We continue our Interview series with another special post: meet Sabina King and her amazing family!
Sabina, her husband and their two beautiful kids are living the digital nomad dream for six years now in King Size. Sabina King is the CEO of VeppoCig.com and TaZa.co and she also posts about her family’s adventures on the family blog, AKingsLife.com . As you can see, Sabina is a very busy mom, so we wanted to learn more about the life of a digital nomad with kids!
Can you tell us about your typical day? How does it begin, what’s your routine?
We only have ‘typical’ days when we are in our home base, which is currently in Ubud, Bali. For me, those days consist of waking early (4 am is my normal wake up time), having a quick stretch, going online for a little work management, then heading out for a 7 am yoga class. By the time I return home, my kids have eaten their breakfast (we have a personal chef that comes to prepare our meals) and I hang out with them for a little while and then return back to work until noonish.
The afternoons are free for swimming & meeting friends.
It’s a very relaxed lifestyle and we enjoy it very much. Some weekends we head ‘down south’ to the beach areas to enjoy the open space.
What product/project are you currently working on?
I manage 2 businesses: VeppoCig.com and TaZa.co while also writing sporadically for our blog AKingsLife.com I have various projects within those companies, but they all seem to be going through website re-designs at the moment.
How old are your kids and what they think about your current lifestyle as digital nomads?
My children are 5 & 7 years old and we’ve been living this lifestyle for the past 6 years. It’s all they know so it’s really normal to them. Many of our friends are also in a similar lifestyle and we meet up with them in various countries. There are some families that we’ve met up with in over 7 countries! We have pretty epic adventures: hiking to glaciers in New Zealand, participating in the Ye Peng Buddhist festival in Thailand, swimming with Whale Sharks in Belize and Giant Manta Rays in Indonesia. Because of those adventures, my kids aren’t into zoos, where the interaction is passive observation or classrooms. The world is exciting and begging to be explored.
I asked my son if he would rather stop traveling, get a house and a dog. He responded with a resounding “No, we meet the coolest people when we travel!” And we really do.
People and especially families that live a more nomadic lifestyle already are not the mainstream, so they have interesting interests and philosophies. Our conversations are always insightful. They also tend to have time…to chat, travel, adventure and spend lots of time with.
What is their school status right now? What are you going to do when they reach the age of highschool and university?Are they attending a school?
No. My children do not go to school for a number of reasons:
-We travel too much for the set boundaries school offers. And I feel that experiencing the world is a better educator.
-School is an outdated methodology of education. It neurological trains children to be passive thinkers of finding a ‘right’ answer. My intention was to keep their natural curious nature alive, to allow them to have a high level of emotional awareness and body awareness and to have to time to move their bodies.
-This 100+ year old experiment of school is not creating happy humans. We humans are natural learners and everyone has a gift if they are allowed to follow and develop it. Neurologically, we are made to learn via movement…which means experience, rather than sit at a desk and absorb information that is of no relative interest or benefit to the students life.
-The world is changing faster than ever. Many subjects in school our simply not relevant anymore, nor are the logical patterns.
-Innovation and evolution will come from creative problem solving rather than rogue logical patterns.
When they are older? We’ll see. I have the fortunate gift of not being able to see in the future, but I do have many ‘mentors’ that have world schooled their children through high school and college. They are amazing individuals and families.
The point is that school is good for many. I have created options in my life that most won’t risk their comfort zone for. It’s the leading edge and it’s different. Not better, just different. It’s a path of experimentation, original thinking and the joy of exploration.
Do you think being nomads has any benefits for your kids? What benefits?
What a gift it has been for our entire family!! Specifically for the kids, the benefits is that they have experienced a wide horizon of experiences and beliefs. I’m happy to report that they feel anything is possible.
…They’ve seen how people all over the world live…which is great because it represents that there are multiple solutions and way of doing things.
…They’ve had to wait…a lot. This reinforces that we can choose our attitude no matter what the situation is, even waiting in line for airport security or the bank.
…They’ve seen our family endure disappointments, setbacks and have seen us move forward and onward or around them. This is a real gift because often times children are separated from the world their parents live in and don’t see the everyday decisions and struggles that do happen.
…They are a part of our lives, but not the only focus. This has been really fun to see develop. My 7 year old is interested in how we source, market and package our products. He knows the reasons that father is on a business trip and what he’s doing there (usually visiting a factory and bringing back samples, quality control). So, the kids get to experience the multi-dimensional nature of life and all the decisions that we make.
…We’ve created some epic memories around the globe and the kids have good friends in many countries. This makes the world familiar and not a scary place. A place where they know differences exist, but it doesn’t freak them out and they are comfortable and respectful of the differences. Can you imagine how that would change the nature of a primarily fearful American culture?
How do you cope with packing, given the fact kids need a lot of things?
This is such a western mindset that kids need a lot of things. In fact, the opposite is true. Kids need freedom and time to explore. We travel lightly and the kids have very few toys and a tablet that they bring along. We’re a highly active outdoor family and while we occasionally love to go to the cinema, we’d rather be hiking, biking or bouldering. If we are staying in a place for a while, we’ll buy bikes and other equipment. We recently went to New Zealand for a month and bought a kayak to take advantage of the lakes. When we left, we sold it for half of what we bought it for. It turned out to be a great deal and we loved the convenience of being able to kayak whenever we wanted, wherever we wanted.
