Ep. 305: How This Full-time Traveler Makes Family World Travel Sustainable with Sasha L.
In this episode, I speak with Sasha who is a full-time traveler with his family for over 1 1/2 years. They have traveled to 50 countries across five continents overall. They spent a year traveling across the U.S. in an RV to 25 national parks and have spent the last year traveling while working remotely, living for a month each in some of their favorite travel destinations.
They have now created a website, Off the Beaten Travel, for hidden gem destinations around the globe, and users will be able to input their favorite off-the-beaten-path locations.
Listen on to find out how Sasha makes family world travel sustainable.
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Hey, everyone, thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited to speak with my guest today.
I’m here with Sasha. Hi, Sasha, how are you?
Hi, Debbie, how are you? Thanks for having me.
Thank you so much for being here, can you tell us about you and why you live an offbeat life?
Sure, well, thanks a lot for having me. Yeah, I mean, I live an offbeat life because I’m a full time traveler which is then a big adventure and a lot of fun, over the last year and seven months or so. My family and I decided to change our lifestyle after probably getting a little burned out from work and suburban life back in Washington DC area and we decided to take a big RV trip across the country, so that entailed kind of a whole year of preparation and then we ended up traveling for a whole year.
We bought a used RV, kind of fixed it up and had a funny name called, Lazy Days, and we work just a little bit part time last year but really we’re out on the road, kind of, you know, camping in the wild and saving a lot of money and living cheaply and then we realized we liked it so much, we went to 37 states and 25 national parks and we realized that we liked it so much that we wanted to make travel life sustainable, so this year, I’m kind of working 3 or 4 different jobs, in different ways and my wife went back to work full time but remotely, so now we are living, continue to travel but spending a month of a time each in some of our favorite places or places that we thought were our favorites. So that has been really interesting so we are on our, I guess, 8th place now.
Well, that is a big leap from where you were before because you had the traditional job, how did you decide, why did you decide to do this and just kind of live life nomadically?
Yeah, I was at my job for about 12 years, it was a wonderful organization, it was first called, “The Enough Project” then turned into “Sentry”, it’s a human rights organization works in Africa and, but I’ve been at it a long time and so I think that I was getting a bit burned out from it and we moved from Washington DC, from the city to the suburbs, we moved in Northern Virginia and I think we just kind of thought, “Well,”, you know, “Is this it?”, like right?
We sort of had accomplished everything we wanted to, we had good careers, decent salaries, we were doing well in our jobs and then you know, we thought, “Well”, you know, actually, we want more out of life and we always had this idea to go on a long term road trip, we got engaged in Bolivia in, at Lake Titicaca and we met this Canadian family who were living out of a truck camper and homeschooling their 4 year old, I can’t remember how old the kid was, but homeschooling their kid in the morning and traveling in the afternoon, that was back in, I guess, 2012, and we were like, “Wow, that’s incredible!”, and this is before we had kids and then we had this idea, “Well, let’s take a year off sometime and travel the Silk Road by road”, like you know from Turkey to China or the other way around and you know, we kept scratching our heads on how to make that happen and it just, you know, the idea was a year, then 6 months, and 3 months and just, nothing was really working and I think covid kind of woke us up to the possibility of doing bigger travels.
And I think that the key – spark really, was actually sitting down and opening that horribly boring program called ‘Excel’ and writing a budget, actually, you know, figuring out that as a matter of fact, once you shave, once you really adjust your expenses quite a bit, from living in a sticks and bricks house to being on the road, that we could actually do it and that was a huge eye opener, so yeah, it’s been wonderful so far, we hope to keep it going as long as we can.
I mean, there’s a lot to unpack there because, and there’s so many things that I’m interested in, first, you are not only traveling just you and your wife, you also have children that are going along with you, is that right, Sasha?
Yeah, we have one 5 year old, we started when he was 3.
Oh my gosh, so how do you make that work? Because when you have children a lot of people have this misconception that it’s a lot harder to travel, it’s going to be more expensive, what did you do to make this work for you? Was it really that hard? Or is there a lot of misconception with traveling with children or with a child?
