The joys of fairy-winged freedom

Even though many do not understand my life-style choice, I am free. I am totally, insanely free to do as I please, go where I want, and stay as long as I choose.

The Nomadic FamilyMy family has lived with the indigenous in the jungles of Peru, hitchhiked on back of pick-ups in Costa Rica, scuba dived off the Sea of Thailand,  and plan to trek the Annapurna Circuit this fall. We homeschool our kids according to an inspired curriculum that we’re making up as we go, and spend most of our time pursuing what we’re deeply passionate about.  I’ve lost 28 pounds, written a few books, and have learned to strum the guitar competently enough to entertain my family, but obviously not good enough for public as I was booed off-stage in a Sihanoukville, Cambodia bar for trying.  Though many claim we are abusing our children by gallivanting the globe, we cuddle in the mornings, take two-three hour lunches, and my husband is currently lulling them to sleep by reading A Wrinkle In Time.

When Nancy asked me to share the joys we’ve gotten from world travel, the seemingly simple task morphed into mammoth before my eyes. Summarize. How?  Entering our now third year of non-stop world travel has been beyond unreal.  How can you encapsulate the relationships, memories, and vistas from an RV, tent, ranch, village, home-stays, one tarantula-filled attic, and innumerable backpacker hostels? Though I’ve most famously conveyed it in I Know Nothing And 99 Other Things The Road Has Taught Me, I can never fully articulate the endless joy that comes with world travel, and with family discoveries such as that my oldest daughter is hysterical, my son composes songs with the words “boobs’ in it, and  youngest writes me love letters with adorable, yet profound mantras like last month’s ” Sometimes, I miss myself.”

As if a kind-hearted angel sprinkled her magic dust upon us, we no longer fight, get lost and confused, depressed, mad, or over-tired. We are in perfect family Utopia. All is perfect in our nomadic family life, including this lie.

The Nomadic FamilyYou see, friends,  our globetrotting freedom has been a blessed gift that we do not take for granted. And still, we’re so normal. I still freak out over wet towels on the floor, incessant whining, and unwashed dinner dishes. And even though I have never felt more aware, awake, and alive, I am, and anyone who has traveled, is still, just a soul on their own rainbow journey through themselves to the light. If anyone tells you their world travel adventures have made them 100% worry-free and happy, be wary.

Family world travel has more joys than I can possibly verbalize, but maybe most notably is the gift of knowing that we are a normal, healthy family with all the natural stretch-marks and ruffled feathers that come when five opinionated souls grow intimately and experience real life together.

Insanely unorthodox, embarrassingly honest, and on a path towards spiritual awareness, Gabi Klaf blogs about her family’s ups and downs in their now third year of non-stop budget world travel. She is a guitar-stumming, energy-healing, ADHD wind-loving scaredy cat.

Posted by | Comments (10)  | February 26, 2013
Category: Family Travel

10 Responses to “The joys of fairy-winged freedom”

  1. Jen Says:

    I love that phrase…”And still, we’re so normal.” I think a lot of people look at the travel lifestyle and think it’s one big vacation with no worries or normal activities.

  2. DEK Says:

    I wouldn’t worry about kids and young families and successful authors, but it would be interesting to hear what the plans are when the kids grow up and the parents grow old and can’t slog around the world as easily as they once did. I know that you will be rich in many things, but what is your retirement plan? How does a life like this end?

  3. gabi klaf Says:


    Yes. Many, including me, think that once we travel all of our troubles go away, and all that was incomplete in our families become fixed. Travel has been one amazing adventure into the world and deep into ourselves. Thank you,


  4. gabi klaf Says:


    I love that you ask those questions that many won’t. I don’t know how my life will end, nor what my kids will do when I die, but do any of us? All I know is that right now, for this family what we are doing feels so right. Surprisingly, we have found ways to make money online and creatively around the world, so our next big, crazy goal would be that when we finish the nomadic lifestyle that we will be at a break even. How cool would that be? Since our travel lifestyle has begun, we’ve put aside $15000 in an IRA. Pretty sweet for us while we’re traveling.

    Again, about my kids. I do hope that our world travels have improved their ability to get along in a changing world, make good of a bad situation, and use their resources to make themselves happy. That’s all I can pray for. Any more thoughts, please share. I’d love to continue the discussion.


  5. DEK Says:


    Life is full of Uncertainty, which cannot be known, and the middle class covert this to Risk, which through the magic of actuarial tables can be known, and so they buy insurance, for the likelihood of life’s contingencies, uncertain for each individual, in the aggregate turns out to be remarkably predictable. This assists the upper parts of the middle class in planning for where they will be in five or ten or twenty or more years, and this life planning is one of the characteristics that distinguishes them from members of other classes and together with certain other habits and values accounts for their prosperity. Money may not bring them happiness or fulfillment, but not having money doesn’t help much there, either, and the largeness of spirit that comes from travel will be brought down by overdue bills and telephone reminders from debt collectors.

    A generation or so ago, people graduated from college with no assets, but also with no debts. They had essentially “broken even” over the course of their education. But they were also in their early twenties, in good health, their formal education complete and usually without dependents, so starting from zero was no particular burden. Starting from zero when you are around forty with whatever obligations life may have placed on you — including perhaps your own now-agéd parents — is rather more of a burden. What young people graduating with substantial college debt will do, I do not know.

    As for your children, I do not worry about their education or socialization or psychological or spiritual development, though if you have not provided for yourself they may someday have you as their dependent.

    I do not think we can count in the future on a social safety net as robust as we presently enjoy, for demographic as well as economic reasons, whatever the political will might be, and that families ought assume that they will need to take more responsibility for themselves.

  6. Val-This Way To Paradise Says:

    Wow!! This is so great. Your kids are lucky to be learning far more in the classroom of life than being stuck in the colorless institution of a traditional school. Plus, they are learning from you guys on how to follow their bliss, how to become entrepreneurs instead of thinking the only way to have security is by working for someone else, and the family memories and togetherness are often no longer found in this world where many families don’t even share even their meals together. So inspiring!!

  7. gabi Says:

    DEK, wow. First off, your writing is just gorgeous. What a joy to read a run-on sentence that is not one, that makes sense, that each clause adds richness to the one before. Do you write elsewhere? I’d love to read whatever you write about. and Second off, yes. 🙂

  8. gabi Says:

    Val, Marry me and you’ll be out of Footloose forever. Thank you. Gabi

  9. gabi Says:

    DEK, I. can. not. wait. I will be there soon…. very soon. off to bed now. thank you 🙂

  10. Nick Stubbs Says:

    Hey there!

    My name is Nick and I am a Casting Producer for an international television production company located in New York City.

    We are currently developing a new project that I believe you might be perfect for! It is centered around a family as they travel the world in search of ancient and culturally significant areas. An example would be The Legend of El Dorado or the Tombs of Machu Picchu.

    Let me know if you are interested and we can proceed with the conversation.

    Thank you!

    Nick A. Stubbs
    (212) 905-1768