Last week we announced that we’re selling everything to take our two young children on a family travel adventure. Here’s our announcement video if you missed it:
Travel Was Never On My Agenda
I never wanted to travel. Whenever I went on holiday I was always a little bit relieved to come home. I definitely never had a burning desire to see the world. I was a homebody, I didn’t really like change and to be honest, I was a little bit scared.
So why the hell are we taking two children under 4 on a trip around the world?
The Time Is Right
I’ve gone through the same process with wanting to travel as I did with wanting to have a family. For years and years I was most definitely not ready to have children. I wanted freedom, disposable income and sleep. Then BAM, one day it hit me, I was ready. (Although is anyone ever ready for the lack of sleep?) The same thing has happened with travelling – fear, trepidation, denial, more fear, then BURNING DESIRE TO DO IT NOW.
When we started talking about it last July, I was relieved to find out we both felt the same.. I was fed up with the same old routine at home. I was struggling in the winter in particular and in desperate need of a change of scenery. He had to leave for work early in the mornings then rush back just before bedtime each night. Their “grumpy time” regularly coincided with his arrival, so he felt like he was missing out on the good bits. We felt short-changed by the time we had together as a family so we decided travel was the answer!
But why travelling (because let’s face it, travelling with children isn’t going to be plain sailing)? Why not just move somewhere different, get different jobs, redress the parenting/work balance? This was an easy one – if we were going to make a significant change, we wanted to really make it count.
Learning and Family Time
We want our daughter to be able to go into school and recognise/talk about things from her travels that she’s seen first hand. We want our son to see things he doesn’t even know exist yet. But most of all (corny line coming up) – we want to be together. What other opportunity do you get to spend so much time together as a family? We want to be free from the restraints of Monday-Friday 9-5 working, free from the nursery run, the daily commute and the constant combination of being both bored and tired ALL the time.
But What About Routine?
Everyone knows how much routine and stability plays a part in a child’s early years. Consistent nap times, bed times and meal times. Getting ready for school by going to nursery and learning all the things they need to know before starting school. A stable home, familiarity and security. That’s what makes children happy, right?
Right, in a way. All that stuff can make for a secure, happy childhood but I know that the majority of my most treasured childhood memories were from days when we were all together as a family, whether that was travel, or just having fun and seeing new things locally. Also, the days when my parents were having fun, smiling and generally enjoying life were the days we, as children, were happiest and most secure.
We want to recreate those feelings for our children, over and over again, without any breaks for mundanity. (Although I’m very aware of how much washing we’ll still have to do when we’re away – otherwise we’ll be taking much more than our baggage allowances away with us). We want to show them that life extends beyond the town and country we live in, that what we’ve been doing isn’t all there is to do. We want to open their eyes to different ways of life, make them understand different cultures, and build their confidence.
Our Family Travel Priorities:
There are a few aims we have in mind when planning our trip. I’m sure more will emerge as planning goes on but this is the stuff we want to focus on:
- Slow down, take things in and stop worrying about things that don’t really matter. We want to step away from the pace of life we’re used to and just spend some days doing nothing but pottering and eating (mostly eating). This doesn’t mean there won’t be action-packed days full of sightseeing, covering hundreds of miles or generally being busy, we just want to have the option to slow the pace right down when we need to.
- Find the best vegan food the world has to offer, in the hope we’ll help other vegans (or non vegans who are worried that travelling would be hampered by being vegan) choose their next family travel destination.
- Be more creative. We’ve found that doing the same things day in day out can be a real creativity block. I mainly write for a living and I absolutely love it, even in the deepest darkest depths of winter at my dining room table. I’m excited that we get to take our business with us when we travel and I’m certain that the changes of scenery and environment will make writing, photography and making videos even more enjoyable and natural. (By the way, if you’re interested in any of the services we provide have a look here for more details and here for some client testimonials).
- Live outside of our comfort zone. It won’t all be 5* hotels with pools (we can’t afford it, for a start!) and trying to recreate our home life somewhere else. We want to learn about different cultures, live like locals and do things we might feel a bit scared or uncomfortable to do. Apart from bungee jumping, I’m NOT going bungee jumping.
- Be eco conscious. Now, let’s get the whole plane travel conversation out of the way before we start. We realise that air travel is a contentious issue because of the damage it does to the environment. We will, of course, try to minimise flying when we can, but we don’t think this is the biggest thing we can do to help. We’ll also try to show our children what people are doing to the planet to make them more mindful of the choices they make in future. As well as this, we will try to stay in properties with an eco-friendly approach and seek out sustainable or planet-friendly activities in each country we visit. We also hope that by sharing our family travel journey we might open people’s eyes to changes they can make to have less of an environmental impact.
- See our children grow. We’re doing this at home, in a way, but I’m hoping one of the most rewarding parts of this trip will be seeing our children’s confidence and knowledge expanding. I also feel like we might be pigeonholing them a bit at the moment. We assume we know what they like, dislike and what their characters are like. I want to give them the time and the opportunity to choose what they want to see and open their eyes to new opportunities and overcome their fears.
- FUN. Of course, we just want to travel as a family, be together and have an amazing time.
The Adventure Starts Here
We might not be leaving for another few months, but we’ve already started making some changes. Our first flights are booked so organisation/panic mode is setting in. We’ve redecorated the house and it will soon be recarpeted in preparation for selling. We also need to shift all the stuff we have accumulated over the years. I’ve already been selling, lending and giving away things like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s really cathartic. Knowing that what we travel with will be pretty much everything we own as a family will probably feel a bit unnerving. Ultimately though, I think it will be very freeing. But that’s one for another post…
Have a question or would like to know about working with us on our trip? Contact us here