7+1 Traveling Families Share their Goals for 2012

7+1 Traveling Families Share their Goals for 2012

There’s an excitement to the beginning of a new year as the world around us collectively takes measure of where we are and where we want to be.  I’ve always loved the New Year holiday for that reason.  It’s a chance to dream and to think about how we can make our dreams come true.  I asked some of my favorite traveling families to share their goals for 2012.  The seven families below have some really cool things ahead of them.

But first I want to talk about my family and me!

What’s in store for the Van Trek’s in 2012?

2011 was a rebuilding year for our family.  We moved and settled into a home in Lake Tahoe and we love it here.  One of our goals for 2012 is simply to continue enjoying beautiful Lake Tahoe.  Every season offers a new opportunity and there is still so much that we want to do and see.  I like starting with that point because to me trave is a state of mind.  If you aren’t interested in exploring the world at your front door you may as well forget the place on the other side of the world.  Save yourself the hassle of TSA.  My wife always likes to say that even when we are at home we are traveling.

Having passed the explore the world at your doorstep prerequisite, we do have other places we want to explore.   We love to ski and in addition to this blog I’m a blogger for the Sprint Snow Squad with Vail Resorts.  Vail owns two Tahoe based ski resorts– Heavenly Mountain and Northstar California — and that’s one of the things we love about living here.  This winter though we’re planning a trip that will take us to Colorado to ski at Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Beaver Creek over the course of a few weeks.

Throughout late spring and summer we plan to do a lot of camping.  Yosemite National Park and Half Moon Bay are both places we are certainly camping this year.  Mt. Shasta and Joshua Tree are also both on our radar.

A goal that we’re working on throughout the year is to become conversational in Spanish.  I’m not just interested in listening to my wife speak to me in a more seductive tongue.  This October we’re planning a month-long family trip to Central America.  We’ve not yet made our final decision on a country — we’d love some input on this one!  We’re looking seriously at Panama and El Salvador.  We have 3 primary criteria:

  1. A place not overrun by tourists
  2. Some place cheap (which usually means a place with few tourists).  C’mon.  There’s got to be somebody who knows somebody who has some place we can stay.  Or a house-swap or a house-sitting gig.  Or a rich uncle.
  3. A place I can learn to surf

I’m looking forward to an exciting 2012.  Along the way I’ll be working to build my residual and location-independent income as well as eliminate debt to allow us to sustain the life we want long-term.

Check out these traveling families below.  They’re some of of our favorite families to follow.  Each has a unique story and each has achieved (or are achieving) a lifestyle of family travel in their own way.  If you dream of traveling the world your family but don’t know how to do it, get out a note pad and start taking notes from these families.  


The Miller Family and
the Eventure Project

We are the Miller Family of the Edventure Project and we’re about to celebrate our fourth year of full time travel! We have four kids, aged 9 through 15 who are growing up with the world as their classroom. So far we’ve cycled Europe and part of North Africa, slow-traveled Central America, spent six months going deep instead of wide in Guatemala, road tripped across America and back and spent time living in fifteen countries! There is SO much left to see! In just a few months we’ll be blasting off South East Asia to spend a year exploring, learning and working together as a family. Stop by our site for a visit and leave us a note! The best part of this nomadic life is the fabulous people we meet!


Mussler-Family-Great-Family-EscapeThe Mussler Family and
the Great Family Escape

I have one huge travel goal for 2012:  Start traveling as a lifestyle.  This year we will be saving and preparing for a life of world travel, so honestly we will be staying put most of the time here is Boston. But our plans for 12/1/2012 are to head off to Mexico and Central America by car and then we are thinking of heading back to the US and spending the late summer of 2013 in Alaska.  Lot’s of planning and reading to be done on these areas in 2012, so if anyone wants to share and give us some tips that would be great.  I wish we were traveling more this year, but I think the patience will pay off in the end.


van-den-Boomen-Family-the-Act-of-TravelingThe van den Boomen Family and
the Act of Traveling 

We love Asia. Once you have traveled in Asia, it becomes an addiction and you want to return, and return, and return. Why? It’s the Asian culture, the friendly people, the food and Mother Nature all together. In 2012 we will embark on our longest family trip so far: 6 weeks slow-travel without a fixed itinerary. Starting in India we will continue to Thailand. But after that we will let serendipity and suggestions from our social network of traveling families guide us!  We might go to the beach, we might volunteer at a local orphanage, we might go on a mountain trekking, everything is possible. Currently we are about to book our long-haul flights, exciting! Follow our preparations and the actual adventure on www.actoftraveling.com.


