Before we started living as a location independent family, we had a certain idea about how our traveling life would be. We would be traveling, sightseeing, enjoy each others company and have lots of happy family time together. Most parts of our fantasy came through. But once we were on the road, traveling Europe in a trailer with our baby, I had a few eye opening moments. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a pain in the ass sometimes. That sucks, but in the end, there were a few lessons I learned on the road while truly experiencing our life as newbie digital nomads with kids.
Living on the road is quite similar to living in a house
Living on the road might seem more diverse than living in a house. We change our scenery more often, travel from place to place (although in a very, very low pace) and visit a lot of beautiful places. But the daily life continues. We have to work, take care of our kids and do nothing once in a while.
I remember this moment in Portugal. We were three months traveling, still getting used to living in a trailer. We just finished dinner and I was wiping the dirty hands and face of our baby. Again, for the gazillion time that day, week, month. It hit me in the face. If you live in a trailer or in a brick and mortar home, you will clean your kid’s dirty hands and face.
This might seem minor, and I totally agree that it ís minor, but still, I had to cry for a while to get it out of my system. It was not about the wiping itself; it was about life being life, wherever you are.
I wrote a blog post about a typical day of digital nomad family that you may like.
Improvising with dinner when it suddenly began to rain
Setting up a business remotely is exhausting
Well, setting up a new business, in general, is exhausting. But doing it remotely gives exhausting a whole other dimension. When you live in one place, you have a citizenship in that place. You register your corporation in your home country and that’s that. When we left we still had our residency in our home country, but we knew it was a matter of time before we would de-register. Therefore, we needed to find another solution for setting up a business. We thought it would take us a few days of Googling and reading about different registration options. Ha, we were so wrong!
There was this one night when my husband and I were going over a few possible options again, that we came to the conclusion that it was pointless. We would never find the perfect solution, we were sure of that. We put all our papers and notes aside and watched a movie. Not long after that we made a decision and stuck to it. In the end, it took us six months of Googling and we still don’t know for sure if we’ve made the right decision.
We miss our family so much
This is a no-brainer. We knew this up front, of course. But still, experiencing that aching feeling of missing is something you cannot prepare for.
I can tell you a dozen moments where I realized how much I missed my family, but I think you can imagine.
Also, I felt so much guilt toward my parents. I knew we were hurting them by leaving, but it was way worse than expected so the guilt increased. However, we have found a solution for this: traveling with grandparents!
There is no backup available
A regular life is filled with backup options such as grandparents, other family members, friends, and babysitters, kindergarten, school, sports and hobby clubs. These are all places where you can drop you kids on an almost daily basis so you can work or enjoy some alone time.
Of course, we knew upfront that we don’t have such options while on the road. But experiencing it in real life was an eye opener. My husband and I, we really only had each other. It was difficult to balance working, relaxing, traveling and sight seeing. It was only after a couple of months that we found ourselves in a routine that felt right, but it took us weeks of talking with each other to get to that point.
Don’t think of this lightly when you’re about to leave on a digital nomad adventure with your family!
Living on a campsite can be noisy
You know that embarrassing feeling when your kid gets a tantrum in the mall? Living on a campsite is like having to deal with this kind of moments 24/7. Our baby doesn’t like to get his hands and face cleaned so he then makes this terrible screaming noise. The first couple of weeks I really felt embarrassed and awkward because the whole campsite was hearing this a few times a day. And when our baby had his teeth coming through, he woke up every morning around 6am. I was so worried about the nuisance he caused other people on the campsite!
I dealt with this by thinking of all the good things about living in an RV or caravan . I then realized that nothing is perfect. Yes, living on a campsite has its downsides, but in the end, the pro’s outweigh the cons by miles.
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