Zélie Pollon 0:11
Hi, everyone, welcome to we will wander exploring life off the traditional path, a podcast about location independent families living and working all around the world. I’m Zélie Pollon.
Clint Bush 0:21
And I’m Clint Bush and twice a month we will talk to families about what it’s like to live location independent, travel full time or educate their kids on the road. World is big and time is short, so let’s get started.
Karen King 0:38
Hi Clint. Today’s interview is with Karen King. I met her several years ago in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and have since stayed in close contact. In fact, I went on her first group organized family trip to Bali and admire her immensely. She is truly a queen of remote work having done many different projects and in today’s interview We touch on a lot of those. So let’s dive in. Karen King, tell me about yourself.
Well, I am an Australian. I’m a mom of two kids, a wife and a world schooler for about three and a half years now.
So the ages of your kids,
I’ve got a 14 year old boy, a eight year old girl. And then my husband is 48. And I’m 42.
And when did you first decide to start traveling outside of Australia?
Well, we, we had a bricks and mortar business before we started world schooling. And we just we were getting to the stage where it was just all too serious. And we actually booked a seven week trip down the coast of South America and into the US. And on that trip, we realized we watched the kids learning learning Spanish and learning from the world around them, and I read the four hour workweek. And it was at that point I learned about location independence, and it’s started that book he, you know, he said, Well, if money was no object, what would you do? And I didn’t know, I’d been working so hard for so long. I couldn’t answer the question. And the first thing I wrote though, was travel. I was like, Yeah, see if I could travel full time. And by the end of the book, I obviously discovered location independence. And then somewhere along the way, we learned about worldschooling. We’d always believed in childhood education. And in the world, the word worldschooling popped up. And I put it to my husband, and he thought I was crazy. And, you know, we spent the next 12 months selling our house, selling our business, selling everything we owned. And now we just traveled full time.
So when you say child led education, they were in traditional school and now have no schooling or a child LED. Well,
so party started at a traditional school, and we’d looked at Montessori, but it would have been moving an hour and a half from where we were living, and it just it wasn’t feasible to do that. So We found what was you know, reputable school everybody raved about the school. But it was just, you know, worksheets. And it just, I mean, it wasn’t an ordinary school. When he moved into grade one, we discovered a school in our local area that was very centered on each individual child and their, their education was a lot more tailored to their needs. And, you know, they would choose one subject for the term and all of their learning would go through that. So it was very child LED. And that was wonderful. So we weren’t worldschooling for the sake of pulling them out of school. We just wanted them to learn about the world. We wanted to travel with them instead of waiting until we were tired. I’d been working so hard for five years, I was actually really concerned that the stress I was under was going to make me sick. And I just thought, you know, life’s too short. So, so we pulled our son out of school after he’d completed grade five daughter had done kindergarten, but she never went into primary school. And now we essentially unschool we don’t do a lot of really don’t do any formal bookwork at all, you know, every, every now and then I kind of have a little little session where I think who they should be learning this, they should be learning that but when I actually relax and watch them learn from the world around them, it just blows my mind what kids can learn from their own interests. And that’s that’s what we base our education philosophy on now.
I’m always really interested in kind of child led education. Do you even have themes maybe like, we’re going to Indonesia? Do you all want to learn anything about Indonesia? Or is it completely open?
Well, I think it’s completely open, but it’s what we see and experience that leads us to do more research. So for example, today, we sought the baby turtles, and that’s brought up questions that we now might go and watch documentaries and we might go and research or so it’s really it’s It’s not subject first, it’s travel first and the subjects that we come across along the way, you know, the volcanoes we saw the other day, that’s gonna lead to questions and research into volcanoes. So it’s it’s very much based on things we see and experience. And I think from that it’s it sticks the information sticks so much more because we’ve been there. We’ve seen it. And it just, it means more to us.
How do you finance your full time travel?
