Category Archives: Network Travel

We are members of a couple of network travel organizations that allow us to both welcome visitors from all over the world to our home as well as travel ourselves and stay for free at other members homes.

Los Arenalejos

Los Arenalejos


There are some different forms for these organizations. Some of them require that you help out with things a few hours a day in exchange for free food and a place to sleep. It can be all kinds of work, farm work, garden work, building, cooking, baby sitting, helping children with homework, you name it. These places usually allow you, and want you to stay for a bit longer – weeks or even months. A couple of examples of these organizations are WWOOF and Helpx.

Other Organized Network Travel groups only allow you to stay a few days but you are not required to do any special work in exchange. Some examples of these are Servas and Coachsurfing.

We have mostly traveled through WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – in Europe and especially Spain. We have many great memories from these visits but one special place comes to our minds, Los Arenalejos in the mountains above Marbella, Southern Spain. The family who has this huge farm is now dear friends to us and we have been staying there several times, helping out with various things. Since they grow absolutely everything on their land, there’s always something to do. Some of the things that grow there are olives (lots and lots of old trees), avocados (almost as much), oranges, mandarins, lemons, grapefruits, apricots, peaches, apples, pears, pecans, almonds to name a few.

If you’re interested in horses you might want to stay on a farm.

If you’re interested in horses you might want to stay on a farm.

We have also had visitors come to us through WWOOF. We remember the man who came on his bike (!) from England. He didn’t take the quickest way though but made a small detour around France and Italy first. He was a great help with repairing things around the house.

Another time we had a young man from New York coming to spend time with our kids and to “teach” them English. It did very much turn out the other way around though, they taught him things like harvesting honey and chopping wood.

We’ve also had a family staying at our home for a winter when we were traveling ourselves. They were a Finnish-English couple with a son. They had actually been WWOOFing themselves around the world for 5 years as a family!

Travel with the help of an organization like this really helps you to learn a lot about the people and the customs and the culture of the country. You feel much more like a local than like a tourist and also you don’t have any costs for accommodation and usually not even for food.

We really think you should have a look here to get some more ideas about this great way to travel!

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BedAs well as there is a way to travel, the actual “how to get there” part of a trip, that suites you the best, there’s probably a way of staying, the accommodation part, that fits your personality better than other. For some, this is just a minor, or even, totally unimportant, issue – “”whatever’s the easiest and cheapest”. To others, this is of major importance and something you are willing to plan your whole trip around.

The most well known way to travel is of course going somewhere and then staying in a hotel. It’s usually not the most common way to spend your nights when you’re away for an extended period though. Maybe you choose a hotel for the first nights after arriving at a destination, or check into a hotel now and then for different reasons, but most people who travel long term, have alternative ways for accommodation.
Beach hotel
Hostels, is one example. Here you (usually) stay much cheaper than in a hotel and you also have cooking (and often washing) possibilities as well. Hostels are also a great way to meet with fellow travelers and exchange ideas and travel tips.

Homestays, is another way which is very common in many parts of the world. You rent a room in someone’s home and participate in their family life as much or as little as you wish, depending on yourself and the particular family.  A homestay is a great way to quickly get to know local people and their culture

You can of course always rent a house, an apartment, or a cottage if you want your own “home away from home”. We have rented places in different parts of the world and we do enjoy to live a “normal” family life in a totally different surrounding and culture. Very interesting!
Camping
Camping is also something we have practiced a lot. We have traveled with campervans, car and trailer (and on some occasions also with a tent). This is another way to always have a “home away from home”. You have all your well known stuff and your own bed wherever you are.

House swapping, is another alternative if you want to travel and stay mostly in one place. You swap homes with another family who goes and stays and takes care of your home while you’re away. This way, you don’t have to spend any money on your accommodation and you have all the facilities you might want.

House sitting is also great if you want to stay for free and spend a lot of time in one place. You stay in somebody’s house and look after it and perhaps also some pets while the house/pets owners are away. This also works the other way around of course. If you want to go traveling and don’t know what to do with your pets or don’t want to leave your home unattended for a longer period, you can find a house sitter to come and stay.
Home exchange
Finally, we want to mention a way of travel that we call Network Traveling. This is a way we have used many times to take us around the world. You use a personal or an organized network to get in touch with people and either you stay with them or they help you to find someplace.

