When we started considering traveling the world full time as a family, we were not sure what that would look like for us. We only knew we wanted to travel the world. It wasn't until we started focusing on what we wanted to get out of traveling and why we were even considering it in the first place that we settled on sailing.
A lot of ways to travel seemed fun and exciting at first glance, but once we dig in a little deeper, we found those ways were probably not what we really wanted to do. We started writing down what we wanted out of traveling, and there were several things we didn't realize we wanted until we wrote those things down. I recommend everyone writing down what they want to get out of traveling before you start doing it. It will really open your eyes to why you're doing it. Plus, it will be something to look back on overtime and see if you met those goals and, if not if they were that important to begin with.
This is what we were looking for when we traveled:
For starters, we were looking for adventure. We didn't want to just see the sights and say we've been there. We wanted to experience the destination and see and explore it in ways most tourists don't get the chance to do when they fly in for a few days and fly back out. But we also wanted to explore cities and the outdoors - we didn't want to be limited to one or the other.
Adventure was important - we want to explore unusual places in the world in an unusual way, or at least in a way that most people didn't.
Comfort can be relative. I mean, there is some aspect of travel that just isn't comfortable by default. But if we were going to travel full time we wanted to be comfortable doing it. Traveling the world and attempting to be comfortable is a little trickier than traveling just the United States.
When we first started considering what we wanted, the idea of bringing our home with us didn't occur to us. We were thinking we'd fly to our destination and just live out of an Airbnb. But once we considered our options we realized that taking our home with us was possible.
This one might seem like a no-brainer. Obviously, if you're living as nomads you need to be flexible. Mostly, what we mean by this is that we didn't want to be stressed constantly trying to meet deadlines because our flight was leaving at 2 am or whatever. We wanted something a little more flexible and relaxed. Something more kid-friendly and fit the family lifestyle better than living on the road. Laidback or relaxed might be a better word to describe what we were looking for.
Warm climates were an absolute must. While we love exploring northern climates (Banff was one of our all-time favorite destinations), we wanted to be able to spend the winter in a warm climate. Swimming is a big part of our family life and if we could swim all year round that is a huge plus.
We're cold-blooded and can't stand the temperature dropping too much below 60 - scratch that, I'm sitting here in 70-degree weather typing this and I'm still a little chilly. Basically, what I'm saying is, we're looking for the tropics in the winter.
We love traveling, but there are certain things about traveling that we hate. Tourists are one of those things. Yes, I understand what an oxymoron that is, but I guess what I am trying to say is - being around tourists that stick out like sore thumbs makes us extremely uncomfortable. While we do want to visit places that have a lot of tourists, we want to also be able to travel to areas that tourists don't visit that often.
Traveling off the beaten path is very attractive to us. We realize, we'd totally stick out because we're off the beaten path but we can handle that. Places that are hard to get bonus points in our book, so if we could find a method of travel that allowed us to travel off the beaten path when we wanted and then back to civilization, that would be the dream.
Our kids are young and their experiences now will frame their outlook for the rest of their life. We don't want to limit their experiences to just their culture, we want them to see other cultures and experience them. This one was very important to us. Especially since they would not be in a regular school with other classmates.
International travel isn't a prerequisite to experiencing cultures, but it sure makes it easier. Even beyond experiencing new cultures though, we want to see the world. The world is too big to just see one country or even just a small part of a few countries. If we could see it all, we would, but I am sure we're not going to live long enough to visit everywhere we want to visit.
These were the things that really stood out to us and what we knew we'd want while we were traveling. We might sound a little picky, I suppose, but if we were going to travel long term full time then we needed to be picky. We have to enjoy it if we're going to succeed at it.
Since we knew what we wanted to get out of traveling - our "why" - we started whittling down our travel options. Honestly, this was pretty easy. There were really only two options based on our comfort levels: living out of an RV or sailing. However, we didn't know this at the time of writing the list.
This option stood out at first, and it seemed like the clear winner. It allows for off the grid living and is designed for adventure. The places we can go to on land are almost unlimited. Which brings us to its flexibility. You can pretty much take an RV anywhere, and you can take it anywhere comfortably. Essentially, you're taking your home on the road. You can drive from the Great Smokey Mountains National Park to the Grand Tetons without ever havening to miss the comforts of home.
But this is where RV's start to diverge from our list. Sure, we can drive the RV to Florida or Arizona for the winter, but that really limits where we can go and what we can do. That isn't ideal for us. We'd have to deal with Florida Man...
We could also go places with minimal tourists, and, being American, we wouldn't stick out as much. But international travel and experiencing cultures, except for Canada, is pretty much out the window. It's not going to happen in an RV. I suppose we could RV across Europe, but we'd either have to ship our RV there or buy a new one. That's not our idea of travel.
So, buying an RV wasn't the best solution to meet our "why" we wanted to become nomads.
Sailing wasn't on the list until we ruled out RV travel. We started to look at alternatives to RV's, and that's when we stumbled across sailing. It pretty much slapped us right in the face, and we fell in love. Sailing checked all our boxes and went on to scratch some itches we didn't know we had.
Sailing quite clearly offers adventure and excitement. It is comfortable, and you could even say more comfortable than an RV. I mean, you don't have to be buckled when your driving like an RV, and you can walk around even outside when you're moving. Everyone can have their own room. It's basically a house on the water, which is obviously better than a house on wheels because the water is awesome. Trust me on that one.
We're not limited to a certain country and, this one might be a bit obvious, but we're not even limited to the land. So, there's flexibility there. We can experience new cultures and new lands. It really is the perfect mode of travel for us.
Just to make sure we'd like it, we bought a sailboat to test it out - yes, it was actually cheaper than chartering a boat for a day. We don't currently have a sailboat that we will travel full-time in. At the time of this writing, we just sold our 33' Islander sailboat, but we have sailed along the Texas gulf coast and are thoroughly convinced we will love living in one long term.
If you're interested in following our journey as we become a full-time nomad family, join our email list and we'll keep you updated. We'll be writing future posts on what we are looking for in a sailboat and our search in finding one we can sail long-term.
Until next time, Happy Coddiwompling!