Winning The Lifestyle Lottery

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Many people talk of travel when they win the lottery. That would be what it would take for them to really start living, start travelling and have more free time. It’s not true you know. You don’t have to win the lottery to make big changes to the way you live. I commented on our Facebook page today that I felt like we’d won the lifestyle lottery, after two years of family travel we now have a place to call our own (pictures below!) in a beautiful, remote village. Life is pretty fine. We don’t have a massive TV, cable channels and a house full of expensive toys, we don’t even have carpets or central heating, but we have everything we need and we have the freedom to do all the things we want to do. That is what most people want, I think, to be able to live their way.

Family Travel, Changing Lives, Finding Freedom.

Many of us dream of travel and of seeing far-off lands. Travel has always been an important part of my life and will continue to be, but lately, I’ve come to realise that freedom to wander the world is as much a part of the travel appeal as seeing, touching, tasting and experiencing everything the world can offer.

I do, it’s becoming more obvious to me every day. I’ve been to India, touched Angkor Wat, gazed at Everest, crossed the Atlantic by ship and eaten Thai food ’till it came out of my ears. It was all wonderful and we’ll do it all over again, but what’s at the root of it all, is freedom.

We’ve just taken what may look like a backward step to those of you longing to be free of mortgage, bills and unrelenting work to start on a travel adventure such as ours. We’ve put a deposit on a house.

This post isn’t about justifying our decision, we don’t need to justify it, it’s more about inspiring YOU to start your own adventure and taste the same freedom we’ve found. Life is amazing and full of possibilities, just grab it with both hands.

Where to start? On the front page of our website with “How to Travel the World.” We can walk you through this thing!

Buying a House, This Time, Means Buying Freedom

Why would a family that wanted to travel and see the world ( and have been doing so for over 2 years) do such a crazy thing? Well, we’ve just bought ourselves more freedom, we hope.

We’ve bought freedom to travel light, our big backpacks stuffed with Lego, all-weather gear, electronics and school books won’t always have to travel with us anymore. ( Read about why we don’t travel light here, we carry so much stuff!)

We’ve bought our own space, which gives us the freedom to stay as long as we want, whenever we want, with no pressure to organise the next flight or bus ride before the visa runs out.

We’ve got financial freedom. I don’t think any sort of travel could be as cheap as living here. Our Asia budget of $50 per day seems like a fortune and this is certainly the cheapest accommodation we’ve ever used.

Our lowest prices were in Laos and Thailand, where we paid just $12 per night. Here we are paying around $8. Admittedly we need to pay for wifi and electricity too, but I still think it’s cheaper. ( Find out what we spent in our first year of non-stop travel here.)

We’ve bought into an unrestricted lifestyle. There are few rules and many freedoms here. The kids can build a bonfire in the garden and toast marshmallows, we can keep chickens, we can get the kitten Boo wants and we already have a new bunny hopping about. We could do none of those things in our home in Australia, isn’t that strange? No chickens, no bunnies, no cats outside, small restrictions maybe, but being free of them is great.

We’ve bought freedom from keeping up appearances. If we want a piece of furniture, somebody will make it, no more agonising over which not-quite-perfect chest of drawers will look just so. It’s about function, not looks, here.

Our neighbours built us two beds yesterday using wood from the barn, a chainsaw and an axe. They’re the most solid beds I’ve ever slept on and smell of fresh pine resin.

The kids are free of the restrictions of city life, traffic and stranger danger, they roam where they please and I don’t have to worry about them. They have a degree of independence that’s making a huge difference to their happiness. I’ve actually never seen them this happy or so disinterested in electronic stimuli.

We’ve got freedom from worrying about damaging things, there is little here to break, no carpets to stain, no ornaments to smash, two of the reasons I struggle with house sitting.

The kids can cook, paint, create, muck about, get dirty and generally just enjoy being kids without me stressing.

 freedom travel

This Isn’t Travel

I freely admit that we’re not travelling right now, we’re sitting still and just living our lives. We’re still learning about a country and its people, a lifestyle and a language, so our world knowledge is ever-expanding, but travelling, we are not.

We have enough to keep us busy here for now and the ski season is coming, the ski slopes are just up the road.

When we set off on this adventure, teaching the kids to ski was very high on our list of wants.

We thought it would happen in Japan, but our wanderings have led us back to Europe and I’m pretty sure we can get a lot more skiing per dollar here than in the Far East.

 Why after 2.5 years of travel, we feel like we've won the lifestyle lottery. Life is good, we have freedom to explore the world and a place to call home that doesn't make us slaves to mortgage and bills.

Pin me to Pinterest, just hover and click. (thanks!)

We’d Never Have Discovered This Freedom Without the Travel

Travel had to be the first step. We had to break free of the grind of working just to pay bills. Once we’d started and tasted freedom, going back to the conventional way seemed inconceivable. We don’t want to live that way again.

Gaining freedom from school was the point at which our outlook changed and many things started to look possible. ( Read about how we educate and with what resources, here) Freedom from working to pay a mortgage came later and we hope that even more financial freedom will come through the blogs.

We don’t live on fresh air, we need cash, but there are better, smarter, ways of making it than being tied to a full-time job. ( If you want to read more on how to rethink your life, finance it differently and travel more, we’d recommend this book and this one.)