At one occasion we traveled, the whole family, around in the USA for 3 months, and stayed, with the help of our personal contacts and their contacts, totally for free in peoples homes. At other occasions, we have traveled and used an organized network.  We have then been staying at peoples places for free in exchange for some of our time and energy by helping out with things like garden work and similar things.

So, there are many different alternatives for how to be staying during your long term trip. To read some more about the alternatives we have mentioned above, please check out How to travel – Travel and accommodation.

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Here is a great little tip on how you can add some money to your travel budget. It might not be suitable for everyone, but then, what is…?
Travel Blogging and How to Make Money with Your Travel Blog
What we are talking about is, as the title suggests, how to make money with your travel blog. Having a travel blog can serve many purposes:

First of all it is a great way to, right on the spot, collect and save your memories in an organized way. To create a way to remember all the little great incidents that happens every day but run the risk of getting lost in the multitudes of impressions that you collect on an extended journey. And it is just perfect because you don’t need to carry the memories around with you and have the risk of loosing them.

Next reason is maybe the obvious one. It is a super way to keep in contact with family and friends. Everyone back home can be a part of, and share your experience almost instantly. Having traveled before travel blogging was as common, we know that friends and family can be a bit overwhelmed when you want to share you adventures of an extended journey all in one go. Showing hundreds of pictures and telling travel stories for hours have put more than one of our victims to sleep…

If you do decide that blogging is something you will be doing on your journey anyway, why not make some money at the same time? For this purpose Nomadic Matt’s little e-Book is a great start.

We are well aware of the fact that writing does not come to easy to everyone. But we don’t think that is a reason for despair. Maybe a Vlog or a Video Blog is the solution for you? Posting beautiful, inspirational or funny video clips from your extended journey can be a great way to save your memories and share them with near and dear ones but also a great way of making money online.

One advantage, that is often forgotten, is that you can start travel blogging straight away. You do not have to wait until the big day for takeoff arrives. You can start now so when the take off day comes you may already be making money with your travel blog. That means that you can have an income when you are traveling around enjoying yourself. Isn’t that cool?

There are lots and lots of travel blogs out there telling their story. But there are very few of these that tell the story of how people actually were able to go traveling in the first place. What did they have to do, go through and overcome in order be able to go on their journey? You can write about all the experiences you’ve got from preparing for the trip.

This is, by the way, what a lot of people want to know! What needs to be done in order to reach that goal of taking off on a long journey? Once at the Great Barrier Reef it is easy to figure out how the snorkeling is done. But when it comes to what you should do with a job, school, money, home, pets and relatives that is where you are left on your own.

That is the story we are trying to tell. And if you have something to add, let us know and we will pass it on to our readers or link to YOUR BLOG!

We just remembered another reason for starting your blog straight away.

To make a dream come true you have to commit to it. And what better way is there to commit than telling the whole wide world that you are going on this big trip. It will be much harder for you to draw back from that commitment once you have expressed it publicly. You will also find invaluable support among your readers and probably lay the foundation for your personal network that can be used for Network Travel. Read more about Network Travel here.


We’re having visitors at the moment. It’s our friends from Germany, Gabi, Gunter, and the kids: Esra, Noah and Amy. They have taken some time off from their life in the small gorgeous wine producing village Bubenheim, and are spending 6 months experiencing new things on the road.Family Reichert
Well, maybe you should say “experiencing new things on the beach” because that’s where they spend most of their time. But not laying there under a parasol with a colored drink in their hands though, but photographing. To this family, and particularly to the mother, taking pictures is life. And not just any pictures, but pictures of the ocean and everything related to it.

