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The Funemployed Family from the US making Bali their base for 3 months as part of their world tour

Meet the inspirational FUNemployed Family, who are digital nomads for the past 5 years and have charted their course across 35 countries. Their journey began when they realized that the conventional path of the ‘American Dream’ was taking a toll on their family’s well-being. So, they courageously quit their jobs, sold their home, and embarked originally on a year-long exploration. Fast forward to today, they’ve become self-employed digital nomads, who are currently residing in Bali for the next 3 months and sharing their experiences of family travel, work, and embracing a life filled with new possibilities.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where are you originally from?

We’re Ben, Kelly, Liesel (6) and Mason (3).  We’re from the USA, but over the last few years the term “home” has drastically changed for us.  Kelly and I had been doing the corporate grind for 10 years in San Francisco but we had an epiphany after our daughter was born.  We worked so hard to follow the “American Dream” path we were raised to believe in, but there came a point when we realised it wasn’t a sustainable path for our family from a mental health standpoint. We were working our lives away just to keep up with expenses and we rarely saw our 1 year old. It all seemed backwards to us. Our biggest fear was that we would blindly grind away until we popped out at 65 years old wondering where the heck our lives had gone. So, in 2018 we made a change. We quit our jobs, sold our house and most of our possessions.  We took off on a full year abroad with our toddler in tow. We visited 25 countries and reset our lives to focus on what’s most important; the health and wellbeing of our family and spending quality time with our kids while they’re young. Fast forward to present day, and we’re now self employed digital nomads and we’re currently traveling full time as a family of four. Over the years, we’ve done a mixture of fast travel, slow travel, full time travel, home-based extended travel and even nearly a year with no international travel at all.  We feel like we’re pros at most forms of family travel 🙂


I see you have visited Bali about 5 years ago too! What motivated you to move to Bali this time, and how did you go about making the decision to do so?  

Our first visit was almost 5 years ago to the day!  The first decision to visit Bali happened before we had even told our family we were quitting our careers and selling everything to travel for a year.  A good friend of ours who was dating a woman from Jakarta called me and invited me to their wedding in Bali the following year.  I remember him somewhat dejectedly telling me “I’m sure you guys can’t make it, but we’re getting married in Bali”.  I responded with “We’re gonna be wide open!”.  He was the first person we told about our original gap year plans and we began planning our entire year around a 5 week visit to Bali.  From then on, we have visited Bali 4 times. There is something magic here that is a bit hard to describe to others that haven’t been.  Earlier this year, when we heard Boundless Life was opening a school here, we jumped on the chance to spend 3+ months here.

Our Year in Bali_The FUNemployed Family

Where in Bali do you live, and what made you choose that location? 

We live in Sanur. We chose it mainly because that is where the school our children are attending is located, near Sindhu Beach. We love how family friendly Sanur is, especially with the path along the beach, less traffic and less party vibes.  That being said, we first fell in love with Canggu and the ‘bean bag in the sand’ west side sunsets.  We’d love to live over there (albeit not in the party areas), but the commute to the school we chose would be too far.  So, Sanur it is, and we’re really enjoying it.

Tell us about more about the Boundless Life school and what you have been enjoying.

The Boundless Life school in Sanur has been a great solution for our family.  The style of education is based on the Finnish system with lots of outdoor time and learning through experiences, yet it’s still aligned with the UK & US Common Core curriculum. They split their classes into 4 age groups, 1-3 year olds, 4-6 year olds, 7-9 year olds and 10-12 year olds. Our kids attended their school in Tuscany last spring and really loved it. And as parents, we appreciate the focus on being outdoors and that every 3 months a new “Quest” is chosen. Quests are interdisciplinary projects (in addition to traditional subject learning) that focus on one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals issued by the United Nations.  The kids get to learn about the goals and how they can have real life application to positively impact our planet. The current Quest focus is clean water and sanitation, how important it is and what steps we can take to help push the goal for clean water for everyone globally. The kids love learning about it and it’s helping to create conscious global citizens.

If you are keen to sign up to a Boundless Life program, you can use referral code ‘FUNemployed’ to save €400 off your Boundless booking fees.

