We are half way there. It is six months since we started planning a family travel adventure, 6 months before departure date. I’ve been travel blogging six months plus, how is the planning, saving, preparing, and money, coming along?
Planning Travel: Six Months Before Departure
How much closer to our goal of heading off on a family gap year are we, and what have we been up to for the last six months? How much have we saved and is the travel blogearning any money yet?
The dream has become a reality, we know that we ARE going, we’re certain of that.
Travel and Holidays
They are two different things, don’t you think?
Travel is about exploring and learning, holidays are about relaxation and fun. I’m not big on holidays, but we’ve had a little of both in the last six months.
Obviously, we’re saving to leave and travel the world, so money has been tight, there has been a lot of just hanging out at home.
We had a big trip just before we decided to leave, we took the kids backpacking in Thailand , visiting Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Hua Hin and Koh Samet; It was great, we realised that backpacking with kids is more than just possible, it’s COOL!
We’ve had a few camping trips since making the decision, Lake Tinaroo for Homeschool Camp, that looked like such a good opportunity we couldn’t miss it. Camping cost us $8/night, so it didn’t break the bank. The boys became proficient kayakers and we caught our first yabbies.
We had a long weekend at Tarzali Lakes on The Atherton Tablelands, where we glamped in the cold, saw platypus in the wild and hung out in dairies and wineries.
We had a few days camping in Cooktown by four wheel drive track, it’s partly about the drive and partly about Cooktown itself. We call it a homeschool field trip, there is plenty of history to learn up there.
So even though we’ve been saving like crazy, we’ve had some fun, been out and about.
We are old hands at long term travel and we’ve ticked many places off our bucket lists already. We have no need of RTW tickets or detailed itineraries, so, as yet, no plans. When the time comes we will simply get a cheap ticket into Asia and take it from there.
What I originally posted in Where are we going to go? still stands, some old favourites and some new countries.
We’ve been thinking about vaccinations. Should we, shouldn’t we? I think we’ve decided we should and that it will be far cheaper to get them in Bangkok.
At the moment we are planning to leave at the start of July.
I became a blogger in the last 6 months. That’s something I never thought I’d say!
This old dog started to learn a new trick. I have learned a lot and there is much, much, more for me to figure out yet. I should apologise here for writing so incredibly badly when I started. Most of the old posts have now been rewritten, I think they’re better, writing does seem to improve with practice. I should also apologise for the mess I’ve made mixing up UK and US spellings. It’s a long story!
The blogging thing started when we had the great idea about changing our lives. I thought people may want to read about it. Stupidly, I thought there would be nobody else out there like us, actually, there are loads of us. I’ve discovered many, many, families travelling already, or still at home, planning their escape. Their blogs make inspiring reading, check out The Nomadic Family, they have been on the road for almost 2 years or Travel With Bender, an Australian family having what looks like a lot of fun. The Fites of Fite Inertia are going to have a big year, too, as they move closer to their departure date and start homeschooling.
The World Travel Family blog is now almost 4 months old.
I have 46 email followers ( not many, please sign up, if you would, it’s important!)
I may have more followers through RSS but I totally don’t understand that.
260 Facebook fans on the page, all real, not through advertising.
280 Twitter followers
I joined G+ but I don’t understand that, either.
My Google page rank is still a big, fat, 0. I’ve done something to upset Google. ( Update, PR went up to 1 in February)
My Domain Authority is 24 and my Page Authority is 36.
How much money have I made? About $2. I’m doing it for love at the moment.
Traffic to the site is increasing steadily, so far it has had 2,510 visits from 1,294 unique people giving us 15, 513 page views. Everyone has to start small, we are on about 5,000 page views/month now.
My most successful post to date is this one What Does A Homeschool Day Look Like. The homeschool posts always do well.
The one I wish everyone would read is Travel Horror Stories, go on, read it, it’s good!
My husband, The Chef, has also just started a blog. You can find him at World Travel Chef. It’s very new, but he’ll get some content up as soon as he has time.
We’re been saving hard, we have $15,000 ready to go. That amount of money has built up through cutting our weekly budget and not buying STUFF. Stuff is evil!
