Families – The Mercury News

Some associate the term “digital nomad” with the image of a young, carefree tech employee sending emails from the beach. In fact, three-quarters of digital nomads are under the age of 40, in keeping with a 2023 survey of over 1,200 digital nomads by Flatio, an internet accommodation platform.

Nevertheless, some families of the Digital nomad lifestylethey leave their belongings—and the thought of ​​”home”—behind as they travel the world. This lifestyle may not offer families the identical freedom that digital nomads without kids enjoy, but these adventurous parents say the trade-offs are price it.

“We really like the whole adventure,” says Chris Oberman, founding father of Moving Jack, a blog about his family's travels world wide. “Normal things like going to the grocery store become really special because it's a new experience.”

Oberman, originally from the Netherlands, currently lives in Iraq along with his partner, their six-month-old baby and their two cats. They plan to maneuver to South Korea this summer.

“Logistically, it requires a lot of planning,” says Oberman. “Before moving abroad, we return to our home country to get all the necessary documents. Since we don't own our own home, we either stay with family or rent an apartment. When we leave for our new destination, we temporarily live in accommodation such as a serviced apartment or a hotel that allows cats (which is not easy to find).”

In the center of this explanation the ability went out.

“The power goes out five times a day,” Oberman says with amusing, pointing to among the unexpected challenges that include living with a family abroad.

Schools and social circles

Schooling is one among the largest challenges for families on the go. Oberman's toddler is just too young for college, in order that's not an issue, but other digital nomad families have to search out ways to accommodate their education.

“Our decision on where to go is influenced by factors such as internet access, educational opportunities for our children, safety and cost of living,” Vasilii Kiselev said in an email. Kiselev is from Florida and his family of 4 currently lives as nomads in Portugal. “[We] integrate local culture and history into their learning experience.”

This approach reflects an educational movement called “world education,” an unofficial term that describes an educational approach based on cultural immersion. Some, like Kiselev, also seek formal education while traveling, while others combine nomadism with homeschooling. The Facebook group “Worldschoolers” has over 67,000 members.

While it may seem challenging for children to be uprooted from their homes on a regular basis, Kiselev, whose children are 8 and 12 years old, says adapting to the nomadic life is a matter of practice.

“They have adapted well to the lifestyle,” Kiselev said.

Changing friends or even languages ​​from one month to the next can be challenging for anyone, but especially for a child. Oberman says he is aware of the social difficulties his son will face.

“While he's making friends, things might get difficult for him.”

Budgets and compromises

Raising children is expensive, whether at home, abroad, or on Mars.

The cost of traveling full-time with your family can be a little daunting, especially when you consider how expensive a few weeks' vacation can be. However, many nomadic families manage to stick to a budget while living full-time on the road.

Kiselev's family must budget around 1,500 to 2,500 euros (1,629 to 2,715 dollars) per month for accommodation.

“It’s expensive, but necessary for comfortable living space.”

Another cost is private school, which costs Kiselev about 500 to 1,000 euros ($543 to $1,086) per month, or $6,516 to $13,032 per year—an attractive price for many parents living in high-cost-of-living areas of the U.S.

For comparison, according to a study by the Education Data Initiative, a research group on the U.S. education system, last updated in October 2023, the average annual tuition at private schools for grades K-12 in Massachusetts is $25,061, while in California it averages $16,637.

Of course not Last minute hotelsAirfare, Travel insurance and all the other costs that come with transporting a family around the globe. Oberman's family had to fly back and forth between Iraq, the Netherlands and Dubai during her pregnancy because of concerns about the quality of healthcare in Iraq. These costs can add up quickly and wipe out any savings from a lower cost of living.

For many families, however, the financial compromises are worth it given the experiences they and their families can have.

“Showing our child so much of the world is very enriching and helps him grow up with a global perspective,” says Oberman.

image credit : www.mercurynews.com