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Narrowing Down The Plan For Our Family World Travel (Pt 2)

Now that we've told you a little bit about WHY we decided to explore the idea of family world travel, let's talk about how we narrowed down our plan! (If you didn't read our 'why we decided to move abroad with children' post, you should check that out for the backstory.)

Actually, the conversation of moving abroad with children to Europe first came up a year earlier, when we were going through some super stressful life transitions and we really just wanted to make some sort of major change, because we were feeling stuck in the rut of day-to-day suburban life.

But when we first talked about it, it was a pipe dream- something we joked about doing in that vague time frame called, 'One Day.'

In fact, family world travel seemed almost magical and surreal!

The idea of actually DOING IT- taking the kids out of their schools, selling our house, and leaving all the people we loved behind and travelling world wide- seemed absolutely crazy, and (dare I say) reckless! Irresponsible! Downright WILD.

Then to consider the financial aspect of moving overseas with kids and actually traveling Europe- it definitely didn't seem within our reach. I imagined it to be quite an expensive endeavor, even if we attempted to keep our family travel on a budget.

But after my heart attack, our entire perspective on life shifted, and the road blocks suddenly didn't seem so big.

The doctors initially told me that SCAD patients have a 42% chance of surviving the first year post heart-attack- and that is IF they can get their stress down, be really careful not to strain their bodies, etc. etc. etc.

I'm not a 'slow down' type of person- I'm a full-on, give-it-all-I've-got-until-I-drop kinda girl, and rest is not in my vocabulary. So we weren't sure what my life expectancy was, but we knew that my future was going to be scary.

Looking at life through the eyes of potentially having a year (or less) to live was what REALLY pushed us to make the family world travel idea happen, IRL, and stat.

It would be hell's bells, balls-to-the-wall, no going back. (Like I said, I'm not a slow down type of person.)

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Armed with this new knowledge about our future as a family, I suggested (once again) the idea moving overseas with the kids to Europe and travel long term.

This time, my husband was 100% on board.

(Wow... I definitely wasn't expecting that!)

When our family looks back on that time, Larry likes to say that I had a determined look in my eyes- and he knew I was 100% serious about going no matter what. He told me, 'You were going. I could see it in your eyes. So really the question was whether I was going with you- or not. And that wasn't really a question at all.

I don't remember feeling so resolved about it, but before Larry had the chance to chicken out and come to his senses, I definitely knew we had to pick a main location for our family's home base. ASAP.

Why pick a main living location, if we really wanted to travel the world?!?

As much as I wanted to travel the world, we knew we were going to be dragging 5 kids around with us, from baby to teen. We wanted them to still have a sense of 'home' and stability, especially since leaving home can be scary for kids.

So, to make the trip easier, we decided we needed to have a "home base" where we could return back to on a consistent basis, and every 6-8 weeks we would take a long 1-2 week trip in another direction: Rome/Greece, France/Germany, Amsterdam/Hungary, etc.

With speed trains on our side, this seemed like the smartest plan so that we could see the many wonders of the world while still providing our kids with a sense of stability and a place to call HOME.

How we narrowed down our 'home base' for our move abroad with family:

First, we eliminated places using my own personal rubric (in no particular order):

  1. I hate the cold... I can tolerate a visit but I've no desire to live in the childhood in Colorado was more than sufficient on that front.

  2. I love the beach. This one is self-explanatory...I mean, come on, if you could life any lifestyle in the world, daily beach side mojitos should be at the top of the list.

  3. It needs to be somewhat affordable, because I have yet to perfect my money-tree seed invention.

  4. It needs to be safe for the kids, with plenty for them to do in their daily lives while we're local.

  5. It needs to have access (preferably via the Hogwarts Express) to the rest of Europe. Totally stocking up on pumpkin juice for the many train rides! 🎃

  6. It has to have SOME sort of local, historical interest- 'cuz we're history-loving nerds, yo.

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Using this framework as our guide, we knew what to look for.

So we got started on our search using the most logical way to narrow down dream locations... the YouTube travel channels. 😂😂😂

Without getting too specific, we found a few cities on YouTube that looked absolutely amazing, and starting making a list of our top choices.

Next stop on our search: popular expat websites, especially ones that narrow down the top places to live.

Some of the prime places we procrastinated working web-surfed were:

and we probably spent the most time here:

In the end, it was Spain that called to us the strongest, and we decided on a coastal city called Valencia. Your dream city might be somewhere else and that's totally cool, since your priorities will be different. 🥰

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But in general, this was how we narrowed it down.

Okay, Spain, here we come!!

Oh, wait... we've gotta do the whole VISA application thing first. Bummer.

And that brings us to the next part of our story, Preparing For A Move Of EPIC Proportions For Our Family World Travel!

I've also put together a pretty in-depth post about Applying for A Non Lucrative Visa, for our non lucrative Spanish visa, if you want to check that out as well.

And if you have any questions about how we moved our family abroad, please comment below! ;)

Liked this post? Check out more of our similar tips, tricks & info! 👇👇👇

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Thanks for reading our blog!

We love sharing our adventures with you and hope you learn lots of great tips for making your family travel easier!

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How interesting to read about the things you considered when planning your long trip. We don’t have to worry about kids but we too hate the cold and love the beaches. Valencia sounds like a great spot to use as a base.

Jessica Lathrop
Jessica Lathrop
May 20, 2022
Replying to

So far Valencia has been an amazing choice! It gets a bit cold here for our Floridian blood in the winter, but otherwise it's a heavenly city! 🥰


Valentina Mauro
Valentina Mauro
May 20, 2022

First f al, I am so sorry you got an heart attack and I really wish you to live another 100 years travelling around the world.

Second, I have been to Valencia a few years ago and I found it amazing. The beach was quite windy but nice and big. The city is wonderful. You will fall in love with it and the food...gnam! Spanish food is absolutely delicious.

the rail system in Spain works very well so I don't think you will have any problems to more around.

A city you cannot miss to visit in Spain is Barcelona. I have been there 3 times so far and I am surely go back again in the future.

Good luck…

Jessica Lathrop
Jessica Lathrop
May 20, 2022
Replying to

Thank you so much Valentina! 🥰 So far we have loved Valencia, but I agree it is quite windy! They've made the metro rail free here all summer, so it's a great time to explore Valencia! ☺️


Looks like you have a wonderful plan in place to allow the family to see the world!

Jessica Lathrop
Jessica Lathrop
May 20, 2022
Replying to

Thank you! So far our journey has been amazing! Hope you have a great weekend! ☺️


Alaina Thomas
Alaina Thomas
May 18, 2022

So sorry to hear about the heart attack and health issues. But glad you have been able to make traveling abroad long-term a reality for you and your family! I hope you have the best time abroad.

Jessica Lathrop
Jessica Lathrop
May 20, 2022
Replying to

Aww thank you so much Alaina! 🥰

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Welcome to Lathrops Gone AWOL! We're a family of 7, and we started traveling the world when our youngest was just a little over a year old. Life has shown us that every day is a gift and our time is limited- so we're on a mission to see the world and make as many wonderful memories as we can together!


Traveling with babies, toddlers, and angsty teens has taught us a LOT about ourselves as a family. We've seen some amazing places and learned a few travel hacks along the way! 😉


I hope you enjoy reading our blog and sharing our travel adventures with us!

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