Hi! Welcome to the first interview of my new Daring to Dream Family Traveler Series! Today we’ll hear from Hatti Burt, who broke out of the “normal” life when she and her husband, Garf, and two small children moved to a quinta in central Portugal. Originally from the English Lake District, the pair decided they wanted to fulfill their lifelong dream of living abroad. They also wanted to spend more time outdoors, enjoy a lower cost of living, live their personal truths, and inspire their children to do the same! Enjoy their story! 🙂
1) What country are you from? What country do you live in now and what other places have you visited/lived? Please describe your travel schedule. When did you start this lifestyle?
We are from the English Lake District and now live in Central Portugal. We had been looking for somewhere abroad to move to for a few years and have travelled around Spain a bit doing workaways and a flat-sit for our friends in Barcelona (we love Barcelona!!!), then came to Portugal last year to do a Workaway and loved it. We have been searching for somewhere where we could live a more simple lifestyle, to be outside more, and have some land to grown our own food and have an eco- home. We made friends with the people we stayed with and they really helped us with moving over for winter ☺.
2) Can you introduce us to your family?
Hatti, 33, Garf, 33, Jude, 6 and Felix almost 3 (oh and our Dog Mindi, 8).
3) What method of education do you use for your children? Can you talk a little about how traveling has added to their education?
We homeschooled/unschooled Jude until he was 5 – then he went to a local mainstream school in the UK part time and we were involved in the home ed community, too. He now goes to an alternative democratic school in Portugal part-time. We liked the idea of home education and thought we would do that but Jude is very much suited to school and loves going. Felix is at home with us still but we will be starting a parent-led playgroup with him at Jude’s school soon. When Jude is at home we do unschooling mainly and follow his interests.
Both boys are very interested in the world and we talk about where we have been, where we have family and friends, and where we’d like to go. They have both learned a bit of Spanish and Portugese and are very comfortable and accepting of people from different cultures.
4) What was the inspiration that led you to traveling with your family?
We always wanted to have an adventure abroad and to live somewhere where it was a warmer climate so the boys could be outside more. We also felt living within another culture would enrich their lives.
5) How do you finance your traveling lifestyle?
I (Hatti) am a graphic and web designer and have clients all over the world. Garf helps me with website updates. We are also growing our blog Parent Tribe and have a shop and holidays section on there. We are planning to set up a business here too, a family retreat.
6) What are the greatest advantages for you in living like this? What are the disadvantages?
I feel like I am living a dream that I have always wanted to achieve and that feels amazing and shows my kids that you can live your dreams. I do really miss people and The Lake District though, but I know I could never have the lifestyle I have here over there because of the weather and expenses.
7) What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages for your children?
I feel our children are gaining so much from living in another culture – meeting interesting people and learning a new language and being outside more.
The disadvantages are not seeing friends and family as much as we used to.
8) What did your friends and family say when you announced your travel intentions?
They didn’t believe us as we had been talking about it for years and we almost moved to Australia then I changed my mind at the last minute – it wasn’t the right thing at the time.
9) Describe one experience where you absolutely knew you’d made the right decision in choosing to live this way. Have you had any moments when you weren’t so sure this was good for you and your family?
During the whole process I have known it was the right thing – it was like we were being guided. Everything fell into place and we are mostly living the life of our dreams. We have had tough moments yes when both our laptop cables burned out in the first few weeks and as we are so rural we had to wait for ages to get one – which was a problem as we earn money online! Also when my son got ill with asthma – it’s hard being in a foreign country when things like that happen which would be so easy to take care of at home.
10) What do your kids like and dislike about living abroad?
My 6 year old says he loves everything about it. The little one seems happy too – he likes the sand pit outside!
11) Describe one of the coolest places you’ve ever lived.
Well both Garf and I have lived in The Lake District, Newcastle, London, and Central Portugal – I would say they are all cool in their own ways. We liked the experience of living in London when we were young and into going to gigs. I think for having kids both The Lake District and where we live now are perfect – rural, beautiful, and a great community.
12) How do you connect with other traveling families? What kind of support network is available?
There are many expats here either settling or coming to find out about it and there is a great support network. The locals are very welcoming too. I also connect with many expat and travelling families through my blog.
13) If you could go back in time and do anything differently along this journey, what would it be?
Nothing on our journey to Portugal as everything has gone amazingly to be honest. I feel very blessed.
Just do it and take risks. Don’t talk about it for years like we did. Although it’s probably good to wait until you feel ready–I guess that was it for us, we were finally ready and then everything fell into place.
15) What’s next for your family?
We actually love it here so are planning on setting up a business here which will be a retreat for worldschooling and travelling families. It’s in the early stages though at the moment – we have found a venue and need to do a business plan. We would still like to travel back to the UK for an extended trip each year though and explore Europe along the way. We would like to see more of France, Spain, and Italy. We’d like to be settled for a bit and own some land and then when the boys are a bit older we’d like to travel more. South America and Japan are on the cards as we have family and friends to visit in both.