Sam Keller and Pascaline Cure are helping other families experience digital nomad life after their own.
work across borders
For many, the “digital nomad” lifestyle is an ambitious one. If your visa allows, you can live anywhere in the world with your laptop as your office.
Forget the daily toil of rush hour commutes. As long as you have decent Wi-Fi, just pick a coffee shop, park, or pool and get to work.
The lifestyle has become more popular as the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend of remote work. In just 12 months from 2021 to 2022, the number of digital nomads in America has grown by 9%, according to his MBO Partners, a recruitment platform, totaling about 17 million.
But one of the factors that many people deter from their lifestyle is their children.
Whether it’s schooling, health and safety concerns, or a child’s ability to develop lasting friendships, parents face a variety of barriers.
But some people took the plunge anyway. Two families tell CNBC Travel how they made it work.
Sam Keller is the founder and CEO of Working Without Borders, the self-described “first company in the world to offer family-friendly co-working retreats that offer culturally immersive programs for children and teens.” doing.
He is also the father of two children under the age of twelve.
Sam Keller, founder of Working Without Borders, which organizes family-friendly coworking retreats.
work across borders
“Both my wife and I had experience living abroad, but we didn’t know how to make it happen,” he said. “Then we had a child.”
The couple looked into the school while on vacation in French Polynesia and thought it could be “a place where we could live.”
Another factor is that Keller’s wife, Pascaline Cure, works for Airbnb.
So together they made the big move from California to French Polynesia.
“The stars aligned, we boarded a plane and decided to make lemonade out of lemons in this pandemic.”
Sam Keller with his family in Bora Bora.
work across borders
Education is regularly cited as the biggest challenge for digital nomads with children. Navigating an unfamiliar school system, often in a brand new language, can be a struggle.
“We found it [in French Polynesia] There are quite a few private schools that accept children for as little as a few weeks or even a month. Then there are a lot of schools that have been set up to provide online support, or online-only schools that have very good teaching and teaching and curricula,” he said.
Homeschooling is another option, but Keller prefers to call it “worldschooling,” stating that it “embraces this concept of seeing the world as your classroom.”
“I saw stingrays swimming from the playground,” he said. “Kids go outside as part of the curriculum, so in the lagoon outrigger he paddles a canoe and sees sea turtles and dolphins. It was magical in many ways.”
He added that thanks to its growing popularity, there are now more resources to help people learn about the digital nomad lifestyle. He said that with more than 50,000 members in the Facebook Group for Schooling Worldwide, there is always someone to answer your questions.
Famous for its laid-back lifestyle, the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali is a popular destination for digital nomads.
Martin Penner and Taryn Eledge Penner of boutique travel agency Quartier Collective, along with their three children ages 7 to 12, call it home.
Since leaving Seattle in 2018, the family has visited nearly 20 countries, including Japan, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Mexico, Morocco, Turkey, and Sri Lanka. Sometimes she stays for weeks, but usually she stays in the same place for 1-3 months.
Taryn Eledge-Penner and son Viggo. At Ahangama, Sri Lanka.
Penner said his children were part of the reason he decided to leave the United States.
“We personally traveled a lot and felt that the world was such a big and wild place and our world in Seattle was shrinking in a way.” had to show them the world and didn’t want to miss out on this connection to something bigger.”
Elledge-Penner said she wants to spend more time with her children to make traveling with them sustainable and, importantly, to connect with other families.
“It was lonely for a family like ours when we left home,” she said. “Now that has really changed and many families have realized that this is an option and going longer and deeper.”
Our family of five enjoys a variety of experiences. Live on a Japanese farm and sip soba from a 30-foot hollowed bamboo stick. Make pottery in Mexico. I saw a shadow puppet show in the Greek Cyclades, but they didn’t understand the language.
Penner said the key to making the lifestyle work is “connecting with people,” not approaching places “as a travel highlight hitlist.”
Martin Penner walking through Japan with his two children.
But it’s not all fun and games. There are also practicalities to consider, he said, Elledge-Penner.
“One of the challenges was finding a balance in time and space for ourselves, away from each other and our children,” she said. “We were together for so long, every waking moment of the day.”
“We all need a break and space, usually by going to work or school. This is what we choose, but we still need some balance and it’s hard to find it.” is difficult and can lead to tension.
The preteen marker is a natural point when the pressure builds.
She also touches on what she calls “decision fatigue.”
“Planning the logistics, getting from A to B, and where to stay can literally be a full-time job and be really exhausting,” she said.
Again, education is one of the biggest questions for world nomads with children, but like Keller, the options are many, said Eledgepenner.
“Things have changed a lot since we first started out. The number of options you can find and plug into as a global schooling family has increased tenfold,” she said.
“We stopped at schools in different countries around the world. We also have accredited distance learning programs and homeschooling pods. For literally anyone wanting to break free from the current school system, finding what they’re looking for. is perfectly possible.”
The couple noted that their family dynamic has changed since they began traveling in 2018. Siblings — a big draw.
“The pre-teenage years are a natural time of heightened pressure. Many families we see stop traveling around this time. [kids] that age.Now they want to spend more time with their friends [which is] A big change from when we started. ”