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Mama Monday: Angeliquea Di Nino (Raising the Free)

- Andrea Van de Vort

Hey Mamas!

We have a fun little announcement!!!

Why not start your week off on the right foot and gain some awesome tips and tricks from the mamas that are killing it at the mama game? With that being said, we decided to start a little segment called, Mama Monday, spotlighting you mamas that inspire us!!  We will be spotlighting a new mama every other week, so make sure to check back in!  We are so excited to share and learn from these amazing women with you!

This week we wanted to spotlight a local -well, local depending on the month ;) - mama of three who we absolutely love, Angeliquea Di Nino from the amazing blog/instagram, Raising the Free!! If you guys aren't already following her or haven't read up on her inspiring story, we HIGHLY recommend that you do. Not only because she has adorable kids, an incredible lifestyle filled with endless travels, awesome mom tips and so much more… BUT we are also teaming up with Angeliquea for a fun little contest to win a $100 gift card to Mini Market!  You can enter it over on her instagram today! @raisingthefree

Here’s an interview we had with Angeliquea. We hope she inspires you like she does us!

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Tell Us About Yourself…

My husband and I are both from San Diego, California and we’ve managed to raise three amazing little humans—Fox (1), Phoenix (3), Cash (6) in a beautiful home with all the fixings.  The kids have a great life, Vinny (my husband) has a good job, and we were generally a very happy bunch — but we felt that something was…well, missing. Long story short, after tons of self-reflection and consideration as to how we can grow to be better as family, and in turn, be a better influence to others around us, we decided to take a giant leap — we call this our “life cleanse.” 

We sold ALL of our material possessions—our home, cars, clothing, luxury items, toys, everything— and underwent a complete lifestyle transformation to travel the world and live a more present, purposeful and intentional lifestyle. Soaking up experiences and learning from different cultures, one day at a time. 

We also have dedicated ourselves to becoming a family of professional photographers and journalists with the goal of documenting our journey for our own personal memories as well as to share with the world.

We're documenting the entire process and sharing it via our blog, instagram (http://instagram.com/raisingthefree) and YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/raisingthefree)

How did you and your husband come to the decision to sell it all and travel with your family?

It all happened in the matter  of an instant.  In March of 2017, Vinny and I had put the children down to bed and decided to watch a documentary called Be Here Now: The Andy Whitfield Story.  It wasn’t specifically about travel but more about living your life to the fullest because you never know when it may end.  Immediately after watching the documentary we looked at each other and said “what are we doing with our lives?”  It was like a lightbulb had just gone off.  We decided right then and there to sell it all and travel.

 What has been the biggest surprise about traveling with little ones?

Their adaptability.  There is no question that we have had some hard times, particularly plane rides and long car rides, but it has been incredible to watch them adapt so quickly.  For us, it seems that one of our children may have a hard time with something the first time, but by the second time, they now know what to expect and the experience has been much more enjoyable.  Our first flight was something our of a nightmare ☺, but by the second flight, it was already so much better.  On top of that, there have been so many new experiences that they just jumped right into with a positive attitude and no issues.  They haven’t missed their home or bed one bit and don’t really seem to mind at all that we are always moving. 

What tips do you have for mamas that want to take a similar journey?

I think the best piece of advice we had to give is to change your expectations of what travel is.  For us, its not about being on a permanent vacation, but more about living a different way of life.  So this means that as you’re traveling to new places, where there is so much to do and see, often times you need to lower your expectations.  If the children aren’t having a good day, you need to be willing to just call it all off and head back to the hotel or villa.  The good news though is that when you’re travelling for an extended period of time, its not as big of a loss to “do nothing” for an entire day.  There will always be tomorrow and there will always be something new to see.  You need to become ok with the idea that you can’t see and do it all wherever you go.

What is something you do for yourself that makes you a better mama?

Yoga and meditating.  This is hands-down the most important thing that I do for myself to make me a better, more-present mother.  I can see the immediate positive impact it has on my ability to be a great mother when I do it regularly.  It’s unbelievable how much 10 minutes of meditation everyday can completely change your day.

What has been the hardest part about being a mama?

For me the most challenging part has been mom guilt.  Having three, I find that I am often times balancing my time and attention amongst them as well as myself and my husband.  I know I’m a good mom and give them so much of me, but at times you still can’t help but feel that its not enough.   I think about what it would be like if you only had 1 child and how much time I could give him/her.  I’ve come realize though, that no matter how much time I give them, that feeling of guilt will never go away.  It’s just something that lives inside me because I want to give them so much. What’s helped me deal with the guilt is sharing my stories/feelings with others and connecting with other moms who feel the same way. 

What is the greatest lesson you want to teach your little ones?

We have 3 core family values that we try to instill in our children in all that we do.

  1. Passion– No matter what you’re doing, do it with passion.
  2. Loyalty - Always be there for your family and those you love. 
  3. Charity - Doing something with your life that helps the greater good.

What is the most challenging thing about traveling with kids? And the most rewarding?

The most challenging part is lowering your expectations of what you can see and do during travel.  If the children aren’t having a good day, you need to be willing to just call it all off and head back to the hotel or villa.  The good news though is that when you’re traveling for an extended period of time, its not as big of a loss to “do nothing” for an entire day.  There will always be tomorrow.

The most rewarding is experiencing things for the first time as a family.  When was the last time you did something that BOTH you and your children have never done before? Get outside...go explore...breath in fresh air. If happiness is the goal, and it should be, then adventure should be a priority. Sometimes traveling with kids can seem like a lot or overwhelming and it won’t always be perfect. But seeing the magic and wonder in their eyes, and feeling it yourself at the same time, is oh so worth it.

What places have you visited thus far?

So far: Mexico, Bali, Singapore, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur,  Australia,

Next Up: Vietnam, Phillipines, Taiwan, Japan, Hawaii, then Central and South America

 Are your kids enrolled into a school? If so, what do you do when they are off to (pre)school?

They are not currently enrolled in school.  We are doing some home learning with them this year and our oldest will be in a more formal education setting in the fall of 2018.  We are still deciding what exactly that will be, but it will be a structured education.

On your blog you have mentioned that you try to create a ‘media-free’ lifestyle for your kids. How is this going so far and are you planning on changing this as they get older?

So far its going great and I think it just gets easier and easier.  We are all so used to it now.  We know that at some point media will be a part of their lives, but we are going to continue to hold out as long as possible.  We strongly feel that eliminating media has had a huge positive impact on their social skills and their general happiness.

How would you describe your clothing shopping habits?

I still LOVE to shop.  It's just that now I find myself being much more selective with what I will buy.  For me, since I travel with very little, each piece needs to serve multiple purposes and be made of high quality material since it will be worn so many times.  But I do update my wardrobe more than you might think.  I guess the big difference is that I don't hold on to things.  I only own 8 outfits at any given time, so every time I buy something, it means something else has to go.  Every once in awhile I wish I had a couple more options in my closet, but for the most part, life is so much more simple not having all these clothes to choose from.  As the seasons change or we travel to different climates, I then just update my wardrobe accordingly.

Is there anything else you would want to share with us?

 Just that we have SO much more traveling and growing to do this year and we hope that everyone will follow along and share any advice/suggestions they have on where to go and what to do ☺


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