I’m still beavering away on the internet, but I hope to be offline far more here. We’ve had no WiFi for the last few days and I have to say, it was good.  I think that the next time we travel it will be a short trip, maybe 2-3 weeks, we will travel unplugged.

We want you to live your dreams and taste this freedom we’ve found. It’s possible, no lottery win required.

If there is any way we can help you win your own lifestyle lottery, let us know in the comments.

Now I’m going to round-up the kids from the stream and we’ll cook some lunch. Have a great day!

Plums in Crocs.Winning the lifestyle lottery world travel family travel blog

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.

20 thoughts on “Winning The Lifestyle Lottery”

  1. I love this post! “Freedom” is the mantra my family lives by when making many of our decisions. It helps keep financial, career, and family decisions focused when we think about Freedom as our end goal. Good luck on your newest adventure! -Tricia

    • Yep, it’s all about the freedom! I think that’s what we’re all chasing Tricia. It’s got nothing to do with grass is always greener syndrome, it’s a way of living, of following your dreams.

  2. Love it!
    Travel is awesome, but it feels good and heartwarming to have a home to go back to, especially in a place where life can be as simple as it should be. Wishing you a lot of happiness in your new home.

  3. What do you do at night with the kids ? Do you play games ?
    Is there anything like a local school? The boys might not be interested, but it could be a way of making friends … Anyhow, it sounds wonderful there in Maramures (how d’you pronounce that?) !!
    Take care!

    • At night, you mean after dark? Well, normal stuff, read, Lego, computers, games. It’s still summer so we just went to the pub with a couple of friends who love the kids. They have 3 hours a day of computer time so they tend to save that for after dark. But they also love camp fires and going outside with their torches or looking at the stars. Right now we’re outside ’till quite late, it’s warm so no worries. There is a local school, but why would we do that? They’d learn nothing other than to sit and be bored, they’re learning the language through interacting with everyone, it’s pretty good! Our friend here is an educational geek ( hope she forgives me for saying that) She’s lovely, went to Yale, she thinks the boys are amazing, so well educated, smart and sociable. We all go to bed at the same time so the “at night” thing in just what we all do, just normal stuff.

      • Sounds great ! I didn’t think you’d send the boys to school, but then again whatshername ended up sending her son back to school after several years of traveling, so why not ?!(I should check on her blog how he is doing)
        I was thinking about the language and making friends – but there are heaps of other ways to come round of course!
        I like your “normal stuff” … whatever that means – normal for you might sound outrageous (is that the right word?) to me!
        Here it’s back to school for our kids : one in Sweden, one Holland, one in France… we have quite some travel before us, just to go and visit them!

        • Nobody round here wants anything to do with school! It may change in future, but right now, no way. There are a few village kids around that the boys haven’t approached yet, we’re buying them a trampoline to sit in the front garden and be a child magnet. They’re great mates already with the young volunteers at the hotel, they go down and help them whenever they can.

          • Wonderful idea ! Trampolines are great fun …
            I wish I had the courage to let our youngest daughter leave school, but I can’t do it. She survived until now (she’s 17), and she’s brilliant … but she hates school. Your boys are so lucky to have you!

            • They’ve won the educational lottery! We had such fun yesterday studying the Ancient Greeks, just through videos and websites we found. I get as much out of it as the boys.

  4. I’m so excited for you! Romania has always been a place that calls to me. Now that we’ve moved to Spain, it could be possible to visit.
    I’m curious… how is the language situation?

    • Oh it’s so cool Cheris, it’s got bits of French,Spanish and Latin in there. They say it’s closest to Italian. We’re learning loads and the locals are happy to help us learn. All good!

  5. I’m so happy for you that the house worked out! I thought I had read that you had hit a bump in the road.

    We live in Ecuador for many of the same reasons you have posted. We’ve been unplugged from schools and jobs for over three years now. Finally we have saved enough money to travel! We hope to be in your neck of the woods next April. Hopefully the timing will be right for a house sit. The Balkans are at the top of my list. πŸ™‚

  6. Love everything you wrote here! Congrats on the house, and I look forward to many more of your blog updates πŸ™‚

  7. I love reading your blogs, so inspiring .. Thanks for recommending those books Im going to order them. I’m a single parent, my dream is to teach yoga and English abroad πŸ™‚ so all these tips are really useful and once I’ve finished my degree I will be offfff!!…. Is it mainly writing the travel blogs which funds your living?.. I’d love to do that too….

  8. I love this! We have also realised, through travel, that freedom is the most important thing for us. Your life in Romania sounds incredible, it’s great that you have a low-cost base that you love to return to (as opposed to expensive London!). We hope to achieve that kind of balance one day. We’re definitely keen to house sit/visit at some point if you’ll have us πŸ™‚

  9. You guys are amazing! I have read all your blog articles and the ones on Simple Life in Romania. I became a huge fan of this blog and even talk to my friends about it and they are now reading your blog, too. πŸ˜€

    I think it’s great that you find our country, and Maramures, so beautiful and it’s just amazing to see that after you visited so many countries, you decide to buy a house here! I hope you have a long stay in Maramures and never get tired of his place! πŸ™‚

    I hope that someday we’ll meet at a glass of wine (from your articles I deduced that you love wine) and just hear your stories about travelling and life in Maramures. I also love Maramures, I have visited Maramures many times but I have never been in Breb area.

    Mina (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)


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