The short answer to both questions is no.
Before I start I will say this is a huge topic which I am sure I will be coming back to in later posts. There is lots of advice out there for travelling parents, and for parents-to-be – some helpful and some terrible!
Travelling parents – YES!
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the many ways which travelling will change our lives. We both want kids, just not now. People often remind us there is never a perfect time to have a family. I agree – if you wait for that time when you have just the right amount of savings or get to the right point in your career, or even the right age you’ll probably be waiting a long time. For us, we just want to be the best parents we can be. At the moment, whilst we are trying to change our lives so drastically, that is just not possible. I think the people who say this to us are just concerned that we will wait too long and miss out. What on earth will they say when we tell them our big news- no, we’re not buying a house, settling down or having kids – we’re going travelling and we’re not planning on coming back?! We’ll leave that one for another time.
Partly to confirm what I already suspected, and partly so I can put our friends and relatives’ minds at rest – I have researched some travel bloggers who have families. I expected to find information about the educational and social development aspect of travel on kids. I did find this, but overwhelmingly I read about travelling parents trying to debunk common myths about travelling with kids. Those myths seem to centre around how much hassle kids are. This is exactly the reason why we haven’t had children yet – we would not have time for our kids now. I could not bear to treat a child like a nuisance – I acutely remember how that feels. Something tells me this attitude isn’t unique to travelling – if someone thinks kids are hassle when travelling I think its probably safe to say they think they are a hassle at home too.
There are plenty of digital nomads travelling the world with their kids in tow. From their accounts, the benefits include:
- Spending quality time together every day – greater bonding and opportunities to show your kids you love them,
- More meaningful education based on first hand experiences, particularly in these areas – wildlife, geography, languages, an understanding of different cultures, social skills through regularly meeting different people,
- Helping you to overcome fears – for example flying, spiders, water,
- Seeing the world through fresh eyes.
As you can see three out of the four benefits I’ve mentioned above relate to the parents! It seems to me that any drawbacks are only those which apply to parenting anyway.
There are so many resources for schooling on the road now. When you think about it, all teaching in a classroom really does is prepare us for work in an office – sat in another room at a desk doing as you are told. There are other options – more fulfilling and enriching options – out there. Isn’t that what becoming a digital nomad is all about – freedom?
I don’t doubt that having a family and travelling long term is difficult. It is something that needs to be taken seriously and planned meticulously. The care and education of kids should be a top priority. Again – isn’t this just what any parent should do anyway?!
Do you have any thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear from you – feel free to leave a comment below.