to be going.

Every day is a gift that we get to cherish together. Every moment is one that we didn’t miss, didn’t waste, and don’t regret. We play together, sleep together, cook together, learn together, explore together. We LIVE together. We know each other, all four of us, deeper than we have ever known anyone. We are best friends, partners, teammates, confidants, allies. We are closer than we could ever expect to be.

We have absolutely no plans to stop traveling or living as nomads. This is what we are supposed to be doing in life, where we are supposed to be going. It is working, and there is no reason to change something that is working.


16 Replies to “Revelations from 1 Year as Family Nomads”

  1. Amazing! I love following your adventure and What you’re doing. Maybe we’ll be on the road in a year too. We’re 10 months into our year in Costa Rica and hard to imagine going back to the states!

    1. Hi, Cara! Good for you guys! I hope to see you coming through South America, maybe we’ll bump into each other somewhere along the way! 🙂

  2. I love following your adventures in South America with your children. You are teaching them to love life and to be spontaneous. Materialism and accumulating things isn’t part of their lives. You guys are incredible. Are you still in Bolivia? Where does the road lead next?

    1. Hi, Mariana! We appreciate your kinds words so much. Thank you for taking the time to say so. 😀 Yes, we are currently in Bolivia until early or mid August. For the second half of the year we will be traveling back and forth between Chile and Argentina. We sure hope you’ll continue to follow our journey. 🙂

  3. A heartfelt congratulations to you both! It’s never easy to live life against the river of convention, but you two seem to have found a way. Well done! I have no doubt you’ll continue to be guided by the universe, and that you’ll continue to be happy. Travel on!
    Alison xo

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Alison! Life is beautiful and well. For some reason going against convention is proving to be the recipe for a happy life. Onward we go! 😀

  4. So beautiful! Happy that you have found your way in the world. Echoes everything I believe is most important for family life…simple works. At first you feel like it’s sacrifices made but then you realise it’s the complete opposite…by getting rid of the attachments to possessions you are freeing up life for a beautiful blank space to see what gifts tumble in! Enjoy every moment xxx

    1. Hi, Rachel! Thank you so much for relating! Not too many people get it, but I sure am glad that you do! Can’t wait to see what your blog is all about. I’m heading to check it out now. 🙂

  5. I am in slight awe. It sounds amazing and it looks amazing. Teaching your children about life through living it. I have teenagers and I wonder what they would think though. They would miss their friends I think. Good luck!

    1. Hi, Sophie! Nothing to be in awe over, honestly we are just regular people with some strange ideas. 🙂 But, I do think you might be right that many teens would have a hard time and would miss their friends.

  6. Well what can I say? You’re us 4 years ago LOL. Exactly the same outlook, freedom, no stuff, no plans, no budgets, just do what we feel. We’re in our 6th year of full time travel now and I still absolutely love it. The kids are now 14 and 12 and they don’t want to stop either. It does change as they get older, the dynamic shifts and there is a lot more time gaming with friends online, but still we’re tight, super tight compared to many families who lose their kids to school. Educationally it’s been amazing. We’re off to Everest again in a few weeks, we spent yesterday morning doing more research on that, this morning we’re going to look at the body’s physiological adaptation to altitude. Stuff I did in university that the kids are more than capable of understanding. My elder one has been doing Open University courses on whatever interests him for a couple of years now. Homeschooling has been so, so good for them and of course they can read and do maths. It’s nonsense to think kids need to be taught this stuff in classrooms, I love the Landcruiser, I love the idea of driving around S America. One day we’ll do that but the next 6 months we have mountains to climb. Best of luck to you. ( pinned to my nomadic family board…a rare honour!)

    1. 😀 I am sooo happy to read this comment this morning! Thank you for stopping by, Alyson and offering your words of wisdom and encouragement. It is not too often that I get to tune in to another Mom who has been here and done this. I am definitely feeling so encouraged that you guys are still out there growing, learning, and exploring together. Mount Everest is going be amazing I am sure! Thank you a million times over for sharing our post, that means so much to me!

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