Of Family, Dreams, and Travel: Behind the Scenes with The Nomadic Family
Meet The Nomadic Family – Kobi, Gabi, Dahnya, Orazi, and Solai. They are a pretty normal family who left their comfy lives in the March 2011 for the nomadic one. They left thriving careers, an experimental school they helped found, a loving community of family and friends, and the breeze blessing their lovely mountain-side home in the Upper Galilee Valley of Northern Israel. Now, in year three of non-stop world travel, they see that this dream, also, must come to an end.
In the summer of 2014, The Nomadic Family will no longer be nomadic. In her first blog tour, Gabi, mother of insanity at The Nomadic Family, shares behind the scenes developments and the drastic changes looming ahead.
Gabi, what made your leave your lives back home and become The Nomadic Family?
The kids had a fairytale sort of life, but Kobi wasn’t a part of it. He was the breadwinner in a soul-draining, back-stabbing, hi-tech job. Somewhere after mild heart attack number two but before Breakdown Number 57, we decided that there must be another way. We read some inspirational books that changed our definition of success and made us realize that there were other options out there. We thought we’d last 6 months, and well, here we are, currently in the Philippines in month 29.
What would you say to a family who wants to travel?
Save, save, save. Easier said than done, I know. But, we both took second jobs, cut expenses to a bare minimum, and found creative solutions to get our finances in line. We got out of debt and then started shoving every shekel we could into savings. We talk a lot about finances on our site for we know that that was a huge hurdle for us. We’re asked all the time how we afford this lifestyle and feel honored to share realistic information that can help others make their dreams come true too.
Gabi, your site is full of very intimate, sometimes controversial, sharing. Can you tell us why you share so much with your readers?
Yes, I do shamelessly talk about all of those topics that you would never expect to find on a travel blog. Why? Because I believe that being raw and honest and open, that I can best inspire others to live in their truth. Travel isn’t easy, marriage isn’t easy, parenting isn’t easy, life isn’t easy, and yet, you see picture-perfect, plastic sharing everywhere. I want to show the neurotic, raw, dusty, teary, and sweaty sides of my soul and family life on the road too, and through that sharing, bring like-minded souls closer to the story-telling campfire. We’re all so normal its’ funny. One of the greatest blessings of our blog has been this incredibly supportive, loving community of like-minded dreamers. I see it as an honor to play a modest role in that sharing of inspiration and mutual support which, again, I believe takes place because my vulnerability creates that space.
What is your big infatuation with dreams? You talk about it a lot.
Dreams are what keep us alive. We believe that the imagination is stronger than reality and that that vision of what could be can fuel us to greatness far beyond our wildest dreams. We don’t take ‘no’ for an answer because, we believe, that this one chance at life is all we’ve got, and therefore, it is our obligation to make the absolute most out of it. We are all about pushing towards our dreams. Even though you’ll find us whining from time to time about why they are not happening faster, after we kick and scream, we take action.
We have been honored to share this make your dreams come true message on our blogs, in media channels across the world, on the net, in our e-books, and in live talks every chance we get. We will continue to write and share the details of both the beautiful and painful parts of overcoming one hurdle at a time to make our dreams come true. We have seen how this inspires more and more to make their dreams come true, and feel honored to be a part of that sharing of the light.
What dreams have you made come true?
I’ve lost 15 kilos and toned my body, authored several inspirational books, learned to play guitar, and deeply immersed myself in Buddhism and meditation. Kobi earned his Open Water Diving Certification in Taganga, Colombia, his Advanced Open Water in Koh Rong, Cambodia, and is currently becoming a Dive Master in Moalboal, Philippines. Our kids have scuba dove, water-river rafted, and surfed around the world. They are multi-lingual sponges who have had more life-changing experiences than I can recount.
All of these are dreams inside of dreams inside of dreams. Ironically, the greatest dreams we’ve experienced have cost us next to nothing, were completed unplanned, and have left us all in awe. We’ve met the King of Cambodia, have found true friends throughout the globe, and have had our safety preserved and our very fate determined by the extreme kindness of perfect strangers.
What has your family gained from your world travels?
Besides these unreal dreams come true, the greatest gift has been the time and space to discover ourselves, as a family and as individuals. We believe in unmodern parenting and thus highly treasure un-plugged, bored kids who have to figure out how to face themselves and fill those voids with meaning. We’ve learned how to create a meaningful existence out of total freedom, which I must say is much harder than it seems. We’ve also found family healing in its fullest glory on the road. We can’t escape to the office, school, the other room, or busy work so we simply have to face it. Not being able to avoid the normal pimples and hiccups of family life, has been maddening at times, but remarkably rewarding. We have become such a close, bonded unit of five souls who know, without a doubt, that this is our greatest gift from world travel.