The first two and a half first two years was savings. We left Australia with the intention of building an online business. And I did a variety of things. But working online was a lot harder than I expected. And like I earned some money, but nothing that was sustainable. And after two years, we actually had to return to Australia because we’d run out of money. We kept traveling around Australia, but we spent that time building up an online business. So we actually now have a digital marketing agency. We also work for the program that we joined to learn that we actually work with that program as well to help introduce other people because I think so many people want a location independent business, but it’s not easy. And so there’s so many things out there that just don’t pan out. They look great, but they’re not nearly as good as they think. This program that we got into is it’s really it’s taken us from not having much money at all to financing our entire travels. And so now we work for that group introducing new people because we believe in the program so much I maybe next
let’s talk a little bit about challenges because usually finances the most but what has been or what have been some of your major challenges both imagined and real.
Finances definitely was wasn’t here. Because it’s I mean, I’ve always been entrepreneurial minded and very driven. But I did find when we started traveling, you know, it’s like being on vacation all the time, it is really hard to, to separate, you know, you’re not on vacation, you do actually have to do some work and, and I’ve struggled a lot with that, and I’m somebody who is very motivated and you know, I think, quite in control of my ability to, you know, make myself do that work. So that that was really tricky and putting the effort in. I think, also, it’s taken. Moving from a school environment to unschooling has been a major, major change for us. It’s been something I’ve struggled with a lot because you know, I want the best for my kids. And every now and then I worry that, you know, they’re behind in this or like, whatever the case may be, but in reality, if really, every day they come to me and they teach me something that I didn’t learn at school. And so that Kind of, you know, something’s there a hidden, something’s there behind him. It’s a very different education. But when I see them learning, I see them doing it because they’re enjoying it. And that’s just that’s priceless. So but you know, that has been a big, big journey for me personally, because I did, what 1718 years of schooling so to get out of that system and out of the, the testing model, and, you know, I just, it’s taken a long time to be comfortable with that and trust that kids can learn through their own interests.
And I’ve been with you here where so many people are commenting, and just really how helpful and proactive your kids are. So what are some of the greatest benefits you think, today than they have gained from traveling full time?
I would definitely say the way that they’re able to interact with people, you know, they, especially seeing our daughter, she’s eight she’s, she doesn’t see any barrier between, you know, talking with someone who’s eight or 15 or 25 or you know, 48 she talks to them, you know, as a human being and you know, we went to a waterpark recently and she got chatting to some 20 somethings and they just thought she was amazing. She, she sort of told them about our experience and you know, she’s like, Oh, these are my new friends and I’m hanging out with them and they were equally excited to be hanging out with her and they said they’ve never met an eight year old. Like her, you know, that they could actually relate to. I definitely say confidence is a big thing. And just, I hope, learning that the world is not about what we own. It’s about our experiences. And you know, we don’t have to we travel carry on only so we have seven kilos each and in a bag with electronics. That’s what we own. And I love it. Like we we can come and go as we wish. We spend money on experiences. We don’t have fancy hotels and we don’t spend loads of money on those sorts of things because it’s just not important to us. What’s important is the experience that we take with us and the memories that we create. And, and I really hope that is something that sinks in for them because I feel like people are just so caught up in having to have the next best thing and you know, keeping up with the Joneses and all of that. And, you know, buying a new car brings you happiness for a couple of months, but then you paying off debt for years, you know, that same money can take you around the world, you know, and create memories that stay with you forever, not just a couple of months.
Zélie Pollon 10:33
Not so much about priorities now, isn’t it? Yeah. And so what are some of the most kid friendly destinations that you’ve been to so far?
Karen King 10:42
I would say the United Arab Emirates, both kids just rave about the United Arab Emirates, which is is kind of an unusual one, and it shocks everyone when we tell them that but I just think it was really unusual. It was something completely new. We learned a lot and Just there was something magical about you know, the the desert and the date palms and the I don’t know something just truly magical and both kids absolutely loved it. Mexico we absolutely loved we San Miguel in Mexico, we were actually there eight months when we arrived in San Miguel, we’d averaged 10 and a half days per location. So when we got to San Miguel as well, I’m really tired and we had no intention of staying more than maybe a couple of months and we ended up there for eight months and the children just absolutely loved it and especially their ages. I think at the time they were like 713 and there was loads of classes and the amount of Spanish that they learnt was was fantastic. And it’s, you know, it’s got a very, very special place in our hearts
to my favorite things in Dubai was Jeannie and one night we went and saw a little like village To go there we send you. And then another favorite thing that I saw there was there was a guy who like he was drinking Salt Lake and then he kind of flames came out of his mouth, like gasoline. When you say sand Do you mean like going out and driving?
loved it? Because mommy was sitting in the front seat screaming her head off imagining newspapers back in Australia saying all the family of four queued in a same exit. So the kids loved it, because I thought I was hilarious.
