The Weary’s became expert Nomads after an eye-opening trip to Guatemala. Leaving their two kids with extended family, Ken and Mickelle explored the country for 12 days. They met several nomad families on the road, either tourist or expats and realised that they’d like a similar lifestyle. “If they can do it…why not us?” they told themselves. Six months later, the family of four was leaving Seattle for a life on the move. So far, they have been to El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama…and they’re not done yet! They are sharing with us their best travel tips and what it is like to travel as a family, to help you guys follow their path.
Three tips you could give to parents who want to have a Nomad, and Not(a)Mad bébé?
View every experience as an opportunity for education.
In the last year our kids have been exposed to some things that would have scared us a few months before we left. Things like a riot, a drug bust and extreme poverty. Instead of sheltering our kids from these unpleasant facets of life (which would be pretty much impossible), we discuss them. They are seeing and learning things that their parents did not understand until they were adults and they will no doubt be more prepared to deal with them later in their life.
Don’t wait. Do it now.
When we first considered a nomadic lifestyle, our first thought was that we needed to wait until the kids got older and left the house. This is flawed thinking. We soon realized if we waited we’d be a lot older and potentially less adventuresome. What scared us most was the thought that we might never go if we waited. Moreover we realized we could give our kids the adventure of a lifetime by hitting the road now. Life is short. The world is big. Go explore!
Plan accordingly…but not too much.
Before leaving on our journey we researched items that were most important to us, such as safety, cost of living, and health care. We knew we were going to the Lake Atitlan region in Guatemala, but we did not know the exact route we’d be driving. We did research border crossings and visa requirements for the car and us. We didn’t know exactly where we’d be living. You need to make sure your bases are covered, but you also need to leave space for serendipity.
Why should parents travel with their kids?
You will grow more as a person and a family than you could ever imagine. We’re sharing bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, car space and occasionally toothbrushes. You can’t help but grow stronger in environments like this.
Also, there are few things more powerful than new experiences with your kids. Our kids learn something new every day and because of that, we do too. It’s awesome.
A great moment you remember during your family travel?
One of our great moments was swimming in hot springs located on and heated by a volcano. We did this in Zunil, Guatemala. The sheer beauty of swimming in natural springs wedged in between farm lands at 8,000 feet was an experience none of us will ever forget.
A challenging moment you had to face with kiddos during your travels?
Border crossings are always nerve-wracking. There are many people hounding to help and make some extra money. The laws for visas and car permits differ from country to country. The currency changes and there can be long waits in several lines. This is challenging for adults, let alone children that don’t understand the need to talk quietly or not run around like wild animals.
What is a day like when you travel?
We are goal oriented so our travel days are generally mapped out with a destination in mind, but an uncertainty as to what will happen in between. We often try to build in flex time to do something unplanned. We’ve visited art museums in San Salvador, swam in the caldera of a dormant volcano in Nicaragua, released sea turtles in Guatemala and walked on an isthmus that’s only possible during low tide in Costa Rica.