For this purpose they packed themselves into their camper van and went all the 3 000 km from the South of Germany to almost the furthest North you can get around here: Lofoten, in the northern part of Norway. A fantastic place far, far up by the Norwegian Sea. You absolutely have to check out some of the results from that visit on: www.5reicherts.com

campervan in sunset Norwaycampervan in Norway

Having spent a couple of months up there, they are now on the way down south again, to go to France and take the Dover-Calais ferry over to England. The plan is then to drive towards the north again, to some far away located Island in Scotland. To find more beautiful pictures…
Norway Lofoten
It’s not the first time the family is on the road experiencing the world and creating fantastic photos and memories. They have made an innumerable amount of shorter trips around the European coastline, and also several long term trips in countries like New Zealand and the USA.

How do they do it? How do they get the time and money to just take the kids and go away on these trips? Well, I guess it’s like with everybody else who do similar things, they have a dream. They have a dream about doing more with their life than just the normal school and job race.

They have a dream about living a more vibrant life filled with passion for what they love; ocean, nature, travel, photography and being together as a family. And when you have a strong enough desire to do something, when you are filled with your dream – with why you want do to something, the how always sorts itself out.

Lofoten Norway

If you have a strong desire to travel and to see, do and experience new things, you plan your life accordingly and put your focus on the things that support this desire. You eliminate things in your life that doesn’t support what you want to do and instead put your time and energy on taking steps that lead you towards what you really want.

Maybe we’re getting a bit philosophical here, but if you want some more practical ideas about the how’s, read more on the pages: Job and Career, Children and School, Travel & Money for example.


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We went on a long hike yesterday. We didn’t hike far away, just around the corner from where we live. We put on our hiking shoes, threw some food into our backpacks and took off. The weather was perfect, sunny but not too hot.

Studying the map before taking off for the hike

Studying the map before taking off for the hike

A virgin forest is not totally easy to walk around in, many “obstacles” to pass

Old-growth forest is not totally easy to walk around in, many “obstacles” to pass

Both big and small enjoyed balancing on the many old fallen trees

Both big and small enjoyed balancing on the many old fallen trees

Part of the hike went through a forest which was protected and hadn’t been cut during the last 300 years. There’s a very special feeling walking in an “old” forest like that, solemn. It makes you quiet and reflective and also amazed over the wonders of nature. Over how well everything fits together. How the big, old fallen trees just lies there, transforming themselves into an abundance of new life. How nothing just stands or lies there by itself but is connected to the whole in some way.

Under the surface in the "Coca Cola" water
Above the surface with a water lilly

Above the surface with a Water Lily - The Swedish Lotus flower

We went swimming in a small forest lake. It had this dark brown water, “coca cola water”, as the kids call it. Swimming around there, with no buildings anywhere around, no cars, no roads, no sounds except the sounds of nature, it felt like it could have been any age: “ let’s see, where are we now, yes 2009, well what does it matter…”

We had a picnic up on a small hill overlooking another bigger lake than the one we went swimming in. Already we were starting to talk about going on a longer hike soon. Maybe for a couple of days? Maybe for a week?

We were two families, eight people, hiking together, and we all seemed to appreciate a lot this time away from “civilization” for a while. No stuff, no computers, no telephones (no connection in the old forest, of course). Just to practice “mindfulness” in the most natural way.

We came back after this one day experience a bit different persons from the ones who earlier that day set off. A bit more relaxed, happy and with a few new insights into things we had had time to reflect upon during our walk.

Time for reflection

Time for reflection

We realized again how much traveling can change you, how much it helps you to grow as a person and to see things more clearly. We were reminded of how profoundly life transformative long term travel can be. Just to leave things behind, not only for a day but maybe for three, six or nine months. Maybe even for a year or more. Here you can really talk about coming back as a different person.

This short hike really opened our eyes and let us see even more clearly how all our traveling has contributed to making us to the people we are today and taking us to the place we are at the moment.

So, to summarize: take some time off and go traveling! A day or a year, whatever you choose it will affect your life in many ways and take you to new places, physically and especially mentally.


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We love Network Travel!  We’d also love to see more people use this way of traveling and build relationships around the world. Here’s how Network Travel can work.

