about

April

2018

Inside a Traveler’s Walls: Traveling Family Tiffiney and Diego Lozano

INSIDE A TRAVELER'S WALLS

A Traveler’s Walls is back with another amazing traveling family. It gives me great pleasure to introduce the Lozano family!

Tiffiney and her family have truly embraced a life of travel and adventure. There is so much strength in their story of making conscious choices of how, when and why they will travel.

I actually believe travel and being curious about the world around us, is essential for the planet’s health. And when we come across that thing we can do, to make the world a better place, we need to do it

Plus, they’ve set a principle to balance individual interests with family interests! We can all learn from their example and swoon over their cheery Instagram page.

As Mother Theresa once said, “If you want to promote world peace, go home and love your family.” And we all know home is just a metaphor!

Ok, enough of my chatting, grab your coffee and get comfortable. It’s time to be inspired by this traveling family.

Traveling Family

traveling family traveling family traveling familytraveling family traveling family

Introduce us to the people you live with?

Tiffiney: Mama and head planner. Aesthetics are important to me, even when we were traveling out of our VW Westfalia, I made matching curtains and pillows and had a cute little rug that made me smile when I looked at it. When we were choosing Air BnB’s how the space was put together mattered to me. But I LOVED living in so many different spaces, from a bungalow in Oaxaca to an old beach house in Greece on the Island of Paros. Truly each one afforded me to live out a different dream and I did little things to make it feel like mine. In Mexico I bought handmade textiles and furniture at the market. In Paros, we lived in a space that was full of someone else’s furniture, so I would buy fresh flowers and I made my own artwork to hang while we were there. If possible I also try and get temporary stays at places with amazing views!

Diego my husband could live anywhere, but appreciates a clean and well put together space. His biggest values are adventure and fun, so living quarters are second to that.

Jaxon our son is 9, and for the first time ever now that we have a home base has his own room. When we were traveling as long as he had his skateboard and a few legos he was happy.

Serafina our daughter just turned 7 and also has her own room for the first time now (it’s been 6 months with this new spacious arrangement!) When we were traveling, she had a few precious stuffed animals that went everywhere with her. I always made sure to create spaces for our kids that were exclusively theirs even if it was a single cupboard in the Westie. Everyone has a need for their own personal space, and it doesn’t need to be much.

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?

Currently, we are living in Northern California in a traditional home with a big yard and a hot tub and we can walk everywhere–it’s fantastic! We’ve decided to go with a home base at the moment. But in the previous two years we spent time in our Westfalia and then did a series of house sits and Air BnB’s.

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?

After two years of travel, our children were eager to nourish their friendships again. My husband and I also suffered a blow on the road with a failed business partnership and we basically needed to regroup. We also live in an area that is pretty hard to beat. We love to travel, and have no plans to stop, however it’s nice to have a home base and travel a month here, a month there, and be able to pursue our individual interests and not have to agree on ALL things as a family. Nothing is final, and our decision to be in one place right now isn’t either, but at the moment it feels right.

traveling family traveling family traveling familytraveling family traveling family traveling family

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?

Ack–I guess I already sort of spoke to this, Aesthetics are super important to me. I grew up with a mother who was basically Martha Stewart, but not famous! I tend to personalize every space we are in, no matter how temporary. Even in our VW Westfalia, my husband made curtains (yes he’s the tailor in the family!) and pillows that coordinated with our rug. It made it feel like home, which it was for a while. It largely depends on the length of time that we are going to be in a place. In Paros, we were there for three months in a large 3 story house stuffed with the owners things. I tried to put clutter out of sight, and then bought fresh flowers on the regular and made artwork with the kids to hang on the wall. In Oaxaca, we bought beautiful local artisan made textiles and pottery. In Spain, I rented Air BnB’s that were furnished in a style I liked. Honestly, it’s really fun to live in someone else’s space for a while. It’s like living out a secret fantasy and then getting to move onto the next one.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?

