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Am I Doing The Right Thing, Being A Digital Nomad Parent?

Michelle Dale - Friday, September 24, 2010

Are you a parent who wants to travel, but you’re having second thoughts because you’re concerned… are you asking yourself, “Am I Doing The Right Thing?”

Is there a little inner parent in you thinking it could be unsettling for your children, are you worried about what your family will think, what about school, what about education, what about the ‘normal’ life?…

Well, you are not alone. When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I remember walking down to the banks of the River Nile in Luxor to a place called “Sunset Cocktail,” it’s a small floating cocktail bar, I was on my own, watching the sun set out of the window (yes I had a drink, I needed one! I was only a few weeks preggo), thinking at the time this was going to have to be the end of my travels… That I was going to be a mum now, so I would have to do the responsible thing, go back to the UK, settle down, get back into the ‘system’ and I was very sad about it. I didn’t want to go back to somewhere where I would be miserable, but I pondered on what choices I had… During that evening many thoughts crossed my mind, and when I left the bar, I had totally made my mind up, that wherever I went, this baby was coming with me, and I wasn’t going to spend the next 16 years back in the UK!

So here is literally what I deliberated that evening….

Thought #1 Isn’t This MY Life Still?

Whether you have 1 child or 10, you need to always remember that you have a life too, and your children aren’t going to be very happy if you aren’t. If I hated the lifestyle in the UK so much, why was I thinking that my children would be better off there?

I would never put my child in danger, I would always make sure he had a roof over his head, clean clothes, toys, books, games, Oreo’s (My Kids Are 50% American), Christmas and Birthday’s and Thomas The Tank Engine on the TV. Above all, I would always make sure he had plenty of Love, and all of these things can pretty much be found anywhere…

This was MY life, and now I simply had a new addition to it.

Thought #2 What Does Staying In One Place Have To Offer?

When you take a look at your current surroundings, what does it really have to offer you? In the western world we are sometimes blinded by retail, homes, cars, material possessions etc… if you take all that away – what are you left with in your current location? You will find your basic needs can be met anywhere you go…

Thought #3 What Would Family & Friends Think?

For any of you who are currently not digital nomads, I would say leaving Family and Friends would be very hard… but the way technology is these days, nobody is ever too far away. You can have a conversation for free on Skype over webcam with your nearest and dearest, as if they were in the next room!

The world is very small, you can get from one side to another in a few days, and leaving a country doesn’t mean that your family and friends leave your heart, which is what counts.

It sounds a little harsh, but it doesn’t really matter what your family and friends think. I am sure that if it’s what you really want, and you express this to them,  they will be supportive of your decision.

Thought #4 Will My Child Have A Proper Education?

This is a big one, and people have varying thoughts on it. For me, my children are young, and I do everything I can to make sure that I help them learn new things, alphabet, colours, numbers etc.. I don’t need a degree to be able to teach my children these things.

As they get older, I will go to less “exotic” countries for long periods, and I am happy to put them in school in Italy, France or anywhere in mainland Europe, which is where I intend to stay for a while.

If you are considering venturing further afield there are many good English schools all across the world, you really don’t have to be concerned about your child’s education anymore. Even home schooling can get you by for a few months. Lesson plans can be sent via the internet these days, you just need to be willing to make the effort and explore the possibilities.

I have a 17 year old brother, and I love him dearly, but he is a typical teenager, his activities include computer games, going out with his mates, Facebook, party’s and whatever other trouble he can find. Whatever way we look at it, many kids these days in the western world are becoming increasingly bored with life, and I hope that my children will be able to have lots of new experiences and some education in different cultures and ways of life, as well as doing all the normal teenage stuff… Surely that’s a bonus?

Thought #5 Am I Being Overly Cautious Here?

Life is a gift and as far as we have any scientific proof, we only have one of them. It is very important to never live with regret, otherwise you will feel you have wasted it come the end…

No matter what, I never wanted to have a big “What If” hanging over my head, if things didn’t work out for me, I would much rather look back and think, “At least I did it.”

Being cautious is one thing, but wrapping yourself and your children up in cotton wool because you are worried what “could” happen or what “might” go wrong – is choosing the safe option, and perhaps even the easy option, which you may never break out of unless you take a “leap of faith” into the unknown.

Being a digital nomad is not always easy, but it’s a lot of fun, it’s different, it’s risky and exciting and it’s the life I chose for myself. Being a digital nomad parent brings new challenges, but like I say – you only have one life, and for me, being able to see the world, and share that experience with my children is one of the best parts of it.

In all honesty if you are compelled to become a digital nomad, whether you are childless, pregnant or have children, my advice is to not think about it too much, just do it.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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