National Geographic Travelers of the Year: Drew and Christine Gilbert are named travelers of the year for the Nov 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler:
“Travel is the art of being present,” says Christine Gilbert, who, along with her husband, Drew, has been on the go since 2008. That’s a long time on the road—long enough for the troupers to add a son (Cole, 4) and daughter (Stella, 20 months) to their tribe. Since turning to travel as an antidote to their former Boston-based workaday worlds, the family has practiced presence in some 38 places, including China, Costa Rica, and Morocco.
“There’s this idea that traveling is something you have to do before you have kids, but there are huge benefits to doing it after you have kids, too,” says Christine. On the heels of a two-year “experiment in language learning” on Mexico’s Pacific coast (“we’ve tackled Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish,” she says), the family spent the summer biking 2,500 miles across Europe before temporarily settling into Barcelona.
“Since I’ve had children, that sense of seeing the world has become even more important,” says Christine. “I don’t just want to raise my children to be global citizens, to know a culture other than their own. I also want to pass on the gift of being aware of the world, of appreciating the beautiful, messy, strange wonder of this inexplicable planet and the curious humans who inhabit it.”
Embracing life on a global scale costs money. Drew is a commercial artist, and Christine is a writer (almostfearless.com). Their Wi-Fi–enabled careers inspired their new project, The Wireless Generation, a documentary film about people who have quit their jobs and turned to travel.
—By George W. Stone
“Want to work from anywhere? You’re not alone. Some 63 million Americans will call somewhere other than the office their workplace by 2016, according to analysts.
The mobile workplace isn’t a new concept, but it is growing. Today’s workers have more options when deciding where to work, not just for who, but quite literally where. Locations are no longer relevant when applying for a new job, as long as someone has Internet access, they can do the job. Remote workers have opted for a lifestyle of adventure, maintaining their careers wherever there’s a Wi-Fi connection.”
“What’s the biggest pleasant surprise you’ve encountered in shifting to a nomadic lifestyle – something you never saw coming during the planning stages?
It came when I had my son, after about two years of being nomadic. Having two stay-at-home parents has been a gift. It’s made everything so much better. When he was little and I felt tied to him all day long, we’d just travel around and I’d carry him in a sling. If he was up all night, it was okay, we just slept in the next day. It made that first year an absolute joy – between the support of having my husband there and getting to continue to travel with a very small child – we loved it. It’s an absolute luxury that most people don’t get to experience and we made a lot of sacrifices to get it. We live frugally, we work hard on our businesses, we own very little stuff. But to us, it’s the best part of having a completely flexible lifestyle.”
That one time MC Hammer tweeted about our project:
How To Work From Anywhere: the Documentary [VIDEO] http://t.co/MLvhB02J
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) August 1, 2012
10 Year Itch: Interview with Christine Gilbert