Well, the best part about it is we get him used to very long car travel at a very early age, so, we laugh, our friends can’t take their kids on like a 1 hour car trip and I’m like, “Oh, well our kid could sit on the road for 9 hours at a time.”, so, you know, get him used to it early, no, but really, I think that we started at the age when he was in preschool.
Now he’s kind of at a kindergarten stage, with the idea that sort of experiential learning is so valuable for kids and so we were always committed to doing some book learning and then we’d increase that as he’s gotten older but really, you know, showing him the world, showing him the San Diego Zoo, showing him Yosemite, you know, getting him into climbing, you know, he’s learning how to surf, he’s a, tons of hikes, we’ve taken him on overnight backpacking on multi day backpacking trips several times, you know, he knows what the redwoods are and how old they are and all that sort of thing so, actually it’s been really great.
I think that only thing that is the drawback is having, you know, consistent, long term friends like he sees regularly but actually we are able to get back home once in a while and then we’re able to connect with some of our friends who live in different places too, and so he’s able to build friendships that way, so it’s been great, I think we can continue that, yeah, thanks.
Yeah and that’s really interesting because there’s like, it’s kind of like it’s really wonderful to do that with your children because they’re not only learning from books, but they can actually learn from real life and that’s one of the best ways for a child to do that and even as adults, right?
When we travel the world, we learn something new, you’ve just see the pictures of it or you’ve just read about it but to see something in person is another level of learning and seeing the world and it really changes you, but like you had mentioned too, having connection and that’s also really important, and I know as your child gets older that becomes more important, right?
Because when they’re young it’s you know, they don’t really understand as much, so do you think your traveling will be different once they get older, once they become like teenagers or even pre-teens, because it becomes more, I guess it depends on your child too, how they take life in the road or if they would rather stay and have something that’s there for them, like having that type of relationship as well.
For sure, yeah, great question, Debbie, I mean, I think we’re kind of taking it one day, one month, one year at a time, it’s been a really great so far, this whole travel experience, we are slowing down, well, we did slow travel last year but it was, we spent a few days in each location as opposed to just one night, this year it’s even slower, spending one month in each place.
We may end up spending a full year next year in another place, just to have him sort of, you know, develop longer term friendships and so forth, I think we’ll see how it goes, we’ll see and of course as he gets older he gets some more voice in the equation as well, but yeah overall, I think the whole experiential learning is super valuable and everything that we learn in a book or look at in a book, he then can see in person, we just spent 2 weeks in Hawaii, you know, he got to see the whales and swim with the turtles and identify the fish in the water, the eels, etcetera, so now we look at a book and he’s like, “Oh yeah, I know what that is”.
So I think that is really cool and he can learn all these things that other kids, or at least when I was growing up we didn’t do, we spent a month in San Diego County and he learned how to skateboard, he’s learning how to skateboard and surf and snorkel and that sort of thing so things that are normal in certain places but they weren’t normal back in the northern Virginia area when I was growing up so.
Yeah it’s so funny because your child is only 5 years old and he’s already done so many more things than some people or a lot of people, right?
And you’re like, “Oh my gosh, he’s super adventurous.”, but that’s because you guys took the time to actually take him to places and have all these experiences and I think that’s a really great way for a child to understand what they do like and what they don’t like, you know, it’s a lot easier to figure it out, I think if you’re exposed to so many different things so I think that’s a really great thing to do when they’re that age.
Yeah, he’s either going to absolutely love continuing to travel when he grows up or he’ll absolutely hate it, so, we’ll see what happens, the jury is out.
Yeah, but at least he’s experienced it, you know, it’s not just from hearing it from other people he’s actually done it so that’s a good thing.
So now one of the things you also talked about, Sasha, is sitting down and actually understanding budget and budgeting this type of lifestyle because that’s another thing that a lot of people are concerned about is – how can you afford this? How can you make this sustainable? Because although we like to travel, we love to experience all these things you also don’t want to be constantly worried about money or where your next meal is coming from, you know, how did you make sure that you’re able to do this long term and not just, you know, for a week or two during the year like most people do?