Building Communities for Traveling Families Through Boundless Life
I was online researching an article about being a digital nomad family and stumbled onto Boundless Life. What started as research turned into somewhat of an obsession. I was interested in joining a community of other like-minded traveling families. Spoiler Alert: We spent three months with Boundless Life in Sintra, Portugal, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it.
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When we stumbled onto Boundless Life, we were in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, and have been traveling for nearly three years.
Although we love being travelers, it can get lonely. It’s hard to build a community as a digital nomad. We’ll explain a little more later in this post.
Boundless Life: Connecting Community Education & Travel
Throughout the years, families have told us how much they’d love to do what we do. Our answer, you can, and now Boundless Life is here is help make it easier.
If you dream of working remotely abroad while exploring with your kids while they get a quality education, make friends, and build a community, then you are in luck.
The one major setback for most people is the logistics. We know how overwhelming it can be to plan flights, shuttles/rides from the airport, find an apartment, find a school (that speaks English), and organize play dates with other expats or travelers. We’ve been doing everything independently for years, so this was a much-welcomed change.
Boundless Life offers everything you need to begin your adventure abroad, so you can start your travel journey or take a much-needed break and reconnect with your family.
Kids learn with a non-traditional school (Montessori) that prioritizes experience over memorization or testing.
They combine their learning with local culture, tradition, and global initiatives to provide another level of education that isn’t taught in traditional schooling (at least not in the US).
What is Boundless Life?
Now that I have hyped it up, what exactly is Boundless Life? In my words, Boundless Life is a company that helps families travel by providing accommodation, education, and the opportunity to create a community.
What does that mean? It means they handle all the small details you can step into a different way of living.
The packages are available for different time frames, including 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. If you cannot take that time away from work, there is a summer cohort for 4 or 6 weeks, depending on the location.
There are four destinations, each with apartments from 1 to 3 bedrooms, schooling (for kids between 1-12 years old), and a work hub for parents working remotely.
Where is Boundless Life?
Boundless Life has four locations with aspirations to open more over the next several years. There are three locations in Europe and one in Asia, with Costa Rice coming soon.
Sintra is a picturesque town located just outside of Lisbon, Portugal. Nestled in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, it is famous for its stunning architecture, beautiful landscapes, and rich history.
The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art, culture, and history.
Sintra is a magical and enchanting place; with stunning architecture, beautiful landscapes, and rich history. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art, culture, history, and day trips from Lisbon.
Note: Sintra and Lisbon have a lot of hills. If you are not used to walking on an incline, find a treadmill and get those calfs ready to burn.
Syros is a beautiful island in the Aegean Sea, part of the Cyclades archipelago in Greece. It is the capital of the Cyclades and one of the most important cultural and commercial centers of the region.
Syros is a unique blend of traditional and modern elements, with its picturesque architecture, stunning beaches, and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Syros is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience a unique blend of traditional and modern elements that Greece offers. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and vibrant culture, it is sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler.
Tuscany is a beautiful region in Italy known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and unique cultural heritage. The region’s capital, Florence, is renowned for its stunning Renaissance architecture and world-class art collections, while the charming towns and rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside are famous for their beautiful scenery, delicious cuisine, and fine wines.
Tuscany is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, art, culture, food, wine, or outdoor activities. Its stunning landscapes, rich history, and unique cultural heritage make it one of Italy’s most beautiful and enchanting regions.
Bali is an Indonesian island located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east.
It is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. Bali is often called the “Island of the Gods” due to its unique blend of ancient Hindu culture and natural beauty.
If you plan on participating in more than one cohort or for more than three months, be sure to check the visa requirements. Europe is notorious for being strict about staying in the Schengen Area.
If you want to stay longer than the tourist visa, consult an immigration lawyer. They can help you find a way to stay longer, especially with the introduction of digital nomad visas, where there is a will, there is a way.
