By Liana Jacob
MEET the unconventional family who sold ALL their possessions and rented out their house raising over £50K to live their dream of travelling with two children in tow and have since travelled to THIRTY CITIES in the past FIVE MONTHS.
Photographers, Rodrigo (31), and Jessica (33) Sanchez, from Colorado, USA, first discussed the possibility of uprooting their life to travel the world in March 2017 while they were in Mexico and since then they began posting on Instagram; pitching to hotels and tourism boards their photography services to promote their locations all around Colorado.
Their venture became a success and that’s when they took the plunge, sold everything they owned to explore the world as a family with their two children; Santiago (6) and Nora (3). They managed to raise a whopping £50.7K ($65K) and started their adventure in the city of Maui and Honolulu (Hawaii), in June 2018.
In July 2018, they travelled to Manila (Philippines), Bali (Indonesia); in August they travelled to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Penang (Malaysia). In September, they visited Koh Yao Noi, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai (Thailand).
Between September and October, they travelled to Ho Chi Minh City, Lang Co, Da Nang, Hoi An (Vietnam). In October they went to Siem Reap, Mekong River Cruise, Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and between October and November, they travelled to Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Rosslyn Bay, Noosa, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay and Sydney (Australia).
Rodrigo and Jessica home-school their son, Santiago, and the family have received some backlash from their friends and family who think their new lifestyle is irresponsible.
“We have received criticism from some friends and family; some people think it is irresponsible to take the kids away from their routine, take them to potentially dangerous places, and take them out of school,” Rodrigo said.
“Our kids have been able to form a new routine based on flexibility and travel, have been to some amazing and safe places (they have not gotten sick either), and are learning so much about the world we live in.
“We had a two-week holiday to Ixtapa, Mexico in March 2017 that had been our longest trip to date. After we put the kids to bed during that trip, we would often have conversations about how we could build a lifestyle that would allow us to travel more.
“We realised there were other families on social media that were already doing it, and we started thinking about how we could eventually get there too.
“After that trip, we built our Instagram account (@thejetsettingfamily), and planned weekend getaways throughout that summer where we could photograph our family throughout Colorado.
“During this time, we pitched hotels and tourism boards our photography services to promote family-friendly aspects of their locations and we were surprised to find some success.
“We loved our adventures so much that we decided we would take the plunge, sell everything and explore the world as a family starting in June 2018.
“Santi finished nursery in May 2018. He qualified for early start through our home state of Colorado and surprised us by testing several school years ahead when he was just four-years-old, giving us an educational gap to work with while we home-school him.
“We are planning on putting him back in school after one or two years of travel. While we travel, we home-school; focusing on writing, maths, and reading.
“In addition, we provide fun educational and cultural lessons at each of the countries and cities we visit.
“We started planning our trip in November 2017 and set a departure date of June 2018. We knew we wanted to stretch our budget, so we decided to visit Southeast Asia during our first several months.
“We held a lot of garage sales and used websites like Facebook and Craigslist to list all of our belongings.
“We also sold our cars and along with previous savings, we were able to raise about $65K to use for our travel.”
While there have been more perks to this lifestyle, the family have run into occasional hurdles along the way.
“It’s been difficult finding the right balance between sightseeing activities and simple play activities for the kids,” Rodrigo said.
“We want to be able to show the kids things they might not see at home, but also want them to run around in a playground and be kids.
“We also want to keep things manageable for them and not place too many expectations on them. After all, if they’re happy then we’re happy.
“One of the biggest perks of traveling with children is seeing other people smile when they see us sightseeing with our kids.
“Many times, our children strike up a conversation with other kids and this leads to making connections that we may not have made if we were traveling by ourselves.
“We also love that we can teach our children through hands-on experiences that learning can be fun. Our kids have learned about kangaroos and koala bears in Australia, rice planting in Thailand, and about Buddhism from monks in Cambodia.
“Both of our kids have also become so much more resilient and adaptable and can interact with adults and children from across many cultural backgrounds and are no longer intimidated by language barriers.”
Their adventure doesn’t end here, as they plan on travelling for at least one or two years.
“We plan to travel for at least one full year. While we would like to continue beyond that, we need to continue to build our business and generate income that will allow us to travel once our savings run out,” Rodrigo said.
“We have so many places we would love to visit but Japan, New Zealand, Greece, Poland, Belize, and Iceland are at the top of our list. We will hopefully cross some of those countries off our list in 2019.
“Full-time travel taught us that it’s not always a long-term holiday for us. While we do get to see some amazing places and destinations, we still must make time for the ‘daily life’ things like work, laundry, haircuts, education, cooking, etc.
“Travel in general has taught us how powerful travel is as method to bond. Having unique experiences that we share together and having each other as our only constant throughout our journey has really brought us closer together.
“It also taught us how incredibly adaptable and resilient kids are as they transitioned into our new lifestyle with such ease.
“We would like to convey that traveling with young children is absolutely possible and very rewarding.
“Our children are now more flexible, more aware of different cultures and languages, and have been able to spend all day every day with their parents.
“It may seem impossible to build a lifestyle based on family travel, but with hard work and planning it can easily be done.
“While many people don’t (and won’t) understand why we travel, we find it to be an absolute blessing to have the opportunity to do so as a family.”