In our current home, my favorite space is the outdoor patio. It’s nestled under an apple tree which blooms in the spring, and there’s an outdoor fountain that provides movement and fresh energy. It’s bordered by bamboo and japanese maples on one side, and then opens up to a large grassy area on the other side. It’s simple, yet elegant and it feels like a true escape to have a cocktail with a friend or a large dinner party with many friends. My least favorite space in the house right now is the front entry way. The door basically opens right into our second living room and I’m always clearing junk out of there. Helmets, scooters, backpacks, shoes, a lone sock, gloves, you name it. But I try to remember to be grateful, because these are all signs of a home that is well lived in and people are having fun and loving each other.

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?

That life was better on the road in an exotic location. Honestly after two years of travel we came “home” and were so grateful for our community. We loved traveling, and again still do, but we didn’t realize how much we would miss being part of a community. We didn’t realize it would get old to constantly be a stranger, a foreigner, the exotic oddball. What a thing of privilege, right? We also had to face the fact that our son prefered to have a home base. Sure we the parents could have forced our will on him, but that’s not how we want to parent. We’ve been home over 18 months now, and he’s asking when we can move to Italy, so our plan to honor his feelings worked in our favor in the end!

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?

HA! I thought I was the only one! Depending on if we are flying or driving it varies. When we were driving, I took my favorite chef’s knife and big solid wooden cutting board. I love to cook and I hate plastic cutting boards, and a nice knife makes cooking a joy vs a chore. When we were flying I took the knife and beautiful gauzy curtains for our new space. Crazy I know. I told you I grew up with Martha Stewart!

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?

Well we’re stationary again, but when we were full-time traveling, I missed my community. We are from a small town of about 5,000 people and I didn’t realize how much those people I see in casual interactions around town are truly part of my life. I like having that, and I like my kids having that. We also know this is always here and we’ve left and returned many times now.

What is the one item your children carry with them to make their unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?

For my son it was legos, his penny board (its a skateboard small enough to fit into a carry on suitcase) and a little stuffed Panda his Abu (she lives in Barcelona) gave him. For my daughter it was a myriad of stuff friends and a few books. Then to be like her brother, she had to have a skateboard too.

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?

My heart got the better of me as we were about to leave Mexico. There are street dogs everywhere, but one came across our path that had been badly abused and was severely malnourished. We scooped her up off the side of the road in an impulsive decision and brought her back to the states with us. We spend over a thousand dollars doing all the things we needed to do to get her healthy and ready to come back to the US with us. She was with us for about 8 months before I had to rehome her. Because she had suffered starvation for so long, she had a skin condition I couldn’t get rid of. I made special food for her (chicken, rice and vegetables) and then at her first opportunity she would bolt out the door and run to the nearest garbage to gorge, then come home tail wagging and regurgitate it all over my carpet. Charming. I realized we should have never taken her now, but the kids begged and it seemed meant to be. She was very sweet and traveled great in the bus, but the eating garbage was just a habit we couldn’t break. In hindsight we should have taken her to a shelter in Mexico, but they are all over flowing with street dogs. I guess we gave her a great life for 8 months.

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?

We would typically get on the local version of craigslist and find what we needed. Every country is different, Spain is famous for leaving gems on the sidewalk. Mexico I would go to the markets and buy from the local artists. I hate Walmart, but am guilty of going there for things like pots and such.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?

Space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.

 Is it too much to ask for space, natural light and a killer view?

If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?

Wow this is tough one. We’ve lived in SO many spaces over the last few years, even before we started traveling. I’d say our decorating style is like an aero latte. You know those awesome little hand held mixers that create the perfect foam for your latte? That’s what aesthetics of a space are like for me…the perfect foam on top of a delicious latte. Design matters! Who cares if you’re in Rome if you’re staying in a crappy youth hostel??? I did that in my 20’s, at this age with children, it’s all about comfort and style and living like the local families live.

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?

