Getting paid to travel the world as a family sounds like a dream, right? When we get to see wild elephants in the jungles of Borneo or walk along the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, it really does feel like we won the lottery. But it doesn’t take long before one of the girls needs a snack, or falls in the mud, or is just plain tired so we need to pivot and cancel our sunset content shoot to get home early. That’s a much better picture of our reality.
So, why do we choose to continually put ourselves and our family in new, often potentially stressful environments? Why not build a career that doesn’t involve keeping a 4- and 6-year-old occupied on a 16-hour flight? I’m so glad you asked.
The main reason is because we love traveling so much and we want to share this love with our kids. We want there to be stories we can share together for years to come.
After two years of building our business while traveling the globe with our kids, we have learned a thing or two that may be helpful to those of you looking to pursue a similar career with your family. Here are some of the challenges and joys we have found as travel creators who travel with our kids. We’re Colin and Meg, and here’s what we’ve learned about creating content with children in tow.
Planning a trip is a skill to be mastered let alone planning with kids in mind. Creating an itinerary that suits children is a whole new ball game compared to how we traveled prior to having them. Car seats, strollers, meals, diapers, and where will the baby sleep? Will there at least be French fries? Before you even start packing for yourself, your suitcase is already half full of supplies.
We often look at other creators – who don’t have kids – and wish we had their images and videos because in the moments when we could be creating that too, we have our hands full buckling kids in car seats or making sure they don’t fall off a nearby cliff. It’s likely that as a creator with little kids, you will come away from a trip without creating everything you’d hoped for initially. If, like us, you vlog, you will be used to being interrupted mid-sentence for a snack. Add in the wild cards of jet lag, meltdowns, or a sick kid, and you need to lower your expectations.
Work needs to be woven in between travel experiences that your whole family can enjoy together. There are sometimes long stops at playgrounds or museums, we might choose to grab pizza one night over enjoying the local cuisine or decide to keep the cameras off for a day or two to be fully present with the kids and not have everything on the itinerary be for work.
We work remotely and homeschool our girls. This allows us the flexibility to travel whenever we can without having to adjust much but also creates a family rhythm of our daily structure that doesn’t change when we hit the road.
We are almost always together, and we’ve been able to create a tight bond with our kids that we cherish so much. People often tell us we are in the honeymoon phase of parenting, but we beg to differ. We hope that the foundation we have created with our young children now will guide us through the turbulent years ahead so that they would still choose to spend time with us when they don’t have to anymore.
Travel educates our kids and expands their worldview and social skills. They have played in playgrounds all over the world with kids that don’t speak the same language, have surprised us with their courage to take on new adventures, and are constantly tasting lots of new flavors through local cuisine. They are also exposed to all kinds of cultural differences that we wouldn’t find at home. This leads them first to curiosity and questions, and eventually, they can grow to be humans of understanding and peace. We want them to be built as a bridge, not as a wall.
We often joke that travel has made our kids low maintenance. They don’t question a new place to sleep, instead get SO excited to discover their newest bed set up and what accommodation perks we will have for the night. Long travel days have taught them patience, and new cultures have instilled a sense of adventure. I am always taken aback by their courage to speak the few words of a new language they know to a local or try a completely new dish without hesitation. They are being shaped by our travels and I am so grateful for the opportunity to see them thrive.
Find out what kind of travel suits your family and that will determine the kind of content you can create together. Are you focused on luxury resorts and experiences? Are you all about the outdoors? A mix of both? Make it a win for the whole family.
Take longer trips with rest days in between busy ones. You need a break and so do your kids. Put the cameras away, take days off creating and treat yourselves to a fun day at a resort at the end of the trip if you need to.
We don’t travel 365 days a year, and having a home base with community and familiar rhythms will sustain your career and business in the long run. The world needs brave, bridge-building families that make amazing content that inspires us all to travel, so get out there, folks! You’re not alone in this.
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