Am I Making This Look Too Easy?

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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.

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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.

10 thoughts on “Am I Making This Look Too Easy?”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this and chuckling to myself as I have had the same thoughts and feeling just like you did!! How amazing is that? I guess that is why we have moved so many times looking for ‘something’, a place of belonging, a destiny. Thanks for sharing Alyson – once again, SO motivated and encouraged! 🙂

  2. At times like those I also think that one day I can look back and laugh at it. And I do laugh at some of the places I lived and things I put up with in the past. But it’s all part of life.

  3. Well written and very raw, such a lot of good things to get the old brain ticking over and thinking about and to me it says you’ve not rushed into this without thinking it through, you see the bad that goes with the good, no rose coloured glasses on you. Hang in there, the count down is on. 🙂

  4. Hi Alyson,
    I can relate with you in more than one point but specially on number 4. You’ll have better days once you start traveling.

    Best wishes!

  5. Sorry to hear that it has been so difficult for you so far. The goal is now in sight though and that must drive you on. When you find inspiration and motivation through the travel is when I think you’ll back on this time and realise it was worth it. Best of luck with the travels.

  6. That was by far, the best write-up yet.

    So honest and to the point.

    Once you finally leave, everything else will just fall away and life will take care of itself.

    Keep on keeping on. Not long now.


  7. You’re doing awesome! As you peel back the layers of stuff, remember the peace and excitement you had when you made the decision to go. You guys are “The World Travel Family”. I’m so excited for you guys. Also, if you want to borrow some camp cots, let me know… might make for a more comfy nights rest.

    • Oh bless you Sarah ! We’re fine thanks, honestly. It’s only really James suffering on the floor, me ‘n the kids get the good bed. Bit squished, but fine, co sleeping is good after all.


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