This was actually really cool. As an American I LOATH all the consumerism during every holiday. We kept up our traditions as we did at home, but without the excessive focus on gifts and crap. We decorated for the holidays with things we found locally in whatever country we were in. One Christmas we spent in Paros, and we found a cool piece of drift wood on the beach. We made ornaments out of sea shells and got a cheap set of lights from the hardware store. We made gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies for Santa, and left it out with a shot of Ouzo (a local liquor). Another we were in Spain and it was so fun to learn about their local traditions. Who knew about the Caga Tio? Loosely translated it’s a log that the kids beat with a stick and it poops out Christmas Candy (turon). So that year we had a Caga Tio and a tiny Christmas tree. My kids were 3 and 5 at the time and thought they were on top of the world. The Christmas lights and markets in Barcelona are absolutely delightful. Honestly, I prefer traveling holidays to “traditional” ones. In my experience it forces us to focus on what’s really important rather than consumerism.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?

That you can pick and choose the parts of a cultural that resonate with you. It is absolutely a privilege not afforded to everyone to be able to travel in and live in another country. My intention as a guest in another land, is to always be aware and respectful of their cultural norms. But when it comes to parenting lets say, a lot of the way we do things is grounded in cultural stories, and as a mother, I get the gift of choosing what works for my child in a way I can’t as easily do in my home country. For example in the states, most parents typically have kids that are are in bed around 8pm. I feel the glares when I’m “out too late” with my kids in the US. In Spain, it was not uncommon to see small children out at 10pm, 11pm, Midnight. It’s just part of their cultural fabric. I liked being able to fly under the radar a bit because I was an expat.

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?

You know that song “Home is Wherever I’m with You?” {insert whistling and foot stomping} That’s how I feel about home. It’s funny that my husband, the human I think who understands me better than anyone, is from a completely different culture than me. He’s from Argentina and at times it makes our relationship a bit fiery, there are totally misunderstandings and sometimes a lack of commonality on things, but mostly it makes us relate to one another on a fundamentally human level that goes beyond beliefs. I guess I’m saying home can be a tricky concept, because the assumption is that we belong and that is what we’re supposed to be like, but maybe it doesn’t fit us. I think that’s why a lot of people travel, they feel misunderstood at “home” and actually feel better understood out there in the world with fellow adventurers and seekers.

What makes you love the place you live?

That we’ve consciously created a space that fosters nourishment, fun, conversation, art and loving each other. And we are surrounded by magical mountains, rivers and lakes with four seasons to play in nature.

Can home be a person, or an idea?

I believe home is wherever you feel loved, accepted, nourished and able to take a respite from the world outside.

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?

Go for it! You can always go “home.” We sold EVERYTHING. Came home with not a single fork, plate, towel, dish, stick of furniture…..and when we decided to come home, it took no time to hit the second hand stores and completely dial in our new digs, which is my favorite space yet. You’ll get a level of clarity on the road, away from all distractions, stripped down to nothing but the essentials that just isn’t possible when you’re surrounded with all things familiar. If it’s calling you…Get out there! You’ll always wonder if you don’t.

 Anything else you would like offer?

I’m so grateful for this time that we are living. With the internet and the new paradigm where many of us are freelancers and independent contractors, we are able to spend more time with our children and share the world with them. I will say, I try to think how I can give back to the places I go, and not just take. I like to think of the Peace Corp and the important work they do. I think we as travelers have to think of ourselves as ambassadors of whatever country we represent and that our charge is similar to those in the Peace Corp. Unfortunately xenophobia is at all time high, as people become more and more isolated in their idea of what’s normal and in their own daily routine. I actually believe travel and being curious about the world around us, is essential for the planet’s health. And when we come across that thing we can do, to make the world a better place, we need to do it. It’s often simpler than it seems. As Mother Theresa once said, “If you want to promote world peace, go home and love your family.” And we all know home is just a metaphor!

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?

It’s all temporary. Right now I’m focusing on building a community where we use creativity and curiosity to explore our own beliefs and reframe any that are holding us back or not serving us anymore. I’m planning to do the Camino de Santiago this year with my sister (exact dates TBD) and it feels scary and exciting to think of leaving my family behind for that time. I want to be an example they can be proud of however, and never feel resentful that I didn’t do something because, “I’m a mom.” I guess we’re open for the next adventure after that!

