With his latest trip to Morocco, Czech designer Víta Válka leads a truly nomadic lifestyle. He spends several weeks a year traveling together with his family in a car while staying in a trailer, letting his two daughters get to know the world the way their peers can only read about.
“I’ve always enjoyed traveling.” Víta begins his story. “Nomadic life seemed to me like an evolution of the fact that I like to travel and I like doing my work. Travel gives me new incentives and that’s something a web designer always finds in handy.”
Before transforming the way he travels now, Víta had traveled across Europe, US and Canada. The new way of traveling sprung up out of necessity more than wanting to do something extraordinary.
“We’ve always traveled a lot. When our kids were born, suddenly we had to deal with much more luggage. The constant settling down and moving out of hotels also wasn’t great. A trailer sounded like a solution to our situation.” So was it a straightforward path from the first thought?
“At first it looked like an insane idea but it turned out to be a great tool to transform our lives and values.”
So far, the Válka family has traveled southern Europe from Turkey to Portugal with their trailer. Turkey and Croatia were their most favorite, although Víta says that they don’t put one country over another based on how pretty it is. When it comes to travel in a family friendly way, EU seems like an easy option. Are any countries more oriented towards travelers with kids or nomad families than others?
“The entire EU is okay but for instance France is pretty expensive when it comes to food. Turkey and Morocco have great prices, but then, it’s not the standard that middle class expects. I wouldn’t say that any place is more or less family friendly. The key is to find what works for you – for us it’s diversity, so sometimes we spend 120 EUR for a family lunch, sometimes it’s 120 CZK.”
Coming back to the beginning of the whole story, restlessness was what started it all for Víta. But however huge his craving for uknown was, he didn’t avoid the initial doubts. What were his fears before hopping on the first trailer trip?
“I feared that it just won’t work. Or that we wouldn’t be able to manage it – financially or logistically. And that I would have to sell the whole pasteboard thing and face the public disgrace that I got carried away by an idiocy.“ Víta smiles. His family’s initial reaction to the idea of traveling with a trailer was also as you would imagine – not very positive.
“Our girls, as well as my wife, thought I was crazy. Family and friends thought the same. However, that changed after the first trip when everyone realized it was one of the most amazing ideas in our lives. A lot has changed since we started traveling with a trailer. Both, in destinations we want to travel to, and also in how our life values look like.”
Of course, Víta had to make his way through the beginnings and those were significantly more difficult than the trailer traveling is now.
“Those times I used to plan trips a lot more and preparations lasted several hours. Now it’s easy-peasy and we focus primarily on experiences. I actually almost stopped doing videos and taking photos because it distracted me from enjoying the moment.”
However extraordinary Víta’s style of traveling sounds, actual days aren’t that exotic. ”It’s more or less the same as if I were in a brick and mortar house. Only it’s mixed more with traveling and moving from place to place and enriched with sightseeing trips.”
“The main advantage is that the whole Europe is suddenly a place where we can have our ‘holiday cottage’ and the surroundings can be our garden. I work most of the time, so even that our trips sound like an awesome long holiday, it’s more of a logistic challenge.”
And it’s going to get even more complicated once Víta’s kids start to attend school next year. According to Czech schooling rules, kids can travel while going to school too, but it’s not that easy like during preschool.
”We’ll get the wheels moving again, and later we will have no choice than travel during summer months like other people. And get noise and lower comfort for higher prices.”
Before moving to a more quiet part of Czech Republic and deciding to spend a significant amount of year outside the country, Víta had lived in the country’s capital. How did the digital nomad scene looked like back then and what are the must see places for other digital nomads?
“When I used to lived in Prague for nine years, no one knew what digital nomading was and the coworking trend was only taking off. But I liked events at Impact Hub in Smichov. Any coworking space that brings people together is great. I’m thinking about visiting coworking offices all around the world, just to know other nomads who went through a similar process as I did and who have similar values.”
And putting his work and lifestyle in a bigger picture, what does Vita thinks of the whole digital nomad revolution that’s going on in the world? “It’s indeed being a bit of a hype now. But I liked traveling before and I will probably like it in future, too. The fact that it’s called digital nomadism now is irrelevant. The important thing is to do what you like and what works for you. Traveling with a trailer does the trick for me now, same as for my entire family.”