In my recent experience at the Dynamite Circle conference in Bangkok, I was reminded of how small my world really is. Adam and I have lived in three different houses in the last 15 years and those houses were all within 1.5 miles of each other. Our little town is on the outskirts of a bigger, growing town, but it is not exactly a big city. Our kids have gone to the same school for the last five years and still have the same best friends they had in kindergarten. Adam’s parents live about 15 minutes away and my parents live 45 minutes away. We have a large, supportive community that we are very active in. It seems like the ideal set up to me, but not everyone has values like the ones that we have held us here all these years.
While in Bangkok I met people from all types of families. There was a young married couple who ran their business together, she was the face of the company and he was the tech side. They split their year between California and Europe and had no immediate plans for kids because they couldn’t decide where “home” would be. There were couples who worked together, but one was the employer of the other- talk about a power struggle. Another family had multiple businesses and they each had their own to manage. There was a family with a young baby and they were “location independent”, which means they don’t need to stay in one spot for work. Evidentially, the difference between being a “location independent” and being a “digital nomad” is that all digital nomads choose a nomadic lifestyle. Location independent people may still have a home base, but they can follow where their business leads them or they are not tied to any one place at all. They may only live in places for 4-6 weeks at a time and then move on. This sounds like a total nightmare to me, but imagine the interesting life you’d lead! You would only be limited by your imagination.
I spoke with several parents about how they managed kid life within their lifestyle. Many managed like we do, a base parent stays home while the business parent travels and does “FaceTime parenting”. Some had nannies or au pairs. Some had tutors or homeschooled and some just managed. I spoke with several people about the idea of international school, a concept that would allow children to move from one large city to another without getting behind.
Imagine the different dynamics these various lifestyles would have. Imagine the varying experiences these nomad lifestyles could afford! The thing I struggle to wrap my head around is that this is their choice. They aren’t suffering. This is what they want. Their values just differ from mine slightly. Honestly, it made me a little envious. It made me wish we lived in a more progressive area so that our kids could be exposed to the bigger world. They’d be able to go anywhere at anytime with confidence and make their mark on the world. They’d have a love and respect of other cultures and religions. They’d be able to go into any situation and make friends and a place for themselves. But the idea of moving them out of their security and comfort always gives me pause, because even though this alternative, gypsy lifestyle is really cool there are sacrifices being made to live it. I can’t help but think how the amount of stress on a relationship would be compounded by moving regularly. Just driving to Disney World puts Adam and me at each other’s throats.
There is no wrong way to do family. Not all families have a “home based executive” like ours and that’s a good thing! The different types of family values out there are what fills this world with such varied and interesting people. It makes me wonder whether my own growth mindset is as advanced as I’d like to believe it is. This experience reinforced the idea that business owning families, ALL business owning families, need support. Some of the needs are basic and universal and some are super complex. The needs are vast! I’m curious to know; what type of support does YOUR business family need?