Kids are prone to getting ill frequently; what happens when your kids are ill?
Correction: stressed kids are prone to being ill frequently. My children enjoy great health, partly because we live a relaxed lifestyle and eat whole foods. Our bodies are incredible at maintaining health, but when it gets stressed, that’s when the homeostasis gets out of balance and people get sick.
My kids are quite healthy. They may become sick maybe once/year. I let their bodies rest and heal naturally. The body is incredible at returning to health given proper rest and nutrition.
Do you ever feel the need for more comfort?
More comfort? Sometimes. Sometimes when we are developing countries I wish I could just run to a “Target” and have a one stop shop for everything that is available in the US. There are little things that we’ve grown up with that we can miss sometimes. amazon.com everywhere would be the ultimate!
We tend to stay in nice places. We are physically comfortable. But sometimes want more ‘ease’ of being able to get exactly what we need easily. That’s part of the challenge of living abroad.
We have a lovely home, great food , loads of time to spend with really interesting friends and plenty of time to exercise (I love yoga and pilates), swim and plan more travel 🙂
How locals react when they see you traveling with kids?
Our kids have garnered their fair share of unwanted attention. They are beautiful with light hair, skin and blue eyes. In the areas that we have traveled, those characteristics are adored. They used to get poked, stroked and petted often until I clearly set boundaries. Our Isla Rose still turns heads due to her copious amounts of crazy blonde hair and her affinity to wear beautiful princess dresses.
What is your favorite mean of transport? Does your kids have any issues with a specific mean of transport?
I love using public transport and taxi when we are in cities. It’s convenient, inexpensive (sometimes for a family of 4, getting a taxi is cheaper), and we get a glimpse of the vibe of the city.
My other favorite method is bicycle. We did a home exchange in Perth that had bicycles for the entire family and biked nearly everyday around that city.
We’ve been on so many different kinds of transport: planes, automobiles, boats, rickshaws, song tows, bicycles.
What are your kids eating? Do they try local foods or like to have the same meal? What is their favorite international food?
My kids eat a variety of food, but they do have their favorites.
A typical week at our house includes meals such as: Vietnamese Noodle Salad, Pesto Pasta, homemade Nachos (Greyson’s favorite), Curry Soup, Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Quinoa Avocado rolls, fresh vegetable Spring Rolls (Isla’s favorite), Green Curry (the kids don’t like this), Potato Cake, Spinach Rice Gnocchi.
Our cook does an excellent job at presenting us with a variety of meals throughout the week. We don’t have to think about it, but the kids often make requests.
We also love going out to eat. Sushi and Indian is our #1 pick followed closely by Thai food.
What would you wished you knew before deciding to travel with kids?
That’s a good question. We moved to Costa Rica when Greyson was 1 1/2 years old and Isla was in my belly. We realized early that kids don’t need much, in fact, the less they have, the more creative they get. So our progression was really easy for us with that attitude.
Some tips for traveling with kids:
Stay relaxed by giving yourself more time! Give yourselves plenty of time to get out the door, at the airport, to a restaurant, etc. Getting kids on the same page requires loads of patience and the quickest thing that can kill patience is a tight time schedule.
Allow them unstructured time. Our present day culture is one of passive entertainment. It wasn’t always this way. We purposefully allow our children to get bored or have down time. We don’t entertain them and they are responsible for their own mind. In fact, we don’t even say the word BORED in our house because everyone here now knows Mama’s mantra “Bored is a characteristic of a lazy mind.”
Do you have any tips for other digital nomads with kids?
I have so many!
Allow them and yourself plenty of time when traveling with young kids. They love to explore and an airport is an incredible array of fascination to them. We allowed at least 1 hour extra in airports so that we and the kids would not feel rushed or stressed.
Give yourselves and the kids down time. Seeing and traveling to new places is exciting. There is so much to do and it’s tempting to want to do much of it. But, you’ll burn out, stress out quick if you don’t plan on ‘down days’ where there is nothing on the agenda, the kids can play with their toys, you can go for a simple stroll or get some work done. Our ideal schedule is 1-2 active days followed by 1 down day.
Balance work and family life. This is easier said than done. Unless you find a cafe or a co-working space, many times you’ll be working in the same space as your family is. This can mean that you’re never 100% at work and never 100% present with your children. Unless you have superhuman focus, the tension of that balance can wear on you.
It’s more manageable if you stay in one place for a while or rent a home with a dedicated space for your office away from the kids.
Our audience is 80% remote workers and 20% people who are considering to become one soon, what would you like to say?
Working remotely and/or working from home has it’s challenges, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The biggest challenge is to find BALANCE. It’s different for everyone. For me, I am eager to explore the new places we go, so the challenge is to stay still to focus on work.
The benefits are huge though: namely in how you’d like to fill the time you gain having eliminated a commute and the what you’ll do with the freedom to work from anywhere.
The world is open now to you. Get out there and enjoy it!!
This was Sabina’s story, if you think people should learn more about your story too, please let us know in post comments.