“Where are you going?”
People are curious about the travel that we plan to do with our children, and it’s an obvious question, yet we hesitate with the answer. Yup, you read right. We are selling our house, it’s entire contents, our cars and quitting our jobs and school for the kids, but we don’t know where we are going, not exactly anyway 🙂
Usually when people ask “Where are you going?” We say “Europe, probably Italy first, we’d like to spend some time in England again, but we wouldn’t mind seeing some of South America and South East Asia as well…” The truth is, where we are going isn’t as important as just going. We are making a lifestyle change, together we decided that it was time to chuck in the rat-race and show our kids more of the world. No we didn’t win the lottery recently, and no we are not planning on living off the money from the sale of our house, business and belongings only to return home broke 12 months later with some great travel pics.
We will need to work to keep a roof over our heads and food in our children’s tummy and so that means slow travel. Settling down in a new place, living in apartments, cooking in our own kitchen and working either full-time, part-time, volunteering or on-line. But because we know the world is full of uncertainties, we’ll need money in the bank and a back-up plan. We’re looking for freedom, but we’re not quite crazy enough to just throw caution to the wind when traveling with kids in tow.
This kind of slow travel with our children means that our destinations will be influenced by the opportunities that exist in a country, city, town or tiny village, and the cost of living there. We definitely have a wishlist, but we are also flexible and open to different places and opportunities. We are not the sum of the house we live in, the cars we drive, the size of our TV screen or the hours and promotions of our paid work. We are skilled and open-minded and we can live anywhere we want on the planet if we are not trapped working the rat-race just to keep paying for a large house, large utility bills and a large amount of stuff.
Simplifying our lifestyle, and utilising the skills that we have, means that we can have more experiences, and more importantly, more time together. I talk a lot about the cost of our ‘Australian Dream‘ suburban lifestyle, but the biggest cost over the past 10 years has been time. ‘Ships passing in the night’, has been our reality, especially in recent years, and our stress levels, health and happiness suffered as a result. I’m sure that to many, this path of uncertainty that we are on would seem like loosing control, but in fact we feel the complete opposite. Finally, Simon and I feel like we are getting back in control of our lives.
“Where are we going?” No, we’re not sure, but it will be slow and steady, and the focus will be on our family. Quick-trips can be costly, and are over all too quick, a ‘blink and you miss it’ kind of experience before returning to ‘real life’. The rewards that we are traveling for are not financial nor status symbols. We want to be rewarded by learning more with our children about different places and cultures. We want the reward of knowing that our skills are used to enhance our lives, and the lives of others. We could care for a stranger’s home or pets, allowing them to take a break, or teach English to a class, exchanging a new language. Or, even teach as a supply teacher so that a school and class are not left in the lurch when a teacher is ill. Maybe Simon could fix or repair something with his mad scientist skills, or hook up the wifi or build a network? Did you know he’s damn fine at building pizza ovens, organising worksites and making your resume shine, and that I could make you a great latte or even a wedding cake? What are you good at? Think about it. Everybody has skills, the trick is deciding to start using them for the reasons that make you happy.