Pedersen-Family-life-changing-yearThe Pedersen Family and
Life Changing Year

Since our family are setting off on our first long term travelling adventure we are full of goals for 2012 – These were designed to put some variety into our trip!!  They are big goals but I think they are all achievable. Time will tell!  It’s so exciting for us to set fun goals like these after years of only work-related goals or worse, no yearly goals at all!  So here’s our list:  Travel to at least 20 countries, See the Northern Lights, Stay 5-Star at least once, ride an elephant, house-sit at least once, volunteer in an orphanage or school, buy pretty bangles in India, meet up with 5 travel bloggers that we follow, see wild monkeys close up, ride in a bus or aircraft with chickens, take a cruise, couch surf at least once, stay in a monastery, keep good records of our spending, visit Forks.


Suitcases-and-Sippy-CupsSuitcases and Sippy Cups

What happens when a totally average family trades their twice a year vacations for a full time life on the road?  This year, we are going to find out!  We’re hitting the road with our 30 foot camper, our family of six, and an open ended plan to travel the United States.  While on our MOART (Mother of All Road Trips) we’ll be roadschooling the kids and hoping to see as much of the country as possible.  We really aren’t sure what lies ahead, but we know it will be an adventure of a lifetime! www.suitcasesandsippycups.com


King-Family-A-Kings-LifeThe King Family and
A King’s Life

We left our suburban life in order to live out our dreams of travel.  Last year we had a baby in Costa Rica and this year we are living on an island in Belize.  In 2012 we plan on heading back to Colorado, but just to sell the rest of our stuff and commit to a lifetime of travel.   In June, we’ll be heading to Asia.  Keep up with the King’s on our blog as we discover how to live life like a King every day.


Family-on-BikesFamily on Bikes

We’re Family on Bikes. 2011 was an incredible year for us as we finished our three-year bicycle trek from Alaska to the southern tip of South America. Reaching Ushuaia was, undeniably, one of the highlights of our lives. We are now settling down and putting down roots in Boise to give our children a different type of experience. Our adventure plans for 2012 is to hike from Denver to Durango along the Colorado Trail. It will be a journey of 500 miles where we’ll climb more than if we climbed Mt. Everest three times!”


Lybbert-Family-Outside-the-BoxThe Lybbert Family and
Living Outside the Box 

Just when we thought we could stay put, we find ourselves itching to get out and travel again. We recently moved to Mexico, and have stayed busy this past year, exploring this vast and beautiful country! This Spring we have plans to see more of Southern Mexico and journey down to Guatemala, as well. In the summer, we will explore Alaska (our old stomping grounds before we moved south)! We lived in Southeastern Alaska for 10 summers before moving to Mexico, but we still have so much more of the state to explore! Surely more adventures await in 2012…because the truth is that when the travel bug bites, it bites HARD!


What about you?

What are your goals for 2012?  Do you want to travel to the other side of the world?  Do you just want to enjoy all the things that are close to home?  Share your family travel goals with us.  We’d love to hear from you.  You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter or RSS.

Looking for some help as you set and work to achieve your goals?  Check out this post on setting goals and making 2012 the best year yet.


  • Wow! Now there are some great families with awesome plans! So exciting and inspiring to see everybody’s travel plans coming to fruition. Can’t wait to follow along!

    • Steve, it’s great to be connected with so many other families who have the travel bug, isn’t it! Wishing you and your family an epic 2012, wherever it takes you!

  • This post is a great reminder that an adventurous spirit doesn’t end just because we have children. It’s incredible to connect with other traveling families, thanks for introducing me to a few.

    • Sabina, someone recently told me they liked our site because they love to travel and are trying to do as much of it now as they can before they have kids! HA!

  • So jealous. I know we have great plans ahead, but these sound great, and sooner! Great post and great ideas! We will be sitting on our butts in Boston for most of the year if anyone wants to swing by!

  • Why not try Baja, Clark? 2 day drive. Warm. Cheap. Surfing!

    • I like the idea of being able to take our time by driving there. Something to think about.

  • Thanks so much for including us guys! I love these type of posts where you can read about a whole heap of families and find new people to follow along with! Learning Spanish is an amazing idea!! ust 13 sleeps to go for us now!!

    • 13 sleeps! You are going to have an amazing year. Some might even call it life-changing!

  • After over a year of back and forth travel to Asia, we have decided to head in the other direction and back to Europe. I am scheming a 4-6 week trip through 4-5 countries visiting friends that have gone expat in the past 3 years. The hubby may or may not be able to join us for the whole trip depending on some work deadlines. I can’t wait! It will be an even crazier adventure since Baby #2 is on the way and we have no idea how he will travel. Hopefully he will take after his brother though.

    • Sounds like fun! Hope Baby #2 travels as well as #1. Both of our kids are great travelers are Monica and I talk about and wonder how much of that is luck and genetics and how much of it is that we’ve trained them to travel well.

      • I’d say 25% luck 25% genetics and 50% just getting them out the door at an early age. I swear my 2 year old behaves better on the road than he does at home (as I watch him throw magnets all over the living room 😉

  • Thanks so much for including us in this list! Such an honor to be numbered among so many cool families!! Happy Nomadic New Year everybody!

