11 Ways Growing Up Abroad is Ruining My Daughter’s Life.

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After living abroad for a year and a half now (in the Mexican Caribbean and the Marshall Islands) with my 7-year-old daughter, I have compiled a list of the many reasons this has ruined my daughter’s life forever.

I have ruined my daughter’s life because…

1. She gets confused as to which language to speak.

She thinks and operates in another language now, and has had to overcome the hurdle of not only knowing but learning the language, and figuring out how to rise above language barriers and find a humanitarian commonality from which to make friends.

This will for sure work to her disadvantage, as a child, when continuing to make diverse friends internationally, as a teenager when remembering that all humans are equal, and also later in life in graduate school or her professional job, which will most likely require bilingualism by then, if not trilingualism as a unique ability and necessary standard in the global workplace. She might even get paid more (eek!).

2. She doesn’t have a TV.

Instead of watching TV, she is snorkeling the open ocean, exploring turquoise cenotes, hiking ancient ruins, and trekking pacific islands. God, the nerve.

To be outside adventuring, exercising, discovering nature coming to life right before your very eyes, touching it, smelling it, hearing it. I mean, TV is so much better. I wish we had one.

3. None of her friends are American.

All of her friends are Mexican. Argentine. Italian. Spanish. Marshallese. What a bummer.

She has had to understand and accept what other cultures are like at such a young age. She has had to learn about global diversity and understanding and respect early or she wouldn’t have any friends. In our globalized world today, this will definitely work against her when she becomes the spokesperson for global compassion and equality because her roots of this conceptual understanding run so deep.

4. She doesn’t have a big house or new car anymore.

She has a room and a bike that she shares with her mom. I feel bad not providing her with this American dream anymore and replacing it with an international dream of experiences, rather than material items and luxurious comforts that make us comfortable but don’t challenge our soul.

I feel bad no longer having a big house and being tied down to life and pressures and responsibilities and stressors that affect my child as well.

I feel bad not having two living rooms and three bathrooms anymore so that half of the house goes to waste, yet takes up room on the block that homeless people could be living in, and ringing up utility bills that are more expensive than a plane ticket to another amazing paradise.

5. She doesn’t have a lot of plastic toys.

She doesn’t have that many toys here, because we need to fly, and because this is a society not as interested in hoarding plastic crap. She has a few Barbies, but not the Barbie convertible, salon, restaurant, dream house, jacuzzi tub and poodle club or whatever other Barbie accessories are available. We keep it simple.

Take the Barbie to the cenote, that’s her jacuzzi. Brush the Barbie’s hair, that’s the salon. Or better yet, play with sticks and shells and sand and palm leaves and coconuts and the ocean.

She has long forgotten about her entire playroom and bedroom and loft and den and living room and dining room full of dollies and horsies and blocks and brain teaser puzzles and purses and play kitchens and easels and play pianos and my little ponies and my little sparkles and whatever else I packed up in a million boxes and drove off to Goodwill last year.

She has never even mentioned any of it.

And now, when she is good, we go snorkeling. She now realizes that money doesn’t buy this happiness. She realizes that a new doll won’t bring her the same happiness that seeing her favorite rainbow fish will, and that comforts don’t either.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, which fosters detachment and repels greediness, cultivates simplicity, natural love, creativity, and outdoor adventure, all tragic things that will in no way ever work to her benefit, now or later down the road.

I hope she can someday forgive me for this.

6. She doesn’t know about stress.

Her mother has time for her. She is not running here and there and going to dinner parties and running in for dinner groceries and waiting for a Redbox and getting road rage in the rush hour traffic, and being on the cell phone the whole time during the madness.

Her mother has time for her, all day, all night, rarely stressed, no car, a basic phone for safety, together 24 hours a day adventuring and sharing and laughing and being unstressed and happy and free.

She knows flow and ease. I am not too busy for her anymore because I am making money to provide our big house that we don’t need and other things that bring conveniences and comforts of a different world, and provide external happiness and accomplishment to a culture that judges each other by the size and location of their houses instead of the character of their heart.

7. She is brave.

She is a strong, independent, intelligent adventurer who learns from mistakes and finds answers for herself. She busts into that new school of Mexicans not knowing a word of their language and makes 10 friends in two seconds. She free dives the Caribbean and remote Pacific, swims in big waves, hikes barefoot, eats foreign foods and is never ever scared or even blinks an eye. Talk about adaptation and zest for life! This will suck later when she travels alone, confidently goes off to college or scuba dives for the first time at age eight.

8. The world is her classroom, and nature is her playground.

She is learning the stars in the sky, the way ocean tides work, the different fish in the sea, that Mayans sleep in hammocks and palapas stay really dry, that tortillas are made over coals and the taxi ride from town to the beach is 50 pesos for locals.

She is learning how to make baskets out of coconut leaves and what fish are toxic to eat and what snakes are poisonous and when coconuts rot and the colors of the sky at sunset and when it’s about to rain and how to count to a million in sand granules and km and Celsius conversions and what lychees taste like.

She is so curious. She craves knowledge, adventure, happiness and more beautiful life.


9. She is thankful.

She is thankful for the little, free things in life. I mean big things, like sunshine and seahorses, like baby turtles and fresh drinking water, time with mommy, bare feet, health, understanding another language, colorful reef, universal friendships and rainbows.

Not stuff. She is not thankful for stuff. She is thankful for nature, and for things that we have that others do not, putting life in perspective. She is not thankful for a new boat we have that a classmate doesn’t, but for flip flops when our neighbors don’t have any, or thankful for a fan at night for sleeping or a shower with hot water instead of cold. She is thankful for free adventure and life exploration.

10. Humanity is her family.

There are no colors anymore. There are no languages. There are people. There are beautiful human beings waiting to share friendships and be loved, waiting to be understood and accepted. She realizes that we are all equal. No matter where in the world we live, what we do, or what we look like. Here, we are the different ones, and sometimes it takes a lesson like that to really understand.

11. And last, she is learning that dreams come true.

She is watching her mommy pave her way of happiness and bring amazing things to life. Things that were once ideas in the heart are now morning activities and life perspectives.

She is learning that anything we dream up and want in this life, we can make happen. Anything that we don’t like, we have the power to change. Anything that we believe in and love, we deserve to have. Anything that makes us happy, we can experience.

She is learning that nothing is impossible, beyond reach or silly to dream.

She is learning that we have one life, and we deserve to live that the way we believe.

And she is learning that dreams are not meant to be dreams, but inspiration and encouragement to live and achieve and believe, to hope and pray and lead and do.


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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photos: Author’s Own

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Crystal Blue

Crystal Blue: Writer, international educator, anthropologist, adventurer, mindful liver, bohemian world traveler, dream coach, blogger at Enlightened Globetrekker, and free spirit mama to River, age 7. She recently moved from Tulum, Mexico and now lives in the Marshall Islands, South Pacific where she eats coconuts, philosophizes the good life, and relaxes in hammocks remembering when she once worked in an office before she followed her dreams. Follow her international adventure at enlightened globetrekker or on Facebook at The Enlightened Globetrekker. Visit Crystal on twitter.

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anonymous Mar 7, 2016 12:12pm

There are too many comments here where people have missed the point or decided to let this become a bitter contention. Let it go, that’s sorta the whole point on this site.

It’s amazing that she has the capability of raising her daughter this way and living their live. I envy that and hope that even as an adult I can someday live a life as full as this.

The rest of you, let go of the jealousy, bitterness and judgement, It’s a pretty ugly color on you all. Shame on you.

anonymous Nov 11, 2015 7:14pm

There's not one perfect way to live and raise kids. They don't have to be TVless globetrotters to be thankful, but that's not a bad choice either. It's just not superior to putting down roots. Living in suburbia doesn't equal over scheduled kids and stress. You can have balance no matter what lifestyle you choose. Good for you that you're happy with your choice which isn't financially in the realm of possibility for most people. It's a nice way to raise your kids, but it's not superior to the rest of us. Top bad this sounds so much like the author is said their way is the best way.

anonymous Sep 20, 2015 11:42pm

Beautiful piece of writing. This is the way every parent should raise their child. Sensitive to nature and life. Its a draft that I am saving for when I have kids, I will try to follow this as much as possible. Thanks for enlightening us 🙂

anonymous Sep 3, 2015 4:00pm

where can I send donations?

anonymous Sep 3, 2015 9:34am

Great article! Like the way it was written too. For all the “haters” GROW UP!…. everyone doesn’t have to think in a box like you! It’s her article, ( like it or not) she will continue to live and enjoy her life on her terms…

I Salute you Crystal Blue

anonymous Aug 4, 2015 12:55pm

I grew up in the US military and am very critical of US foreign policy and aspects of a “shared US culture,” but even I found this article to be ridiculously pretentious.

