Why are we willfully and gleefully choosing to leave our beautiful, spacious apartment in a quiet resort complex with three amazing pools, a sauna and a gym that is a two minute walk to the beach, to travel to unknown places and stay in small hostel rooms with thin mattresses, questionably clean bathrooms and with the very real possibility of having to share these small spaces with a mixed bag variety of critters including the dirty dreaded cockroaches?
Why are we leaving the financial stability that my husbands job has created for us and that allows us to live in comfortable conditions to then go and deplete all of our savings and not earn a penny whilst we live in these cramped, bug infested hovels (possible embellishment here, I hope!) ?
Why would we choose to do this and why on earth are we actually counting down the days until we get to live this experience?
Honestly, to us, the absolute and resounding answer to these and many other questions that have been fired our way by disapproving family members and friends is, ‘Why not?’. But because this answer doesn’t generally appease said questioners here are our 4 top reasons, in no particular order, for embarking on this journey.
Ricky and I had always imagined ourselves spending a year or two working abroad and travelling the globe after we had gained our University degrees, like many of our friends did. Instead two days after my final Uni exam and in the summer before Ricky’s final year of studies commenced we became the proud owners of a child. This life event somewhat derailed our visions of skipping through the Italian countryside, diving into the crystal clear blue waters of the Greek Islands, experimenting with baked goods in Amsterdam and attending a ‘football’ match in the UK where the crowds passion levels far exceeded those of even the fullest of All Black stadiums. We had more pressing issues to contend with such as a lack of money, nappies to purchase and a tiny precious child who was rather dependent on us. And while we may not actually realise those visions from above on our current travel plans we will be exploring new places, we will be exposed to new cultures and we will be experiencing exotic tastes and smells of faraway lands. We will even have the pleasure of being able to share in these delights with our two wonderful sons.
Imagine having two incredibly fun and inquisitive son’s
and a partner that you love with all of your heart. Now imagine that you genuinely enjoy spending time with these people. And now, the crutch of it all is that you don’t actually get to spend time with these people until after a long day at work that has left you physically depleted and emotionally drained. This may or not be the reality for other families, but it is our reality and it is not ok with us. Therefore giving it all up; the financial stability and everyday comforts that we have become used to in Australia is something that we choose to to do rather than a sacrifice, in order to spend time with the people who mean the most to us in this world. Travelling for as long as we can means that all day, everyday we will have time for each other and time for ourselves to look after our bodies and our minds. It means as parents we will have all the time we need to teach our children the fundamentals of life as we see them and for them to have time to truly understand what we are teaching them. It means we can learn from our children how to take time to play, laugh and revel in the silly things in life. It means that we can learn the history of the places that we visit and about the cultures of the people who reside there.
Travelling like this gives us the freedom of time and the opportunity to see life through a different lens.
Ricky’s job is stressful, all consuming and joy sucking. He climbed the corporate ladder at an alarming speed, achieving far more than we ever imagined at his young age but it is now taking its toll on him. As a young family we literally started with nothing and Ricky has (with the help and support of his wonderful wife of course!) pushed himself to his limits to put our family into a position where we no longer have to stress about finding the money to pay the mortgage or wonder how we are going to afford to buy groceries next week. He has, with the exception of my small waitressing stint, been the sole income provider for our family. But he has depression and cannot handle the demands of his job any longer which of course makes him less productive, which leads to more stress, which drives the depression wedge even deeper and the cycle continues. So it is time for Ricky to take a break and for us to reconnect as a family.
Here I feel the need to point out that we are not a wealthy family. As previously mentioned we had our first child before we had obtained our University
degrees and we struggled to make ends meet for the first few years. But we have worked hard, as most people do, over the years and we have renovated each house that we have lived in and then sold them at a small profit when it was time to move on and as a result we have a modest amount of savings. We live in a lovely apartment on the beautiful Gold Coast of Australia but it could not be called luxurious or extravagant at all.
Our mortgage repayments are far less than the Australian average as is our total mortgage and the purchase price was almost half of the average Australian house price.
We aim to keep our living costs at a minimum in order to be able to save a minimal amount each month.
Now even though we try to keep our living costs as low as possible it is still cheaper for us to eat out for every meal, stay in budget accommodation, partake in activities and to travel from place to place around Asia than it is for us to live our simple, yet comfortable life in Australia.
Obviously we will not be earning whilst away which will result in the absolute depletion of our savings but the fact remains that for us to take a needed break whilst staying at home would be far more costly for us than it is to travel and explore some parts of the world, particularly Asia.
I hope by now that I have convinced you of the benefits of this trip for us as a family. I believe that we will have many exciting experiences, learn to look at life in a different way and to appreciate each other as well as as ourselves more as a result of our travels.
I also hope that you will follow us along the way.
Feel free to comment below with your reasons for doing things a little differently or with any other thoughts or words of encouragement that come to mind.
xx Travelling Fresh