Child reading at Boundless Life Sanur


Can you walk us through what a typical day looks like for your family living in Bali?

Our day starts early. Kelly’s work clients are mainly on the west coast of USA, so she overlaps best with them between 5-9am.  Our kids also wake up freakishly early, often before 6am. We have breakfast and play time and then do the short motorbike with the kids over to school, which starts at 8:45. I play padel a few mornings per week and Kelly runs along the beach or attends a yoga class.  We then meet up and continue working either from home, LivIt co-working hub or a cafe along the beach. We have lunch and generally wrap things up around 2:30pm, where we cool off in the pool and plot the evening and connect on plans for the rest of the week and upcoming weekend. Finally, we pick the kids up around 4:30pm as they have after school extra curricular activities like yoga, macrame/batik art class, cooking class, Muay Thai boxing, etc. Then, it’s often a standard family night with dinner, baths and bedtime.

FUNempoyed family at Komodo Island

How is the working online experience been for you in Sanur?

It’s been great! There are so many places to crank out some work that it’s been nice to change our scenery often. Whether it’s just at home, out at a restaurant, at a beach bar or even the LivIt co-working hub. There are no shortages for connectivity and our creativity thrives here.

Out of all the places you have visit over the last 5 years, how does Bali compare?

Oh this is tough. We get asked where our favorite places have been all the time and we end up having to categorize them (favorite food destinations, favorite beach destinations, favorite people, favorite culture, best cost of living, etc). We’ve been to 35 countries and over 150 cities/towns over the last 5 years, so narrowing things down is awfully difficult. That being said, Bali ranks high on nearly every aspect for us. We have spent more time in Bali over the last 5 years than any other international location. That’s saying something.

Our Year in Bali_The FUNemployed Family_10

What are some of your favourite tips as a travelling family?

Go. Just go. That is the most blunt tip ever, but it’s truly the best thing a family can do if they’re on the fence about traveling with kids. Don’t second guess yourself. We have such little time with our kids when they’re young and the last thing you want to do is avoid traveling with them out of fear that it will be stressful (hint: it probably will be) or out of fear that others might judge you (hint: who cares?).  If traveling with your kids sounds daunting, take baby steps. It doesn’t start with a gap year around the world. Getting your family out of their comfort zone even a little bit is the very first step to broadening your minds. So, take it step by step, be positive and embrace what it means to see the world through your children’s eyes.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about travelling families?

That we’re all rich. We spend less money traveling full time than we did with a home base in the USA.  Optically, I understand it seem like we’re jet-setting all over the world and I’ll be the first to admit that many aspects of travel are not cheap (looking at you, airlines). But, there is a huge misconception when it comes to the daily cost of local living, especially when slow traveling. I don’t think most Americans truly understand how expensive the USA actually ends up being until you’ve experienced an amazing cappuccino in Italy for €1 or a tasty plate of mie goreng in Bali for 15K IDR. When you look at the macro view, the cost of living abroad is generally peanuts compared to life in the USA, especially when it comes to healthcare costs, schooling / university costs, food costs, home ownership, etc.  The list goes on.  But, no. Most traveling families aren’t rich at all.  We just prioritise our spending for what’s most important to us.

Our Year in Bali_The FUNemployed Family_12

What advice would you give to other families who are considering a move to Bali?

My advice is to be honest with yourself. Don’t just say, “Oh, it would be so nice to live in Bali!”  Actually imagine your life here. Perhaps take a few week holiday and explore the areas that interest you most. Then do the “happiness test”. Get into a daily routine while you’re here to see if it seems like something you could enjoy and thrive in each day. Once you have that decided, it really comes down to finding a place to live that will be closest to the things you want to do most often and whether you have kids that are of school age. There are countless amazing places throughout Bali and with all the pros of living in this beautiful place, it really should be near the top of your list of potential homes!

Our Year in Bali_The FUNemployed Family_4

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By using referral code ‘FUNemployed’ during sign up to Boundless Life, you can can save €400 off your Boundless booking fees.

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Book a free discovery call to learn more about how we can help you feel confident about a move to Bali.

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