You would think an “international educator” would not only have a degree of humility, but would realize that the overwhelming majority of the people in the countries where her daughter is living the dream will never go off to college or realize their dreams. The irony here is that as Ms Blue waxes lyrical about he non-US-American lifestyle, her claim that her and her daughter – as individuals – can “make happen” anything that they “dream up and want in this life” smacks of the “American Dream” and is the very essence of individualism – that which she claims to have left behind. Furthermore, in doing so, she shows a complete lack of empathy for the socioeconomic situations and restricted aspirations of large swathes of people in the countries and regions she has lived; after all, her daughter is going to go to grad school or have a professional job – not like the poor simple folk they mingle with. Ultimately, Ms Blue reduces those native peoples to nothing more than the brown-skinned backdrop to her adventure. It’s actually quite sickening to read.

One last thing. Everything she sees in her daughter has little to do with her being raised abroad. Children are naturally inquisitive, open minded, and eager to explore their surroundings be they nature or man made. If her daughter wasn’t showing any of those qualities, it is probably down to her own shortcomings (lack of interest, time, effort, etc.) as a parent.

Let’s hope that Ms Blue’s daughter also learns about humility and sincerity during her time abroad, because she isn’t going to learn it from her mother.

anonymous Aug 2, 2015 2:56pm

Lovely lifestyle, but the too- perfect presentation reads a lot like those humble-braggy Facebook posts. The “ruining her life” because you don’t live in America is a straw man that nobody really believes. Feels like a veiled plug for the author’s dream coaching business.

anonymous Aug 1, 2015 6:41pm

Thank you for this article. I totally get it! Three years ago, I moved abroad as a divorcée with five kids. We haven't hopped from country to country, but have settled into a new home on another continent. While my children are definitely TCKs, I don't think they feel as rootless as some commenters have said they felt because we haven't hopped from country to country to country. Living abroad is a deeply enriching experience for those who can do so successfully. I think the author's daughter is having a very experience-rich childhood!

anonymous Apr 1, 2015 4:31am

Such a lovely way to grow up, such a shame written with such ego.

anonymous Mar 28, 2015 12:59pm

It's sad how foreigners get to experience the best side of other countries. I wish all the locals can say the same.

anonymous Mar 26, 2015 3:14pm

It would be nice to have the money to quit my job and travel the world with my daughter. I think your daughter is having a great experience. But it’s not one most people can afford. They don’t avoid travel by preference, but by necessity.

    anonymous Mar 26, 2015 11:14pm

    I wondered the same thing? How do you stay on a permanent vacation without any income? Perhaps all those dreadful, long hours spent working in America provided her with the money necessary to live the life she currently does! Give me enough money to live abroad with my kids and to not have to work and my life will be just as dreamy!

    anonymous Jun 4, 2015 7:10pm

    one does not have to stop working in order to be able to do something like what she is doing. You can become an expat, which means you work overseas and live in a place for minimum of 2 to 3 years and then you either go back home or do another one in another country. This is way to be able to travel a region without the expensive price tag attached to it

anonymous Mar 25, 2015 11:07pm

I loved reading this. I am a former Professional Expat and a Third-Culture Kid (Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia). I left America when I was three and returned when I was 18 (with occasional one-month summer jaunts to my grandparents' place in California). I then lived in southern Africa for three years as an adult. I had the coolest up-bringing ever. Ever! My mother refused to be the typical expat, sitting at dinner parties bitching about how hard it is to find good help. She took me out and about with her, and I wouldn't change the way I was raised for all the money in the world. You, and your daughter, are both very fortunate.

I will say that my one bout with serious culture shock was my re-entry to my passport country–the U.S. This was very, very difficult and I would counsel prep for that. Otherwise: good on you! Kim Westlake-Life, http://www.go-aheads.com

anonymous Mar 25, 2015 7:30pm

The level of smugness in this article is unreal. You need to work on your tone, as you probably didn’t mean to come across this way (I hope)

anonymous Mar 25, 2015 1:57pm

I think it's wonderful that your daughter gets to experience all these things, but as a parent, you have got to be concerned about her future. First of all, she IS an American, even though you seem to imply that is a negative thing. You are happy that she does not have American friends or has any connection to an American lifestyle or childhood. What are her/your plans for her future? Surely you expect her to have a better education than learning the colors of the ocean and the taste of the coconuts, don't you? You talk about all the things that she CAN become because she has the ability to be versatile, open-minded, and bi or tri lingual. However, those qualities will not be much use to her without an education. She's not going to work for the state department, or the United Nations or manage an international organization simply because she grew up barefoot on the beach playing with sand crabs. There are about a million kids worldwide who grow up like this every day, in Mexico, Asia, India, Africa, South America, many island nations, and yes, they can and do speak multiple languages and are also brave and smart and care about others, and their families do not have big homes, cars, and a TV. And yet, what value do we place on these children when they are adults? Does society feel that these young adults have an "advantage" in the world, or in particular, here in the U.S. in our competitive job market? Not unless they have a good education, and even then, that is no guarantee that they will successfully be able to support themselves. How many PhD's, scientists, and surgeons are driving cabs or working in a deli because their education is not "recognized" here? That is the concern I have for your daughter, especially when you seem to be instilling in her that American values are something to shun. Her family is not "humanity", her family is YOU. As an American, she will learn, especially if she continues to hop around the globe, that not all of humanity is happy to welcome a blue-eyed American with open arms. There will be few Americans who will bond with her, in an American college, for example, if she has the attitude that her American counterpoints are doing it all wrong. I think each one of us has a friend who went to Europe for a semester only to come home and tell the rest of us how great (insert country name here) compared to how crappy the U.S. is. If there is a crisis, for good or bad, she will STILL be an American, and you must prepare her for that. That is one of the realities of living in a "global" world as an adult. What you are doing with her now is an extended summer vacation, unless your plan is to remain in Mexico your entire life.

anonymous Mar 25, 2015 1:51pm

3. None of her friends are American.

So do think it's okay to say that children are better off if their friends aren't Mexican or Middle Eastern or whatever or is it just okay to say this about Americans?

And your statement about how you're a better mother only contributes more to the "Mommy Wars." Isn't everyone finished with acting like their way is the best and only way. Mothers everywhere are trying their best.

anonymous Mar 25, 2015 2:07am

Awesome read. Go RMI!

anonymous Mar 24, 2015 7:47pm

Congrats on your way of life and thank you for sharing. I think people are very quick to judge and “hate” on others. I don’t believe you were being smug or downing others for the way they raise their children, just sharing your experiences. Great job. Keep it up. Remember haters always gunna hate!

anonymous Mar 24, 2015 6:45pm

Awful. Gross really. I have spent my whole life nomadic- traveled since i was born. Raising three kids now and traveling with them often though living mostly in one place – yes the dreadful America. My kids have no tv, blah blah and all that jazz but WHO CARES??? Even if they did, they wouldn't be ruined. Being both a product of what this woman is writing of and a mother – I can say that this writer is full of it. You can raise amazing kids anywhere and in any circumstances. You don't ever need to get on a plane to have a happy, centered, open minded child. MANY of the kids of my nomadic friends are really effed up from all the travel and the non existent routine. Many have not had a constant friend their whole life and mane are lost lost souls. They could care less about diversity and just crave routine. She is kidding herself and just tooting her horn if she thinks that her kid is better than the rest because she gets to be raised on an Island with no tv etc.. There are MANY cons to being raised that way. It can make real life tricky and make it hard to ever settle anywhere. It is all about the parents – not about the environment. This author is so misguided and for her kids' sake- I hope she realizes this isn't a reality show and there is no competition and she can come back to some humility. Sigh.

anonymous Mar 24, 2015 4:54pm

Most of you who have written a comment aside from Rahshoe seem merely jealous when you should be envious. This women wrote a lovely article about her and her daughters life and what living aboard has brought them. Simplicity and appreciation!
What we all seem to lack these days whether we admit it or not.
Yes, we are all trying to do the best we can in today’s world raising our children. However, sometimes it is nice to see a different way to live and to love it on top of it all.
I thought this article was well written and breath of fresh air.
Thank you.

anonymous Mar 24, 2015 3:57pm

Parents absolutely should do what they feel is best for their child, and this kid is clearly getting huge benefits that are unique and to be treasured.

