Get to know...Family Beach Travel

Family Beach Travel are a family of surfers from San Diego, CA. Mike, Chelsea and their three children travel around the world in the search for the best waves and beaches in the world. Here we asked them their tips for travelling and where we can find the best waves!
1. For those that haven’t stumbled across your blog or Instagram before can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

We are a family of surfers who enjoy travelling around the world to surf waves with our children. We love surfing both established, world class waves, and off the beaten path waves in less popular tourist destinations. We have a 4 year old, Coral, a 2 year old, Reef and a newborn baby, Sunny. They surf with us too. On top of surfing, we love experiencing new cultures and showing our kids how other people live around the world. My wife decided to start an Instagram page and a blog  to inspire others who may have been a little hesitant to travel with their kids. While we focus on surfing, we hope to inspire surfers and non surfers alike to get out and see the world, and to not let their children hold them back from pursuing their passions and dreams. Its been an amazing experience meeting locals along with way. We have learned how friendly people are across the world.

2. What has been your favourite memory while travelling so far?

Our favourite memory while travelling so far has been surfing a remote wave in Jamaica that was incredible. There were no people on the beach or in the water, and the waves were firing. This wave isn't even on the map, a couple of locals told us about it and we spent the entire day surfing. It was a rare find and we are eternally grateful for the locals who helped out. Also, we went to Molokai, which is notorious for the locals being territorial and not very friendly to visiting surfers. We connected with a couple of the professional surfers out there, showed them respect like they deserve, and they took us around the island to all the best waves and gave us the local experience. These guys took care of me and my family and our experience was unforgettable. We got to see a side of Molokai that probably less than 1% of tourists get to see and it was way cooler than what the typical tourists see.

3. What do you hope travelling with your kids teaches them?

 Travelling with kids teaches them a lot of things: an appreciation for different cultures, foods, spontaneity, a curiosity of the world, a view of how most people on this earth live and we have really noticed that the kids are less materialistic. Our family mantra is collect memories, not things. Our kids pack light on trips and usually donate their toys to the less fortunate kids who they encounter during their travels. For Christmas this year, my daughter said she didn't want toys, that she wanted to go on an aeroplane and do fun things. What 4 year old says that?!?! It teaches them about geography. Every night, we read a book of all the different countries in the world and my daughter points to every flag on the back page and I tell her which country the flag that she points to corresponds to. Its cool when she says, that is Cuba, China, Panama...She already knows a lot of the world flags and where those countries are located on a map. Its a process every night, but I think it is important to teach her, especially since she requests it and is clearly interested.

4. Has travelling always been a big part of your lives?

No. We never travelled with our parents growing up. We are the travelling pioneers on both sides of the family! It wasn't until we moved to Hawaii as newlyweds and started travelling between the Hawaiian Islands that we discovered our love for travel. Each island was so unique and so interesting. We were dirt poor, but had a curiosity and a passion to see the world. We spent years figuring out the financial and logistical aspects of travelling as much as we can. It took a while, but I think we finally figured it out. We have been travelling the world and surfing as much as we can ever since. When we started travelling abroad, we learned more about other cultures, and we gained respect and appreciation for them. Its really been the highlight of our lives and it has changed who we are.

5. Do you have a favourite destination?

Its hard to pinpoint a favourite destination. For waves, it is hard to beat Tahiti, Fiji, South Africa and Indonesia. For culture, we loved India, Colombia and Sri Lanka. For sheer beauty, New Zealand, Jamaica, Cook Islands and Thailand and for most interesting/unique, we would have to go with Haiti and Cuba. If I could only go one place for the rest of my life, I would probably pick Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa for a good combination of all the above.

