Forgive me for not writing about something holiday related. While I’m not a scrooge, the holiday season is far from my favorite. The endless American Commercial Christmas that is shoved down our throats for so many weeks on end creates a longing in me for the New Year weeks before the holiday arrives. One year, I would love to spend Christmas with my in-laws in Poland where the tree isn’t put up and decorated until christmas flowers poland Eve and the focus is more on family, food and of course the spiritual meaning of the holiday. How refreshing.
Something else I’m find refreshing and most inspiring are families who decide that they want more than this American life not only during the holidays but year round. A lot of us think that by starting a family and having children, we can count on being chained to one place and kiss most international adventure goodbye. The two do not exist harmoniously in the same breath.
I’ve recently become acquainted with several families for whom this thinking is not true. They are proving that by having a family you are not chained to your home soil and are redefining how to educate and expose their children to the grand world in which we live.
One such family, are some friends of my sister’s. They have twin 9-year-old daughters and moved to Singapore nearly a year ago. They were enjoying a wonderful and established life in the Clyde Hill neighborhood of Bellevue when dad accepted a job with Microsoft in Singapore. I know that for years they had been searching for an opportunity to live abroad as a family. The girls were not initially happy about the move. Shortly after their house was put on the market, they put a sign in their bedroom window saying “THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE”. But, children have an amazing ability to adapt and these girls have completely amazing parents who took every measure to make the move smooth and their new life enjoyable and rich with experience. From what I read on their blog, the girls seem quite adjusted, happy and enjoying some amazing adventures. I wrote my friend with some questions about their experience and she was unable to respond immediately do to a busy schedule of hosting some friends from Seattle, then all jetting off to Vietnam together, returning for five days to prepare for christmas flowers poland blogs , then jetting off again to Taipei only to return on Christmas Eve. How exciting!
But, living and/or extensive travel abroad with your children does not mean that you need a job with Microsoft and an expat package. I’ve discovered a few other families who have taken great risks and leaps of faith by leaving secure jobs, and creating careers for themselves that allow for a more nomadic life. Here are a few of them.
Husband and wife Jeff and Kristy moved to Asia long before having children. They boldly sold all of their possessions and carved out a life abroad for themselves. Both of their children were born abroad and have never lived in the US. In their words, “We believe that our children are better off for having been born overseas, learning and living in a second language environment in Taiwan, being able to go to school with kids from around the globe in Singapore and being well on their way to passports filled with adventures and memories.” Check out their blog for some great posts and resources about travel with children.
“So what is this blog about? It’s about travel. It’s about creating a life that works for you. It’s about the fact that life is indeed bloody short and no one is going to give you a gold star for playing it safe. It’s about me, my husband and our adorable little bubba. And some people tell me, if you’re in the right kind of mood (or perhaps looking for your own escape hatch), that it’s about you too.” Christine also left a secure corporate job in the US in order to follow her heart and create a new career and life for herself at 31. Despite having their first child in 2010, she and her husband continue to live and travel abroad. Here is one post I find particularly inspiring.
Travels With A Nine Year Old
I find this woman especially inspiring. She’s a single mom who decided to take her then, nine-year-old son on a yearlong adventure around the world. That year has now turned into several and they continue to live abroad. This very adventuresome duo push the boundaries of life and share, “What’s it like to dive an undersea volcano, hang out with hunter-gathering nomads or be surprised by an earthquake while using a squat toilet.” I admire and am in awe of this mother.
Sometimes we need to take risks and make life happen for ourselves and for our families. Raising a child doesn’t mean that you have to prescribe to one way of life. You don’t have to be chained to paying a mortgage, saving for college and working for “the man”. There is a world of opportunities to be had in this modern, technological world in which we live. If you’re dreaming of living abroad with your children, or feel like you are out of breath from chasing the dream, spend some time with these families and be inspired to create a family life and experiences that speak to your unique interests. The world’s the limit!