However, the tone of the post is so sarcastically defensive that it feels like it's labelling, negatively, parents and children who do not live this way. I grew up in a London suburb and did not find it an obstacle to achieving the same 'dreams' as listed above:
1. Languages. Admittedly this is best done by living in a country whose language you want to learn, but I was taught German and French from a young age, then a bit of Spanish. It's not like living 'at home' condemns you to being unable to speak another language in future.
2. Not having a TV. This is a parental choice more than a geographical one. Unless you can't afford one, but that can happen anywhere in the world. Nor does having a TV automatically mean a child won't exercise a lot or experience nature. And some TV programmes actually inspired me to go out and do sport, or work hard at school and take an interest (programs about space, science and history).
3. Nationality of friends. The post basically implies that an American friend would almost certainly be narrow-minded and culturally inept, diluting the diverse blend. That undermines the worldly liberal overtones of the rest of the post. Incidentally, when I was 7, my friends were came from numerous countries. I was friends with them because they were nice people. The nationality was interesting and educating, but secondary to their personalities, not a badge of honour used by my mother to boast about how liberally-minded her child was.
4. Big houses, big cars. It is possible to live 'at home' and not have a luxurious lifestyle that you feel the need to liberate yourself from.
5. Plastic toys. Again, a parenting choice. I had some plastic toys but my life wasn't governed by them, and nor were they a housekeeping problem, because my mother simply put sensible limits on what was bought and when it was used. I was still able to feel natural objects like in the posted example.
6. Stress. I was fairly relaxed at 7, not because I was living abroad but because my parents took care to make sure I wasn't on a treadmill of birthday parties, shopping trips or waiting for them to get off the phone. I was also aware, though, that food on the table and a roof over our heads didn't come without the need for some hard work on their part. So I learned patience and the value of hard work. Not a bad thing, in my view.
7. Bravery. Again, free-diving the Caribbean is not possible in London's suburbs, but bravery and adventure can easily be developed in a wide range of contexts. From dealing with harrowing problems within the family and making difficult moral decisions at school to taking risks in new sports (outdoor as well as indoor), public speaking, whatever…a child that lives in one place does not have to be a timid shrinking violet, too afraid to ask questions or explore life.
8. To really see the world as your classroom, that would include appreciating the beauty, value and potential of places that do not have oceans right outside the door, coconuts on the trees or lychees immediately to hand. I was able to be fascinated by archaeology, the birds, wildlife and plants that grew locally, and the idea that my suburban lifestyle meant that I didn't have conversations about climate, currency and science is well wide of the mark. I learned what wild mushrooms were toxic to eat, and weaved a basket or two myself at school. Coconut leaves aren't the only valid material to make them out of, and foreign countries aren't the only place where such skills are culturally interesting.
9. Thankful. Spending my childhood in a suburb did not stop me from being extremely thankful for everything in life. I have always thought of myself as a very lucky person, despite having neither a lot of money nor a coconut-rich oceanic landscape on my doorstep. I am thankful for those that love me and for the landscape I live in, and for the possibilities of the future.
10. Humanity being a family. Again, multi-culturalism is not based on geographical location alone. Yes, people are inherently more important than the language they speak, but if that is to really mean something, it has to mean valuing everyone's circumstances and not (inadvertently or otherwise) generalising about how other people's lifestyles are likely to leave their children socially weaker and less interesting than yours.
11. Dreams coming true. To be honest, I think it's important that children learn that not all dreams come true. They should learn that sometimes life is about luck, and about others getting the opportunities you wanted, and about not always being able to get what you wish for. Misfortune happens, coming second or last happens; it doesn't always have to be a bad thing. What matters is aspiration. I aspire for things without expecting them to happen just because I've worked hard and hoped for them.
Most of all, I am able to show the next generation that you can still be a curious, life-embracing, interesting, unprejudiced and terrific human being, whether you are growing up in a poky flat on the outskirts of a busy city, a mansion with a butler or in the Marshall Islands.

anonymous Mar 24, 2015 12:29pm

No need for a dad either! That is so cool!

    anonymous Aug 1, 2015 1:48pm

    Absolute best, most mindful & considered response yet. Completely agree & I’m luckily to be raising my kids in beautiful Colorado.

anonymous Mar 24, 2015 12:28pm

I get it: you are "happy," and your daughter is doing things most kids never will get a chance to do unless they are in the upper class or top 15. Seriously,good for you. Consider yourself fortunate. Now I must be going,back to Denver traffic and smog, good day

anonymous Mar 24, 2015 3:34am

This had the potential to be a great read but as others said just came across as smug and pretentious. We have been living in Vietnam with our 5 and 7 year old for the last 2 years I feel blessed everyday that we have been given this opportunity as a family, I understand so much what the writer is saying but it's not for everyone and we are bringing our children up no better or worse than our friends and family at home. I was recently talking with my husband about how differently we and our sibling are raising our children BUT that we are all giving our children the upbringing we planned and dreamed for them. There is no perfect way to bring up a child but I do hope I am raising them to respect and not judge others choices in their life.

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 10:07pm

Thank you for this article! My daughter is also 7 and has lived as a #globalcitizen since she was 1 years old. We have lived in Fiji, Mexico, Europe, Brasil, Peru, Costa Rica, Nica, Bali and now panama…Her eyes are open so bright it looks like the sun . Keep inspiring.

Rhonda Swan~ Unstoppable Momma

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 8:27pm

Good article , Smart title 😉

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 7:25pm

I suggest you don’t use a “sarcastic” title.

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 6:44pm

How much yearly taxes does she contribute? Rent etc? How do you pay for a perpetual vacation? Sign me up when I can do that. Serious note:,I’m excited for you and your adventure…but…how do you Really earn a living?

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 5:32pm

Oh, look at me. I’m a much better parent than you are, raising my kid without all of those material things that you Americans use to raise your kids. I grew up overseas myself and I actually didn’t turn out any better than any one else. Astounding. Even more surprising, having read this, is how well my kids grew up with all of those TV’s and toys and stuff.

Condescending articles like this make me rethink my subscription.

    anonymous Aug 16, 2015 5:40pm

    We too live abroad and travel on our sailboat with our 3 children. It is not expensive by any means…you just have to be able to adjust to frugality and be less materialistic. We sold our car which bought our boat. I write articles for side cash and my husband picks up odd jobs at marinas along our journey. There is always a way to live the way you wish to. Sometimes you just have to have no fear and go for it!

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 4:29pm

This article struck me as completely pretentious and self riteous. Wow, someone give this parent a Nobel Peace Prize….. We are all just doing the best we can with what we have. Many people would love to raise their children abroad if they could. Step down from your high horse, because at the end of the day you aren’t any different then anyone else

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 11:05am

Once when diving in Colombia I met the coolest little girl. She was 10 years old and already had something like 40 dives logged. She spoke English, Spanish, French, and Italian. She and and her folks lived on their sail boat and traveled the world, stopping for multiple months or years in certain countries where she went to the local schools. One of the many bad-ass kids I have met in my travels!!!!!!!! Keep ongoing sister, your raising one amazing kiddo!

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 6:33am

I agree with Mia. EJ usually posts positive and helpful articles. This post is full of conceit. We raise our daughter with an awareness of the choices she needs to make to be fulfilled. She gains strength from knowing that the distractions of the world are there and she is learning to choose what strengthens her, not to default to the mainstream.