Got it. Got it. Now, what kind of advice would you give to another family who is contemplating a similar move?
I would say, don’t hesitate. And I know that’s really easy to say. I think so many people almost talk themselves out of it because it feels like in the beginning, it feels hard. You know, it feels like it’s so Far out of the ordinary for most people, you know, to, to sell all of your possessions when so many of us grow up in a community or, you know, a culture where owning things is you’re judged by the quality of your car and the quality of your house. And as I said, we have seven kilos each. So for a family of four, you know, we have, including a laptop bag, we probably have 40 kilos all up even less, a little bit less than that. But that’s okay. Because, you know, in our first year of travel, we did 13 countries. So I think it’s, it’s a matter of just don’t, don’t let other people get in your head as well. You know, get involved with groups of like minded families and hear what they’re saying, see what they’re doing learn from them. Because it is it is a big step like you are breaking away from the norm. But everyday This is becoming more and more normal for so many families and have not yet come across me that regrets Even if it’s only you know, three months or six months, I’ve never come across somebody that actually regrets having a go. So whether it’s you know, sell everything like we did or just, you know, rent your house out for six or 12 months and just do six or 12 months of travel, just give it a go, because there’s really not a lot of downside.
Is there anything else that you think families should know about? I do and contemplating that maybe things they should keep in mind?
I would definitely say it’s not nearly as costly as people think I always hear people say, Oh, you know, I wish I could do it, but I couldn’t afford it or, you know, you must have won the lotto or something like that. And there’s people out there traveling on 1000 us a month we traveled typically on about three US dollars, two and a half thousand a month. You know, when you get out of some of these countries like Australia is a very expensive country. And before we started traveling, we were spending I think 4500 Australian per month on a very basic lifestyle. Now we’re spending about 3000 a month, and we’re traveling the world full time. So it’s not nearly as expensive. It doesn’t have to be as complicated. Reach out. And like I said, reach out to communities, and learn from others and ask for help. There’s so many wonderful families out there that will point you in the right direction and answer your questions. And, you know, if you have any inclination to do this, just learn as much as you can.
Well, and we should say, we’re talking about this right now and the island of ghillie air in Indonesia. And you have just completed your first kind of group organized by Karen King worldschooling Central tour. So how was that and where should people go if they want to learn more about it?
Well, we so we did a tour of the kids and I did a tour 12 months ago through the islands of Indonesia, and we all finished it saying that was like a once in a lifetime opportunity. We wish we just had more families with us. So we spent the last 12 months putting together this inquiry credible trip we’ve just had 11 families. 39 people join us for the last two weeks. And it’s been absolutely amazing. It’s all about community, making new friends, learning from each other, watching the kids make friends and interact. It’s just been absolutely incredible. And we’re going to run more as a result of this because it has been an incredible community that we’ve been able to create. So worldschooling Central comm is our website and we also have worldschooling Central on Facebook, which is a private group of worldschooling families so it’s an awesome place for people to learn about this lifestyle because it’s it is a lifestyle and it is a it’s a growing option for many families that are breaking away from it. So yeah, well schooling central online.
Zélie Pollon 16:48
And you have spoken about the kilos that you travel with. But are there any essential items one or many that you have to travel with? I wouldn’t really suggest I mean, I travel with a French press. It’s very important to me.
Karen King 17:08
One of the things that we bought that we absolutely love is a 10 port USB hub. And like such a simple thing, but it’s like it’s a powered one. It was a very good quality one. It comes with us everywhere. The other one actually, that we’ve just started traveling with. We didn’t for the first two and a half years, we just bought a Google Home. One of the little hub devices is this tiny, tiny little thing. But wherever we are, we plug it in, we connect it to the internet. And it’s been an incredible learning tool when you know, instead of googling, like instead of going on your phone or your laptop and googling something, we now have Google that’s voice activated. So if the kids have got a question about, you know, we saw a volcano the other day Sienna will will come up and say, okay, Google, tell me about volcanoes like whatever her question is, and it’s been an incredible edible learning tool for us. And it’s amazing some of the conversations we have with Google as a result.
