Traveling the world is an essential part of life. Seeing how other people live makes you more emphatic towards those that are different from you, while beautiful scenes of nature make you appreciate the planet we live on. Travel shows you how unique we all are, and yet how similar we are too.
But travel isn't a given. Families with young children often see no other option than staying at home or sticking to an all-inclusive resort in a warm destination once a year. After all, traveling with kids requires a different mindset than traveling alone or with just your partner.
X-Teamer Josh Johnston went against the grain and decided to travel the world with his family for one year, all while working a full-time, remote job. His kids were three and seven at the time. How did he do it, and what lessons did he learn? Find out below.
Many would consider it a courageous move to travel with two young kids. Why did you decide to do it?
I really wanted to visit some X-Teamers in various places. My wife and I had traveled a bit before having kids and wanted to give our daughters that experience too, understanding something about different cultures.
We started looking at a smaller trip, but saw it was probably going to be too expensive. But then we realised that if we went for a year, and found someone to rent our house for that time, it would be more financially viable than going for a couple of months.
Funny how shorter trips can end up being more expensive. Where did you go?
We ended up visiting colleagues, friends and family across 15 different countries. Starting in USA, popping over to the Dominican Republic, then over to Europe and UK, and finishing up in Thailand and Cambodia.
Any favorite destination?
It's really hard to pick one. But the week that we spent with our friends in the Swedish countryside was hard to beat. And we hadn't seen them for 10 years so it was a very special time.
I can imagine. In terms of traveling with your children, how did it go? Were there any lessons you learned while juggling family, work, and travel all at once?
Our kids did really wonderfully at adjusting and being up for all kinds of adventures, even when unexpected things happened. But my wife & I learned the value of scheduling a few "boring days" here and there, and then we were all ready for more adventure.
Probably the biggest thing I learned about traveling with kids is just to enjoy simpler things in smaller doses, rather than trying to cram too much into a day.
You mentioned unexpected things. Can you give me one situation that was unexpected but ended up making the trip a lot better?
Due to some unexpected timing around the Schengen visa, we ended up spending more time in England than expected. So we stayed for 2 weeks in a cottage in Cornwall, which ended up being one of our favourite times. That's probably the memory that the kids bring up the most too.
And how did you manage your work? Did you still work a full day? Would you say you became more efficient with your work?
Yes, I was working full days, but often would take some time during the middle of the day to spend time with family, and then work later into the evening.
It's hard to say how the efficiency of my work was changed. What I did notice was that, the times we traveled between one place and another I often gained a lot of clarity in the work plans I was making, and the areas I was focusing on. Having those times to step back and reflect on the bigger picture helped me to return to them with a new energy and perspective.
How was coming back home? Did you and your family quickly settle into your routine again, or did it feel strange?
A bit weird, for sure. But since coming back we've adopted a new dog, the youngest has started a new kinder, and the oldest has started homeschooling. So in one sense, we're back, but in another, the adventure has just continued in a new way 😄.
Absolutely. And how does your family look back on the trip?
Our 4-year-old recently asked "when are we going to fly around the world again?" 🙂 We all found it a really valuable time. Our kids developed new bonds of friendship with each other, and gained some new perspective on the world that I'm sure they will carry on with them.
That's so good to hear. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me!
Traveling the world with two young children for such a long period of time certainly qualifies as an adventure. And we encourage all X-Teamers to go on adventures. In fact, we made adventure the centerpiece of our second season, because we believe it's important to remove yourself from the traditional, to let go and to take the journey.
What are some of the adventures you went on recently? Share them in the comments below!