50 Journeys Round the Sun.

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It’s traditional to do a year-end wrap post, so here goes with 2016. This year was a big one for me, it was my 50th on this endlessly fascinating planet. I’d like another 50 years of exploration but I doubt that will happen so I’ll just concentrate on sucking all the life out of however many more I’m given and sharing those experiences with you. So 2016, and more, 50 years of learning about myself and the world. This last year has been good, it started rocky as the last throws of hormonal transition shook my world, but by summer 2016 I was coasting along. The whole family is in a very happy place right now and I think that shows to everyone we meet.

A Quick Recap on the Nomadic Family Travel Story

Greece, May 2016

For new readers, briefly, we sold the ” stuff”, rented out our home, quit work and hit the road with just backpacks in 2013. The kids had already been homeschooled for 2 years at that point. We haven’t been home since. That home was in Australia. We’ve been travelling full time, educating the kids and creating a location independent income ever since. For more, see our About page.

We don’t think we’re anything special, but we do know that many others are dreaming of the freedom we’ve created. Our websites and exist to help you with that.

2016 Where We’ve Been

Old Bangkok City Capital Bike Inn Hotel Thailand
Bangkok, October 2016

In 2016 we did the following:

  • Woke up in Romania on January 1st 2016. It was -18º C. Experiencing a cold winter like that is something everyone should have on their bucket lists.
  • The kids continued their skiing lessons through January in Romania.
  • February came and we flew to Dubai for a few days, another desert safari with camel riding was the kids’ #1 request.
  • Sri Lanka, a full month, some work, some personal travel. Luxury hotels and villas to review, a return to Sigiriya and first time visits to remote Jaffna and Anuradhapura’s 2000 year old tree. Of course we spent time in Mirissa, Galle and Kandy, old favourites of ours.
  • Nepal, another full month. This was a big highlight of the year, our return to Kathmandu, a magical ancient place that has held my heart for many years. We never intended on trekking and took no gear with us, but somehow ended up almost at the end of the Everest Base Camp Trek, Chef in his running shoes. D and I stood at Tangboche Monastery looking at that mystical mountain through a break in the clouds. Just wow! Oh, and we met Prince Harry.
  • Romania, to work and relax while enjoying spring traditions and festivals in Maramures.
  • Greece. D picked this trip for his 12th birthday because of his obsession with all things ancient history. ( If you haven’t got your kids reading Rick Riordan yet, you need to, now! See here). A great trip. Very different to our normal style of travel and amazing food.
  • Romania again before packing up and heading to London for summer.
  • Summer of enjoying “home” seeing friends old and new and generally having a great time.
  • Early Autumn took us to my home country, Wales, for Ironman Tenby. Chef completed the event with a great time and we loved taking a little road trip around West and South Wales, making new friends and visiting favourite places.
  • More London, because, it’s home.
  • Driving across Europe for the second time this year. I hate it. Unfortunately it’s necessary. Sorry, autobahns hold no joy. But we did love our short stays in Czech Republic and Hungary. We can add France, Belgium, Germany, Slovakia and Austria to our “countries visited” list for 2016.
  • For my birthday in late October , I picked Bangkok. A special hotel and then 6 weeks touring Thailand. Again, some work, a couple of beautiful hotels to review and another Ironman event for Chef. New friends and falling in love with Chiang Mai all over again gave us possibly our best trip to Thailand ever. We’ve been around 20 times, so that’s saying a lot.
  • Romania again for Christmas and the ski season. A white Christmas, crazy and fascinating local traditions, good friends, good food. Nowhere says Christmas like Romania.

So just a week of 2016 left and we won’t be visiting anywhere else. Adding up the countries above,I make it 15 this year and not 1 new one. We keep going back to the countries we love and I make no apology for that.

2017 could possibly involve India, Vietnam, Mexico, Myanmar and Thailand and of course London and Romania. Of those, only 1 new, Myanmar, that visit is long overdue. D wants another ancient history destination for his 13th Birthday, that will probably be Rome as Egypt is sadly a big risk. But who knows what life will throw at us? This year we didn’t expect Brexit, that could change life for many of us, we didn’t expect Trump and we certainly didn’t expect to lose so many talented people. I’m still not over David Bowie. Update : We went to Egypt, find that content by searching our site.

2016 Financially Supporting Ourselves, Money, Blogging and Work

Receiving a blessing at the sacred Bo Tree, Anuradhapura, Si Lanka
Sri Lanka, February 2016

The websites are doing well.

I’m not going to publish financial reports but we are on the cusp of supporting a family of 4 through online income. If we chose to stay put in one cheap destination, say Thailand or Romania, we’d be financially OK, but we like to travel, buy the kids nice things and eat and drink well. To do that we need a little extra in the bank. We have never relied on free accommodation to make our lifestyle viable. We’re not big fans of house-sitting or couch-surfing, nor do we accept many promotional offers or press trips, our travels are almost 100% self- funded.

We do accept some hotel and attraction promotions, when they match what we’re doing and we think they would sit well on our website and with the kids. We had a lot of fun reviewing and promoting luxury hotels and villas in Thailand and Sri Lanka this year, we’ll continue to take on this sort of work in moderation.