Zélie Pollon 18:07
But that one I have never heard from another family. That is, yeah.
Karen King 18:12
We have set full time. And one of our houses that we have set they they had a couple of these Google’s and we were shocked at how much we used them. And as a result, we now travel with a Google.
Nice Sienna, you want to add some? Another fun way to learn from Google, is you can play games like this trivia. And what you do is you can sit down and say, OK, Google, play trivia. And then it gets into a fun place some fun music and get some to trivia game. And she goes like, and I’m your host, and she asked you five questions per round. And those five rounds and like she starts off with some warm up questions. Which are your nicknames? So like, she could say, play a one, please save bed, you might say. And then
the great way to learn because she asks questions and you have to figure out what the answer is. And if you get the answer wrong, you learn what the real answer is clearly a popular I Oh, absolutely. And it’s actually it’s even been as helpful like you’ve seen as, you know, learning to read. And she, you know, she wants to do some work on her own or, you know, write something, she’ll get on there and say, okay, Google, tell me how to spell such and such. And she’ll write entire shopping. If she wants to cook something, she’ll write an entire shopping list, just asking Google for help on how to spell things. And so this is all coming really, really naturally, you know, using the tools that are available, you know, in this day and age, and it’s been incredible. I would never have guessed that a little Google Home device would would be so powerful in our in our learning.
Zélie Pollon 19:59
I am going to have to check that out. And you also mentioned though, how sitting you did a lot of housecleaning, can you talk a little bit about that for people who might be interested?
Karen King 20:08
Yeah. So we I think we’re up to 40 or 41 house sits now in the last last three and a half years. Initially. In all honesty, initially it was because I saw it as a fantastic way to save money. It’s free accommodation in exchange for caring for home and pets while a homeowner is away, and it’s a real win win for homeowner and housesitter alike. So, in the first two and a half years of our travels, we went wherever the assets were, and we’ve done assets all over the world, from China, South Korea, Mexico, Spain, like all through Southeast Asia. And so yeah, there’s there’s various different we use a website called trusted house sitters, which we we use to get our house since and yeah, essentially it’s just about building up your your profile and then applying for these houses and getting free accommodation. So it’s been an incredible way to travel because obviously that significantly reduces the amount of money we’re spending. But on top of that, it’s given us the ability to live in more of a local environment. We have a home, we have a kitchen, we have pets, it’s a real family type environment. And we can stay longer too, because quite often there you know, for six weeks, it’s which, you know, if we were doing it ourselves, we’d probably be staying in a little apartment or, you know, one bedroom apartment or hotel room. Whereas with these, aren’t we a second house it was in the United Arab Emirates, we have had seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, you know, three story mansion, we’ve had like a five star suite in in China that we that we have set for like it’s given us opportunities and experiences that we wouldn’t have otherwise had. So that’s definitely something that I’d recommend people look into because it’s a really cool way to travel as a family because for us, pets are really, really important. This has given us the ability to have pets. I think we’ve had something like 55 dogs in the last three years. And we love animals. So it’s been a great way to travel.
Zélie Pollon 22:12
Since we first spoke to Karen King, she and her family decided to settle in Panama. And part two of our conversation, she tells us a little bit about Panama, why she chose that country and some of the other projects she has going on now. She is the ultimate remote entrepreneur.
