Let me introduce Jade. Jade and I met in Melbourne and I absolutely adored her and her little son. Her nomad journey has been on and off, but what I love about Jade is that her family comes first and sometimes that means she is a Nomad No More.
About this series
See more in our first interview, but in the briefest terms: This series is focused on people who travelled the world, without a base, for minimum 6 months or more, and eventually found a home. Back where they were or in a different location, but a base that gives them bills, and a wardrobe with more clothes than fit in a suitcase.
Make sure you tune in each Friday to read about your favourite nomads who returned home.
1. When did you first start your nomadic journey?
My nomadic life has had many starts and stops. I have been away from my home country of Canada for 12 years now, but I haven’t been traveling non stop that entire time. I started my travel journey by alternating between working holidays and long backpacking trips. These days I am more or less settled in Sydney Australia, but that doesn’t mean an end to the “big trip.” Recently my husband and I had a second baby, and we decided to spend the majority of our 12-month maternity leave traveling. We decided to spend 8 months traveling through South and North America.
2. How long did you go for?
Our most recent stint at nomad life was 8 months long. I had 12 months off work for maternity leave, and my husband decided the time was right for a career change and quit his jobs. We left Australia when our youngest was 10 weeks old, as it took about this long to secure all the new passports, plus ensure that everyone’s health was well enough to make the long journey.
3. How many countries did you do?
This trip has taken us to nine countries; 7 in South and Central America and two in North America.
4. What did you do for money/work while nomadic?
We are very fortunate to own our apartment in inner Sydney, and the lack of mortgage payments has given us a lot of freedom. This has allowed us to be able to save up a much larger portion of our monthly income for travel.
Also, we are very fortunate that my work is quite generous with its maternity leave benefits.
I decided to not try to work, other than a few hours here and there for my blog, while on the road for a couple of reasons. The first being that I am facilitating my older sons school work through distance education. We spend about 4 hours per day doing school work. That, combined with looking after a newborn, and of course, exploring each destination, is time-consuming enough.
5. Give us a brief description of your travel style?
We made a rule when we started planning this trip, and that was, that we would spend a minimum of one week in each location. Traveling with two young kids can be exhausting, and we made this rule as a way to prevent burn out. We also tried to book Airbnbs or private rooms in hostels so that we would have access to a kitchen. Being able to cook our town food allowed us to stay healthier while on the road as well.
I’m a big fan of overland travel, and we did try to travel overland whenever possible. This meant that we had several overnight bus trips with our two young kids, which honestly, were not that bad. We did also fly quite a bit as well though, as some of the distances we covered in South America were huge.
Our travel style is quite laid back. Because of our commitments to distance education schooling, we would only plan for one activity per day. This allowed us to have lazy mornings, complete school work, and then spend an afternoon out exploring. It’s definitely quite different from the manic way I used to rush around and sightsee when I was a young solo traveller.
6. Do you have kids? How old were they at the time?
We have two young kids. Jacob was four when we started the trip. He turned five about halfway through when we were in Peru. Zach was 10 weeks old when we departed Australia. It’s been really fun to watch Zach reach different milestones in different countries.
7. When did you decide to stop nomadic life?
This decision isn’t so much up to us, as it is our work. Because we are on a maternity year, we have a firm date that we need to return to “real life”. Zach will be 11 months old at the end of the trip.
8. Was there a defining moment that caused you to stop?
Even if we did not have to return to work after a year (I can technically apply for the second year of maternity leave), we would probably come home after the year anyway, or settle somewhere abroad a little more permanently. This is because although I have the option to school Jacob through distance education, I think it would be beneficial for him to go to a school with a bunch of his peers.
9. How long have you been stationary now?
We are just now winding down our maternity leave trip, so being stationary is still a novelty. Of course, even though we are no longer nomadic, we still plan on going overseas twice per year, and we also try to go camping at least one weekend each month.
10. Are you doing the same job when you were on the road or did you return to work?
Yes and no, I will be returning to the same job, but my husband will be doing something different. The high cost of childcare in Australia has pushed us to decide to have one parent stay home with our youngest son – and that parent will be my husband. We are thinking about other opportunities that might be open to us – one of which is possibly running our own Airbnb. We have the extra space, and after spending lots of times at Airbnb’s all over the world – we think we could run an awesome one.
11. What do you miss most about the road?
I think I will miss the novelty of always being in new places and having new things to discover. I’m also going to miss getting to spend so much time with my family. One thing I will not miss is being an educator! In fact, we are planning to do our next big trip before Zach needs to start school so that I will only have to educate one kid…. Having to educate two while traveling would be a nightmare!
12. What do you love most about having a home?
We have a lot of goals on our life bucket list that require a bit of time in a permanent address to achieve – like learning how to make beer and how to salsa dance – so we are going to focus on ticking off all those goals over the next little while. But really, I’m going to love not having to pack and unpack constantly and of course, I’m really going to love always having access to a laundry machine!
13. Will you ever go nomadic again?
Definitely. We are planning on one more baby, which means one more maternity leave trip is up our sleeves for sure!
14. Do you recommend nomadic travel to everyone?
I think anyone can do it, but if you are going to be traveling with a partner or a family, you just need to make sure that your nomadic lifestyle will fit everyone’s needs and personalities. Of course, it is easier to be nomadic when you are single and do not have as many responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible for families. We are doing it, and we have two kids under the age of 5.
15. Where can we find you?
Jade and Simon are the adult components of the four-person strong traveling family. They love both long-term nomadic travel, as well as short trips with a home base. They travel with their two young kids, and when they are not on the road, you can find them in Sydney Australia.
> NEXT WEEK: Laurence from Finding The Universe.
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