How to Have Freedom and Change Your Life. Finding Freedom in Life

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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 pretty much complete freedom for over 8 years now, but I’ll leave most of this post as it was originally written.

Spoilers : These last years have been amazing, we enjoyed a good income until a global crisis decimated our income and forced change on us in 2020. (Income report for that year here)

We were very happy to live that way, as digital nomads.  When the world changed we made another change, we bought a farm. That gave us even greater financial freedom. You can check out the farm further down this post.

Travel will likely be a big factor in our lives again, but not right now. Cutting financial outgoings, rather than striving for higher income, is key here. Back to me in 2014.

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.

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, our eventual farm was a different one, in another country)

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 also 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 backyard.

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 backup 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 habits. 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. 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 setbacks along the way but we kept on plugging away, and eventually we got there. There is nothing better than freedom. Do you want to see our new farm?

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

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.

14 thoughts on “How to Have Freedom and Change Your Life. Finding Freedom in Life”

  1. 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.

  2. 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! 🙂

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. So true Alyson. When we left London in March 2013 most people we knew were spending their savings on house deposits or weddings and they thought we were crazy to blow all our hard-earned savings on travel but I can’t think of a better way we could have spent our time and money. Travel has changed our lives and while we may not have our own car, home, pets or fancy clothes we’re happy. To us, freedom is the most important thing. Keep on living the dream 🙂

  5. I love this post so much! I am sitting here reading it outloud to my wife as she packs up our kitchen in preperation for our year long trip in one month. Everything you mentioned is the reason we are able to go on our trip. I loved your #1, I asked my coworker what he was doing this weekend as they have just “upgraded” into a large 5 bedroom home in central california 2 years ago. They are remodeling the bathroom and he just bought a large screen TV for their family room. I am not being a hater becaues I was there myself in 2007 when we purchased our home spent our life saving remodeling it and then watched it drop $150,000 dollars. What we did next is what has created the lifestlye that we now hold dearly, and I personally think bag lady is much more attractive than the alternative. I am reading Rolf Potts classic book Vagabonding for probably the 4’th time. I love this book because it is about the value of time over all things and Rolff makes many of the same points in his book that you have made here. Every decision we make is an exchange of this finite and valuable resource, thank you for sharing that idea here with all your readers!

    – Stephen

  6. “too much like a bag lady” Hilarious. We’ve been onthe road of 10 months now and have been shedding clothes and possessions all the way round Asia. But no matter how much we shed, we always find we never really needed it.

  7. Wonderful post, Alyson … as I am preparing the defense of my Master thesis (9th of July) and have just been accepted as a PhD candidate (in theology), I wonder : should I give it all up and move to the tropics (our family loves traveling)? Or is this PhD something I really want, and maybe even useful for society…? Maybe I should get a PhD in the tropics!! :-)))

  8. Fabulous post Alyson! I couldn’t have said it better myself! We’ve implemented 5/6 (we’re selling the cars soon!) of your suggestions over the past 12 months, and we can also say that IT WORKS! We are about to head off on our own freedom adventure in 3 weeks time, and I thank you, (and Homeschool Ahoy) for the inspiration. Thanks!

  9. WE put our house for sale.. I put it in God’s hands to decide if this is the time for us to set sail. If the house sells, we are heading out. Your post touched my heart because I garden. I have been doing it for the last 3 years and I enjoy it so much. During winter when I do less work, I kind of dread the spring season but when it starts I feel rejuvenated and just love to plant and harvest all season long… into fall and then slow down during winter. I am concerned I will miss it. Then again this past winter, I put some plants in my green house and left to Brazil with my family for 20 days. I didn’t miss it at all. I was so busy enjoying my family and friends there and going places. Hummmm I am ready for whatever comes! I grew up moving a lot too. I have been stationery for the last 13 years – a record for me! The longest time I had ever stayed in one place was 2.5 years. We will see how things go. I am excited though. 🙂

  10. I grew up moving at least once a year – to a different country, culture, language – and over my lifetime there have been times when being planted for a few years was necessary ….but…we’re heading back out – to stay a year here, there – long enough to make friends, learn the language, have family and friends join us for a season – and hit the road again….


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