3 Years of Travel. Thoughts

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Shhhh! They’re all asleep. Wiped out like a small pride of lions after a big day on the savannah.  All 4 of us in this little apartment, 2 big beds, happy as can be.

Chef has his first day off today, he can sleep in.

Boo lost a tooth yesterday, he’ll wake to find 2 pounds under his pillow.

D read ’till past midnight, lost in a world of Greek myths, all is right with the world as London sunshine streams in through our windows.

It’s been over 3 years now. We left our home in June 2013. So many adventures, so many memories, such amazing times.

If I were to write something about 3 years of being “normal” at home. I doubt I’d have much to say. A few special trips, birthdays, meals out, Christmases (I’m struggling already here!) going out to the reef maybe? Walking in the rainforest?

But those things would lose their shine because they’d be the same old things, over and over again. I can’t even begin to list the adventures we’ve had in the last 3 years. There are over 400 posts on this website, thousands more on social media. We document most things, good and bad, but it’s just too much to sum up in a short post.

I can tell you without doubt that we’ve never regretted our decision to try this peripatetic lifestyle for size, it’s brought us too many good things.

A close, joyful bond with our kids. We all know each other inside and out, good and bad.

Incredible global educational opportunities for all of us, not just the boys.

A new career and creative outlet for me. I love my job.

A shift in priorities, no more Better-Homes-and-Gardens type lifestyle. We focus on what’s really important now.

Greater financial freedom born out of needing less, enjoying more.

Spiritual freedom. I don’t feel trapped as I used to. My mind can be where it wants to be.

New friends and a new global community. People more in-line with our family philosophies.

It’s been amazing, thank you for joining us and we’re not stopping!

I know of few other family travellers who’ve lasted this long. Admittedly, our travels have brought us “home” to London for now.

We are Londoners and it’s now clear to us that this is where we belong. That’s another of the beauties of travel, it allows you to see things and places more clearly.

Our other “home” Breb, Romania, brings us all enormous joy, but, who knows what will happen in Europe now?

Most of us, we travellers, seem to settle after a while.

Sometimes in new countries, sometimes returning to the old ones.  I think our family will continue to travel, but as usual, nothing is planned.

So, some highlights, my highlights, of the last 3 years.

We’ve done it all. Ultra budget backpacking, luxury cruise ships, value hotel chains, luxury villas, trekking adventures, country and city stays.

A Few Highlights From a 3 Year Adventure

Nepal with kids, trekking with kids. Cultural enlightenment near Everest. Prayer wheels and learning about religion and spirituality with the Sherpa people
2016, heading towards Everest at 11 years old.

Seeing Mount Everest as we topped the hill to Tangboche Monastery. Just my elder son and I. That was pure magic.

A physical challenge completed, a mother-son bonding experience of monumental proportions and a spiritual joy.

As we struggled to the top, sucking in thin air, the clouds that had obscured the mountain parted and I just stopped, sat on the ground and took photo after photo with tears in my eyes.

D, unimpressed, raced off to buy a Snickers. I haven’t yet written about that day ( I have now, here), I will, but you can revisit the white-knuckle flight to Lukla from Kathmandu here.

2nd time on the Khao San Rd for Boo, 2013

Just being a backpacker is a thrill for me too. I love the lifestyle and the mode of travel.

I’m rarely happier than when I have a backpack on my back.

The ultimate backpacker trail cliché destination has to be Bangkok’s Khao San Rd.

When I first visited back in 1999 it was love at first sight. It’s a love affair that’s endured and sharing the fun and craziness with the kids has been wonderful.

I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve been now. Read more about Thailand with kids here.

My first press pass! 2013

Professionally, I’ve grown in so many ways.

I was a very bored scientist, not a writer or website creator. I had no clue about websites, social media and all the behind-the-scenes technical stuff that goes with it.

Now I can hold my own and it means a lot to be able to help and encourage people through the websites and to be taken seriously as a travel professional.

Being approached for help, advice or to promote a travel business feels great.

We’ve had some fabulous work opportunities this year, the Max Wadiya full-service villa in Sri Lanka was very much a highlight.  

Regular readers will know that we very rarely do these sorts of promotions. Personal travel usually comes first for us but Sri Lanka is special and we were happy to help in any way.

I’ve taught myself all of this stuff. Everything I do to run this site and support my family is self-taught.

Tell me why we need to go to school again?

to change ears (400x300)
Then. Adorable little munchkins! How they’ve grown. 2012 I think.
who reads blogs 2
and now. Greece 2016

What else, well how about just seeing the kids grow from sweet 6 and 8-year-old kids to almost-young-men? I’m so proud of them.

