We have always been what I would say short to medium term travellers. 6-10 week periods every few years with local travel thrown into the mix. I have always wanted to do long term travel, to have that bit of extra time in each place you go instead of spending 3 days or so and then you are off. The problem with having an end date is you want to pack in as much as you can in a short time. Lots of packing and unpacking, lots of airports, bus terminals and train stations at all hours of the day to get in as much as you can in each location.
We returned home from 10 weeks away in January. Initially, we had a plan to travel again at the end of the year. A brief encounter online with a person who lived in the next town changed my ideas. This person was travelling the world, housesitting with her husband and kids. This really struck a chord with my “why can’t we do this as well”. At this same time, my father passed away. He had been wanting to have one last trip up the coast to Merimbula with my mum before cancer beat him. Sad to say, my father, never got the opportunity and it made me even more steadfast in my decision.
Long term travel…what exactly is it and how long is long?
Is there a good time to upheave your life to do something like this? Do you wait until you retire? Rebecca was extremely sceptical. She will still say it was my idea, that I made my mind up with little consultation for her thoughts and she is probably right. You see we both have jobs now that pay pretty well for what we have and need. We have a house, the kids are in school and doing really well, our life is pretty settled. My father’s death has made me more resolute to do this, the fact our kids are getting to an age where they don’t want to spend as much time with us and the joy and happiness Rebecca and I feel when travelling contributes to my resolve. Some of the happiest times I have spent in marriage and as a father has been while travelling. The normal stresses of everyday life are gone. My wife’s smile seems never-ending and the inquisitive nature of my kids exploring the world brings me so much happiness. We spend more fun, happy times together when travelling than any other time. I am a better person while travelling, my wife is a better person while travelling and our marriage is better while travelling. Is it wrong to sacrifice everything for an extended thought of utopia? How will throwing that all into travel for 12-18 months affect our lives? It’s one big gamble that’s for sure. We will return to being unemployed, we will return to bills and a mortgage.
Most days during the last 12 months as we have saved and chatted as the idea grows and destinations are planned. The darkest parts of the night sometimes scare me as I lie awake thinking about this decision, thinking is this the right thing to do for ourselves and our kids? The kids will need to be pulled out of school and we will need to do some sort of homeschooling/world schooling. How will this affect their learning and their futures as well? There are plenty of families out there doing this that I draw inspiration from. They keep my mind focused that we are planning the right thing. We are nearly 12 months into the saving and planning and hopefully 12 months away from departing.
The things one needs to think about are endless and most of it has nothing to do with the actual travel part of long term travel.
- How much money will we need every day, week and month we are away?
- How much money will we need for home while we are away, insurance for our house, registration for our cars, housing rates, loans and ongoing bills?
- How will we school the girls? The resources we will need to buy online for this.
- How much is long-term travel insurance? What level of long-term travel insurance do we need?
- Do we need any injections for our travels?
- How can we fit 12 months of stuff into a carry on each?
- Do we need any visa’s?
- What are we going to do with our house (we are not selling it, too old to start again there!), who is going to mow the lawns? We will have to pack up lots of the contents before we leave.
- What are we going to do with our pets?
- When do our passports expire and will they need to be renewed before we go?
- When do our travel money cards expire?
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this long-term travel plan as far as that section goes. Then you turn to planning your own trip. The travelling side of things and requirements that are needed there.
- Can we be spontaneous and just turn up somewhere and still stay within our budget.
- Will our fussy kids like the food in Asia.
- Will we get sick overseas
- How are we going to get around? The plan is to buy a car in Europe.
- Where do we park the car if we stay in cities
- What happens if the car breaks down
- How will we carry our money and how many travel cards do we need
- Can we take a carryon bag and a laptop bag on a plane?
- What are the holiday planner apps that we need
- Find cheap flights and accommodation
So after reading all this is there anything you think I have missed that I need to stress out over? Is it just nerves as we will be stepping into the unknown? So for now, I keep focused on a whiteboard full of different columns containing money we have in accounts and goals we want to reach. I keep planning places to go and things to see on a master plan created on Google maps for the European section of our long term travel trip. I keep talking to the kids about our upcoming plans and their interest is strong as they continue to ask questions and suggest places to visit. This keeps me believing that long term travel and what we will be doing is the best thing for our family. In a world of ever decreasing time will this be our longterm travel family nirvana?
Please find 2 more articles from Wyld Family Travel below which may help with your travel planning. Just click the image to be taken to the article.