Rejecting a Way of Life – Not the People We Leave Behind.


Goodbye! Farewell!

Goodbye! Farewell!

We’re living out of our suitcases at the moment, staying with friends for just over a week before we leave Australia for Ireland. As I look at the bags and their contents spilling out I feel frustration that there is still too much stuff. I want them to be lighter, easier to pack, more manageable. Why on earth did we choose a cold country to start our adventure? Shorts and t-shirts would have been so much easier to pack! But most of all, when I look at the pile of bags, I’m reminded that this is about to be all the possessions that we own. Simon is busy arranging our car to be sold, there are (more!) bits and pieces to be donated to charity, and then that’s it. Shit is getting real around here.

But, does this lack of worldly possessions bother me, and are there any regrets? Truthfully, no, (at least, not yet anyway, it’s still early days). But seeing everything we own taking up tiny real-estate on our friends lounge room floor is a stark reminder of the life that we have rejected. Housesitting in the Bega Valley, it was easy to feel like we were simply holidaying. Away from regular contact with loved ones, our conversations via skype revolved around the sight-seeing jaunts that we were regularly off on. But being here in the home of some dear friends, and having Mum tear up on the phone as we approach D-Day has bought reality crashing back. It’s easy to leave stuff behind, but people, well that’s a whole other ball game.

We’ve blogged about it before. Telling our family and friends was, and still is, the hardest part of Our Global Adventure. Aside from knowing how much they would miss us, and especially the children, there’s a whole other huge problem that we knew we were causing all along. We may have insulted them. We call it ‘insult by default’. It’s the elephant in the room, but it’s time to clear the air. Time to come clean and say, ‘we know we’ve rejected YOUR way of life, but we’re not rejecting YOU.’

Everyone we know works hard, (some in jobs they do not enjoy) to pay their mortgage and utility bills. We’ve chucked it all in. We don’t want to work those things, we’ve chosen to work for family experiences and travel instead. But that does not mean that we are judging others for getting up and going to work each day, paying superannuation, buying new houses or a rockin’ home entertainment system. Not once have we considered them fools for doing so, we just have to acknowledge that the things we all work for are individual choices. Most of the people we know have little interest in travelling long term. What’s right for one family won’t always be right for another.

I was a school teacher, most of my friends are school teachers. But we have rejected the mainstream education system. Again, this could be considered to be an insult to what they do each day. On the contrary, we don’t see it this way. Simon and I have always had immense respect for all the great teachers we know. Their hearts are in the right place, and they work to make a difference to the students in their charge. I guess it comes down to a frustration we felt as parents about the system that our kids were being educated in. Large classes, standardised tests and prescribed curriculums, these are the things that we are rejecting. We knew that our kids, and all the other kids we know and love would probably do just fine in this system, but that’s not to say that there isn’t other ways of educating children that can be equally successful. Again, our choice is not a judgment on others decisions about their children’s education, or all the great teachers working hard every day.

By default, we may have insulted people, but that was never our intention. We’re rejecting a way of life, not the people in it. On a broader level there is also the chance that we are insulting others by choosing to leave Adelaide, or even Australia. We hope that we haven’t made others feel this is the case. Yes, it might look as though our decision is based on a ‘grass is always greener’ feeling. But we don’t compare life in Australia with life abroad. Both have good and bad aspects, a month from now we will be dreaming of Australian sunshine whilst wet and cold in Ireland, but at the same time our minds will be blown by 1000+ years of history on our doorstep. It is what it is, and we’ve chosen to travel abroad to have an ‘Adventure’ into the unknown. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with living Down Under.

We are making major changes for our family to follow our dreams; to carve out worldly experiences for our children. But the thing about dreams is that they are incredibly personal. Every family strives for something that is important to them and it’s not for us to say whether those dreams are right or wrong. The important part is knowing what your dream is, and chasing it. One, five or ten years from now, when the dust has settled, I hope that others think of us fondly as dream chasers.

7 thoughts on “Rejecting a Way of Life – Not the People We Leave Behind.

  1. It’s funny really, I feel more connected to you all since you started this journey 🙂 And that’s not to say I didn’t love you all very much before hand, because I did. But now I think you understand my way of life more. I could never picture my life behind a desk Monday to Friday for the rest of my life. For us, farming is our adventure, and we love it. I never considered your change in focus to be an insult to anyone, I saw it as a family who was courageous enough to break free and pursue their dreams!

    • Thank you! Yes we do we do understand how important it is for you to live your passion Ashley, and have always admired how it allowed time for family togetherness, something we had to work very hard to maintain xx Love that you are following along!

  2. Congrats on making the change! We move to Asia next month and I have left Australia for two extended periods in the past. It’s great!

    I’ve never really thought of people thinking I am judging them, but I often feel it the other way around. I can understand other people don’t want to live their lives the same way as me, and I wish they could see it the same way! Especially now I have kids and I see how little quality time life in Australia seems to give families. Why wouldn’t I want more of it?

    Btw, thanks for the recommendation of our blog 😀

    • Thanks Sharon, we’ve been following your blog with interest and are keen to read how you get on in Malaysia. Realistically Europe is too expensive for us to stay long term without one of us committing to a ‘proper’ (lol) job so we may need to explore the idea of a change to Asia one day if we’re going to achieve more of that quality time with our kids 😉

  3. Hi there, all the best for 2015 to you guys on your adventure… I wanted to travel the world with no return date but in my family of 4, I am the only nomad, minimalist, spiritual and addict to simple living… My husband is the complete opposite of me. So you guys are blessed to do it as a family… reading family like yours makes me smile 🙂 as I wonder how it would be like if my family was on board with me :).

    • Oh, that is such a shame, perhaps you could take a few solo trips in the future, mini adventures as such? We are blessed that we as parents were both on the same page for our huge life change, and now the kids see and love the benefits as well, (no school!). But, honestly this could only work if everyone is on board, especially you the parents. As you will have read in many of our posts like this one, there are so many moments of doubt along the way, that you both have to be 100% committed to the plan to support each other. I hope you will enjoy following our travels, and be sure to check out some of the other travelling families in our blog roll. There are so many ways of doing this, maybe you and your family will find some inspiration there 🙂

  4. Hi, Thanks for your reply; really much appreciated.
    Well as a family we have traveled a lot (India, Australia, Europe, US, Africa etc..) and travel at least once a year but my need to be on constant move is not satisfied by vacations.., My husband being a consultant has traveled the world with his job so is not so keen to more travel… But I should not complain; we are actually living in Dubai right now as expats… this is the second time around in the middle… via the UK from France/Africa were we are from.
    You can read a bit of my “travel” plans for 2015 here but be aware I am no real blogger; just once in a while… Take care 🙂
    I find what you are doing amazing… if you ever come this part of the world… you’ll have a place to stay with us… take care 🙂

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