If world travel is so amazing, why would you want to end the nomadic life?
Kobi and I would do this forever, but our kids have different dreams. Though they love traveling, make great friends everywhere we go and still gush over the coolest things they’ve seen and done, they want a normal childhood. They dream of going to school, birthday parties, and hanging out with their cousins and grandparents. And because we deeply value those relationships and realize that all five of us need to lead fulfilling lives, we’re hanging up our backpacks next summer. We hope that after a year back home, they’ll be ready to hit the road again, but if not, then we’ll find other creative ways to fulfill the adventure spirit in us during the summers and vacations.
Where have you been?
USA for 2 ½ months. Time with family & friends in Houston, RV through the Rocky Mountains.
Costa Rica for 1/ 12 months. Volunteered in ranch community, kids attended school.
Panama for 3 ½ months. Both Kobi and I worked and volunteered. We love Boquete!
Colombia for 1 ½ months. Kobi’s meets his diving passion. Cartagena Reina Festival 11/11/11.
Ecuador for 2 ½ months. Lived in jungle with indigenous tribe, kids attend school, became one with the river, Kobi got dengue (take two)/
Peru for 3 ½ months. Lived in a tent on the beaches of Huanchaco, lived for 2 ½ months in Lima.
Thailand for 1 month. Spent 21 like a local in Kanchanaburi, off the River Kwai.
Cambodia for 8 months. Serious soul work, amazing family time. We love Cambodians!
Vietnam for 1 month. Dalat, our first cold mountain-home in South East Asia! Oh cold!
Malaysia for 3 ½ months. Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Cameron Highlands, Melaka. Oh, loved it all.
What’s to come?
Philippines. We’ll be here until mid-August. (2 ½ months)
Malaysia. Two weeks for visas, passports, and other errands before Nepal.
Nepal. 2- 2 ½ months, Volunteer Mission.
India. 8 months, Kids attend Waldorf school in Goa
Israel. ????? – Welcome Home! (breathe, Gabi, breathe)
What are you most looking forward to next?
From November 11, we’ve registered the kids to a Waldorf school in Goa, India. They are soooo excited to be in a learning environment like the one we founded in Israel. They have missed that dearly.
I’ve registered for my second 10-day silent Vippasana Meditation and plan to intensively study Yoga, meditation, and natural healing. Travel has exasperated my soul-cleaning journey and I look forward to all the spiritual inspiration India has to offer me. Kobi will figure out what he wants to do there, but if there is diving, we’re pretty sure what he’ll be investing his time in. We look forward 8 months in India.
Gabi, what is Gifts of the Road?
Gifts of the Road is our hallmark for persistence and determination to reaching the dreams dearest to our hearts. The almost-completed Gifts of the Road e-book, along with a dozen other time-intensive meaningful projects, were lost back in mid-2012 when hard-drive number four suddenly crashed. Slowly, I have found the inspiration to pick up these projects, almost from zero, and start to build them again. Gifts of the Road is the first baby I’ve attempted to reconstruct. It has not been easy, but again, it’s a testament of our determination to bring inspiration and light to others and make our dreams come true.
Gifts of the Road is a symphony of travel bloggers across the globe sharing what the road has given them. Gifts of the Road is an inspirational compilation of all the most romantic and insightful reasons to step out of your comfort zone, and travel to distant lands. In celebration of our Annapurna Circuit Hike Fundraiser, we’ll be releasing Gifts of the Road as a free gift to the world. There is no need to share our project, to donate money, or anything. We just want to give it, no strings attached, as a thank you for the Universe. Countless people have gone far out of their way to be kind and help us. This is our gift back, our chance to pay it forward. It will be available for download on The Nomadic Family site in the coming days.
Is there anything you wish to add, Gabi?
Will we ever be “normal” again? No, but, we were dancing to the beat of a different drum far before we become nomadic. Will we return enriched, changed, and grateful? Totally. After three and a half years of wearing flip flops or being barefoot all day, of not having a cell phone, of doing what we felt like whenever the hell we felt like it, will we feel choked and trapped in a society that demands of us to participate in its fast-paced dance? (Gulp). That too will be an adventure, a mountain in its own right that we will cross, also, when we get there.
Thank you dearly. It has been an honor to share with you,