Who are we ?
We are HiuYing, Maxime, Darian and Mati a nomad family traveling around the world. HiuYing & Maxime met in Hong Kong in 2016 through Couchsurfing, reunited by their passion for traveling. They’ve been rapidly and unexpectedly joined by Darian, their first son, in their journey around the world. They started their world trip 5-week later, and since then they’ve been joined by Mati, their second son. Despite having two kids, they chose to carry on with their budget travel mentality to realize their dreams of endless journeys around the world.
Our first member is Hiu Ying, a rebellious Hongkonger, who discovered the freedom of being abroad while on her first trip to the UK. This eye-opening experience led her to start hitchhiking alone in Taiwan and Europe. She made good use of her ability of “sleeping anywhere anytime” that she learnt while riding the HK’s subway as a student. After meeting Maxime, she impatiently waited the last day of her university lecture and joined Maxime’s round-the-world journey. Since the beginning of her full-time travels, she has overcome her mysophobia, walked more in 2 years than in her first 20 years, lost more kilos than ever, introduced herself to many new things and continued to pursue her dream to explore life to the maximum. Perfect demonstrator for the Cantonese saying “傻人有傻福“, Hiu Ying is always blessed by the god of fortune.
Our second member is Maxime, he’s just a guy who wants to be happy. After discovering that traveling was part of the happiness recipe, he started to roam around the world mostly thanks to his thumb. Yes, he’s a fan of hitchhiking and he’s counting more than 70.000 kilometers on his belt. Most of them came when he started in 2015 an overland hitchhiking 1€-a-day journey that took him from his home country, France, all the way to Indonesia. Realizing how difficult it might be to hitchhike with two kids (no kidding!), he’s been adapting to various options, such as traveling with a car in Europe, volunteering in Switzerland or cycling around Taiwan. His current dream is to go to every country of the world, slowly but surely. Crazy about sports, he never misses an opportunity to hike whatever is around. He’s also very keen on discovering new food, studying the history of countries is in and playing board games.
The third member is Darian, the traveling kid! Born at home in France after a rather original pregnancy, he’s been following his parents’ footsteps around the world since then. By the age of 4, he has already been to almost 40 countries, hitchhiked about 5.000 kilometers on 3 different continents, kissed a few girls in buses, hiked to an altitude of 4.600 meters in the Peruvian Andes and slept in hundreds of different places. He flew for the first time when he was only 5-week-old from France to Mexico, where he stayed for 6 months before overlanding for 8 months in South America. It’s probably the friendly attitude of people in Latin America that led him to becoming such an outgoing kid. He’s being raised as a trilingual French/Cantonese/English kid and has been exposed for long stretches to 5 different languages (Spanish and Mandarin). He’s very receptive to music, less to vegetables.
And the last member is Mati. Our second son was born in 2020 in the middle of the lockdown. He was conceived in Mongolia during our Trans-Siberian overland journey from Hong Kong to France. After visiting a dozen countries in mom’s belly, he was finally able to start his own world exploration by visiting Switzerland during 2 months. His favorite pastime include crawling, playing with his toys and above all he loves to eat and discover new food! He seems to like vegetables much more than his older brother, and his parents have already noticed how different he will be from Darian.
How long do you stay in each country ?
I made a graph which include every country where Darian slept since he was born. It’s been updated in October 2020.
How long do you stay in each city/place ?
As you can see on the chart above, we’re not into weekend trip. Ideally we like to stay from 1 to 3 months in any country we’re going to. Inside each country, we tend to stay at least a couple of days in each city, but most of the time we stay 3 or 4 days, and if it’s a capital or an interesting city then we stay longer. The chart doesn’t say it, but we stayed for a week in Rio de Janeiro and Kyoto, 2 weeks in Buenos Aires and Medellin, a month in Taipei, almost 2 weeks in Lima, Seoul and Bogota.
How do you afford to travel so much ?
Aaw yes, that’s the most common question! Since Darian was born, Maxime has been teaching French & English online. HiuYing also taught online Cantonese, Mandarin & English at some point. Maxime also worked in a restaurant and a French language school in Mexico. This is enough to support our travel, probably because our greatest strength is to spend little.
How much money do you spend a day ?
Less than 10 US dollars a day for each member of our family, everything included. Maxime has been living for less than 10 dollars a day for 6 years, HiuYing for 4 years, and this is the average number including every single expense we had over this period.
How do you do that with a kid ?
We don’t spend much money on accommodation and transportation. We hitchhike, take buses, trains and even now a cheap second-hand car to move around. We use Couchsurfing and other Hospitality Exchange websites a lot to find accommodation. We also volunteer for food & lodging. We buy our food from the supermarket or we eat out in cheap eateries. We are extremely mindful with our budget, and we think twice before spending money over a certain amount.