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 5:50am

Let’s first look at how she describes herself, “Writer, international educator, anthropologist, adventurer, mindful liver, bohemian world traveler, dream coach, blogger at Enlightened Globetrekker, and free spirit mama to River, age 7.” I am not too sure, if one blogs, one is a writer; this is a surface layer analogy. Secondly, what is an international educator? You either teach or you don’t; the description is once again superfluous. ‘Anthropologist,’ I completely doubt it; normally, a person has to spend most of their early adult life in graduate school to acquire this title. They rest of her self-indulgent descriptions, point to her narcissist structure, which is the “free spirit mama” of such pompous writing. All of the world is her playground: different cultures, languages, environments and anything that might have the allure of the exotic. Difference is positioned as a supreme value for this “enlightened Globetrekker,” yet there is a ring of post-colonial exploitation in her reasoning and writing – I have see, I have tasted, I have experienced, hence I know of the deeper things. All of this works as an immature fantasy of self-indulgence; one wants something of substance, but only gets the same formula: Thank God such things are created for me and my daughter! Maybe the mirror or reflection of her own enchantment will break, but I doubt it.

anonymous Mar 15, 2015 2:53pm

The tone of this article is so incredibly smug! Woo hoo, lucky you! It is possible to bring up your family to be grounded and appreciate the world around you wherever you are, it's down to your parenting.

anonymous Mar 15, 2015 6:59am

Experimenting with your children? Want diversity move to Canada! All the things you explained, no plastic toy, no tv, playtime outside, stress free stay at home Mom, my kids have! I gave up my job for my kids. No way staying home would affect them negatively. Being uprooted when Mommy chooses to or has to MIGHT. If this was something you didn't want to do would you do it? If you answer yes then why? Does she not want a dining room to enjoy family meals? I couch to cuddle and sleep together? privacy? A normal healthy upbringing, not a constant vacation? Does she even know what she's missing? One day she will! Doctors and scientists are needed in this world. Are you teaching her? Can you?

    anonymous Mar 23, 2015 11:26am

    I live in Canada and it’s only diverse in the Major cities like Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. If you move to Winnipeg they are having a campaign to end racism which is a huge problem there. If you move to Alberta, especially in the small oil towns then it’s a very redneck and dirty oil money floating around.

    If you move to Canada we have Stephen Harper and Bill C 51 that people don’t care to change our own government spying on us!

    Move to Canada!

      anonymous Aug 1, 2015 7:02pm

      Well said, Stunning Steve. But despite the problems you list, Canadians had the good sense to kick Justin Beiber out! Unfortunately, you only punted him south a short distance. 🙁

      LOL 😉

anonymous Jan 27, 2015 3:03pm

Crystal Blue, I hope when you wrote this you were being facetious. Otherwise, you fail to realize the very relevant lessens your daughter has been learning. If you were not writing this tongue in cheek, then I think it's time you took some lessons from your daughter to broaden YOUR horizons.

J.A. Shalps

anonymous Jan 27, 2015 12:01pm

Have you ever spoken to many Argentines, Mexicans, or Italians about diversity? You might be disappointed…you are selling Americans far short here to the point of being absurd. I agree about there being a benefit of growing up abroad but this article is more about living in a place where there is an appreciation for outdoor activites embracing nature's beauty instead of materialism and has very little to do with the difference of being abroad.

anonymous Nov 19, 2014 1:36pm

This is such a wonderfully written article. I have just moved back to the United States after living abroad for over 3 years in Scandinavia, and when people ask me what it was like, I think I touched on everything you wrote. I have shared this article with many, and I hope many more are able to read its beauty. When you spoke of the stress of rush hour, oh gosh I can't tell you how much I appreciated not having to deal with that. Much Love, Enjoy your Journey. Happiness and Smiles.

anonymous Nov 11, 2014 10:23am

It is amazing to me how much resentment is evident in the comments from people living the "American Dream" and hating anyone who recognizes it for the fantasy that it is. As I read your article I longed for a simpler life with more heartfelt, humane contact with my neighbors. Yes, your daughter may have problems trying to fit into the "real world", but as you sarcastically (in a good way) point out, that is not such a bad thing. Do we continue to trade our humanity for technology and consumerism. How much "stuff" do we really need to be secure and content? It is important to sit with our resentment and envy because it has deep lessons to teach us. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/11/the-tao-of

anonymous Nov 7, 2014 3:44pm

The title of the article was intriguing. That child is so fortunate and I am sure she will be a wonderful adult. I grew up in an island and my home was perfect in its simplicity. My father didn't even had shoes as a child. I feel humbled at the life I had. This kid will be too and more! Thanks for sharing this.

anonymous Nov 5, 2014 6:26pm

I lived in Guatemala 9 months and Mexico 6 months with my kids. They are now fluent in Spanish … sigh.. It is hard for other kids in the USA to relate to them now, because they have such different experiences. We came here to buy a house (say it ain't so… to settle down! ) and we did, for 9 grand, in Detroit on a good block. But when it was 36 degrees here on Halloween, I missed the sunny beach of Mexico. We may just do it again.. find another country to live in for 3 months, then another and another until they are trilingual. We tried to fit in here and we do for the most part. My kids wanted to try not homeschooling… my son is STILL on a waiting list. My daughter just didn't get into the structure of the school and instead, enjoys not racing each morning at the crack of dawn to hurry towards a bus in the dark. We are spending too much money on electricity and food. I miss Mexico! We are the only white people on the block, which we are all used to, but this is no problem for us, we get along with everyone just fine. 🙂 I agree… your poor daughter! LOL and my poor kids… ha ha… I gave them only memories of travel for 1.5 years. We might do it again. ha ha… they both suggested that I do not get them presents for Christmas… maybe instead a quick hop over to Canada… see what that country looks like!

anonymous Oct 31, 2014 9:49am

You’ll have to come back one day and your daughter may have a hard time to reintegrate “real life”. Don’t leave to long because she may never feel home.

anonymous Oct 30, 2014 6:02am

That is the smuggest thing I have ever read in my entire life.

anonymous Oct 30, 2014 3:01am

I am happy to read your post as the possibility of children makes me nervous because 1)I worry it will put an end to my adventures 2) I question whether it is possible to convey to a child, the genuine sweetness of life as opposed to the falseness thrust upon us on a daily basis. I admire your way of life. You not only talk the talk, you walk the walk, and demonstrate that there ARE better ways to live and to raise a child. Even if you are not able to sustain this lifestyle permanently, I'm sure that just 1 year will make a huge impact on your daughters perspective of life. … … … After all, PERSPECTIVE is what creates our positive/negative emotions. In reading peoples PERSTECTIVES, it seems that you have stepped on quite a few toes! Rather than people appreciating your efforts, there is much criticism. Maybe this is because their perspective comes from the point of helplessness. We all have a choice. Our options may not allow us to uphold the typical American lifestyle, but the there are many options worldwide that allow us to uphold a HAPPY lifestyle. To all those people that say "I can't", I recommend reading Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. I thank you for setting an example and ask that you continue to share your stories.

anonymous Oct 29, 2014 9:38pm

Compelling article, loved the perspective. We are currently living in tropical Tonga with our 8 &10 year olds, and agree wholeheartedly – they may be missing out on some things but are gaining so much more. As a health & relocation coach, I encourage others to live their dreams too.

What amazed me was the anger and jealously in some of the comments. Wouldn’t it be a boring place if we all followed the same beat? You were not recommending everybody choose to follow your footsteps, but were proud of your own path, so I was bemused by the passionate response. I applaud you personally.

    anonymous Nov 1, 2014 8:01pm

    exactly. thank you so much for reading and appreciating.

anonymous Oct 29, 2014 8:08am

OMG she might even grow up not to be a materialist! You are a horrible parent 😛 Good perspective on things!

anonymous Oct 29, 2014 6:44am

Thank you for this article. I enjoyed the way it belies the wonderful opportunities supplied by living in big cities.

I noticed you did not mention your daughter’s father, and from the article I would deduce that she never sees him. If this is true, given the quality of her life, I would also deduce that his absence does not affect her in any negative way at all. Do you think her life is great in part because he is absent? Do you think, if she had her father around, it would even matter? Do you think it would make her life worse?

Thanks again.

anonymous Oct 28, 2014 10:08pm

i just found your site through a friend’s post of this article on facebook. this is how i want to live my life! i am single; my daughter will be 7 in 2 months and i would love to see how you started your journey. such a great read.

anonymous Oct 28, 2014 2:29pm

Wow… "None of her friends are American." I can only imagine the backlash that I would receive if I exclaimed how proud I was that my son or daughter wasn't friends with any French children! Isn't that prejudice the exact point of view you were trying to condemn? The lack of logic and critical thinking behind this piece is laughable. Do many kids watch too much television? Absolutely. However, to think that one must move "abroad" to tackle that problem shows the true disconnect within your grey matter. Poor parenting can ruin a child's life. Simply living in America definitely won't! These are parenting and child raising issues, NOT simply American issues. Most any reasonable and logical parent could adequately address these 11 issues without having to move out of the country and then passive aggressively attacking the parents and children still living in said country. You don't need to move to Cambodia, live in a box, ride a bike and play with mud to be culturally enlightened. Likewise, being one with nature, speaking multiple languages, understanding equality and achieving dreams can be accomplished wherever one desires to live. Just another piece of internet roadkill…. how ironic! Hopefully composing drivel like this isn't how you finance your daughters "bravery, humanity and thankfulness."

anonymous Oct 28, 2014 6:18am

Love the “i can afford the be eccentric” tone of this article. Like the rest of us have to discover that kids don’t need a great deal of material things to be happy. Listen you entitled patz… Many of us already knew this, because when we grew up we had little or nothing. We don’t need the sarcasm that only reflects that you came from a sheltered situation and because of it you are now in a position to mock what others had to work their arses off to get.