Of course passive income is never truly passive, we work hard at keeping the money coming in. I don’t have a lot of time to spare as I’m a mum first and the kids are with me 24/7. Chef needs to get more involved this year ( blogging really isn’t his thing) or we need to take on paid help to take things to the next level.

But I say that every year!

2016 Homeschooling

nepal lukla airport small plane
Nepal, March 2016

We did some “school” in the form of work books and online courses while we were in one of our home bases . D developed a strong interest in video creation and editing, so we’ve been helping him pursue that course. At the moment he wants to be a YouTuber, a highly skilled line of work that I think would suit him down to the ground. We have a top-level contact and wonderful friend in that industry who agrees that he has potential, so we’re happy for him to run with that. Boo loves his Minecraft Homeschool, so he does modules there often.

What can I say? They see so much, learn so much, I really can’t write lists of ” what they learned this year”. They’re bright, sparky, they can read, spell and do maths. That’s all the basis they need to go forward in life and find their own paths.

I will tell you that neither of them has ever been drilled in spelling, times tables, phonics, any of the stuff that kids in school endure, but the learning happened anyway.  Writing was tricky, neither of them enjoy anything involving a pen, but we’re good with that now too. I think I’ve proved my point.

2016 Friends and Socialisation

Wales, September 2016

There’s been a big shift in the last couple of years. We’ve all moved on, ditching the old, finding new. It’s interesting and it feels good. Some old friends and family were most certainly holding us back.

The boys and we parents have plenty of very good friends spread around the world. We see them often, making special trips to visit. We’re in a good place socially but it’s taken a while, there was certainly a transition period that came with our new lifestyle.

On Being 50

Getting a sak yant in Thailand for women
Bangkok, October 2016

I love it! I love that I’ve made it this far and that I’m still fit and able-bodied enough to take a stroll up the Himalayas when I feel like it. I love that my mind is still open to all and every new possibility. I love that I still have relatively young children for a woman my age. I think without them I’d be less active, more inclined to sit and think than to do. I love that they drag me up to date with technology, movies, music, all the things we lose touch with as we get older. I’m glad I don’t live in the past as too many do, clinging to the way things were. Likewise, my husband being a decade behind me in age keeps me pushing forward.

This year has been fantastic, truly memorable, and we’ve done so much. The more you do, the more time stretches. 2016 seems to have lasted forever. I love that I’ve created a permanent record across 6 websites and I love that my children will maybe read, remember and look back on our life one day.  I love that I’m out of the child-bearing years, the hormones weren’t fun for a while but now I feel like a woman reborn. I’ve entered a new chapter. I’m going to make that chapter as action packed and adventure filled as I possibly can. Are you sticking around to age disgracefully with me?

But onward into 2017, let’s be thankful we’re all still here. Too many people, right across the globe, tragically didn’t make it out of 2016 alive. Let’s all make 2017 count. What’s your dream for this year?

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

11 thoughts on “50 Journeys Round the Sun.”

  1. OK – You have given me inspiration on the run down to my 50th! 6 weeks in Thailand sounds fabulous for next year. And since I can’t count Thailand as i have been already – to reach my goal of 50 countries before 50 I will have to throw in 5 others as well. Romania and Hungary could be an option. Dreaming of sunshine anywhere TBH after 2 weeks of solid rain in Scotland.

  2. What a fantastic year of wonderful experiences. Enjoyed reading the summary. Happy 2017 to you all.

  3. What a packed and varied year! My dream for 2017 is to try and get a steady monthly income going so that Andrew and I can start saving money again (rather than just staying afloat) whilst still exploring the world and living in different places. I’d love to have a dog too, but I don’t think it’ll happen this year 🙁 I’m excited to see what you guys get up to in 2017. Happy New Year to you all!

    • Hi Amy, I’m excited too! That’s pretty much where we are too, needing to be financially comfortable, no stress,no worries, knowing the blogs will support us financially giving us total freedom. You guys are almost there too, next time I see you we’ll have a conference.

  4. Lovely recap. I found you via Amy of OurBigFatTravelAdventure and love your zest for life and the fact that you are MAKING IT WORK. And with kids! Kudos to you and thanks for all of the inspiration from another person out there just trying to make a life less ordinary.

    • Thanks @Rhonda, yes we’ve known Amy and Andrew since they stayed with us as Airbnb guests in Australia. I still remember that “me too” moment when I told Amy I was a travel blogger, or trying to be one back then.

  5. Fantastic post – i enjoyed it all. Thank you for sharing so openly. We’re a family of 3…I’m 47 and really craving a similar adventure for all of us!!!

  6. I’ll stick with you, Alyson, but not disgracefully ! What’s so disgraceful about being 50 ? It’s only twice 25, no?! (or maybe there’s is some pun I didn’t get …) Anyway, keep blogging and posting and videoing and traveling. I just love to hear about it!
    My plans for 2017 are mainly academic – I hope to finish my PhD and publish some more articles on working alongside people with intellectual disabilities. But most importantly : I just plan to be HAPPY !

    • It’s a British expression Talitha, you may not have it in France, a play on ” Ageing gracefully” which involves wearing pearls and sensible shoes and not doing anything crazy like getting a tattoo or having one side of your hair shaved off ( yes I did that too recently). Dreadlocks will be next 😉


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