There’s no such thing as a typical day for my family of four when we’re living abroad. Especially when we’re on the move. When we spent a few weeks living in a camper van while traveling down the east coast of mainland Australia, each day was wildly different from the next.
We watched koalas taking their meds at a koala hospital in Port Macquarie.
Their #1 ailment? Chlamydia.
Sometimes we manage to stay put. When we have a few weeks or even a month in one location, we implement a schedule that allows us to remain productive in our respective businesses, be halfway decent parents, and still enjoy the culture in which we find ourselves.
Or earlier. This is when my husband wakes and begins work. If this sounds like torture and not at all worth it, keep in mind that waking at 5 is not the necessary evil associated with the digital nomad lifestyle. My husband wakes at 5 a.m. even when we’re at home in the course of “normal” life.
I’m up and handling the kids, making sure everyone has an acceptable, basic level of hygiene. I take care of breakfast and then we move into whatever is on the agenda for the morning – this can include schoolwork, reading, an interminable game of Monopoly, or even a movie.
By this point my husband has worked for 7 hours, maybe more if he started before 5. This is where the tag-team parenting comes in. Now he’s ready to take over with the kids, allowing me the time I need to handle emails and other minor work tasks.
By earlier afternoon, we’re all ready to venture out and explore our surroundings. In Madrid this could include the Naval Museum, taking the metro to explore a new part of the city, walking through Retiro Park, or hanging out at Plaza Mayor. Note: there are approximately 8 gazillion things to do in Madrid, these are just a few.
Afternoon & Evening
Barring any work emergencies, the rest of the day is work-free and devoted to family. Okay, my husband may take a few phone calls and answer a few texts during that time, but that’s it.
This schedule only allows me 2 hours of time for emails and small tasks. So how do I write 2 books a year? Most of my work when we travel involves taking notes. While we’re exploring that Naval Museum, I’m jotting things down, collecting pamphlets, making notes of what my kids say and what interesting things I want to look up later. The outlining and writing of the 1st draft occur when we are at our home in Boise and our children are enrolled in the public school.
Editing sometimes takes place during a trip. Many chapters of a forthcoming book on Spain were edited on a beach in Mexico. The bulk of my work, however, takes place in Boise (not coincidentally during school hours).
By roughly following this timeline, my husband keeps his business running back home, I gather enough research for writing still to come, and all of us manage to enjoy a new corner of the world.
Think you might be interested in the digital nomad family lifestyle?