Our Boundless Life Experience in Sintra, Portugal
Our Arrival to Boundless Life Sintra
Let me start by saying this was our first time in Europe. We planned on exploring more of the continent, but the pandemic changed our travel itinerary.
Our cohort was from January to March. We enjoyed Portugal during the low season, which has pros and cons; we’ll explain more later in our review.
When we arrived, our transportation was at the airport waiting for us. We landed at 5 in the morning, so we were pleasantly surprised we didn’t have to wait.
I will admit we have too many bags. As long as we’ve been traveling, you would think we would have learned our lesson, but we somehow still manage to overpack.
Our apartment was on the second floor, so we had to carry everything upstairs after a long 11-hour journey.
One thing we love about Boundless Life is that everything is taken care of for you. There is no worrying about electricity, water, or the internet.
Living in Sintra, Portugal
I know you are wondering, how was our time in Portugal? Did we enjoy it? How was school? What did we do?
In a nutshell, we loved living in Sintra. The people are kind, family-oriented, and surprisingly many locals spoke English, so we didn’t have difficulty communicating.
The city is beautiful, with cobblestone sidewalks (which are very slippery when it rains), beautiful colored buildings, and old-century architecture.
Although we were the furthest from the school, we were lucky enough to have the apartment with the best view (being on top of a gelato shop wasn’t too bad either).
We quickly bonded with Maria, the owner of the Alba Gelato, downstairs from our apartment. She and her husband are the sweetest people we have ever met. We still keep in touch today.
She fell in love with our little guy, and he loves her. She offered to show him how to make gelato, and he jumped at that opportunity.
If you are in Sintra, stop by Alba Gelato and see Maria for some amazing gelato.
The one thing I can say about Sintra is that it is safe. I never felt unsafe walking at night or alone with our son.
Boundless Life Sintra Education Center (The EC)
Before arriving, we had an interview with Boundless Life to provide information about our little guy. Our son turned four in November, so based on his age; he was in the upper exploration class (ages 3-6).
There were six students and two teachers. The school day was 8:45 am to 3:15, which gave us plenty of time to explore without the little one.
Since we were the furthest from the school, we left every morning around 8:20 to get there on time. You don’t have to worry about packing lunch.
All meals and snacks at the education center are provided for the kids. They will accommodate special diets, and you will receive a weekly menu of their meals.
We love the Montessori style, which allows his curiosity to flourish. He talked about his projects and what he learned on the walks home. Our son loves science; he was very excited about science days and experiments.
There were field trips every other Friday, so he had the opportunity to explore the city and learn about Portuguese culture. On the alternative Fridays, where there weren’t field trips, he had half days, which allowed us to explore together.
He learned so much while attending school at the EC and made a friend (Lora). They played together during recess and had fun play dates/outings.
The Education Center offered extracurricular activities, which we were excited about. They offered guitar lessons, surfing lessons, cooking classes, and soccer.
We initially signed him up for farming, which we thought he’d love, but it got canceled due to transportation issues, so he ended up with soccer.
It was great because he was transported directly from the EC. Wednesdays were his late days, so we had at least one day a week to spend the day together.
Coworking Hub (The Hub)
I didn’t go to the working hub as much as I thought I would because the walk from our apartment was brutal. The initial 10-15 minutes isn’t bad. Once you get halfway, there are two hills to climb, then stairs.
This probably wouldn’t impact anyone living near the EC, but since we were further, the walk is at least 30-40 minutes (depending on your physical fitness level).
During the first few weeks of our stay, there were WiFi issues, which for people still working was frustrating. Towards the middle of the cohort, they fixed the internet issues by having different networks.
I tried to go to the hub once a week. There is complimentary coffee, water, snacks, and you can order breakfast (additional cost).
Since my work hours were late afternoon, I tried to work on the blog in the mornings, but we had a key to access the hub when needed.
One night, the internet at the apartment went out, and I had to take an Uber to the coworking space to finish writing a report for a client.
It was after 8 pm, so everyone was gone, and although I felt safe, it was weird being there alone.
