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How to Have Freedom and Change Your Life

We’ve been “Living the Dream” for 2 years now. We’ve been travelling full-time, seeing the world and spending most of our time together as a family while hardly working, other than on the blogs. Before we set off on this journey we weren’t rich, we were a very normal family struggling to make ends meet and actually classified as “low income” through my choice to quit work and be a mum. We made a decision, things needed to change in our lives, so we started getting our ducks in a row to put ourselves in a position to make the jump. This post is about how to have freedom and easy change you can make in your life.

Before you read on I’ll tell you that this post was originally written back in 2014. We’ve actually been living a life of complete freedom for over 6 years now, but I’ll leave this post as it was originally written. Spoilers : These 6 years have been amazing, we have a good income and we’re very happy to live this way, as digital nomads. 

If you want to travel more, travel at all, or travel full-time, the basics are the same. Start changing the way you live and things start falling into place. Make travel your financial priority, not all the other perceived necessities of modern life.

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How We Made A Freedom Lifestyle Possible

Two years ago we made our choice, we jumped off the conventional living merry-go-round and had a change of life.

At that time what we wanted was more family time and endless travel. Travel had been a life-long passion for us and we saw it as a great way to educate our children and live a more interesting, connected life.

Our best option back then was to save like crazy, sell almost everything and set off from Australia into the world for a year or three of budget backpacking, as a family. It worked out beautifully.

It’s what we did and we had a blast visiting 20+ countries and 4 continents over the last 2 years. We also got to live in London for 10 months, a city we thought we could never afford, on just one salary between 4 people.

This week we’re buying a house, in a beautiful village in a European country, where we’ll wake to birdsong and green meadows, and still, we don’t seem to have a job. We’ll still travel for at least half of the year, but we’ll have somewhere to call home when we need it. ( This fell through unfortunately, but it’s still not off the table)

Things have changed for us, we’re happier, more at peace and more connected as a family. We’ve changed and so has our outlook.

We’re Free and We Love This New Lifestyle – You Can Start the Change Today!

Freedom in life involves greater financial stability and a lot of dis-attachment from material possessions. That dis-attachment inevitably leads to further financial freedom.  Don’t we all want to spend more time with our kids, have more fun, live our dreams and spend more time enjoying our short and precious lives?

Here’s how we’ve made changes, you can too. Minimalism, consuming less and disattachment to material things are not only better for your bank balance, they’re better for our fragile planet.

1. Stop With The Interior Design!

We’re told we should care about having a cool home, the sort of thing you might see in a magazine. We all have our own interpretations of that, some, like me, go for Asian inspired eclectic to suit the image we want to portray, some modern minimalist, some homely comfort, but I think most people, women in particular, have the  interior designer gene.

We buy expensive cook-wear, furniture and decorations believing that only the best will do. What are we trying to prove? Who are we trying to impress? Our real friends take us as we are, our kids don’t care what furnishings we have and the marketers love us as we spend and spend.

A sub section of point 1 would be stop caring what people think of your outward appearance.

Fancy haircuts, new clothes, fashionable shoes, manicures and jewelry- I used to love them. I was normal, probably just like you.

Now, so long as I’m clean, warm enough, not naked and don’t look too much like a bag lady, I don’t care and my family still love me.

We all have far too many clothes. I don’t even need all the clothes in my backpack. Stop buying and start using, wear clothes ’till they wear out, mend rather than discard at the first hole.

Charity shops have amazing bargains, often new, unworn designer labels. Real people don’t care what’s on your back and you can start your own fashion!

A long time ago I spent a fortune on the latest fancy nail fad, a guy friend said to me ” Do you think we really care about that?” His comment has stayed with me for 20 years.

2.You Don’t Need

Shopping is not supposed to be recreation. You do not need the perfect thingum for every single task or occasion. Making do works well.

You do not need to buy all that stuff. What each person considers essential will obviously vary enormously but you can live without most things.

Our essentials were our 4 backpacks and the people carrying them, now, in a domestic rather than hotel environment, we’ve had to buy a few things, but surprisingly little. As point 1 (above) is now firmly in my mind, it’s cost us next to nothing.

3. A Bigger Home Isn’t Necessarily a Better Home

Cut your housing costs by downsizing dramatically. We lived very happily in a one bedroom apartment in London, a big change from a 4 bedroom sprawling Queensland home. None of us missed the extra space at all. We have less stuff, less stuff needs less storage furniture, less furniture means more space.

Utility bills are much lighter on the wallet when you’re powering a smaller space.

Need I mention how much less cleaning effort is required? Cleaning is a waste of your precious time, you could be having fun with your kids, starting a business, anything other than cleaning.

