We sold our house in Colorado and took our 9 year old son out of school to travel around the world. Taking care of dogs helps us get ahead.

  • Andrea Schilde and her husband Eli Karplus left their jobs in the US to travel the world.
  • Your child attends school online and completes his work when it is convenient for him.
  • The couple take care of houses and pets with their son to help finance their trips.

This essay is based on a conversation with Andrea Schilde and her husband Eli Karplus, who left their full-time jobs in the US to travel to more than a dozen countries with their son. It has been edited for length and clarity.

We lived in Boulder, Colorado and had full time jobs. My husband, Eli, worked in data science, and my 22-year career was in software development. We have two sons in college and a nine-year-old son, Finn, who travels the world with us.

We start traveling in April 2022. So far, we have been to 13 countries: Portugal, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK, Denmark, Sweden, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia.

While we both enjoy our jobs in the US, it’s not always easy to keep the right balance. We both worked in fast-paced, demanding environments, which took a toll on our time and health over the years.

The pandemic allowed us to spend more time together as a family. Life slowed down, but in a good way. We ended up selling our home in Boulder before we started our travels. We considered renting the house while traveling, but with our older children growing up and in college, the house was more than we needed. He also helped finance the venture.

Eli, Andrea and Finn in Thailand.

Finn, Andrea and Eli in Thailand (from left to right).

Courtesy of Eli Karplus

People often ask what it’s like for our son to attend school while traveling.

It was during the pandemic, when classroom learning was suspended, that we noticed our son Finn was excelling in his studies. Finn is now in fourth grade and learns well online and when he studies at his own pace.

Our school district in Boulder offers an online classroom with a semi-synchronous curriculum that we thought would be a perfect match for the type of travel we wanted to do. Finn studies four core subjects: math, language arts, social studies, and science.

So we saw this as the best of both worlds. We had access to a great educational platform to make sure Finn had a regular, standard core curriculum, but had the flexibility to do the work whatever day and time made sense for him.

Finn gets 15-20 assignments in a week and has an online platform to message his teacher. His teachers have been very supportive.

Facebook is the best place to find work and school communities. There are these pop-up hubs on Facebook, where people organize programs, excursions, day trips, and activities for travelers to participate in.

Finn's day to day includes outdoor activities and excursions to world famous places.

Finn’s typical school day includes outdoor activities and field trips to world famous locations.

Courtesy of Eli Karplus

When we visited Luxor in Egypt, Finn attended his first world school center — a place where other traveling families come together to find community and where children learn new things in a different environment. It is completely different from school as we know it.

In Luxor, Finn attended classes at an Egyptian farm. He made new friends, learned about irrigation and how the Nile brought Egypt to life, learned about ancient Egypt, visited the most amazing historical sites, planted his own garden, and interacted with the locals.

Sometimes we compromise with teachers on homework. We ask Finn to send his teacher a note and tell her what he learned that day, and that usually counts as homework.

Finn was excited at the prospect of the adventure. He loved the idea of ​​seeing exotic and faraway places that he had heard about and read about.

At first, he struggled with the absence of friends in his home. But since we started traveling, he has become more confident, sociable and outgoing, never passing up the opportunity to interact with children or adults, regardless of what language they speak.

Eli Karplus and his family at Stonehedge in Salisbury, UK.

The family at Stonehenge in Salisbury, UK.

Courtesy of Eli Karplus

We save thousands of dollars a month babysitting strangers’ homes and pets.

We use the website Trusted Housekeepers to connect with homeowners from around the world. House-sitting and dog-sitting is a wonderful way to live in new places and meet great people.

Initially, as a family, we thought that no homeowner would hire us, because they would think “Oh, the kids are going to destroy our house.” But we have discovered that there are like-minded families all over the world.

I usually write a long, personal email and mention the names of our pets in the US. I also share photos of the house we sold, so they can see how we lived and can connect with us and feel like we’re trustworthy.

It is mutually beneficial. Homeowners know their dog and his home are in good hands. And for us, it’s a great way to save money on the road.

Housesitting is different from staying in a hotel, and it gives a homey feeling compared to an Airbnb.

Eli, Andrea and Finn in London, England.

The family in London, England.

Courtesy of Eli Karplus

How we budget our money and save while traveling

There are three main expenses to consider: food, lodging, and transportation.

Most of the places we have traveled can afford us a lifestyle that is cheaper than what we lived in the US. There have been places where we have to spend $2,000 to $3,000 a month on accommodation, but others Countries, like Egypt, were incredibly affordable.

There are also ways to save money on accommodation in more expensive places in addition to housekeeping. Choosing smaller accommodations away from the city center helps. For example, we stayed in a hostel in Scandinavia, because other types of rentals were very expensive there.

When we travel from one place to another, we usually plan a cheaper route. For example, we took the discount train instead of the Eurostar when traveling across Europe. When we travel from island to island, we take the long boat and the local bus. The less you move and the slower you travel, the cheaper it becomes because you don’t have to spend as much on airfare. These things have kept our costs down.

There are several things that can break the budget, such as traveling between countries in a short time, staying in the city center, doing many activities and eating in restaurants. Longer stays in one place where we can slow down, buy our groceries and cook at home, make traveling cheaper.

Eli, Andrea and Finn in Greece.

The family in Greece.

Courtesy of Eli Karplus

What we have learned after traveling to 13 countries.

One misconception is that the world is full of dangerous places and people. What we have found is that there are many really kind, helpful and smiling people in the world.

When you disengage from autopilot and leave your comfort zone behind, you begin to live life more fully. Each new destination offers us a leap into a new life: a new environment, new values, new puzzles to solve, and new games to learn and play.

Finn had reservations and worries about missing our dog and his good friends in the neighborhood. But now, he has come to value connecting with others.

Initially we plan to travel for around 18 months to around two years. But we have yet to decide if we will travel for longer and maybe even explore the idea of ​​working remotely while traveling the world.

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