They’re smart, funny, kind, just all-round cool and the best bit? I haven’t missed a second of it.

It was beyond an honour to be able to take D to Greece for his last birthday. A trip for him because of his own interest born of hours and hours of reading and study.

They don’t go to school. That’s why they have time to do all that research for pleasure.

Always learning, always living to the full, always enjoying.

They want to go back to Disney again soon. One of the most educational and fun places on earth.

Don’t believe me about the educational? Well, you just need to see things differently.

How can we not take them? As always, we’ll find a way to make it happen.

Deep fried tarantulas.Night Market Siem Reap
Chef furthering his chefly knowledge in Cambodia. 2015

My husband isn’t getting much of a mention here but he has heaps of fun too.

He gets to be a dad more often, take care of us all, play with cars, climb mountains, drive all over the word, go scuba diving without us (that bit’s not fair!), further his Chefly knowledge with global cuisines and just generally have a great time.

He holds this adventure together when I’m having menopausal anxiety attacks and is the muscle and a lot of the brains behind the whole thing.

I do websites and kids, he does just about everything else. He’s awesome.

He’s also an excellent Chef, still involved in an industry he loves and still furthering his career in one of the very best luxury hotels in the world. We don’t tell people which one ๐Ÿ˜‰

Alyson Long India Travel Blog
Train travel in India. My idea of fun, I couldn’t be any happier than in these moments of actual travel. 2015.

So it’s been amazing, and that’s all I wanted to say. I get comments or emails thanking me (us) for the encouragement we’ve given other families to live life to the max and that makes every second of unpaid work worthwhile.

So thank you for reading and being here. We will continue for as long as we can.

As always, leave me a comment, it helps me to know who’s reading and what they need or want to know.

For you, for Pinterest

3 years of family travel. Most people can't imagine what 3 years of travel would be like, let alone what a nomadic lifestyle with children would involve. We can tell you exactly what it's like, wonderful!

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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.

25 thoughts on “3 Years of Travel. Thoughts”

  1. Congratulations on your three year travel anniversary. Being a family of passionate backpacker traveler’s ourselves a lot of what you write resonates with us. Wishing you all continued success and happiness.

  2. Congratulations on your three year anniversary Alyson. And what an achievement!

    You’ve done awfully well and have motivated many a young family. My niche isn’t the “fully nomadic” experience but rather the “you-can-still-travel-even-if-you-have-kids-and-a-professional-job” thing. I take my tween with me pretty much everywhere lol!

    In fact, throughout the summer holiday, we’re going to a different European country. Every weekend! We’re taking the night train and we’re going to stay in hostels. My husband doesn’t like the “backpacker route” so it’s only going to be my son and I, and then a bit of luxury, with husband in tow, at the end!

    I really can’t wait as I love the quality time that I get with a now 14-year old young teenager!

  3. It’s been great to follow your journey over the past few years; you’ve done so much! I look forward to seeing where the future takes you. As a fellow nomad/traveller/Londoner I know this lifestyle isn’t always ‘easy’ but nothing worth doing ever is, right?

  4. I’ve been enjoying following you and your family around the world virtually. I hope some day our paths will cross IRL.

    We did our child rearing mostly traditionally. I do have some regrets, but I don’t dwell on them because despite 12 + years of public school and parents who spent too many hours at jobs, our sons managed to come out the other end more or less intact. One of them even became a travel blogger/digital nomad.

    • There’s the thing Suzanne, will they? And who’s version of alright? I’m sure my mother thinks I WAS alright ( to the age of 13 she thought I was alright, she kindly told me that) and I’ve somehow lost my alrightness along the way, where in fact the reverse is true. If they don’t come out alright….I’ll just quit blogging! Actually, by then I hope they’ll be helping me with this site or one of the others to help THEM be financially free. I don’t want them to be TOO normal. But what if they decide to be accountants???

  5. You guys are an inspiration to us. After years of reading your blog, we were all ready to travel….but life takes it turns… my boys LOVE their Steiner school and my son has a lung condition…. so we wait…. luckily we live in the Raiforest near Byron Bay… a nice part of the world
    Your life adventures sound incredible… I love keeping up with all your going-ons… and to see how your Boys are growing!!
    Your journey is also part of our own journey… Thank-you XXX

  6. Such a great story! I’m sure you had your ups and downs, but I think it was worth it. not many people can say they had so many wonderful experiences in just 3 years.