The only respect you do deserse and that i will give it, is you trying to raise a proper human. That you can be proud of. And i hope your daughter appreciates the experiences you are providing for.

anonymous Oct 27, 2014 5:12pm

I agree that you can provide a loving, joyful, exciting & fascinating lifestyle while unschooling & traveling w/the US as home base. My husband had a job that allowed him to travel to conferences overseas, etc. I was a stay-at-home mom. We lived on a very tight budget to save for experiences rather than objects. No TV, books galore & imaginations running wild as the children made up games or wrote their own books. We read aloud to them every night–even when they were teenagers. It was a delightful family time. My husband & I still read aloud to each other sometimes.

We loved those experiences & "raising" our children was the most joyful time of our lives. They are now 35 & 38 w/good, stable jobs that are international in scope.

When we get together we laugh so hard recalling some of our adventures & usually at my husband's or my expense as, apparently, we are quite hysterical w/out meaning to be!

When they travel internationally or in different states in the US, they bring back fascinating treatures as gifts & stories to go along w/each one.

My father was from Finland & my mother New Zealand; my husband's mother was from Australia & father from the good ole USA. Traveling to visit relatives & having international family members visit exposed us to different cultures, but mostly the love of family.

I agree the mother sounded quite smug as she didn't reveal any of the negative aspects of their lives so it came across as an unreal fairy tale, but all of the advantages of their lifestyle are surely beneficial.

I wonder about the Barbie doll. That is one of the worst cultural symbols from the US. The underlying "messages' surrounding Barbie are so damaging, especially to a developing young girl. Surely in all your globe-trotting you could find a doll that doesn't impart the "plastic" & dysfunctional ideals of the perfect female.

anonymous Oct 24, 2014 8:14am

despite the comments on how this is not written well because of sarcasm, and the people questioning your source of income, and structure, etc etc, i think this is a great article and it sounds like your daughter is getting to experience an amazing diverse life! maybe it will be hard to adjust later in life in another country, but she will come into wherever it may be, knowing a world that many dont get to experience. That, to me in itself is a blessing and if i had the chance to do the same, i would in a heartbeat! there are many that dont get to travel and understand other cultures and ways of life, and i think if they could, there would be a lot less prejudice in the world. i could say much more, but ill just say, cheers to you and your wonderful sarcasm and your life!

anonymous Oct 23, 2014 1:07pm

Your daughter could have the same lifestyle in the United States if you chose that for her. Not every kid grows up with TV or plastic toys- and believe it or not, a majority are outside exploring their environment because that is what their parents teach them and show them to do. It's not about growing up abroad, its about how you parent your child.

anonymous Oct 23, 2014 12:33am

I enjoyed this article and hope to live abroad with a family one day. Those who wrote negative comments are simply jealous and would love the life of the author but don’t have the guts to go for it. One doesn’t need to be rich to live abroad. It is all about choices and what you value. I didn’t find your voice sarcastic. Thanks for the inspiration. You and your daughter are blessed. “She is learning that we have one life, and we deserve to live that the way we believe.” Exactly, to each their own, let us not judge. Happy Trails!

anonymous Oct 22, 2014 8:18pm

What about if your daughter wants to be a computer scientist? Experiences and adventure are great but it sounds like you could be seriously limiting her options.

anonymous Oct 20, 2014 11:26pm

I wonder if she’s also as self-admiring as her mother is.

anonymous Oct 20, 2014 9:38pm

I appreciate and agree with the heart of message here but i think it oversimplifies and glorifies things.

anonymous Oct 20, 2014 6:13pm

Since I became interested in spiritual, enlightened, or what ever you want to call it, the main thing seems to be selling off everything and living a nomadic existence, and then telling the world about it.
But to read about their wonderful lives, you have to wade thru tons of advertisements, go to their Facebook page and read quotes from the "enlightened" people of the world. The traveling yoga people, those who travel around telling you how to get wealthy, telling me I need to go to a monastery in some third world jungle so I can find the true meaning of life, as they interpret it.
Of course they are selling the tours they want you to go on, how convenient!
Having things is bad, owning things is bad, minimize your life, eat nasty, foul tasting weeds to "cleanse" your body, your soul, etc.
I starting to look at this spiritual, enlightened stuff as pure B.S. Reminds me of all the tele-evangelists that constantly ask you to send them money so they can build mega churches and the help the poor.
As for being happy, if your not happy, nor can you find happiness where you are, in your present situation, you sure anent going to find it in a humid, bug ridden jungle, surround by people speaking a language you don't understand.
I'm I having a crisis of faith, maybe, but the B.S. is getting deep, and I'm running out of high places to stand.

    anonymous Oct 23, 2014 8:55am

    Hi Jan, I read your comment, and can completely understand where you come from. I’ve been seeking to reach a spiritual enlightenment as well. It’s definitely a journey, but you don’t need to travel very far to go there. The most important thing to know, is that the truth is within you. You are love, you are joy, you are peace, you hold the divine in you. God is in you. Seeking within, opening up to the divine, allowing, and trusting is all you need to do. Many people always seek out in to the world when in reality they were the answer all along. I attend Unity Church for guidence. The church is wonderful and helps inspire me and remind me of the truth. Somthing I have learned through out my journey is that, there is one truth, and you can hear this truth in many places,religions, groups ect.. although some make it a little more complicated then it is. I’ve been attending a spirtual organization for years and have received an abundance of guidence, healing,connection, protection, love all the divine!! This organization expresses the truth in a simple, free, beautiful way! It is called Bruno Gröning Circle of Friends. If you would like more information, contact me or simply research the name. Beautiful day to you!!! Sending you love


    anonymous Nov 5, 2014 6:46pm

    You have to go inside and find the deep sense of spirituality inside you. Most of the outward stuff is BS, I agree with you. You don't need outer things to find that inner connection with the Divine. I avoided these travelign yoga people on my journeys at all costs LOL and instead I connected with the locals… the farmers, the restaurant owners, the fabric weavers, the every day folks. I found spirituality in the simplicity of it all. However, I bought jewelry, and things to take home. You can have material things and be spiritual too. Don't worry what others think of your spirituality. It is yours 🙂 And don't give up! You will find what you need to be truly fulfilled, once you get past the BS. 🙂 Good luck!

anonymous Oct 20, 2014 5:13pm

While I was prepared to tip my hat off to a parent who is giving their child the gift of a tolerant worldview by experiencing other cultures I was blown away and disappointed by how arrogant and prideful it was.

anonymous Oct 20, 2014 4:48pm

Sounds like she's going to have an unwarranted sense of self-importance just like her mother

anonymous Oct 20, 2014 1:10pm

Dear writer, I applaud the lifestyle choices that you are making and offering to your daughter, but the tone of the piece comes across as one, big long bragging session about how great you are as a mom….You know you are not “ruining” your daughter’s life; you are using that as a humorous hook to share how amazingly better your life and parenting choices are than most people. So, it’s totally cool if you want to brag and be judgmental but let’s be honest about what’s really going on.

anonymous Oct 20, 2014 4:52am

This is a precious thought to begin the week with. Thank you!

anonymous Oct 20, 2014 3:30am

I enjoyed reading your article although I agree the tone of the piece came across sarcastic and judgemental. I am mum of two girls and we have spend the last 4years in Africa and a year on a island off Malaysia. The experience have been invaluable for us all,

And though there are many pros and cons as some of other readers have pointed out, all children experience things differently. My girls have loved spending time with me, experiencing new things, cultures and people. They are open minded and confident, intelligent and creative, but as they get older, there is one thing that they are constantly aware off, the everyone else has a “normal” life and and much as you try and point out to them how extraordinary theirs is and special, that’s all that they want to be, normal kids. My eldest is 12yrs and we are now back in a first world country in the the UK where children behave like typical first world kids and have way too many material things and care about brands, iPads or computer games. Children are cruel (if you can call it that) and they are not interested in the fact that you,ve travelled the globe, nursed a baby zebra to life or riden on an elephants back… They care that you can have a conversation about the latest TV program or what you can do with your loombands. Being a well travelled child means that you can conform, fit into your surroundings and do whatever it takes to make friends and have fun. Even if it means getting a TV and iPad. Enjoy this amazing time with your daughter.