Which language(s) do you speak ?
We always communicate in English together because that’s the only language we have in common. Maxime can speak fluently French, English & Spanish while HiuYing can speak Cantonese, Mandarin & English. We can say “hello”, “thank you”, and “no problem” in around 20 to 30 languages though.
Which language(s) do you speak to your son ?
We wrote an article to answer this question with more details. Check how we are raising our kids to become trilingual.
We follow the rule of one person one language, so HiuYing speaks only in Cantonese to Darian while Maxime is speaking only French to him. He’s two-year-old now, and he can say various things in Cantonese & French. Darian always speaks to mom & dad in the correct language, unless he doesn’t know the word in the parent’s language. We discovered not so long ago that he’s understanding English more than expected. We aim at raising him fluent in Cantonese, French, English & Mandarin.
Where do you sleep ?
Lately we’ve been alternating between 3 options when it comes to spending the night. The first is to find a cheap private room in a hostel/hotel/guesthouse. The second is to find a room on AirBnb. And the last one is to find a host to stay without payment on Couchsurfing or Trustroots. Nothing revolutionary here. Sometimes we have the chance to be recommended by a friend to his fellow friends. If we want to stay longer in a place we can also use Facebook to find an accommodation, it works especially well outside of Europe. I love to do wild camp in the mountains, but that’s not an everyday option.
How do you move from one place to another ?
In 2018 the utmost majority of our movements were done either by plane, bus, hitchhiking or cycling. We hitchhiked in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Croatia, Taiwan, South Korea & Japan, and I’m only talking about 2018. In 2019, we started an overland journey from Hong Kong to Europe mostly by train. After coming back in Europe, we bought a cheap second-hand car and we have already traveled around than 10.000 kilometers since then, for instance in Spain. We enjoy using relatively independent means of transportation such as the bicycle or a car. I guess you could say we are quite adaptable.
Where do you eat ?
We love food, and since we are with two kids, we do need to eat often and healthier. We try to cook as often as possible when we visit a more expensive country such as Japan or Switzerland. We buy food from the supermarket and cook it at the place we’re staying in. It allows us to save money in order to treat ourselves in a restaurant once in a while. 98% of the time we’re eating out we will go for local food. Our favorite spot? We love to eat in a non-fancy place full of locals, slightly outside of the city center. If the country is cheaper we tend to eat out more often. Not always convenient with the baby, but a very good way to know more about a country is to see how, where and what people are eating.
What do you do in a new place ?
Spending time with locals is what we love to do. Immersing in the culture and discovering the specificities of each city and country is our objective. Thanks to the combination of Couchsurfing and hitchhiking we get to spend a lot of time chatting and hanging out with people eager to share a bit of their knowledge. When we visit a new place, we always go to the main museums of the city, especially if the entrance fee is reasonable. We also enjoy spending time in a market or a park. These are two great spots to see how people are living their daily lives! We tend to do all the free stuff and spend some money on the unmissable attraction or one that we believe is very original and unique. And if on top of all of that, there’s a mountain around, we’ll probably hike it.
How many countries have you been to ?
As of October 2020, Darian has been to 39 countries while his brother Mati has been to 5 countries, HiuYing around 50 and Maxime around 70.
How did you meet ?
Long story. This an article we wrote on how we met.
How old are you ?
Mati was born in 2020 and his bigger brother Darian was born in December 2016. HiuYing was born in 1993 and Maxime in 1992.
When are you going to stop ?
A question that I get very often. We have no timetable, we will stop the day where we won’t feel happy traveling anymore. Or maybe to be more exact the day we will feel happier to settle than to travel.
How much money do you make from this blog?
Since the start of this blog, we have made a grand total of… 0$! Unlike most travel bloggers, we don’t plan on putting advertisement anytime soon. Affiliate marketing is also a popular way for bloggers to earn, but we’re not going that path yet. We also do not have an option for donation, but if you really wanna help you should subscribe to our newsletter, so that I can send you a message once the book is published!
Why creating this website ?
There are multiple reasons. First, we feel like we can help people to travel by sharing our knowledge to a larger scale than what we’re currently doing. People we met through our travels often ask us to share some stories, knowledge and tips. We gladly do, but the time we spend together can be too little, so this site could be a more complete follow-up. At some point we’d like also to find new sources of income and if this blog becomes popular it could a solid base before writing a book or else. We’ll see.
What are your future plans?
We are planning to carry on our overland world tour by visiting Africa, probably with a camper van or our own vehicle. Giving the uncertainty of these times, we have not yet a starting date, but it’s in the back of our minds!