Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

K is for Kids

Day 11 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge – Thoughts on Being a Nomad

When Mark and I were nomads with Kali and Darwin in tow, I would tell my parents how we “worked around” having the dogs. We would skip islands where they weren’t allowed, pick anchorages based on shore access, kept sailing trips short, anchor close to beaches (not a bad thing!), stock up on dog food in western countries, locate veterinarians in remote areas, make sure all their paperwork and vaccines were up to date, and deal with agriculture formalities at the border. “I think your lives would be easier with kids than with dogs,” my mom used to say. She might have been right. Children don’t need a health certificate or approval from the agriculture department to enter a country. They could just board a plane with us or join us in restaurants, museums, stores and the bus. But, we wouldn’t be able to leave them alone on board!

Our favorite boat family on SV Iona. Their circumnavigation is almost complete at this point!

Our favorite boat family on SV Iona. They completed their circumnavigation a couple of days ago! Congratulations, Chris, Katie, Dylan and Leili!!!

Traveling with dogs is possible. Exploring the world with kids is not only possible, but eye-opening and enriching. Being a teacher and having observed families traveling by sailboat, I would highly recommend adventurous and alternative parents to take on a multiple year journey like this, by boat, with a camper or backpacking. There is no better education than a “worldly” one, experienced firsthand. Children are usually homeschooled by their parents and everything that happens around them in the natural and cultural world can be turned into a practical, interesting and memorable lesson. Children attract attention from the locals, which invites curiosity and communication. Little ones are hands-on, spontaneous and flexible to meet other kids from all backgrounds, beliefs and regions. The language barrier is low and families are highly respected, and encouraged, in most cultures. Traveling families also tend to stick together, so the children always have playmates around (while the adults can share drinks and stories :-)) and babysitting duties can be exchanged.

I always thought it would be awesome to have my own children in tow while roaming the world, but unfortunately that was not meant to be. It would have been amazing and satisfying to raise children as world citizens with the respect, tolerance, kindness, awareness and critical mind I would want them to possess. Now, I encourage others to do so and enjoy watching young travelers grow into well-behaved, curious, considerate and smart adults.

Sailors' children watching a local Polynesian dance

Sailors’ children watching a local Polynesian dance

Have you traveled with (your) children? Did you travel as a child? What do you think about the concept of (long-term) traveling with kids?

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  1. I often wish we had a kid onboard to crawl into all these small spaces for us! I’m really jealous of people that get to travel by boat as kids – why didn’t my parents think of that? You’re spot on – seems like a fabulous way to grow up, and spend time with each other as a family.

    • I hadn’t thought about reaching into small spaces to help fix something or another, Lucy! Maybe, we can “rent a kid” for things like that? I am sure there are plenty of parents out there sailing, who could use a break! 🙂 Maybe your parents got seasick? I know my mom does… It is one of the reasons why they stopped visiting us. And, they don’t care about beaches either!

  2. We adopted our boys in 2008 and took them on several vacations. I remember their first time on an airplane, the way their eyes lit up. They both let out audible yells as the plane accelerated down the runway. Every adult around us laughed and smiled at my kids. They were 8 years old. It is a favorite memory.

    • Such a great experience for them! My first time on a plane was in primary school, when they had organized a plane ride between two big cities in Belgium (a VERY small country to fly over, let alone fly in!). I must have reacted the same way as your boys and I still get this exhilarating feeling when taking off. I love that part! I wonder whether they remember that moment…

  3. I think raising kids on a boat is an awesome thing to do! I love reading blogs from folks with boat kids. They seem to be thriving in that environment.

  4. Some of the most interesting, well-adjusted, intelligent and curious kids we’ve ever met were boat kids.


    • Definitely, Stephanie! I was always in awe about how respectful boat kids are as well. Such an amazing symbioses that happens when they are raised “on the go!!

  5. We didn’t travel too far when our children were small and then tried to make up for it a little when they were older (high school age), BUT I think it’s a great idea and know others who have brought their young children all over the world.

    • While the experiences are one of a kind for children, I am sure that the traveling lifestyle is not an easy one for families. It sounds like you had some memorable times with them, Marcia! 🙂

  6. Fascinating! I’ve enjoyed learning about you and your adventures!

    • Thanks, Donna. What a great profession you have! I would love to write for children one day, so they can have their own adventures while reading.

  7. Great post. I brought my three up as weekend boaters and will never regret it.

  8. Liefste LIesbet je bent een echte wereldverbeterraar , doe zo voort, echt goed dikke kus Mth.

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