6. How has travelling impacted you family? Has it brought you closer together?

Travelling has had an enormous impact on our family. My kids love maps and geography. They love talking about the places they have been and they love making friends along the way. My wife and I have grown closer as well. We rely on each other more than ever and we step up our communication when we travel, which helps in all aspects of marriage. The best part is that when I am old and on my deathbed and (hopefully) my family is around me, we can reminisce on all of the cool adventures we did together as a family. We won't be talking about how hard we worked, about how many degrees we earned or how much money we made, we will be talking about how we spent our time together as a family in many different countries around the world. Collecting memories and not things is what my wife and I have revolved our lives around. That is very difficult to do in the USA. In other parts of the world, it is easier to live this lifestyle. When I went to France and Spain in 2016, my eyes were opened. Everyone has small apartments, small cars, and way less possessions than we have here in the United States. It made me want to live more like a European in that aspect, and allocate more time travelling and enjoying life instead of spending all my time and energy focusing on my career, which, unfortunately, is commonplace here. In the USA, people tend to look at avid travellers as lazy or not focused. As a man, I have had so many people question my commitment to my career and worry about my income earning potential. I resist the pressure to compare myself and my situation to others. I have no interest in keeping up with the Joneses. I focus 100% of my spare time and energy on figuring out how to travel with my family and surf the world more often and at less of a cost. I don't worry about who has a bigger house, nicer car, more Instagram followers, higher salary...etc. I feel like travelling has made me more grateful for what I have and less focused on what I don't have.

7. Best place to surf?

Our favourite left in the world is Cloudbreak in Fiji and our favourite right is Jeffrey's Bay in South Africa. We are all goofy footers, so we love the lefts! Runners up are Mundaka (Spain), Hossegor (France), Montañita (Ecuador), Ulu Watu (Bali, Indonesia) and Playgrounds (Nicaragua). Every wave I have surfed has significance and sentimental value, so I look back on every spot I have surfed and I have great memories. I have been the only surfer in the water in lots of places (Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, India, Thailand, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia, Cook Islands, Molokai, Barbados). While most of those waves were not world class, it is an incredible feeling being alone in the water in a seemingly remote part of the world, catching wave after wave. There is a spiritual connection that I feel when surfing, especially alone or with just my wife or kids. Communing with nature like that really inspires me and is very therapeutic.

8. What’s the kid’s favourite part of travelling?

The kids' favourite part of travelling is meeting new kids and going to new beaches and waterfalls. They love being outdoors and exploring new things, so they're pretty easy to take. They are pretty adventurous and love trying new things. Coral caught her first wave in Sri Lanka. None of us will ever forget that. I took Reef out to the lineup with me in Costa Rica when he was 1 year old without his floaties. He loved it. He was giggling the whole time, even when he came up from his duck dives. We don't let the kids watch TV at home, so they love the long flights where they can watch movies and stare at their iPad's. When we went to Canada, the kids were bummed that it was only a 3 hour flight. They wanted more screen time. They loved the flight to South Africa, where they were on a plane for a literal 24 hours. The kids ask me at least once a week when our next vacation is. We started taking them around the world when they were newborns, so it is all they know. If they have good experiences with us abroad, hopefully they'll prefer travelling with us instead of wanting to hang out with their friends when they get older!

9. How’s the kids Spanish coming along? Do you speak Spanish yourselves?

The kids' Spanish is great. They understand everything and speak in Spanish to me too. Chelsea and I speak in English to each other because she doesn't know Spanish, but I haven't spoken a single word of English to any of my kids since they were born. It is incredible to hear them not only understand but also speak back in Spanish. When we went to Colombia, Coral realised immediately that no one around her spoke English, so she spent the entire trip speaking in Spanish. As a parent, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I love Latinos and their culture. They are warm, friendly, and family oriented. I think it is important to pass down the Spanish language to them. I would be pretty bummed out with myself if I spoke another language that is used daily in San Diego but I just never bothered to teach my kids that language. That would seem like an incredible waste.

10. Where are you off to next?

2019 is going to be a great year for @familybeachtravel. We are going to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Australia and Mexico so far through May, we haven't planned out the rest of the year yet. We want to focus on Spanish speaking countries for the kids and hope that it will help them understand and speak better. The added bonus us that these countries all have incredible waves too, so it will be a great experience all around.


To follow the families adventures follow them on Instagram, Youtube and get some top tips and travel inspiration from their blog. 

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