  • So wonderful to hear what so many other traveling families have in the works! It’s amazing to be part of a community where gallivanting around the world is considered normal!

    • You’re right Nancy. I’ve written in some recent posts about how the internet has both done 2 interesting things for us in regards to our family travel lifestyle. The first is that we feel perhaps a little less unique! Before we engaged in this online community of family travelers we were the only people we knew who lived this way. The other thing it’s done though is help us feel much more supported and confident as we continue to move in this direction. Here in Lake Tahoe I’m weird and unconventional. On the internet I am normal! 😉

  • Cheap, not (too) overrun and learn to surf… Give Huanchaco, Peru some consideration.

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  • Lots of great travel plans. We lived in Costa Rica for 5 years and in November we flew our family of 5 to Thailand. We have explored Thailand and Laos and plan to see Cambodia, Vietnam, and China in 2012. Not sure what else is in store as we wing it most of the time and I may have been known to change my mind a few times a day:) I look forward to following you all on youyr journey and maybe to even meet up in Asia!

    • Mary, it’s great to have a plan, but not over-planned. Taking life as it comes at you allows you to enjoy those little serendipitous moments.

  • We’re hoping to set off on our long term travels this year. Starting small with a couple weeks visiting family in Southern California, Arizona, and Baja the end of this month. Hoping our house will sell and we can leave the country this Spring.
    I have family in San Miguel, Baja. It’s a good surf spot, but I don’t think it’s super cheap. I just have great memories of running around with my Mexican cousins, doing our best to communicate! I’m so excited to head back down there and reconnect!.
    Hope you guys find the perfect spot and have a great year!

    • Rebeca, you have an exciting year in store! Someone else mentioned the possibility of driving to Baja and I think I like the idea. We’ll see!

  • Thanks so much for including us in the roundup! If you haven’t settled on a way to learn Spanish, I can highly recommend Rosetta Stone. I hope you have a great year!!

    • Jessica, so happy you participated and look forward to following your family’s journey. For Spanish we are using an program called Instant Immersion, which advertises itself as “same as Rosetta Stone at a fraction of the cost.” I also want to get some apps on my phone and maybe some podcasts to supplement that. We’ll see!

  • I have visited many of these from time to time. Great list. We moved from the US to Denmark about 6 months ago, so we are hoping that 2012 is full of adventuring within our new home country and beyond!

    • I love the idea of having a new base on the other side of the world from which to explore. A few years ago I was in the running for a job in Paris and that was what excited me most.

  • Thanks for sharing so many great sites and stories. We just rounded off a fabulous year of intermittent travel in India and weighed up our plans for 2012 which includes a family wedding in France – we’re hoping to overland to it from here though we’ll have to weigh up the situation in Iran closer to the time and maybe start from Turkey but it’s exciting to have some plans in place 🙂

    • Kirsty, sounds great! You are right–it’s exciting to have a plan in place. Gives you something to anticipate and look forward to.

  • Thanks so much for putting together this post and collecting the updates from the families. I love reading blogs from travelling families. We’d like to take a year off to travel extensively,too,in the next 6-7 years, and reading blogs like these really encourage me.

    I also really like what you said about how if you don’t want to explore your own backyard, you may as well forget about the place on the other side of the world. I’ve discovered so many places with my kids these past few years just within a few hours drive of our home. People who’ve lived here their entire lives weren’t even aware of them when I mentioned where we’ve been.

    • Christina, one of the things I love about your blog is reading about your discoveries close to home. Having moved to Tahoe from Santa Barbara in just the past year we still have so much to see and explore here.

  • Great plans! Thanks for sharing this list. We plan to continue enjoying Malaysia until mid-February, then spend some time in Singapore, Bali, and Japan. That will get us through about June, but we’ll have to see where life takes us after that. Maybe we’ll come back to Kuala Lumpur and settle for a while, taking some other trips to surrounding countries. Or maybe we’ll head over to Europe. Who knows? But whatever we do, we’ll keep enjoying the adventure.

  • Well, I hope your trek south takes you through Mexico so we can meet in-person! I have been blown away by the immense diversity and depth of Mexico….we could stay busy here exploring for YEARS! Thanks for including us in the list!

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  • Would you consider Yelapa, MX? I have some friends wintering there right now (with 20 mo old baby) and having a fabulous time! It is cheap, spanish-speaking, not overly touristy (you have to take a boat from Puerto Vallarta to get there) and gorgous. Check out their blog at http://motherofeden.wordpress.com/ – I am sure they would be happy to answer questions for you! (Laura and Erik)

  • Hey Clark,

    Greg wants to learn to surf in El Salvador. We might have to arrange something 🙂 We’ll be there this summer, I think…

    • That would be great! Let’s keep in touch on this. I don’t think our trip down that way (wherever it ends up being) is going to happen until a little later in the year. We may be looking more like October. But we’d love to connect!

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