2 Small Children Cannot Stop This Dutch Family from Living Nomadic

Digital Nomads With Kids

We are a Dutch family of four; Nanouk (mom), Joost (dad), Roan (toddler) and Evi (baby). We live in an RV and travel through Europe. We love this lifestyle because we can combine taking care of our kids and working with traveling and hiking.

Digital Nomads With Kids

How and why did you become a nomad?

Before our oldest was born, we lived the typical suburban life with a job and a mortgage. We thought about moving to another country, but couldn’t decide where to go. We figured we could use our holidays to visit some places to determine if we wanted to live there.

When our oldest was born, I suffered from severe pelvic instability. My boss was very supportive, though, and I was able to work from home. As our baby was an excellent sleeper, I could easily finish my work during his naps, lay down for a bit for a better recovery, and when he was awake, I was there for him the whole time.

When we went on holiday, I continued working. My boss didn’t even know I was on a Carribean Island with my family, working a few hours per day from the side of the swimming pool. I only needed my laptop and a decent WiFi connection.

That was the moment we realized we could live as digital nomads. 🙂

As my husband didn’t like his job, we took some serious action. In just a few weeks, we radically changed our lives: We sold our house and bought an RV. My husband quit his job and started working freelance.

Seeing the world is a bonus. The main reason why we love this life is that we can take care of our kids by ourselves. We don’t have to outsource them to nursery or school, and we see them 24/7. Of course, this is sometimes exhausting, but it is soooo rewarding, we don’t want it any other way. We have an outstanding work-life balance.

Digital Nomads With Kids

How do you finance your nomadic life?

Joost is a web developer and I’m an SEO copywriter (in Dutch). We try to work as less as possible; we only take on just enough clients to pay the bills and save a bit. We also try to keep our expenses as low as possible. However, traveling in West European countries isn’t cheap, so we don’t regard ourselves minimalists. We spend around €2300 per month, this includes groceries, travel expenses like gas, and fee for campsites. Our most significant costs are insurances and taxes.

Digital Nomads With Kids

How do you build a social life as a nomad?

We mostly find new contacts online. There are Facebook groups for traveling families, so it is easy to contact other nomads. However, we do find it difficult to actually meet them in real life. You might think that we’re all very flexible and quickly drive a few hundred kilometers to meet other nomadic families, but in real life, we’re not that flexible.

At first, we didn’t find this a problem. Our kids are young, so they play with whomever we meet. And Joost and I don’t feel the need to have regular contact with others, so it wasn’t an issue. But our oldest just turned 3, and he loves to play with other kids. So now we have made it one of our priorities to meet other families. We’ll see how it goes.

Digital Nomads With Kids

Where do you live and work as a nomad?

We mainly live and work in our RV. This is our home, and although we travel constantly, our kids can sleep in the same bed every night. This was the main reason for choosing an RV over hotels and Airbnb. For little kids, we think it is essential to have a recognizable place. Also, traveling in an RV is cheaper, and it provides us with more space for all those baby stuff we find very convenient. In the future, when the kids are older, we might change the way we travel.

A typical day is filled with eating, playing, hiking and working. We mostly stay in during the morning. After breakfast, I work a few hours while my husband takes care of the kids. Our baby takes a nap and after lunch, we do some sightseeing or hiking. In the evening, we both work some hours while our kids are asleep. The most prominent challenge was finding enough time to work. When we first left, we didn’t have a stable income. We both had to work many, many hours to set up our remote business, mostly at night. We sometimes felt like we didn’t have a break from working. Now we’re two years on the road, and things have changed positively.

If you are just starting out and are at that point where you feel like you have to work around the clock to make your remote income stable: don’t worry, it will get better, I promise!

Digital Nomads With Kids

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

We should have invested in a WiFi amplifier and antenna right in the beginning. We had some troubles finding a good connection, but with these devices, it is so much easier. Also, when we left in the summer of 2015, we took too much stuff with us. Our RV was filled with things we barely or never used! Minimizing is a process. We had already downsized from a house to an RV, but now we got rid of a lot more stuff, and it feels so good to have less! But if you’re in the process of minimizing now, don’t feel bad about wanting to keep things. Just remember it takes time and things you hold on to now will be easier to throw away or sell in, say a few months.

Digital Nomads With Kids

How do your children handle living in a nomadic lifestyle?

Our kids are very young. For them, the important thing is to be with their mom and dad. For us, life is simple. Our daily life is in sync with the kid’s needs (eating, napping and such). There’s no rush, no hurrying around. We think they are doing fine. They love playing outdoors and we travel to places with good weather. Playing outside all year long would have been difficult if we stayed in the Netherlands.

Since our kids are not yet of school age, we haven’t decided what we will do about their education. We don’t know what the future brings. But we do think about it of course, and for a while now, we’re thinking about worldschooling. In two years, our oldest is of school age, according to Dutch law. If we still love our nomadic lifestyle, we’ll find a way to make worldschooling work for us.

Digital Nomads With Kids

What will the future bring?

We try not to plan that far ahead. Only a few weeks max. So the coming weeks, we continue traveling in Spain and maybe Portugal. If it gets too cold in January, we might go to Morocco. But we’re not sure about this. In spring, we’ll probably travel to other parts of Europe. Maybe we take the ferry from Italy to Greece and then move all the way up to Slovenia and Austria. Or we take the boat from Bilbao to the UK and then travel through England, Wales, and Scotland. Or maybe we do something entirely different! We’ll see. 🙂

Visit Nanouk and her family on their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter

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