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 7:11pm

What do you do for a living that allows you to get by? It cost money to live everywhere… My husband is in the Marine Corps and is getting out in March. We are looking into jobs that would allow us to possibly expat to the Carribbean, America has become such a unhappy place to be. I can understand the ability to sell all of your belongings but how it is possible to work from home without an interent connection? I didn't have the newest of everything growing up like some kids because somehow by the time i was 17, my single working mom had managed to take my brother and i to visit all 50 states, traveling is in my blood! have a BA in recreation management (perfect for this lifestyle, right?) and am a freelance illustrator and aspiring photographer so i can take my work with me but it's certainly not enough to survive on. We have been trying to save for years and were successful until being stationed in CA… This cost of living in this place on a enlisted Marine's salary has drained much of our savings. We want this life for our children but could never have the courage to let them go hungry or uninsured to have it. I guess I am just confused on how to make this happen for us. We both live simple, our kids don't have a lot of toys but enough to be happy and my gypsy soul is aching for a completely different lifestyle. We don't have many possessions in tow because we have moved 4 times in the past 6 years. My husband was born here but spent the first five years of his life growing up on his grandma's farm in the outskirts of Matamoros, Tamaulipas Mexico… He and his brother used to get paid in candy to chop the neighbors' grass with machetes! We could do this if we had the opportunity… We just don't know where to start.

    anonymous Nov 5, 2014 6:27pm

    elance.com and a couple cheap laptops could help you live this dream… plenty of jobs you could do, use paypal, have it sent to your bank account and allow your bank card to be used overseas and VOILA! 🙂 instant expat life! I lived in Mexico on 1000 dollars per month with 2 kids. 🙂

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 4:17pm

This is one of the smuggest pieces of writing I’ve ever come across. Just sayin’….

(This is not coming from poorly concealed envy. I’m raising my daughters abroad too– and we are quite poor and they are very happy. But so are my mates’ kids who live on a housing estate in the UK. And this is still a very smug article indeed)

    anonymous Oct 20, 2014 7:48pm

    Yeah, I had to stop after a few paragraphs because the passive aggressiveness was too much to take.

      anonymous Oct 23, 2014 2:56am

      I moved to the the UK from the US, as well. And, yeah, I agree. Does the author realize that "enlightenment" is not received through sarcasm and smugness? I don't think she meant it to be cruel but nevertheless it is insensitive and comes of rude.

    anonymous Oct 23, 2014 8:42pm

    Agree! While I think her daughter probably has a great upbringing, the smugness has to go. The "we are better than you because…" Articles are never good. We are all different, and different is good. My children are being being raised in one place, with many of their relatives within driving distance, which also has its advantages. I would never presume to be smug about that though. We all have our choices and advantages and disadvantages. This child's disadvantage is that her parents apparently presume to be better than everyone else.

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 3:39pm

This sounds like an amazing lifestyle, and they are an incredibly lucky family. Right up until the point they decide they need medical help etc and then off they jolly well go back to the good ol’ US of A, am I right???? We can all run away and live a life like this, and then sooner or later reality hits.

    anonymous Oct 21, 2014 6:15am

    We raised our kids overseas, both were born there and have now finished university/grad school in the US. As for medical care, we far prefer the regular care we got overseas: it was much cheaper, friendlier (more humane) and of consistent high quality – this includes two births and four major operations. Medical care issues may cause us to return overseas once my parents pass away. We find many systems here in the US to be unnecessarily stressful (not enough vacation time, dearth of public transportation, commercialism with a reliance on debt, an underlying culture of violence and much racial hatred, etc.). Both children struggled to fit-in in the US because 'they didn't want to fit-in and this was especially painful around cousins who simply could not relate to our kid's experiences. Both our children have returned overseas to start careers. As with all experiences, and choices we make, there are positives and negatives. Most important for us is that we all have to 'be there' for each other because we have fewer relationships to fall back on outside of our small family: we can really 'lean-on' each other. Living abroad has brought us together in a way that would not have been as likely had we raised our kids, and done our careers, in our home countries.

    anonymous Oct 21, 2014 9:02am

    Born, raised, and live in America, and have been injured many times (I am a klutz) across America and abroad. 75% of the time my treatment abroad was better than here. Nicer people, more timely treatment, and no one tried to charge me $500 for crutches (which happened in California).

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 12:32pm

I don’t travel. I have two kids. I have a house. I have a car. I have a T.V. My kids aren’t bi-lingual (neither am I). They’ll probably grow up with the same ingrained prejudices I’ve had to fight against. So glad that I’m doing such a terrible job.

Must have screwed up somewhere.

    anonymous Oct 20, 2014 4:41pm

    I have four sons, I raised on my own. I had a house, which I have now downsized since my children are grown and rent a lovely cottage down South with Palm trees outside. When raising my boys I fought against the prejudices that were attempted to be ingrained by my father and our small town. By God's grace and guidance, I succeeded 🙂 I went back to college, an HBC at 32 raising said 4 boys and graduated Cum Laude. My boys all play music instruments, are versed in many genres of music, were exposed, be it on a dime to various cultures, music, art etc. Positivity is SO much more attractive than negativity. P.S. I had TV, yet removed it for a year to further our appreciations. We all have "a choice."

    anonymous Nov 8, 2014 7:28pm

    Hey Me! You'll be much happier if you don't take this article, or your life, personally.

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 12:09pm

Although US residents, we moved frequently within the US & our kids experienced different US cultures. As adults, they have each stayed, so far, in one community, although bot the same one. All of them plan to relocate at some indefinite time. Personally, having grown up in only 2 different places, ages 0-6 & 6-18, I have never had a sense of "belonging", only of "now". The most insular, prejudiced, hate-filled person I have ever known grew up with marvelous opportunities as an ambassador's child, yet chose to be a caricature. We can offer experiences, but we cannot predict what the outcome will be.

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 11:37am

When we travel abroad with my husband’s work for long periods I homeschool (unschool) our 3 children. We never have the opportunity to be immersed in nature during these periods as his work takes us to huge cities (Delhi, London, Kuala Lumpur). But the freedom to use a city as our classroom is just so amazing! Although our children have some very unique experiences from these months on end abroad, what is important for us as parents is for them to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 11:37am

Not everyone can do this. Someone has to build the planes you fly in, make the snorkel equipment you swim with, have a job to buy the products that you provide to allow you to do this. Yes, someone has to be stressed out, be running around with their kids to soccer practice, working 40+ hours, so they can have the money to read what someone like you is so very fortunate to be able to do. I read other response's, and how they envy you life style, but they are unable to do this. Someone has to do the necessary day to day routine, mundane, work so that you and others can't tell us how wonderful your lives are, and how routine ours are.

    anonymous Oct 21, 2014 6:34am

    Your comments seems unnecessarily constrained by your present cultural expectations. I worked overseas putting in much longer hours in a day-to-day job for more than two decades. I sometimes got stressed out trying to make my son's soccer practice or my daughter's performances but that is all part of raising kids responsibly. Your life can be as wonderful as you make it no matter where you find yourself.

    anonymous Mar 28, 2015 5:19pm

    i agree with you jan. I agree with all the folks saying how smug this article is… i found this posted on facebook , just so ridiculous

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 10:50am

I have been that daughter and I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 10:14am

Two kids, one with me, one in homeland as mother has not allowed him to come with me. The one with me is much more mature, has friends from all over the world, speaks 5 languages, and realizes that life is not about the this and the i that. More friendly and in touch with the world, and her surroundings! This is what kids should be all about, and not about how many maids, drivers or TV's and toys they have. It is about them developing into better human beings!

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 8:38am

The article is ruined by the tone of sarcasm and entitlement. While all these things are great for your daughter, your addition of "she no longer has a big house" was unnecessary. I just hope in all the good things she is learning, she learns she is among the lucky few as most people cannot choose to live such a care free, special existence. I'm glad she can.

    anonymous Oct 22, 2014 4:16pm

    I completely agree! I feel the author somehow felt she discovered a great recipe that no one else has learned but the truth is she is coming from a place of privilege. I am extremely lucky to have been raised in the USA but unlike myself, my mother and other family members grew up in South America. Although, they were surrounded by the beauties of nature they also experienced great financial uncertainty and hunger. The author's use of sarcasm, I think down-plays how fortunate her and her daughter are to not only live in a great place but not have to worry about putting food on the table or if her paycheck will come the following month. Problems that many who live in these beautiful regions experience. Furthermore, the author's presence in that region and not in the town of their parents demonstrates just how much wealth she has. And when I say wealth I mean in opportunity not in finance. Many work really hard to get the kind of stability she mocks in her article. It's wonderful to feel grateful and proud of your daughter but as a writer, I would think she could have considered her audience better.

