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It’s been two years of travel now. Two years of us, the boys and our backpacks. Two years of adventure, fun, amazing times and disasters. Two years taking us from Australia to Asia, to Europe, to the Americas and back. If you haven’t been following along from the start, here’s our journey, the short version.
How It Came About?
Chef and I have always loved to travel, one RTW under our belts already, we dreamed of doing it again. The boys were registered homeschoolers in Australia, thriving on that style of learning and one day we just realised that:
- there was nothing stopping us and we had nothing to lose.
- travel would be an amazing and, we believed, necessary part of the boys’ education.
- stepping off the hamster wheel would give us all time together, children grow so fast and, like many, they hardly saw their hard-working dad.
I could break those reasons down further, but these 3 were at the heart of our decision. Two years later, we’ve never once regretted our choice and our life is forever changed. We are free now.
Everyone will wonder about money, we fund this through hard graft and spending little. We worked out a long time ago that a travel lifestyle costs less than paying the bills and mortgage at home and we’ve run with that concept. We have a complex patchwork income, a few freebies through the blog and a nose for a bargain. But I should make one thing very clear, you don’t have to be conventionally rich to do this. Read how we manage financially here.
We left our adopted home, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia on June 2nd 2013. Just the boys and I, Chef stayed home to compete in an Iron Man race and tie up some odds and ends. We had a 1 way ticket to Kuala Lumpur and roughly $30,000 to spend on an adventure in education. We had no fixed plans, no return date, we made it up as we went.
I struggled without Chef. There was an environmental disaster and we were robbed. We ended up making new friends and staying with them. We flew to Bangkok, a city I already knew well and felt more comfortable with.
Chef joined us in Bangkok, on the Khao San Rd. We headed to Kanchanaburi for relaxation, history, and an ultra-cheap stay before taking the train to Laos.
We stayed 6 weeks. Our second time in Laos and we loved it even more than the first.
Back to Bangkok by sleeper train again, then bus and ferry to Ko Samui and Ko Phangan. We stayed 6 weeks, mostly because of Chef’s emergency surgery and recovery. We had a wonderful time on Haad Salad beach and we’d love to go back. Update: Now, entering year 5, we’ve returned to Thailand many times and know the country well enough to put together comprehensive Thailand travel guides.
A budget-friendly flight over the border to Kuala Lumpur to revisit our favourite hostel, then a bus south for Malacca and Legoland Malaysia before returning to KL and an ultra-cheap flight to London via Sri Lanka.
1 glorious month. My 4th visit to this stunning island. We love everything about it.
Family problems brought us to Britain, it was never in our plan. We loved staying with friends in Wales over Christmas and spending a couple of weeks on the south coast before catching our ship to New York in early February.
Cruise Ship to USA from UK
10 days on the Atlantic, we had a ball. We never thought we’d take a cruise and were totally surprised by how much we loved it.
New York City and Amish Pennsylvania. Niagara Falls wasn’t so far away so we thought “Why not?”
Niagara Falls frozen solid. What a thing to see! We only had 3 nights in Canada but instantly fell in love.
We drove south to Florida, stopping along the coast. Yet again, we hit the Disney Parks, we can never get enough, before popping round to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
We had to get out of the US so we booked the cheapest flight out of Fort Lauderdale.
The flight was cheap so we thought we’d take a look at El Salvador. Only a week here before crossing by road to Guatemala.
Another cheap flight back to Florida where we continued our road trip down to the tip of the Keys. I finally fulfilled a childhood dream to take an air boat ride on the Everglades, it was better than I’d hoped and I shared it with my boys, magic.
Cruise Ship to Madeira and Spain from USA
Another 11 days bobbing about on the ocean with a brief stop in Madeira. Lots of fun!
We landed in Madrid and headed north to Catalonia. We had a date with Salvadore Dali.
It’s a short drive from Catalonia, so why not?
“Home” for 9 months. Some intensive education, 2 terms in Forest School, new friends, a new way of living. But rental costs were high and Chef was putting in too many hours. I took the time to really work hard on the websites, trying to blog seriously on the road with kids is almost impossible.
1 week for the boys and I in rural Umbria as guests of Our Whole Village. More new friends, more great learning experiences and amazing food, of course.
The boys and I left the UK without Chef, 2 weeks in Istanbul, a city we loved immediately, while he paid a flying visit to Australia.
Cruise Ship to India, Thailand, Langkawi and Singapore from Dubai
We stopped in Mumbai, the boys’ first taste of India and beautiful Kerala for an intense learning day before the stunning beaches of Langkawi and finally meeting Chef in Phuket.
Bangkok again, it feels like home. We discovered a new base in Silom and a new favourite family hostel.
1 month in Cambodia, crossing the borders by road. So many amazing experiences. Finally taking the boys to Angkor was an emotional experience.
A few days in Silom while we prepared for our next flight. We’d missed Thai food like crazy in Cambodia.
Only a month, not enough time. I can never get enough of India despite swearing to leave and never return fairly regularly. We only visited the south as our plans to fly to Nepal then cross back to north India were cancelled by the devastating earthquake. We were stuck, with no visa left and had to make new plans on the spot.
The best and cheapest flight for us out of southern India was to Heathrow. So we ended up in London for a couple of weeks. Chef worked, the boys and I had to keep changing hotels, which was hard, but we stocked up on new “school” books and got our educational plan for the next year sorted out. I struggled with being wrenched out of India so suddenly.
We were invited, so we took a chance and fell in love. Romania is stunning, we’re still here and considering buying a house.
We’re house sitting in London over the summer. We were offered the opportunity and it was too good to turn down. Chef will work, we will focus on the boys’ education and soaking up still more of London and her attractions. We love being there.
After that we don’t know. The boys are getting older, we’re past the golden ages of travel with kids and at 11 and almost 9 my two have started needing more personal space, more things, more independence and more privacy. We’re also starting to have problems with car sickness and a general dislike of trains and planes, something that has come out of the blue with my younger one. It’s a bit of a game changer as we can’t go everywhere by tuk tuk, his preferred mode of transport ( although in India he often got his way). Despite this he is adamant that he doesn’t want to stop travelling, neither of them do, we just need to find an easier way.
Our dream of buying a little place in Romania could be the answer, a base from which we could still travel for some of the year. The boys love the idea, a simple country life has captured their imaginations as much as ours. We’re looking, we’ve seen a couple of places, but will it happen? Will we revert to plan a. and try to buy in London? Will we be forced back to our Australian house? Will we change our minds and do something completely random? Life is full of possibilities and we love that. I’ll tell you when I know.
What do you think? Are you dreaming of a similar adventure? Do you think what we’ve done is crazy or cool? Tell us, and don’t hold back with any questions. I deliberately haven’t added many images, I want you to click through the blog and discover them for yourselves, it’s been an incredible 2 years.