Karen King 22:31
So we got to the stage after four years of full time travel, we just felt the need to have some spice of our own. We’ve been house sitting and living in a bay and bass for four years. So we decided it was time to have spice for ourselves. But we also want to continue traveling as much as possible. So we looked at a lot of different options and Palomar ended up winning because first of all, you know for us, we still want to continue practicing Spanish and obviously being in Central America. day to day life is in Spanish. So that gives us that ability. Also, we wanted something that was affordable in terms of travel to and from the state. So we use Panama as our base. But we fly from here to the US. And that’s kind of our launching pad. And flights out of Panama to the US are around $100 per person. So really affordable, especially compared to other destinations. The third reason we chose Panama is because there’s some really good tax incentives to choose Panama. As residents now of Panama, we actually pay tax here in Panama instead of back home in Australia. And the Panama system is a little different to many countries. It’s a territorial tax system. So that means that you pay tax on income earned within Panama. Our income is earned outside of Panama, so therefore, there is a zero percent tax rate. So a whole bunch of reasons. But yeah, look, I mean, we’re loving it. It’s it’s a part time. Home, so to speak. But yeah, great, great country. We haven’t seen very much of it yet at this point in time because we arrived at a couple of months here and then we headed back out for another six months. But you know, the people are wonderful. It’s, it’s quite Americanized, I guess where parts of Central America and South America might be a little lighter now, you could say behind the time, so to speak or developing. But there’s a lot of parts of Panama that are quite developed because of the influence that the US has had here. So yeah, we were really enjoying it. So in terms of our businesses, we are growing worldschooling Central, and we have also added on to that worldschooling Central travel. So a part of our worldschooling central hub that we are growing and developing to support the world’s wind community. We are now doing group trips for families, bringing families together as traveling communities. So we had our first trip which you guys came on in Bali, in Indonesia. So we went out to remote Indonesia and traveled through the island of Flores and then on a liveaboard boat experience two weeks of traveling with other families. Later in the year, we ended up in Egypt. So we took 39 people through Egypt on a two week adventure, which was absolutely incredible. These adventures serve as a wonderful way to connect with other worldschooling families a great opportunity to learn more about worldschooling. So for families that are just considering heading out Who would you know, would like to get out and see more of the world but would like to learn about worldschooling in the process, connect with other worldschooling families. It’s a wonderful opportunity to come together, make friends, let the kids make friends and connect with other worldschooling kids as well. So it’s been an incredible experience and we did plan for 2022 have a whole range of different trips available. Unfortunately, that’s all been put on hold now, with Coronavirus however we’re looking forward to getting past this point in time, and opening up trips to Lapland, we’re excited to take the kids to meet Santa. We also have trips to Australia. We’re going to go back to Indonesia, a trip to Kenya, we’re even looking at Antarctica. So it’s really exciting. If people are interested in finding out more about that they can visit www dot worldschooling Central travel.com. Or you can join our Facebook group as well. We’ve created a separate Facebook group for people that are interested in our trips. So if you jump into Facebook and search for worldschooling Central travel, you’ll be able to find us there as well. working remotely while we’re worldschooling has been well let me say it hasn’t been what we originally expected. Working while traveling has been it’s been hard but It’s also very different. You know, we I used to be very career orientated. And, you know, I loved the income that I had I, I worked hard, I had big goals. For me now, travel is what I’m passionate about traveling with my family. And so things have changed dramatically. I don’t need as much income, like it costs us a lot less to travel full time than it did when we were living back home in Australia. So what I’m finding now is that I’m doing what I need to do to have the income that I want that supports my travel. So we’ve done a whole variety of things over the time we we have a digital marketing agency, so we’re supporting business owners running Facebook and Google ads for them to drive new clients through to them. We’ve worked remotely for an online course selling that program. We’re now working for free A friend of ours who has a startup and we’re working remotely from here in Panama. It’s all online and telephone based. So we can do that. So I guess the thing is there’s there’s a couple of different options, you can start your own business and work remotely. That way, you can take on a remote position, so you know, a nine to five type job, but do it remotely. You know, there’s so many different things that you can do, I would suggest my experience today is have a few different sources of income, build up various different sources of income so that you’re not dependent on one particular source. I mean, as you travel things, things happen, jobs come and go. And
I just really enjoy the flexibility of having a few different projects on the go. And you know, you might have a busy period in one project, which earns you a little bit extra and another period, you know, that’s a little bit slower. So really, it’s about finding opportunities that can be done from your laptop.
Zélie Pollon 29:15
Well, that’s the show. Thank you all so much for listening. If you liked the show, please leave a review on Apple podcasts. It really helps others find us and lets us know what you think.
Clint Bush 29:24
You can find links in episode notes at we will wander calm. Also, if you want to leave feedback or ask us a question, go to our website. We will wander calm and click on ask the question. Looking forward to hearing from you. For we will wander I’m Clint Bush,
Zélie Pollon 29:38
and I’m Zélie Pollon, reminding you to get lost
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