Overall, we enjoyed the space when we needed it.
Creating a Digital Nomad Community for Families
We met amazing people during our cohort. Unfortunately, our schedules didn’t always fit, so we couldn’t connect with as many parents as we wanted.
Boundless coordinated some activities, some at additional costs, and others were free. We attended a secret lunch at a local seafood restaurant, which was a great way to bond. You can never go wrong with food, wine, and a beautiful view of Lisbon.
There were three families in particular that we connected with and have genuine friendships with. They are also full-time travelers, so they understand some of the struggles of being a full-time travel family.
Although we aren’t in the same country (or even the same side of the world), it’s great to have a friendship with great people.
We’ve met other families throughout our travel journey, but once someone leaves, it becomes hard to maintain contact, but this was different.
Since we saw each other almost every day dropping off our kids, we had time to talk (on the walks home) and get to know one another.
I would have liked to do more group outings, but I was part of the problem. I will explain more in the work section.
Food in Portugal
Since this was our first time in Europe, I was concerned about the food. After spending over two years in Mexico, I didn’t think we’d like the food in Portugal, and I am happy I was wrong.
The food in Portugal was phenomenal. Everything was so good and fresh. I am sure I put on at least 7-8 pounds in the three months we spent there.
There is something for everyone, from a meat eater, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, or something in between.
If you have a gluten allergy or are intolerant of wheat, there is bread everywhere. If you are trying to watch your weight, beware of the bread, it is so good you will get addicted.
In Portugal, dinner starts at 7, which is too late for us (and many other parents in our cohort). Our son’s bedtime is 7:30, so having dinner that late is out of the question for us, especially since I was still working (with a 5-hour time difference).
Boundless will help arrange a sitter, but some parents found one on their own at a cheaper rate. There are times when the kids can stay at the EC when there are events for the parents, but there is an additional cost.
Being a Digital Nomad in Portugal
My work schedule ended up being 1 to 9 pm, with some days going as late as 11 pm, so I missed a lot, which I regret. If you can, I recommend taking a leave of absence or sabbatical while attending your cohort to get the entire experience.
Unfortunately, I was attending certification training, so I was in class every day from 2 pm to 10 pm. The training was in addition to actually doing my job. I couldn’t take advantage of some activities, which made me sad.
If you plan on working, AirAlo was a lifesaver for me. It allowed me to have 5G service and attend meetings on my phone if I didn’t need my laptop.
Sintra is only 20 minutes from Lisbon, and it was even easier because we lived down the street from the train station. We would take the train to Lisbon on the weekend to explore the city.
While in Lisbon, we went to Kidzania, Pavillion of Knowledge, the Money Museum, the Out Market, Oceanário de Lisboa, Lisbon Zoo, and so much more.
We also took the opportunity to explore Europe. Since we didn’t want our son to miss too much school, we tried to travel on his days off or on his half-days.
During Carnival in February, the kids didn’t have school, so we went to Spain. Traveling between countries in Europe is quick, inexpensive, and hassle-free. I was surprised no one looked at our passports, and we didn’t have to go through customs.
We’ll write a post about our time in Barcelona in a separate post. When we returned from Spain, we planned a few vacations in Portugal to Martinhal in Sagres and Noah’s Surf House in Santa Cruz.
Boundless helped us arrange a rental car for a week at a reasonable price of 280 Euros. It was 75 Euros cheaper than the price quoted online.
I was nervous about driving in Portugal, but it wasn’t too bad once we got on the highway. We enjoyed the 3.5-hour road trip to Sagres, stopping at the roadside cafeterias. These rest areas have clean bathrooms, a kids’ play area, and food (not fast food, but meals).
On a given weekend, you can explore a different region of Portugal, depending on the weather. We didn’t make it north, but we plan on returning and want to RV around the country to see the mountains, beaches, and castles.
As a family that has traveled for over three years, this is the most fun we’ve had as travelers. Overall, we loved our time in Portugal.