How to tear about 6 months out of the calendar and spend quality time together as a family and go traveling?
Traveling with kids
Before Matias and I had our son Sixten, we did a lot of traveling together. We also lived for 6 months in New York and for one year in Berlin together. This gave us so many great experiences and encounters with interesting and diverse people and lifestyles.
When we decided to become parents, we knew that we wanted to continue traveling, to let our kid(s meet other cultures and try another way of living.
After going to Sicily for 1 month, when Sixten was 8 months, as part of our Paternity/maternity leave, we started to talk about something that can seem impossible for many: To take a leave of absence from work, and just travel and be together for a longer period. For us, the talk developed into a plan for 5-6 months of traveling.
We wanted to go during the Danish cold and dark winter, to somewhere with great nature and bright warm days, every day. Living costs were essential to think of as we planned to take time off from work and just live on savings. So we started to plan for a trip to our favorite European place; Sicily, and when the weather would get too cold also in Sicily, around December, we would go to Southeast Asia.
Considering Carbon Footprint from Traveling
It has been five years since we went to Southeast Asia, and we have been wanting to go back.
I think a lot about how bad for the environment it is to fly. For me, it does not make sense to take a long flight from Denmark to Thailand for just 2 weeks. I prefer flying less to reduce my carbon footprint, and if I take a long flight I like to stay a long time at the destination. – I have a deep respect for those who have stopped to fly entirely.
To make a CO2-compensation for our flights, we donate money to Carbon Offsets. These are projects that work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and replace energy from fossil fuels with renewable energy. The cost of the compensation depends on the distance of the flight, and the calculation is done at certified organizations that work to minimize our impact. I’m not saying that this donation justifies for our carbon impact and make our travels sustainable. I just think it’s important to keep in mind, how to reduce our impact.
How to go traveling for 6 months
Start by making a budget for your travel trip, and make a small goal for what you want (and need) to save up. Maybe your budget does not have to be that sky high as you think? – Check out my post about traveling on a budget. It does not have to cost a lot to go traveling for 5-6 months. The living costs in both southern Europe and South East Aisa are very affordable. You might not have to save up a lot for long travel. If you plan ahead and want to save up, consider where you can cut down on your finances – quit the many take away coffees and the different subscriptions (gym, Netflix, etc.) you haven’t used for the last 6 months to start with.
We started to put money aside every month, and to cut down on our expenses. Fewer dinners out, less take away food and shopping of things we didn’t need. We made sure we could rent out our apartment and talked with the kindergarten for the possibility of not paying for that while we were gone.
Here in Denmark Matias works with IT and I’m an Anthropologist, without work, so it was not easy to put money aside, and it took some time before we had enough. For Matias, it was hard to find the right time to take a break from work, but when he changed job, it was a perfect time to tell them, he wanted to take 6 months off, and it was totally fine.
Our objective for long-term traveling
We look forward to having all sorts of new experiences together. We are so excited to follow our kid every day in his development, and as he learns about the world. In Sicily, we plan to relax a lot, eat great food, and hike in the amazing nature. In Thailand and Malaysia, we are planning to learn Sixten to like the water, which he is afraid of! And just to enjoy the freedom of not having to rush to work and send Sixten to kindergarten. We plan to travel slow and to take it slow.