The world is truly a playground for the Sanchez family of Colorado Springs.
Full-time travel, part-time work, and more family time: That’s what the Sanchezes—Jessica and Rodrigo and their two kids, Santi, 5, and Nora, 2, known online as “The Jetsetting Family”— were looking for this past summer, when they left Colorado Springs to travel around the world for two years, with no official end date in sight.
In June, they set out for Hawaii and Southeast Asia, including Bali, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, usually staying two to four weeks in each place.
“One of our favorite experiences so far has been going to an island off of Phuket, Thailand, called Ko Yao Noi,” says Jessica. “We took what they call long-tail boats and toured uninhabited islands….” Adds Rodrigo: “We looked down at beautiful blue water and saw monkeys, birds, lizards, and bats out in the wild. The kids loved the ride—and then they got to hop in the water.”
The big life change was inspired by a desire for just such family time. “We had dreamt of being able to spend more time together as a family and we love to travel,” says Jessica, who’s previously been to more than 25 countries. “We thought, why not combine the two and go on a long-term vacation, incorporating work along the way?”
Before taking off in June, Jessica, a former accountant, and Rodrigo, an aerospace engineer in the Air Force (now the Reserves), sold everything they owned (except for their house, which they put up for rent to help fund their travels); they earn free stays and meals along the way through photography and marketing services they offer to hotels.
“This year, we’re exploring Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand,” Jessica says. For the holidays, they’ll travel to New Mexico, where her family is, and then come back to Colorado for about a month.
Besides understanding how to travel light (“We left with three suitcases,” Jessica says), they’ve learned a lot along the way, including how travel can positively impact young minds. “Santi and Nora have become such a team,” Rodrigo says. “Before we left, they would bicker, but they’ve learned to rely on each other. Nora also used to be really shy, but now when people approach her— which happens a lot because she has curly hair and glasses—she waves, says hi, and smiles.”
They’ve also mastered an on-the-go schedule. “We have kids, so we need some sort of structure to stay sane,” Jessica says. “We work the first two days we are at a hotel and then just enjoy where we’re at. We do a lot of photo and video editing on Saturdays and typically fly on Sunday or Monday to avoid crowds.”
Though the Sanchezes plan to be on the road for at least the next two years, they won’t soon forget their home state: “No matter where we are, people get excited when we tell them we’re from Colorado,” Jessica says. “The best part of prepping for our trip was finally taking the time to see the state. Glamping near Aspen is still one of our top five experiences.”
See where they go next at thejetsettingfamily.com.