Couple sold their belongings to fund a $100K trip exploring their roots with their THREE children – after finding out they could trace their ancestry to Europe, Africa AND East Asia
- Ike and Natalee Anderson set off from Florida with three kids in December 2016
- Since then they have travelled to Mexico, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia and Australia
- Ike decided to set off on trip because he wanted to find out more about his roots
A couple with three children sold their belongings to fund a family trip to 32 countries around the world – after taking an ancestry DNA test that showed their roots span three continents.
Ike Anderson, 40, and his wife Natalee, 38, who live in Palm Beach in Florida, decided to set off on a global pilgrimage with their brood after discovering they both had roots in Europe, East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The couple, plus Jasmine, 12, Kaylee, 11, and Layton, seven, set off on their journey – the final bill for which is expected to cost between £70,000 ($92,000) and £80,000 ($105,000) by the time they’re finished – in December 2016.
Since then they have travelled to Mexico, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Indonesia, and the family is currently in Australia.
Ike and Natalee run a marketing business together, and are continuing to work remotely to help fund the trip, after initially selling most of their belongings to pay for it – including their car and Natalee’s beloved handbag and shoe collection.
Ike Anderson, his wife Natalee, and their three children Jasmine, Kaylee and Layton (pictured together in Mexico) are currently on a trip across 32 nations
The family of five decided to sell their belongings and go on a global pilgrimage, visiting all the places they have roots in, including India
They set off on from their home in West Palm Beach, Florida, in December 2016 after Natalee and Ike took ancestry DNA tests. Pictured: the family on a camel ride in Giza, Egypt
The couple work remotely for their marketing agency from their various locations around the globe, and communicate with their office back home when necessary.
Ike, who has always been curious about his roots after moving to the US from Jamaica at 16, said: ‘I wanted to know why I was here and where I am going. If you don’t know where you’re from, you have no idea what’s next.
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‘I see this journey as a quest to find out who we are, and what we can leave behind. I was thinking to myself one day, “What legacy do I have? What will I leave for my children?”
‘It’s great to leave money behind, but I thought travelling and having the opportunity to learn and giving them an open mindset would be a better gift for them.’
The couple are vigilant when it comes to their children’s schooling – ensuring they take online classes and use educational apps, with Ike claiming his wife is their ‘strictest teacher’.
Ike said: ‘I see this journey as a quest to find out who we are, and what we can leave behind. I was thinking to myself one day, “What legacy do I have? What will I leave for my children?”‘
Both Ike and Natalee have roots in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in South Asia and Europe
The couple sold their car as well as unnecessary belongings such as Natalee’s handbag and shoe collection to fund the trip which will cost between £70,000 and £80,000. Pictured: Bali
The couple, who run a marketing business together, also work remotely. Pictured: the children taking part in a music lesson in Ghana
Although travelling with three children all over the world may seem like a nightmare for some families, they say they enjoy many highlights.
Ike added: ‘A great memory for me is being able to teach my kids how to handle other people and that life is short – we should live it to the fullest and explore as much as we can.
‘I don’t think what we do is for everyone, It’s for those who it resonates with.
‘This is more of a spiritual pilgrimage than just a trip – it’s allowed us to experience love in the places that we least expected it and learn that we are all connected in one way or another.’
But Natalee admits that it took some time for their children to share their enthusiasm for the mammoth journey.
The children take online classes and use educational apps to keep up with their schooling – and according to Ike, Natalee is the ‘strictest teacher’. Pictured: the family celebrating their Scottish heritage
Convincing their kids, pictured in Athens, to get on board with the whirlwind trip took a while – but Ike and Natalee made sure they were involved in the planning process by showing them their plans on a huge map
Natalee said: ‘If they were at home they would just be on their phones and devices. We put a rule in place that the kids couldn’t bring their phones, so we only have a laptop and iPad with us which we all share.’ Pictured: the family in Canada
She said: ‘When we first told our kids what we were planning to do they seemed shocked.
‘They had loads and loads of questions, so we made sure they were part of the process by putting a huge map on the wall and guiding them through everything.
‘Convincing them to come on board has been the best thing we did, though. It’s made our kids better at going outside and exploring.
‘If they were at home they would just be on their phones and devices. We put a rule in place that the kids couldn’t bring their phones, so we only have a laptop and iPad with us which we all share.’
Despite their best efforts to keep up with schoolwork, however, Natalee admits they have faced unforeseen challenges along the way.
She continued: ‘It’s difficult to make sure work always gets done and we all stay disciplined.
Travelling has also miraculously stopped their children from bickering as they are more reliant on each other for company and support one another, instead of falling out. Pictured: the family in Paris
Pictured: Layton, Kaylee, Jasmine, Natalee and Ike outside Edinburgh Castle in Scotland
The family spend around four weeks in each new country. Pictured: the family in Bali
Natalee believes the lack of WiFi has meant the family spend more time appreciating their experiences. Pictured: the family in Egypt
‘Not having WiFi in some places makes it hard, but we plan around that and make clear deadlines for ourselves.
‘The kids use offline apps for classes when they can’t access the internet and even when we’re exploring they are still learning. It’s like a social studies class, but instead of seeing a picture in a text book they are actually there!’
For Natalee, the pilgrimage has provided priceless moments and memories she will cherish forever.
She said: ‘One of the biggest highlights for me was sailing down the river Nile and seeing children playing by the sides of the water.
While Ike feels this way of life would not suit all families, Natalee would recommend it to everyone. Pictured: Kaylee, Layton and Jasmine playing in Ireland
Their first stop on the trip, which started nearly two years ago, was Cancun in Mexico (pictured)
Natalee said: ‘I recommend that other families do what we do – the exposure and bonding is just priceless. ‘I have realisations about our family and how much we’ve grown.’ Pictured: the family in Karnak, Egypt
‘There was literally no connection to the rest of the world, so we were forced to soak up the experience, rather than look at social media.’
Travelling has also miraculously stopped their children from bickering as, spending four weeks in each new country, they are more reliant on each other for company and support one another, instead of falling out.
And while Ike feels this way of life would not suit all families, Natalee would recommend it to everyone.
She continued: ‘I recommend that other families do what we do – the exposure and bonding is just priceless.
‘I have realisations about our family and how much we’ve grown. For families who think they may argue or not enjoy the experience, I still think they should try it – you should go towards your biggest fear.’
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