Travel Blogger Profile: Soultravelers3
Today I am excited to introduce Jeanne Dee of Soultravelers3, one of my favorite travel people. When I started reading travel blogs, I was immediately inspired by the story of these 3 nomads, so it’s a particular thrill for me to feature her in this series of travel blogger profiles. Over to you, Jeanne.
What’s your travel background?
I’ve traveled my whole life to over 80 countries and the last 6 years we have been on an open-ended non-stop family world journey to 43 countries on 5 continents together so far. My father, grand father and great grand father were all big travelers as are my siblings and mother so I come by adventuring and globe trotting naturally. I think travel is the best education so wanted to pass these experiences onto my child by traveling as a family. She took her first trip and stayed in her first hotel at 2 weeks old and we started our world tour when she was 5.
What’s different about your blog or site?
What is unique about our blog, soultravelers3 family travel, is we are the first family to travel the world non-stop and blog about our experiences. We are pioneers in the around -the-world, “digital nomad”, “location independent”, “travel lifestyle” movement and one of the fist travel blogs to exist. In both the traveling world and the travel blogging world, 6 years is a very long time.
We are case studies in the mega hits Four Hour Work Week and The Art of Non-Conformity and we were on our world tour long before they wrote either book. We’ve traveled over 200,00 miles over land, been completely around the world, traveled by car, plane, sailboat, train, cargo ship, camel, bikes, RV etc, stayed in everything from a Berber tent in the Sahara, to couchsurfing in Bora Bora to luxury hotels in Butan , Jordan, Singapore, Sydney, San Francisco etc, so have acquired an amazing amount of travel experience.
We travel the world for much less than we lived at home, so demonstrate the many advantages as we live them. We travel and live large on just $23/day per person and have for 6 years, including expensive places like Bora Bora and Norway and long stays in Europe.
We’re also monolinguals raising a trilingual/triliterate child ( in Mandarin/Spanish/English) and educating our school age child as we roam the world via local schools and eclectic homeschool, so probably more experienced than anyone on raising a polyglot global kid through “world schooling”. Thus we blog about these experiences and how we have found travel to be the best education as well as more time to bond as a family.
We’ve got amazing photos and are one of the very few travel bloggers to have had several YouTube viral travel videos and asked to be partners with YouTube. ( Our very first YouTube video went viral with 2 million views). We’re the only blog that won two Lonely Planet Best Travel Blog awards, we’ve been featured in the New York Times, the BBC world wide TV and in much national and international media. National Geographic called us “One of the best family travel blogs in cyber space”.
What’s the most unexpected thing that has ever happened to you when you travelled and how did you handle it?
On a lovely day biking the Danube with my family in the stunning wine roads and river cruise area of Austria near Melk, on our 19th wedding anniversary, I crashed and severely broke my dominant right arm, needing an ambulance and surgery with pins and rod, in a hospital where almost no one spoke English. To top it off, my broken humerus bone cut my radial nerve ( typical with this rare kind of break because it wraps around this bone on its journey from neck to hand) and left me with a totally paralyzed arm for over a year.
Most people probably would have ended their travel and certainly put their blog on hiatus at such a tragedy, but we thought it best to stay in Europe and despite the extreme pain and long rehabilitation ( in several countries) we kept to our usual motto that if there is a will, there is a way. It did slow us down, but we found a way around every challenge, including me learning to type one handed with my left hand for over a year to keep up with the blog.
Complete the sentence: I never travel without … because …
I never travel without my Mac laptop because it’s the key to our travel lifestyle that allows me to stay in touch with family, blog, school, etc where ever we are in the world.
When it comes to travel and travel blogging, who is your mentor/hero and why?
When I started travel blogging in 2006, I was not aware of any other travel bloggers doing it. Almost all travel bloggers and digital nomads came later. I remember 2008 starting the trend when many started doing it after the economic crash.
When we began we named several folks on our blog who inspired us like pioneers of perpetual travel, Vicky and Paul Terhorst ( who wrote the book Cashing in on the American Dream and retired at 35 and started non-stop travel 25 years ago). We also admired a French family and an English family ( the Drapers who we met in person) who did long term travel using an RV and early retirees Billy and Akaisha Kanderli and Reads on the Road ( who traveled by caravan in Europe for two years). Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding book was an inspiration as well. All demonstrated that world long term travel could be done on a low budget. Families on the Road was also a help, although most at that time were RV families in the US.
No one was doing what we wanted to do, but each of these gave us inspiration and ideas to form our plan.
What place is on your travel bucket list? Why?
Long stays and deep explorations of Africa and South America have always been high on our list, but we just haven’t made it there yet as we are focused on deep language immersion in Mandarin and Spanish first, while our child is young enough to make that easiest. We’ve done most other regions but we want to do lots more of Asia this year. We will do more of the USA at some point.
What is your favourite travel planning tool?
I don’t really have one, I just use the internet and books when I find them and talk to other travelers a lot. I suppose talking to “locals” and insiders who have a similar taste to us is my best tool and often that is done online including through crowd sourcing via our social media channels like Twitter and Facebook or our blog. I am writing this from St Augustine, Florida and we came here because people from our blog, social media and in person, highly recommended it.
Anything to add?
Travel with your children, it really is the best education and our future 21st century global citizens will be so enriched by it and get a head start in life. It is easier and cheaper than most people realize and the key is to travel slowly and live like a native.
Remember that all the studies show that what makes people happy is experiences and connections, not stuff, so go for it as life is short and meant to be lived fully.
Travel light and live a minimalist life. We all need so much less than we think and that gives us so much more freedom. We just went completely around the world to 26 airports over a year and just took one small carry-on piece of luggage each with us. We’re doing a similar trip this year and taking even less. It’s truly a myth that families can’t travel light.
Languages…give your children the gift of languages when they are young. It’s one of the only free lunches on the planet and slow travel makes this very easy.
If you are on a low budget think about teaching English abroad and bringing your family or do a winter in a Spanish speaking country.
Be your own hero and know there are no limits in life. Teach your children the same. Don’t ever buy into the lie that travel is expensive because it doesn’t have to be. The best things in life are free!
Thanks for your insights, Jeanne.
Want to be featured in this slot? Leave a comment on this post to be considered.