5 Steps to Creating a Nomadic Family Lifestyle

5 Steps to Creating a Nomadic Family Lifestyle

Moving abroad with kids was easy!

… said no parent ever in the history of humankind.

Because moving with kids is not easy. Doing anything with kids is not easy. Bad grammar aside, kids just are. not. easy.

However, leading a nomadic (or, in our case, semi-nomadic) lifestyle is possible, especially if you put the right safeguards in place ahead of time.

Why Choose a Nomadic Family Lifestyle?

We didn’t make this decision hastily, let me tell you … although once it was made, it actually felt pretty natural.

Living in Belize has been rewarding beyond my wildest dreams. Yes, it sucks to run out of gas and have to take a cold shower for a week, and yes, I’m annoyed by bad internet connections and the fact that there’s only one place in town to get a latte.

That pales in comparison, however, to the sunshine, serenity and family time I now enjoy. Simply put, life is amazing, and I love nothing more than encouraging others to enjoy a similar slice of heaven.

Since I personally found my inspiration for moving abroad from another blogger, I thought I would put my experience out there. I’ve already shared my location independence story in a lengthy series, but now I want to give you a window specifically into the nomadic family lifestyle.

For those considering a jump (especially you writer types), I hope this helps!

If not, I apologize in advance. Although I suspect the problem is likely you, not me. But then, I’m feeling contrary today.


1. Make Sure You Truly Understand the Repercussions of a Nomadic Family Lifestyle

If you move abroad, you’re going to miss out on a lot, plain and simple. Think:

  • Extended family get-togethers
  • Luxuries you take for granted (mattresses that don’t cave in literally within a week, almond flour, etc.)
  • Reliable telephone and sometimes internet
  • Cars

So, you know, it’s not perfect. If you tend to have FOMO, this might not be the move for you.

I, however, do not have FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – and never really have. In our family, we instead practice JOMO, which is the closely related Joy of Missing Out. That makes Belize a good place for us, since we now get to skip a lot of those obligations that we never wanted to meet (block parties, coffee with random acquaintances) without having to be rude.

So for us? Yeah, it’s a good thing.

2. Make Family Time Your Biggest Priority

Don’t get me wrong. I have never minded family obligations, because I love my extended family as well as my husband’s, and for the most part, it never really felt like an obligation – it felt like fun.

However, one of the things I didn’t like about living in Portland, Oregon, was that it seemed there was never enough time for the four of us as a family. I wanted to make more of that happen. Not only have I found it here, but I’ve found it’s even more important because we’re all we have.

If you’re going to make the move, you have to plan for at least one parent to be there, engaging actively with the kiddos. Otherwise, everything you left behind will feel like too much.

3. Give Your Kids Enough of the Familiar to Hold Onto

Even if you’re together a lot, you need to help your kids settle in with lots of safe, comfortable routines. For our little ones, that means:

  • School
  • An alternate caregiver they know and trust, to give us a break and provide them with another source of love
  • Books and comfort items
  • Incentives and treats

If this sounds a lot like raising kids anywhere else, that’s because it is. But in a foreign place, with only you to count on, I think it becomes even more important. Now that I can’t just pack them off to Grandma’s house, the familiar routines are extra-critical.

4. Decide If You’re Truly a Nomad at Heart or Not

Personally, we considered being full-scale digital nomads for approximately three seconds. Then we decided that that completely nomadic family lifestyle probably wasn’t for us.

That said, I’m pushing hard for a trip around the world when we decide to leave Belize. Why not spend another 6 months to a year on the road, especially when we’re between homes and don’t have to pay rent?

For you, full nomading might be the ticket. Keep in mind that with kids, this means you’ll be completely responsible for education. We’re opting for month-long trips other places when the kids aren’t in school, but stability the rest of the year.

5. Put the Work in Place

The positioning of this step is actually pretty misleading because it’s the first one you have to knock out. However, I’ve put it down at the end because it’s not actually related to family. Instead, it sets the stage for being able to take on a nomadic family lifestyle.

If you’ve been here long, you know I’m a huge proponent of working online as a writer. It’s given me the freedom to move abroad, travel with children and otherwise have a fantastic life. I would love to help you find that life too, so I encourage you to head to the Free Resource Library to learn how (just click that pretty image below).

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the nomadic family lifestyle or creating a career to support it, I invite you to email me today!

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