We are a homeschooling family. So, homeschooling is one area we know of and that we sometimes seek contacts within when we travel. When we have been traveling to the USA, New Zealand and Australia for example (or around Europe and even in Sweden where we usually live for that sake) we have got in contact with some different home school networks on the internet. We then write about us and tell people we are going to their country (or area). We ask if they would like to have some fellow homeschoolers come to visit or if someone wants help out with a place to stay or maybe just would want to meet for a cup of tea. We usually get quite a lot of people who answer and want to connect in some way. They invite us to come and stay in their house or to camp in their garden or to show us around when we arrive in their area. To help us find contacts in a place we want to go and where we don’t know anyone.

People around the world are usually very open to and interested in meeting with people whom they share a common interest with. We have traveled, and also stayed for free, for months like this, visiting new friends.

We are also open to helping people who contact us in the same way. We have had visitors from all over the world come to stay. Or we have found somewhere for them to stay in another part of Sweden (it’s actually a big country, but almost empty of people). Or we have met and guided them around in our beautiful capital or just connected in some other way.

Just now we are having a young man from Brazil staying for a while. So, even though we’re at home in Sweden at the moment, we haven’t lost contact with the rest of the world.

Our new friend Tilo, visiting from Brazil, meeting our friendly Hedgehog

Our new friend Tilo, visiting from Brazil, meeting our friendly Hedgehog

We have learned so much from him about his country. We’re all very grateful for not having to worry about Cayman crocodiles when we go swimming in our lake, for example. He has made us all very curious about Brazil and we’ve noticed that we have already started looking in to it in different travel books. It may very well be that South America is a place we’ll be going to in a not too distant future:grin:

So, this way of traveling is both to give and to get. When you travel, you get support in different ways. You also give friendship as well as share of yourself and teach people about your part of the world. You can also give in the form of being open to letting people contact you when they are away from their home.

Network Travel makes the world shrink. It helps you feel at home wherever you go and if you don’t go but stay at home, you can be connected to the rest of the world by having people contact you or coming to visit. It also makes you feel safer – you learn that you have friends everywhere!

Want to learn more about how you can use your networks to travel? Go to our Network Travel section.

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We’re homeschoolers. The world is our children’s school. And homeschooling families is a travel network we’ve used several times. But we also have other networks of course.

One time we were traveling to New Zealand and since it was the first time, we didn’t know anyone there. The first thing we did, when starting to plan the trip, was joining some different New Zealand Home Schooling groups on the internet. We told them we were a Swedish family planning to go to NZ and that we were looking for people to meet with and places to stay.

Soon, we had several invitations from these friendly Kiwis to come and visit. They lived all over both islands. From the furthest north to the most southern parts (whatever is north and south down there).

Some people invited us to come and visit for a day, others to stay for a longer time. Since we felt we wanted some “privacy”, as well as a way to transport ourselves around to all these places, we decided to rent a campervan. With our rolling home, we then went from family to family staying on their land, in their garden or yard and we didn’t spend one New Zealand Dollar on campsites or hotels or any other kind of accommodation.

Except having places to stay for free, we got many new friends and play mates, and also the opportunity to learn about both the local area we visited as well as the country in general.

We visited families living in many different surroundings and circumstances. One family had a vineyard where we could learn about the process of making wine (and do some tasting!). Another one lived in a place almost impossible to go to, but with the most amazing nature around. Check out this for example…

On our way to visit some friends through a travel network

On our way to visit some friends through a travel network

Suddenly the road just ended (well, almost)

Suddenly the road just ended (well, almost)

This was not the first, nor the last, time we used a travel network on our journeys. For us, it’s the most fantastic way to travel. It provides you with very cheap places to stay, often totally free. But it also gives you new friends who also can introduce you to this new place and the local customs. Read more about Network Travel here

Also, it’s not uncommon that people we have visited get inspired to travel and decide to come and visit us in return. So, now and then, we get a call or an e-mail saying something like: “We’re planning to go to Sweden, would it be possible to come and visit?” And this gives us the opportunity to give back what they once gave to us: a place to stay (with us or someone we know) and friendship in a foreign country.

So, what’s your travel network?

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