Chantal Patton and her family have traveled full-time for 8+ years so far, and they’re 98 countries into their mission to visit every country in the world. As a digital nomad family, they have a remote business and also a very popular YouTube channel called Growing Up Without Borders that the whole family works on.
In this interview we chat about traveling full-time as a remote working family, how they manage homeschooling plus their online jobs, some of the amazing tips and tricks they’ve discovered along the way, and much more.
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Digital Nomad Family Travel – How Growing Up Without Borders Got Started
All good stories start at the beginning, and that’s where I started with Chantal. We discuss things like:
- The difference in various mentalities towards vacations, depending on where you’re from. For example in North America it’s unheard of to take long vacations (of one month or more), and in other parts of the world it’s a given.
- How they eased into the travel lifestyle and how they (somewhat accidentally) got rid of their stuff.
- Advice for families who want to travel but don’t want to sell everything (at least not yet).
- How home exchanges revolutionized travel for The Pattons. (And how house-sitting offers similar benefits if you don’t have a home to exchange). (Learn more about both at The Creative Guide to Free or Cheap Accommodation)
- How having well-established online jobs was a big win before they started traveling full-time as a family.
Homeschooling While Traveling Full-Time and Working Online Jobs
I find it difficult enough to balance “regular life” with my remote career while traveling. So I have no idea how these guys manage to fit homeschooling in there as well. We talk about:
- Homeschooling while traveling full-time.
- Balancing homeschool with travel, and tips for doing it without tearing your hair out.
- The difference between homeschooling older kids versus younger kids (and they’ve done both).
A few times Chantal references the specific home school curriculum they use. If you’re interested, check it out here, and use the promo code MON30GUWB for one free month.
The Nuances of Full-Time Family Travel
Nothing is straight forward nor clear cut, and family travel has its challenges and opportunities. We hit on:
- Challenges of traveling full-time with adolescent children, who may crave roots and deeper social connections than a travel lifestyle can offer.
- How The Pattons manage this challenge, and create connections on the road even if they are staying somewhere for a short time.
- Balancing school, remote careers, and full-time travel.
- Their plans and ideas for an eventual home base.
Holding Things Together With Routines (Or At Least Trying!)
Die-hard creatures of habit need not apply to travel full-time. The travel lifestyle requires a lot of flexibility, especially on travel days, which for The Pattons, is a lot! Here’s how they cope:
- The challenges of a flexible travel lifestyle which throws daily routines out the window.
- Creating and maintaining weekly routines and the benefit of doing so when you have an unconventional lifestyle.
- The power of To-Do lists!
- How to stay grounded when it’s hard to remember which day/week/month it is!
Remote Work as a Family While Traveling
As long as I am in a hotel room that has a desk, I’m okay to set up shop. It’s more complicated as a family of 5, each of whom needs their own workspace! We touch on:
- Dealing with interruptions as remote workers while working from home-on-the-road, and (the kiss of death) while staying with other people.
- Productivity tips for separating work from play.
- Finding productive – and ergonomically friendly – work spaces on the road as a whole family (hint: one desk doesn’t cut it!).
- How hostels are accommodating digital nomad families and other accommodation trends going forward.
- Advice for remote working families who want to travel.
Family Travel Planning Tips
Travel planning as a family is a goldilocks thing: you don’t want to over-plan, but you also don’t want to under-plan! On this topic we discuss:
- The traps of planning too much.
- The minimum things they plan out before arriving at a new destination.
- How they find accommodation when they’re not doing home exchanges.
- How they set their pace of travel and manage to get everything done.
- Some of their best travel experiences and memories in the last 8 years and 98 countries.
Managing a YouTube Channel (Growing Up Without Borders) as a Family While Traveling
Growing Up Without Borders is a family affair, and as such it’s a rewarding project for everybody, and even part of the girls’ overall education! It’s also a full-time job unto itself.
- Advice for having and maintaining a YouTube channel (Growing Up Without Borders) as a family.
- Creating mechanisms to prevent over-working.
- Managing online businesses AND a YouTube channel.
Pandemic Life in New Zealand
The Pattons found themselves in New Zealand just before the border closed, and it was the best thing that could have happened to them, for a variety of reasons.
See also: How These Digital Nomads Survived the Pandemic
- What pandemic life has been like in New Zealand.
- What they’ve done while spending a whole year in New Zealand.
- The change of pace from 7 years and 97 countries, to 1 year and 1 country!
Watch The Interview Here!
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Catch up with The Pattons here:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/GrowingUpWithoutBorders