4. But You Need a Garden, Right?

Do you?

I always thought I did, I love to grow things and producing our own food was one of the ways we saved money to get this ball rolling but now, do I miss it? No.

In our tiny rented flat in London’s Twickenham we had a beautiful park and the River Thames just footsteps away from our front door. We were more than happy to get our nature fix running around on grass that somebody else looked after.

While living in Hoi An we had rice paddies to run and cycle through.

In the Himalayas we were surrounded by the wonders of nature.

I’ve not once missed my garden.

I have a dear friend who sold up to live full time on a boat. She said growing things used to be “Her soul.” She’s never missed it since the day the sea became her back yard.

5. Renting or Buying

Owning your own home can be a great big fat millstone around your neck.

We still own our home in Australia, we have that financial back-up but lodgers are paying the mortgage rather than us. Maybe it’s easy for us to say, having our feet well up the property ladder, but renting gives you more freedom.

Renters can up-sticks and move on when the contract is up, they have no maintenance costs and no emotional investment in a property.

6. Cut Transport Costs and Your Carbon Footprint

Do you really have to own a car? Maybe you could live somewhere where you don’t need a car instead. That’s our choice.

London public transport has made us car free, fitter, happier, greener and better off.

Buy a bike, ( second hand, sell it or give it away when you no longer need it) walk more, run more.

Shopping less will cut your transport needs immediately. Not having a car will cut your shopping habbit. It’s win win.

7. Work Towards Your Goals, Not Because You Have To

Working hard to save money for a particular dream feels so much nicer than the month by month, year by year hamster wheel of working to pay for a lifestyle that constantly needs to be upgraded.

The drive for career progression has gone for us, instead we’re working for maximum financial return within the shortest possible time-frame to make us 100% free again. If that means working 7 days a week for a while, that’s fine. As my husband said, you can look at it two ways, that he’s worked almost solidly for the last month or that he’s worked only one month of the last 12. He prefers description 1.

Another update to this post. That last paragraph is a direct contradiction to the post I published yesterday about hating being stuck in London by a normal domestic and working reality in 2018. There are reasons, the biggest one is that we now have TOTAL freedom in our travelling lifestyle and choices. He doesn’t need to work now at all and we’ve become very used to it. Yes it’s taken one heck of a lot of hard work, there have been failures and set backs along the way but we kept on plugging away and eventually we got there. There is nothing better than freedom.

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Cindy Naidoo

Thursday 18th of September 2014

Lovely post. Thank you for sharing

bev

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Great article! You have chosen the right path....

Sheralyn

Saturday 5th of July 2014

I love this post! You are right about all of it.

Personally, I have come to believe that we all crave a bit of excitement and newness - if we stay put, we get that from little things like buying something new to decorate the house with, or buying new clothes, getting our nails done in a new colour/style, seeing pretty things grow in our garden (that usually cost money to purchase (seeds or plants and cost money to water) - but if we are, say, nomadic, we get that excitement and newness that we crave simply by moving on to a new destination.

And of course, there is also that social expectation that you touch on, to have a certain amount of things, lots of clothes so we don't wear the same thing too often, a big enough house etc.

[email protected]

Saturday 5th of July 2014

Absolutely Sheralyn, spot on.

Tam Gamble

Monday 30th of June 2014

I think priorities change as people change- your last comments about careers not longer being a motivator for you I think is a huge thing. I have recently gone through the same thought process- I have spend years on that little hamster wheel thinking that my career was the most important thing for me, wanting to gain the next promotion but in actual fact looking back what is more important is have quality time with my husband, making memories that we will both remember. We have often discussed living on a boat, I quite like the idea - especially if it was one that we could travel up and down the waterways on and we are also considering renting our house out and going to explore Europe - and all it has to offer for a while (I still like the idea of a bit of stability). That aside material possessions mean nothing to us! :)

[email protected]

Tuesday 1st of July 2014

To be honest Tam, career was never important to me, I just went along with what other people thought should be important to me. I thought somehow I was mentally deficient for not wanting to gain promotions and prestige. Now my blog...that's important and I work incredibly hard at it ( for nothing) but working in Pathology was beyond sucky, even when I was the boss, I wanted free time far more.

Heidi (@WagonersAbroad)

Sunday 29th of June 2014

We have learned the same things during our 2 years living in Spain and we are loving our "rich" life without all of the stuff. We leave tomorrow for our more nomadic life with our 4 backpacks. We didn't own many things that we needed to shed, but we did have to give away plenty of clothes, so we could get down to what we could carry. We will see how we do with that new lifestyle, but I will say we are "stuff free"! and it feels good.

nomadic family life

Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

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