  7. Great post Alyson, you’ve all come a long way both personally and professionally. I felt very relaxed reading that. Can’t wait to see what comes next. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi Alyson, what a lovely post once again. I enjoy FB, but my favorite is definitely the blog. I’m in Belgium taking care of my father for a week, taking him to theater, restaurant, etc. I can’t replace my mother, of course. Next thing I want to do with him is take him on a short holiday. I’ve traveled the world but taking my Dad sounds daunting for the moment. Your cruise-experience gave me some ideas though. I might dig into that very soon to check things out.

    • That’s a great idea Talitha! Although, would he be sad to be alone without your mum when it comes time to dine and dance? So hard for him. Good luck on your mission, I really hope you can ease his, and your, pain xx

      • I would actually intend to join him on the cruise … so he wouldn’t be alone. But, although I love my father dearly, I don’t know if I could put up with him a whole week on a cruise-ship – that’s why it looks so daunting, you see ?!

  9. Hi Alyson,
    it’s great to ready about both adventure and experiences in overcoming trouble, + how it all goes in travelling with kids.
    We have done 3 x 4 months ski seasons with kid(s) and been keen to travel, have done small bits on the way “home” to Brisbane after each winter.
    However we are torn between staying in a location for 2-3 months and have a bit of “calm” for work, for kids to settle a bit, and to enjoy a place. But at the same time, the idea of moving on once they just get comfortable and a few local friends… it is troubling me.
    We are currently back in Brisbane and in school, they both love the social side of school year 0. and 2., and we haven’t really had such success with home schooling so far… so yeah they are not so keen on the travel idea :/
    It’s lovely to read about your home schooling success and encouraging. Thanks for an interesting blog. And a while back you asked about doing video, I think they are good if made well, but it’s certainly a lot of work an it seems like they have to be quite regular.
    Safe travels and enjoy London!

    • See, I think I prefer backpacking, slow travel doesn’t really do it for me. We’ve done it, tried all sorts of variations on the theme, but the constant movement feels good. Other than, of course our “break” times, like now in London or in Romania. Hopefully we’ll be out there to ski this winter, I think if you have something like that to keep you busy it’s OK, but just living life somewhere without REALLY living there isn’t for us. If you see what I mean. Or maybe if you had a project lie learning the language. I know we’ve ended up bored quite often when we’ve done extended stays and been very happy to get moving again, but never in London or Breb. Those 2 are special to us.

      • Is the difference between backpacking vs slow travel just based on the method of travel? Or does time still factor in? I would guess that staying someplace for months would definitely constitute slow travel but is backpacking simply staying in one region/country?

        Also wanted to ask how brexit may work against you guys. I know you and the boys are dual citizens but will it affect Chef’s work? Not trying to pry too much just hope what’s going on in Britain doesn’t make life too difficult. I’m American so I’m not sure of all the politics in the UK.

        • Hi Crystal, Chef has a British passport , he can continue to work ( and pay taxes) in London, no problem. He never works in Europe, only London. Backpacking, no, as I see it, it’s moving on regularly with your gear on your back. It’s what we do, mostly. Backpacking has taken us all over the world for many years, it’s not exclusive of slow travel, no, just a different feel. I love the knocking on doors, finding places to stay , being around other travellers, just turning up with no plans. Slow travel mostly necessitates pre-booked apartments or similar, it’s more isolated. Of course you could stay in a backpacker place for months, but with 4 of us the lack of space would be rubbish. If we travel faster, we’re out doing stuff more, absolutely no need for longer term rentals, space and kitchens. But don’t think we use hostels, we very rarely do, we have, like 2 or 3 times ever, we find guest houses and cheap hotels are much better for us. For us, backpacking = guest houses, an Asian thing, we spend most of or time in Asia because that’s what we love.

          • Gotcha. I understand. Backpacking in Asia seems to be the perfect place for it.

            I find hostels and Airbnb to be too expensive for my family of 5. It’s often cheaper to book a hotel, I’ve even booked two hotel rooms for cheaper than an Airbnb.

          • I haven’t tried an airbnb yet. I am considering an airbnb for a two week trip to San Diego. Its the only city where I’ve seen the price of an airbnb comparable to hotels (in nice areas). Even in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Miami, and Orlando, I’ve found great hotels with kitchens or kitchenettes for a far better deal than an airbnb. Perhaps if the people traveling really need a full kitchen to save money, or they are a very large group, then an airbnb is a good deal.

            The only good deals I’ve seen so far on airbnb are in central America, San Diego, and for me London and Paris, as I’d need two hotel rooms in most London and Paris hotels.

            Most airbnb’s seem to be overpriced but that is just my opinion. There are often extra person charges as well, even if the listing says it can accommodate 5-6 people.

  10. Lovely post. I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures over the last couple of years. We are still working up the courage to do it too!


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