Traveling Families

Traveling Families #5 – 8 Duffels & 2 Mutts

traveling is broadly associated with folks in their 20’s, people that are somewhere in or just out of their education, young people, free people, folks that are not having a family yet.  But in fact, there is (almost) no reason for excluding longterm travels or journeys on rather unbeaten paths from your globetrotting possibilities once you’ve started a family.

In my series Traveling Families I am interviewing families that did not drop their traveling plans and neither ground down their wanderlust but decided to continue their journey together with their kids.

Today I am presenting you to Stephanie and her family. They are from the USA but are living since a year in Ecuador. They spent their time exploring the region but are planing to expand their exploration to the entire South America.

I am a freelance writer as well as a travel and expat life blogger. I enjoy telling stories about the experiences our family has while exploring and living abroad. I never intended to become a writer, it happened by accident. When we made the decision to move Ecuador, I began journaling about it as a record for our children to remember one day. Then, I posted it on a Facebook page for our friends and family to follow along. Eventually I made it public, and expanded to a blog page. Now we are all over social media, too. (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube)

Name: 8 Duffels & 2 Mutts

Home Base: Our family currently resides in coastal Ecuador. We moved here from Iowa, USA almost one year ago.

Tell us about your family: We are Stephanie and Carlos, and our two kids, Peanut (age4) and Monkey (Age 2.5). We also have two dogs, Joey and Dante. Our family would probably seem unconventional to most. We spend copious amount of time together, a lot of it outdoors exploring. We are relatively inseparable and we love it that way. We live rather spontaneously and usually to the beat of our drum. We aren’t the type to do anything in any specific order or according to the normal standards of society.

What’s your preferred travelling style?  We are still discovering our travelling style, but we lean towards slow travel through culturally diverse and immersive experiences. We typically enjoy road trips that focus on lesser known destinations and off the beaten track places. We love natural wonders and adore small villages and rural life. We are currently living and exploring in Ecuador, with plans to expand through the entirety of South America sometime this year. Our travel plans are not really plans, but are more of an open ended exploration of the world. We have no determined destinations or intentions to stop. We will travel until the desire to do so ends.

How are your kids schooled?  Our children are not technically school age yet, although if we were still in the states our daughter would be the typical age for Preschool. We have started implementing the principles of  Unschooling. We plan to follow that path unless one of our children expresses a desire to do something else. Unschooling is a form of interest based learning in which children do not followed a specified learning path. It is a more radical from of homeschooling that is not dictated by government regulations.

Tell us about your dearest family travel memory. It has been an exciting year for us, learning to live abroad in a foreign 3 rd world country. The entire experience will be a complex memory for all of us. But, in most recent memory, one particular event stands out the most, our first beach bonfire and camping trip with the kids! We enjoyed it so immensely that it has inspired us to make the transition into a full time traveling family. We hope to move into a modified camping vehicle of some sort later this year.Please link my related blog post!


Do you have any advice for traveling with kids? Many people think that they can’t travel with kids. Having a family does not mean the end of your life or your adventures. It only means that you will see and experience everything from a different perspective. The world is more beautiful through the eyes of a child. They have helped us to live, experience, and travel in ways that we never would have before.

The hardest part of traveling with kids is the preparation: getting over the mind barriers that make you believe it is not possible. Once you have committed, there is no going back. You learn as you go that nothing is as complicated as it seems.

The more simply you can live and travel, the easier the adventures are. Accomplish the basics, forget the details, and just go! The more you plan, the more opportunities there are for things to go wrong. When you just go with the flow and let go of expectations, incredible things happen. An awe for the world unfolds.

What is – for you – the biggest challenge when travelling as a family?

The biggest challenge for us is definitely our dogs. They are large dogs, around 60 pounds each. We encounter a lot of barriers, places they can’t go or wouldn’t be welcome. Luckily we aren’t city goers and usually small villages and more rural areas are pretty tolerant of them. Hotels and some National Parks and Preserves are an issue. But, we do our best to work with the obstacles and can usually find a solution when are determined enough. Our dogs are firmly a part of our family, and where they can’t go we generally don’t go either.

Thank you, Stephanie!

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