How do you educate your children?

My kids attended school in both Barcelona and Oaxaca and it was a good experience. Not in that there weren’t bumps, because there were. Barcelona was more challenging because we went from mountain living where our kids could be outside all the time without too much supervision, to big city living 5 stories up and being cooped up inside all day. I think that was the biggest challenge. But back to school and the bumps with integrating in with the other kids, I think even though it was challenging for my son who was 5 at the time, in the scheme of life it was a positive, because it built resilience in him and trust with me that I would listen and be there for him when things got tough. Resilience is arguably one of the most important skills are kids are going to need as they enter the workforce or create their own business. Before I left the states, I worked at a community college on a collaborative effort that was known as The New World Of Work. The premise was how do we as educators prepare students for jobs that are changing so quickly, curriculum irrelevant before they even graduate? The top 10 jobs today, didn’t even exist 10 years ago. So how do educators prepare students for a world that is changing so rapidly? What are the skills they need to succeed in this new environment? The work my collegues did became known as The 21st Century Skills Curriculum (it went on to be endorsed by the White House!) and they identified, with input from leading entrepreneurs, employers and academics what the top ten skills to succeed in the new world of work are: Adaptability Analysis/solution mindset Collaboration Communication Digital fluency Entrepreneurial mindset Empathy Resilience Self-awareness Social/diversity awareness I’d argue that world school prepares children for this new work reality than traditional schooling which is quickly becoming obsolete. As Sir Ken Robinson, an international advisor on education, shares… traditional schooling is designed to meet the needs of the industrial revolution, and it’s not going to prepare our children for the jobs of the future. I could go on about this all day, so I’ll stop! lol

How do you make a living?

I do an assortment of things–I’ve heard people refer to it as patchwork income. I’m an independent contractor doing grant management and strategic planning which means I often get breaks in my time between projects and like to travel then. I also offer creative workshops for women both online and in-person. I have worked all virtually before and found it lonely and not in alignment with how I like to show up in the world. So this is still a work in progress for me. There are lots of people out there that will try to sell you a Bullet Proof Blueprint, if you just sign up for their course, and I can assure there is no one size fits all plan for how to earn money and travel. Certainly, there are options that lend themselves better to life in transition, but this is as personal and varied as traditional jobs back home. It largely depends on your skill set. I will say, start with what you currently do. Are you self-employed? Could you see your clients or provide your services remotely? Would your current employer be open to you tele-commuting, or could you go on a contract basis? More and more companies are embracing the New World of Work, and it’s actually more advantageous for them to pay independent contractors. This is a trend we are only going to see continue to grow. I know lots of travelers host e-commerce sites as well. There are many options, but I’d get clear on how you want to spend your time. What’s the point of traveling if it’s more of a hustle on the road and you’re tethered to your lap-top. Despite all the Digital Nomad hype, working from the beach actually stinks. You get sand in all the wrong places and you can’t see your screen. Believe me I tried it! lol

Contact

Instagram

YouTube

Facebook

What a family! I just love that Tiffiney and her family talk about art and aesthetic as being an important part of home. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that a travel life or RV life doesn’t have room for art and aesthetic – but they do! And guaranteed, you, your soul and your family will be much happier when you bring art into your day.

Go adventure,
Jessica

Inside A Traveler’s Walls is where we feature families living in less traditional and unique homes (tents, boats, camper vans, yurts, flats, etc). If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled, please contact us for details.

COMMENTS (2)

2 thoughts on “Inside a Traveler’s Walls: Traveling Family Tiffiney and Diego Lozano

  1. Thank you Jessica for including us in this amazing line up of adventurous families, living life on their terms. I have now fallen down the rabbit hole reading all the inspiring stories of families taking back their lives and living outside the script of consumerism.
    Well done! I love what you’re doing. It’s important work.
    Best

    1. Thanks Tiffiney, it was such a pleasure to have you share your story on our series. Your story is incredibly inspiring. We look forward to sharing your WorldTown again one day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *