Semi nomadic parenting

samfloy~5 November 2022 /Denmark/Moving Country/Personal/Projects/Travels

This post is a “work in progress”. Please be in touch if you have any tips/ thoughts!

Since our daughter was born last year, my partner and I often think about whether this spells the end for our international travels for the next 18 years, save for some 1-3 week holidays out of term time.

Both of us feel energised by living in new places, and the general normality of remote work means that it would be totally plausible to earn an income from our laptops and travel the world.

Obviously, having a child changes the equation somewhat.

There are some families are fully “nomadic”: parents and kids travel the world, do home-schooling and visit far flung lands. Having researched this a bit, it’s not for us.

Surely there’s some middle ground between live-in-on-one-place-and-go-on-the-occasional-holiday and full-on-family-nomad?

What factors are important?

As with other big life decisions (e.g. where in East Africa shall I live), I find it helpful to list out all of the possible factors that go into a decision, place a weighting on them, and try to find a maximal outcome.

Even if I don’t literally crunch numbers, framing the decision in this way helps elucidate the idea.

Below are factors (in no particular order) that we have considered with regards to “how nomadic” we want to be:

We currently live in Denmark which is a pretty great place to live/ raise kids: safe, affordable education, plus close to grandparents.

Whenever we discuss moving “somewhere exotic” (which would dial up on “worldly” perspectives + interacting with other cultures) it just doesn’t seem worth it at the cost of having the freedom to roam, as well as being closer to family.

Current solution: 1-2 month-long trips per year

Our current middle ground plan is to still base ourselves in one country (for now, Denmark), but try to “live” in a different country each year for a month at a time.

Living in one place for 9-11 months/ year will still (we hope) have the feeling of permanence (able to develop friendships + be in nursery/ school), and doing so in Denmark will mean they can soon start developing independence in a way that would be harder in countries where it’s less safe for children to be out walking alone.

Having at least one month-long trip in another country should (we hope) keep us connected to the world + allow all of us to experience living in a different culture. Working remotely for a month (or 2 weeks holiday + 2 weeks work) should not be an issue.

Our current thinking is that we’d rather base ourselves in one place for the month so that we get a sense of living in a new country, rather than being too much of a tourist and travelling around the whole time. This may, of course, change if we go somewhere exciting!

How best to do it?

I feel like the ideal scenario would be a “life swap”.

We’d find a family living in another country who want to get the experience of living in Denmark and switch places for a month. That way both families would avoid paying double rent, plus would straight away be into “living locally”, hopefully with some local connections.

Failing that, we’d book an Airbnb (which is of course not a bad option), research the local area and then try to find interesting people (with kids) to meet up with, and also probably a trusted babysitter.

I’m not sure how this set up looks after school starts (maybe we just do this during the summer holidays?), but we can cross that bridge when it comes.

What do you think?

This whole nomadic parenting is still a new world to me, and I’m sure there’ll be other combinations/ set ups that people take to family life + world travel.

If you’d like to discuss this at all (/fancy living in Copenhagen for a month!) then reach out and let me know.