Today, Katie shares her family’s journey from the USA to Mexico as part of the “Families Moving Abroad” series. And they’re already planning their next move too!
Recently, with everything that’s happening in the past year, I keep finding myself thinking “what if....”. Specifically about packing it all up and exploring the world more with the children. So Katie’s journey was such a great read! I love following their journey on Instagram too, their recent trip at the turtle rescue centre was beautiful!
Let’s find out more from Katie, happy reading!
We are the Loveland family; an appropriate last name for our family who loves traveling! I’m Katie, married to Ross, and we have five daughters. Claire (10), Aoife (9), Tiegan (7), Emma (4), and Juliet (3). My husband and I are both from Portland, Oregon, though we didn’t live there for the first 10 years of our marriage. We’ve lived in Utah and Wisconsin, and returned back to Portland for a couple years before deciding to travel and live abroad.
I own a children’s salon in Portland: www.kidscastlecuts.com and Ross owns a business focused on helping small business owners achieve financial goals and take home more profit: www.growgreenbookkeeping.com As a double entrepreneur family, our lives are pretty busy.
Before our move to Portland, we took some sabbatical time and traveled to South America for a few weeks. We visited Peru and Colombia and fell in love with the people and culture. (Not to mention the weather and food!) We started dreaming about living abroad in the Latin Americas and picturing what life would be like for our family abroad.
At the time, Ross was working in corporate finance while working on his business start up on the side. A few months later, we decided to go all in. Ross left his corporate finance job to work on his business full time, and we purchased a kid’s salon in Portland for me as an owner/operator. We packed up our five kids and dog and drove across the country to start life as entrepreneurs in Portland, Oregon.
Fast forward two years and our businesses have grown and we’re adjusted to life as a double entrepreneur family. Then came Covid. Our kids came home from school for an indefinite period, my salon was shut down and I was now at home full time being a mom, teacher, and business owner trying to keep my salon afloat.
Like many families, things were challenging. We had so many blessings with this pandemic. I was stressed about my business, but I also got to experience what it would be like to homeschool all of my kids. It wasn’t pretty or perfect, but it got us asking the right WHAT IF questions. With the kids out of school, what if we actually homeschooled and could travel more? Ross’ business was almost completely remote anyway, but what if I hired a manager to handle the salon for me and I wasn’t tied to it anymore? What if we moved to Colombia like we’ve wanted to? The housing market was crazy, so what if we sold our house and really did it?
My husband, being an accountant, needed to see how the numbers play out. We decided to call up our family realtor and have a meeting to see exactly what it’d look like if we sold our house. A few spreadsheets and a couple hours after that meeting, my husband and I looked at each other and both had the same thought. We’re really doing this.
With the housing market the way it was, things went exceptionally fast with listing and selling our home. In just a few weeks we had purged almost all of our possessions, keeping only the things we truly loved. (Marie Kondo, anyone?) Books, board games, pictures, and a few treasured keepsakes went into maybe a dozen boxes and we were left with a suitcase and backpack for each member of the family. Gracious family members agreed to store our boxes while we set off for our adventure. This part was easy. I love getting rid of things. I even threw away my highschool diploma because I didn’t think I’d need it again! However, I was surprised by the things I was attached to and couldn’t part with, like an alarm clock I bought when I was 6. It went into a box to be stored until we decide to return.
We closed on our house quickly and spent the holidays in Utah with family while waiting for passports for our kiddos. Being homeless and unsure of a departure date was hard. We’re so grateful for the family that took us in during our time in Limbo. They weren’t really surprised by our decision to ditch everything and go abroad, we’d been talking about doing just that since we returned from Colombia. We’re so grateful for their support.
We went into this adventure without a clear destination in mind, though we knew we eventually wanted to end up in Colombia. With the pandemic happening, travel restrictions changed by the week so we were unable to really plan until we had passports in hand ready to book flights and homes. When we started searching for destinations, we looked at Covid restrictions, cost of flights, and Airbnbs. With those three filters, we ended up landing on Acapulco, Mexico for the start of our travels. We’d play it by ear and figure out the rest as we went.
THE HARDEST PART
We had a Pitbull that we had rescued during our time in Wisconsin. I got her when I was 8 weeks pregnant with our last kiddo, and this pup was 8 weeks old at the time. She was abused, neglected, and we bonded instantly. She came with us to Portland and was a big part of our family. We had every intention of bringing her with us on our travels. Afterall, this dog had snuggled with me while I was on bedrest, climbed a mountain with me, and was my hiking and running partner. Unfortunately, with Covid, most airlines weren’t allowing dogs as cargo. Not only that, but being a Pitbull, all airlines wouldn’t accept her breed. We were stuck. We’d already sold our home and gotten rid of almost all of our things. The girls were looking forward to this adventure and new life, but we also love our dog.
After a family council, we decided to proceed with our adventure plans and find our pup a great loving home. I cried every day for over a month. We did find her an amazing home with kids that love her and have checked in a couple times with the family that took her. Gratefully this family loves her just as much as we do and say she’s been a huge blessing for their family. Living abroad is amazing and we’ve had incredible family experiences, but I can’t truly tell our story and not talk about the challenge of parting with a beloved family pet.
LIFE IN MEXICO
The girls had mixed feelings about the move. They were excited, nervous about living in another country where they don’t speak the language, so excited for airplanes, and sad about leaving friends behind. To help them, we included them when searching for an Airbnb. They requested a pool, and gratefully we were able to deliver. Taking part in the planning and having something to get them excited helped combat anxious feelings.
We settled in quickly, having only a backpack and a suitcase each. Because we have kept things pretty minimalistic, we are able to do more and have more adventures. Maintaining the house is easy and we spend a lot of time outdoors.
On our first trip to the beach, we met a family who lives in our gated community. The mom became a lifeline for us here, helping us navigate finding a pediatrician, where to get the best produce, how much to pay for certain services to ensure we weren’t taken advantage of, things to do and see, and places that aren’t safe. Finding a local friend willing to help is so important. Making friends and having playmates right away also helped our girls settle in and feel at home.
At first, I struggled with no longer working full time. Living in basically paradise is amazing, but not always perfect. I had to find a new sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. I was so used to being busy, the change of pace was an adjustment for me. To combat this, I created a simple list of daily tasks to check off. Following through on those habits each day helped fill that sense of accomplishment and allowed me to enjoy this phase of life.
Living in another country has given our kids so many incredible experiences. Our time is wrapping up in Mexico and we’re heading to Colombia next. Here in Mexico, our kids have all learned to swim, try new things, and work on another language. With this slower paced life, I’ve reconnected with my kids and have truly enjoyed being around and doing things with them. We volunteered at a turtle rescue camp and released baby turtles, gone horseback riding, had many board game nights, took surfing classes together, and spent countless sunsets boogie boarding and swimming together.
We miss our family and our book/game collection back in America, but I wouldn’t trade this experience and time together for anything. We’re looking forward to many more experiences and adventures to come!
MY ADVICE TO YOU
Jump in! Give yourself permission to make mistakes and just enjoy the journey. Talk to people even if you don’t speak the language. So many people are kind and want to share their country and cities with you. Try new things and embrace this part of your life!
Thank you so much for sharing the start of your journey Katie! What an adventure for your girls and you, I can’t wait to follow the rest of your adventures on Instagram (@lovelandsabroad) !
If you would like to share your journey on the blog, I would love to hear from you! Get in touch with me, you can also find all the information on how to submit your post by clicking here.