In 2012 we decided to save, sell almost everything and set off to travel the world. This post is from the preparation phase. This is what I wrote back then as a very new, inexperienced blogger. I can’t believe I’m the same person today, things are so different now. Was it worth it? Find out towards the end of the blog post.
I’m constantly telling everyone how great this is, how we’re embracing minimalism and frugality, saving money, changing our lives for the better and setting off on an amazing adventure. We are doing those things, and sometimes it feels really good, but the truth is that sometimes it’s HARD, really hard. I’ve actually wondered if this is all worth it from time to time. Here’s why.
Nine Reasons Quitting Normality is Hard.
(Whatever normality is).
1. Voluntary frugality sucks sometimes. It’s almost 12 months since we decided to do this thing, to save, to sell and to leave. Sure, we’ve done well, we have money in the bank, but it’s been the longest 12 months ever. I’m BORED, really bored. I’m not a home body, I like to be out and about doing things. Not being able to put petrol in the car or pay for entrance to attractions makes me miserable.
I’ve spent more time sitting at home staring at these four walls than I ever have in my life. Sure, we could go for a walk, that’s free, but it’s hot, we have Dengue fever up here, and now Ross River fever, too. Indoors is more appealing.
There are only so many games of Monopoly I can play. We’ve just been through the wet season, winter is coming, so for the next few months, once stinger season is over, we can go to the beach and swim. That will be better I hope.
2. I’m worried my children are suffering. I’m a mother, it’s what I do, I worry. I think they should be out there, visiting places, camping, taking tennis lessons, enjoying their childhood. The truth is, they’re as happy as 2 pigs in you-know-what . They hated tennis, aren’t keen on camping and they get to stay home and play computer games, ride their bikes with the othr kids and watch TV when we’re stuck at home with nothing to do.
But, obviously, I worry about that being bad for them. I don’t care how many times I read that autonomy is good for kids, it still worries me. I’m not a very good unschooler.
I sold their X Box. I feel like a bitch.
I don’t want to even start on the stress of making a call on vaccinations for my family. Am I putting their lives in danger? It keeps me awake at nights.
3. My health has suffered. Mentally, I’m not so bad, boredom aside, most stress has lifted since we decided to go, but physically, I’ve been sat on my butt one heck of a lot, blogging and researching and planning. I’ve put on maybe 7Kg and had a few health issues. I’m not too worried, once we leave I’ll lose it again, but it’s not nice, I actually feel too heavy to run, I used to love running. Plus my diet is crap. I feed the kids well, chef eats in work, I eat whatever I can find in the fridge at the end of the week. It’s not great but it’s what a lot of mums do.
4. We’ve lost friends. Even my best friend questioned my sanity. She wondered if I was running away from something, hoping to find happiness someplace else. We all know true happiness comes from within. That’s not the case at all, I just love travel in a way she doesn’t understand, it’s oxygen to me, I need it to feel alive.
Sitting here, same old every day, I feel like life is going on somewhere else and I’m not involved.
5. I look like a bag lady. I love clothes, and shoes, and bags and looking cool and having great haircuts. I’ve hardly bought a new clothe in 12 months, it shows. If you’re old enough to remember Felicity Kendal in The Good Life, crying over her posh frock, that’s me. I cut my own hair, which means I wear a hat a lot. Combine that with point 3 and you get a very bad self image indeed. Maybe I’m shallow and need to get over it.
6. Housework got harder. Both my vacuum cleaners broke in the last month. It’s not worth replacing them this close to leaving, so I’m having to mop floors daily. This house is huge, it sucks, poor me, but it might help me lose a few Kg.
7. Getting rid of your stuff pulls on your heartstrings. We’re lucky, we can store most of the important sentimental stuff, a lot of the families doing this travel thing have to get rid of everything, I’m trying to be as brutal as possible. All those ultra cute ickle baby shoes and clothes have gone. Their first books and toys are in the bin along with many of my London clothes, they’re no use any more, they went mouldy in the heat.
The kitchen equipment, the CDs, the DVDs and the books are all gone. They won’t store well in the tropical heat so it makes sense. It’s sad, those things tell the story of my life, but sometimes it gives me a buzz, goodbye old life, hello new. Goodbye clutter, hello empty, clean house.
8.We’re a little uncomfortable. We sold the bed. We’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor, a mattress that is 11 years old, stinks and needs replacing. Normal people would have bought a new one. We put up with it.
9. Do I really want the world knowing my business? I’m not a journalist or a writer, yet I’m telling this story on the internet leaving my family open to all sorts of abuse. I started blogging as a personal challenge, to promote homeschooling and to stay in touch with my friends and family, but things snowballed. I’m not sure it’s a good thing. I need to grow a very tough skin.
Now, I realise I sound spoilt. Plenty of people struggle financially and face all the above issues on a daily basis. I get that.
This is just about me, my decisions, my life, this isn’t social commentary. I know we’re privileged to be doing what we’re doing, trust me, we’ve worked hard to get here. It’s come from hard work, not good luck.
I just thought I’d share, that’s all, it’s not a bed of roses, there are sacrifices involved. So many families like ours follow the mantra, if you really want it, you can do it, that’s true. But don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy. If you’re reading this during your own planning and saving stage, know this. It was worth it a million times over. Travelling as a family, changing our lives completely was the best thing we ever did and this necessary period of compromise, change and hard graft made the new beginning all the sweeter.