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 7:49am

When I first began reading this I found the author's comments to be sarcastic and thought, why doesn't she just write how awesome it is that her daughter is experiencing life in this way? As I continued to read her latter points, which were how experiencing this way of life is so positive for her daughter, I wondered, why the lack of continuity? Their lives seem beautiful. And I am truly envious. However, a positive spin instead of a sarcastic one right from the get-go, would have probably provoked less negative reactions and the comments and conversation would look much different.

    anonymous Nov 5, 2014 6:35pm

    I understand completely her sarcastic way of presenting this idea. When I moved to Guatemala with my kids, my cousin who barely spoke to me when we were in the USA decided that I was a horrible mother and wrote me a terrible and super long rant publicly about how awful I am as a person, (then deleting me before I could answer) rather than ever getting to know me as an adult nor asking me why I was doing what I was doing, or even WHAT I was doing. This opened this huge space for EVERYONE in my family to also attack me personally. Because when you do something different and you are actually thriving and enjoying your life, it threatens others. A lot of my friends came to my rescue and actually defended me and my choices. It was all so amazing to see…. how much of my family didn't approve and how much my friends truly had my back. In the end it doesn't matter. Everyone I know in the USA is still worried about that damned mortgage payment and I am living in my house, debt free, with tons of memories with my kids and a new skill… speaking Spanish fluently. 😀

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 5:12am

🙂 my daughter is 10, speaks 4 languages eloquently and fluently, doesn’t understand any form of discrimination, hasn’t got a lot of stuff but plays well on the back of an old truck everyday. It has been a spaceship, submarine, and an office just this week. She is no longer that foreign girl, she is just her, love what you are doing, keep doing it!

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 5:06am

Love to read about other parents perspectives about living abroad.

I am a TCK (Third Culture Kid°) only reverse. We moved to the US when I was 5 after being born and living in Thailand. So i had to learn english after having spoke French and thai. My father was French Canadian and my mother was Thai.

Even when we lived in the US, my parents somehow raised me very un American like. I found it very hard to integrate into the American culture. And although i love many things about north american culture i always had this sense that i did not belong. When we would travel to Quebec, or to Taiwan or abroad I always had this feeling of peach. It felt better to be abroad. From what i understand many but not all kids raised in multiple countries feel this way. No sense of belonging, ; One of the downsides i suppose

Now i am raising my kids as Third culture kids only they are Americans now growing up in France; 3 years and counting. I sometimes feel like i am experimenting with my kids but I think that that is ok I think. However, I wonder about my youngetst daughter because although she is now fluent in French and english and completely immersed in French culture (she thinks she is French) I wonder if she will feel at home or feel how I felt growing up in the US, another country to her.

On the flip side, I am so happy to give my children the gift of multiple cultures and languages and the benefits are not always apparent.

I wish you and your family the best. Traveling beyond the 2 week annual vacation is a gift that i wish more parents could give to their kids.

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 3:09am

Must be nice to be able to afford to be so liberal…Who pays your bills ?

    anonymous Oct 19, 2014 1:47pm

    Some people can save very well. My wife, living on her own, making only a moderately above-average pay-check had her car and home paid off, had managed to get paid for twice taking a cruise-ship around the world (Semester-at-Sea) and volunteered for several months on a hospital ship off the coast of Africa. She had the equivalent of about 10 years of salary saved, and all of this before we got married (she was in her mid 30s).

    The difference between her and most people is: 1> She knows how to find a bargain (so well, in fact, that she frequently buys stuff, uses it for a while and then sells it for more than the original purchase price) 2> She doesn't need a lot of "stuff".

    The problem is, most Americans have bought into this lie that they need to buy all this "stuff".

    anonymous Oct 21, 2014 6:27am

    Planning is important as is education because in an expat career you will be competing with better educated international experts and executives. I came out way ahead of my peers after having spent more than 30 interesting years abroad. Make sure you go abroad with solid skills, including languages, you can rely on to pay the bills!

anonymous Oct 19, 2014 12:10am

I practically grew up overseas as a military child and a child of foreign nationals, so you have written what I saw through my childhood. Thank you. You bring to light good things-valuable life lessons and key things in a meaningful life. Beautiful.

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 11:53pm

Had to delete two rude comments. We can disagree without being personal. We can live abroad, or domestically, without insulting one another. We can afford to laugh at ourselves, and see the wisdom in other. Thanks for playing! ~ Waylon, ed.

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 7:40pm

I grew up as a globe trotter. I moved every two years to a different country and attended 12 different schools. While there are so many wonderful things about it and I truly do see the world as a global place, can get along with anyone, am multilingual and have friends all over the world. I do feel that I miss knowing what it is like to have a "home." It seems it is one of those things that you have to get when you are young or not get at all. I don't regret my childhood but I think perhaps some adults who have had the experience of growing up rooted, romanticize what the experience is like for a child. So many important things are lost, extended family, stability, a sense of belonging. When you grow up always being the "other" it is hard to ever stop feeling like a outsider. Tho little kids are accepting and I did not feel I was an outsider to my peers, my parents did were not like everyone elses and we never stayed long enough to totally over come that. The book "Third Culture Kids" explains the pros and cons very well. Finally I have eternal wander lust and want to move myself constantly which now that I have kids is challenging as I do not want them to grow up uprooted, I long to give them the stability and sense of place I didn't get. It's a struggle. So while I think yes in some ways it's a great privilege it comes at a high cost. My final advice, let your children settle by age 12 at least. Teenage moves SUCK.

    anonymous Oct 19, 2014 1:42pm

    I get what you're saying, but my mother moved us when I was 10. We moved from one U.S, State to another U.S. State and I felt just as unsettled as you did. I went from a place where I was accepted and fairly popular to a place where I was ridiculed because of my accent and where I was from. Kids are mean and it can be hard to be a kid. I didn't really feel at home again until I moved to Mexico at the age of 28. I again felt like I returned home when I returned to the state that I left when I was 10, where I currently reside.
    I honestly think you got the better deal out of it. My wife and I are trying to decide whether to take our 4 year old daughter abroad (not quite yet, but in the next few years). I appreciate hearing the negative aspects. It'll be something to weigh. But at the same time, I think some of those things can happen staying in a country as well.

    anonymous Oct 19, 2014 11:53pm

    I moved around every 3 years my whole life, 24 years. There is not one thing I regret. You realise that home is not a place of tangibility.. but a feeling that you have with people. And the more you unbecome these societal and cultural expectations, the more you realise we are all the same and you can connect with anyone and feel "at home." Home is something that you create, be it with your friends or family or animals or music or food. Yeah, it might have been tougher when I was younger, because I couldn't see the commonalities between myself and my "home countrymen." But, as I grew up and matured ALOT, I was able to see past it and see the bright side of all experiences, and realising that everything that happens in my life today, wouldn't exist if it weren't for every little moment I had along the way. I couldn't ask for anything more for my children, if and when I have them. There is no price on seeing and knowing the world.

    anonymous Oct 20, 2014 1:52am

    I agree, I was uprooted many times, I find it hard to find my tribe now. I want stability for my children. Where she get her money for this? I would like to try a year out but then….

    anonymous Apr 2, 2015 7:50am

    Same here i move every 3 years and went to like 6 different schools. But my motto was always "home is where the heart is"

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 7:07pm

I really do feel bad for your daughter. She might be experiencing all these cool things now but what good will this do for her future? Im sure the only way YOU are able to experience this yourself is because of how\where you were brought up in north America. What if she doesn’t plan on living in Mexico when she gets older? She will be so far behind in real world she wont be able to make it on her own

    anonymous Oct 22, 2014 5:40pm

    I think you are making unfair assumptions about the author, without knowing. Who knows what her background is? Many people are able to live abroad today, who would not have been able to do so 30 years ago, myself included. It no longer equates to a specific upbringing. The world is simply more global and more accessible. In terms of her daughter, you may want to research the benefits of living abroad and speaking more than one language, especially in the global world in which we live today. You may be surprised to find that her daughter is likely to have a distinct advantage, thanks to her experience, compared with someone who has remained in one country, speaking one language, and thus lacking international exposure and experience.

    anonymous Oct 24, 2014 8:07am

    I don't think this is the way you should be looking at things. Her mind is open, she is happy, she has a work ethic and appreciation… when she is older she will be able to live anywhere because she can adapt… make friends, 'figure it out', find peace.

    anonymous Jun 4, 2015 7:54pm

    Oh my god, you're right. How will she ever cope in the 'real world' when she hasn't been conditioned to fit in, do as she's told, struggle through boring school so she can get a job she isn't passionate about, and understand that she needs to keep her dreams small because they're unlikely to come true – like most do in the 'real' world (assuming you're talking about typical uninspiring unfulfilling Western society.)??
    What a terrible mother she has. Oh wait…

    Her world is just as 'real' as yours Mike.