I’ve started selling excess stuff, everything we don’t use is going, I made, maybe $300, selling bits and pieces on a local Facebook page. The big garage sale last weekend made $1500 so far, with plenty more left to sell.
Obviously, we’re not selling the essentials yet, but all of our DVDs and CDs, most books, a few clothes and surplus objects, furniture and equipment are for sale. It is incredibly liberating to own less. I’ve realised that less stuff=less housework!
A few big expenses cut into our savings, a pool pump, laptop and camera had to be replaced, leaving us stuck on $15000 for the last few months.
We’ve had a couple of AirBnB guests, giving us a little extra cash and we hosted one set of couchsurfers. They were lovely, but it’s a lot of extra work that I don’t need.
We have done nothing about selling or renting the house. I’m a bit ashamed of that, we really should crack on or we’ll never get out of here. I have an excuse, we’re in the middle of the busy season here in Port Douglas and my husband, the chef, may as well live in his kitchen, it’s hard to do everything solo.
I got better at this homeschooling thing, chilled out, allowed myself to trust more in my children and in myself, became more and more of an unschooler.
We joined the Cairns Homeschool Group, that has been invaluable, meeting like minded people. The boys have made some lovely new friends, too.
I pushed my boundaries a bit by joining the Atherton Homeschool Group Camp at Lake Tinaroo. I’m very shy around strangers and I didn’t know a soul, I was a bit of a wallflower, but the boys had a ball. It was absolutely inspiring to meet all the homeschooled young adults at camp, they were delightful.
I completed my first homeschool report for D and got the thumbs up from the Queensland HEU. It was a lot of work. Next year’s report will be much shorter. D is “performing above peer level” is the only feedback we get. I’m very happy with what he has achieved this year and how he is developing into a lovely,caring, gentle and eloquent child.
I submitted an application to homeschool Boo which has just been approved, he would be starting school in a few weeks. I put together his curriculum for the next year and wrote a letter explaining how we would achieve those goals.
I have no big plans for changing the way the boys are educated on the road. They are well ahead with maths and science, natural learning covers geography and history, they will continue to read and I hope to persuade them to write more, in travel journals, emails and letters. Other than that, there are a couple of online learning programs that we use casually, whenever we feel the urge.
Life and Health
Life improved enormously towards the end of the year. I learned some stuff.
Once we decided to leave, everything started to feel much better, my happy bubble has been intact for quite a while now, nobody has been able to pop it. I’ve been a much better parent because of that.
I’ve disassociated myself from all the petty stuff that goes on in any community and got back to what’s important, my family. I’ve also stopped trying to change myself to fit in, I’ve been in this town for 5 years, It’s not for me, I’ve accepted that. Another thing that feels great.
I’ve gone back to being vegetarian, it was part of being me that I let slide when I moved to Port Douglas, another thing that doesn’t fit around here. Being true to yourself is so important, I must always remember that.
I’ve also been dabbling in paleo, my new healthy eating has left me feeling physically much better, I’ve lost weight, too. Maybe I’ll feel good enough to get back into running soon, that was important to me for a long time, being here took that enjoyment away.
It’s part of being kind to yourself eating right, doing exercise that you enjoy, getting rid of negative influences and taking time to look after yourself, not putting everyone else first all the time. So many mothers do that.
The Next Six Months of Planning a Family Travel Adventure
We’re all in a good place right now, excited about what 2013 is going to bring. We will continue to ditch the stuff and start buying some bits and pieces of travelling gear, my old trekking pack has been retired, I’m looking out for new ones for the kids and I. That’s about all we need to buy, maybe new water bottles and shoes, we don’t wear shoes much in Far North Queensland.
So that’s it, the roundup of where we are, I’d love to leave on our family travel adventure next week, but it’s not possible just yet, odds and ends to tie up. Follow our dream, see what happens, be there to see us leave, just enter your email address in the box at the end of this post.
The dream has become a reality, we know now that we ARE going, we’re certain of that and we’re almost ready to walk out and shut the door behind us. Find out where we chose as our first destination here.