Compared to selling everything we own to join the nomadic tribe, telling our family and friends about our decision to do this, has been THE HARDEST PART.
As we told them one by one, the negative responses began rolling in. We mulled over the feedback from those who we love most, and we realised that their concerns fell into three categories.
- How it would affect them – Every single person had this response. Our loved ones said that they would miss us too much, that they’d miss seeing the children grow, miss our friendship, and the role that we played in the routine of their lives.
- They were concerned about our financial future – How would we survive if Simon quit his well-paying job? Were we in trouble from the business? How would we afford to buy another house? What about our retirement?
- They were concerned about our children – What about their education? How could we take them away from their friends and family? Why would we expect our children to give up all of their possessions?
The first response is the one I’m finding hardest to cope with. It’s the one that fills me with the most guilt, and the only one that might have stood the slightest chance of making me reconsider our plans. But, it hasn’t made me reconsider. Whilst it is truly a blessing to have people care about the role we play in their lives so much, it can not be our number one consideration when planning our own. I think that they all understand that, but we’ve hurt them never the less. The only thing I can honestly say to answer this is that we are truly sorry that we are hurting them, but they need to remember we’re not doing this to hurt them.
The financial concerns that our loved ones have for our future, are the ones that I am able to easily brush off. (Having said that, as those words pop up on the screen, I know that I can only be comfortable with the financial decisions that we’ve made, because we have never experienced poverty). Simon and I both have skills and careers that we could return to if things went belly up. I am not at all concerned with selling our house or our possessions, because to me, it’s all just stuff which we could work to purchase again if we ever wanted to. The retirement plan is a bit trickier. I know that we have some superannuation contributions put away, it isn’t enough to live on for 25 years, but I do know that we don’t want the same retirement that our parents are going to begin soon. Who knows what retirement will look like 40 years from now? Unfortunately, my crystal ball doesn’t have all the answers.
Lastly, but most importantly, are the concerns that our loved ones have for our children. I am not worried about my children’s education. As both a teacher and a parent, my involvement in education systems both here in Australia and abroad, has shown me that the system is full of flaws. Despite all the research that has been done by great educational reformers on how children learn best, unfortunately, it seems impossible for mainstream education settings to put the needs of children before bureaucracy. Large class sizes and rigid curriculums that teach to the test have left a sour taste in my mouth. We believe that we can do a better job as parents passing on skills and knowledge to our children with the world as our classroom. We do acknowledge that we are taking them away from their friends and family, but we hope to bridge the gap through regular communication (this blog!) Skype, social media, and with visits ‘home’ as often as we can manage. And even though we feel a bit mean right now asking our kids to cull their toys and belongings, it is our greatest desire as parents that they learn that these are NOT the things in life that make you happy.
If you are like us and considering a life of travel and world schooling, there are lots of great families who are already doing it, you can click on the links to their blogs on the right. Telling your family and friends won’t be easy, but Alyson from World Travel Family has a great post here on this topic that you might find as helpful as I did.