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 6:17pm

I know she will look back when she's older and wish she could live her childhood again. My family moved to Japan after I finished 1st grade elementary school. I attended a Japanese school for 2.5 years where Japanese was the only language. This was not in the city and most of my neighbours and friends were Japanese. My parents were talked about. Someone even said they were "experimenting with children" by not putting us in a Norwegian school. Learning the language took about 2 months. The school was hard work, but it was the best time of my life. I wish I could live through it again. If you get the chance to move abroad and give your young child that experience, do it. When you are young, you adapt and learn faster than you can blink. I wouldn't trade my childhood for anything. I hope I get the chance to do it to my children if I have any.

    anonymous Oct 28, 2014 11:35pm

    hey helene. thank you so much for understanding and support. thank you for relating. yes its a beautiful experience and is priceless. please find us pn facebook and stay in touch. love from the pacific, crystal

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 4:21pm

i grew up overseas for 10 years… and while most of this was true for me (no TV, friends from all over the world, learning different languages, exposure to new cultures)… i found it challenging trying to reintegrate into life in north america when i graduated high school and came back for university. my life was so different from my peers i actually struggled to find a place and belong. so while i think that travel is great and seeing the world and i appreciate the experiences i had… i am raising my kids in one place… with deep roots/connection/belonging… and exposing them to the world in ways i can – travel when i can, but also books, getting out into the community, art, music, various cultures around us… i don’t think you have to leave your country to be a good parent or for your kids to have no TV, spend a lot of time outside and be exposed to a variety of people, languages, friends, etc… i think in some ways growing up transient can keep us from feeling fully connected and tuned into the people around us, because we are always “on the go”… i think there is much wisdom in the expression “think global, act local”… and connection to place and community is really important for me.

    anonymous Oct 18, 2014 7:42pm

    I feel you sister! I grew up all over and have never felt "at home" in my passport country. I want my kids to have a place they are "from!"

    anonymous Oct 20, 2014 7:16pm

    I have four siblings and we sailed to Hawaii(German father built a boat) from California several times, went to 13 schools, and had some amazing experiences. Funny thing is I adapted well later even though I had culture shock from sailing correspondence courses to going right into high school. One brother treasures his friends from high school because we moved so much. He did not like being uplifted so much and has brought his kids up in a stable home as a result. I remember bragging how great it was when someone said how selfish my father was for pursuing his dreams and not always doing best for the kids. I was shocked they said that but actually they were a bit right… It was hard as kids…I think this really depends on the kid

    anonymous Oct 22, 2014 5:15am

    Me too! I left England at the age of 18months and returned when I was 15. We lived mainly in the Far East and Middle East due to my fathers work, I went to international schools with many many different nationalities but coming back was a huge shock. I didn't fit in. No one knew where half the countries I had lived in where, I had a strange almost American accent, having lived in shorts, t-shirts and sandals I knew nothing about fashion and trends. We had no tv living abroad so was outside all the time. Of course I knew nothing about TV shows, films, music. I was this weird outsider. Only the teachers in my new school were interested in where I had lived ect which made it worse for me as the other kids then thought I was a teachers pet!! Having said all that though. The experience I have lived was amazing. A lot of countries I lived in cannot be revisited due to civil war ect. The different cultures, language, food that I lived amongst was great and I am greatful that I could experience this as my own children will never get to do this. Although I do like he fact that my daughter has grown up in one place with the same set of friends all her life.

    anonymous Mar 24, 2015 2:10pm

    I completely agree. I moved around a lot as a child and I was able to experience so much and see so much but it does have its negative effects. I never learned how to build lasting relationships because I never stayed in one place long enough to make good friends. I learned to be friendly but never take the time to bond with someone. It has been hard adapting to being an adult and trying to hold relationship because I never feel like it's forever. I have no problem picking up and leaving so I never give a place a real chance. As much as I love how much of the world I've seen I wish I could have finished school from the start with all my friends instead of moving every year.

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 2:10pm

We live a nomadic life and people often say, "Oh, you can do that because you don't have kids." I often respond that there are tons of people who do it with kids–there are a zillion blogs out there describing how they do–and now I will direct them to your beautiful piece. Thank you!

    anonymous Oct 28, 2014 11:33pm

    thank you so much these kind words are really appreciated. yes please share this story, and also find me on facebook at The Enlightened Globetrekker. Would love to stay in touch.

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 1:41pm

As a child, I had exactly the same experience. I feel SO VERY FORTUNATE!!! It’s Wonderful feeling that you belong in two worlds, that you can come and go back and forth. That you’ve been nurtured by the best of both. Personally,it felt as an challenging, fun adventure as a child. It gave me strength, openness, appreciation for the simple things and a major gift which is to understand Diversity and be completely bilingual. AWESOME ARTICLE! CHEERS!!

    anonymous Oct 28, 2014 11:32pm

    hey ally. thank you so much for reading and relating. the support feels really good. there arent many of us. find me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/crystalblue.mascaro?fref… i am sure you are an amazing human being with these experiences, and that is what i want for her. a free mind and warm heart and appreciation for the little special things in life. congrats to you and your parents. love from the pacific, crystal and river

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 12:34pm

That daughter is very lucky to live and grow up enjoying life. Seeing different things in reality and not just being stuck at home getting fat. Learning different languages and dialects that will help her grow smarter.

    anonymous Aug 2, 2015 4:48am

    Not everyone who is stuck at home is "getting fat". A child's experiences are limited only by it's parents imagination. What a pretentious and arrogant article this is, to boast about your child "not having any American friends", I am not American but I am offended by that comment and the whole tone of this condescending writer.

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 9:51am

Hey!! Great article!! I live in Playa del Carmen, and sometimes I get so amazed when I just take a small walk to the store, the sky is always so so pretty.The different colors of the trees and palms, the way the sun makes its shadows. It makes me want to cry!! This is an amazing place to live, but even more amazing for children to grow up in here. It is indeed a completely different life!! This is real freedom, to be connected to nature, to simplicity. It gives you the feeling that your heart will explode!

    anonymous Oct 18, 2014 2:04pm

    gracias Dani! yes, absolutely, i feel the same way. That is such a beautiful area especially if we are tuned in to recognize. As is life in general, when we take the time to live it. Thank you so much for reading and resonating. Enjoy Mexico!

    anonymous Oct 30, 2014 8:14am

    And this is why I'm moving to Playa del Carmen too, our 5 year old daughter is Canadian she speaks both languages already, Spanish & English, but living here in Calgary winters are too long and too cold! and that means too much time spent inside the house. I want her to explore all beauty out there that nature has to offer and connect with it.
    I'll be moving in the next couple couple of months most likely January. Can't wait!

anonymous Oct 18, 2014 9:38am

Wow thank you so much for this. No kids yet, or in the nearby future, but this is exactly how I imagine raising them when the time comes. Experiences, hands-on learning, new languages, exploration… those are the tools kids need to grow and thrive. Anything that doesn't have them sitting in a classroom is going to open their minds and creative spirit.

Anita Nicole Mas Aug 1, 2018 2:22pm

I too have been living in Mexico with my daughter for 5 yrs. now returning to Canada for awhile... and not really looking forward to the difference in life we will experience. Thank you for your article- made me cry a little to know that it isn’t just me that sees the beauty, strength and wisdom our children gain from having such an amazing opportunity.

Kameahle Christopher Mar 27, 2018 7:15pm

There are some real haters reading this beautifully written article. More power to the author for unapologetically living life on your terms and raising your daughter in a way that most people can only dream of.

Maisie Zardies Mar 18, 2018 2:02pm

Great article! I wouldnt say your daughters life is ruined though!

Karen Garcia Oct 19, 2016 3:57pm

I identified myself in there. Thanks for the great article.