2017 – Creating the life we want to live

2017 is a big year for us. We are making some major changes to our lives, with the ultimate goal of creating the life we want to live. When we considered what life we want to live, it wasn’t one where we work to pay a mortgage, or where each day looked a lot like the last. We want to spend more time together as a family, and we want adventure, to experience new things, get acquainted with new people and understand ourselves in the world. So in 2017 we’re making changes to our work life, our kids’ education, our money situation and our relationship to stuff. That is why we’re packing up and heading Towards the Horizon.

Working

Why do we work? To earn money, to feel like we are contributing to society, for a sense of achievement? For the last few years we have been working to earn money, to pay for our mortgage, to pay the bills, and to work at something we enjoy. They are all good reasons to work, but I was working an average of 50-60 hours per week, and hardly seeing the kids. I enjoyed my job, but what I was putting in far exceeded what I was getting out of it.

The big question was:
What relationship do I want to have with work, and what would my ideal day look like?

My answer to this question was:
I want more flexibility, with more control over when and where I work.

We’ve both resigned from our jobs, and in 2017 we are taking the plunge to become digital nomads so we can achieve this goal, while also travelling the world. It’s a big step, but we’ve found a wealth of ways to make this happen. More to come on this in future posts.

Education

Our kids are at a really great, small country public school. We can’t fault it, however we want our kids to learn more than what the education system can provide. We want them to learn about other societies, other ways of looking at the world, other ways to be. We want to teach them that you don’t have to do what the world expects of you. Anyone can be bold. Travelling with two kids in 2017 will be challenging at times, but we are excited to share the kids’ education with them and teach them through the ‘school of life’.

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2012 Snowy Mountains, Australia

Money

This item is not at the top of the list for a reason. Cass and I have never believed that money is a priority. It is a resource, not a goal. When we tell people we are doing this trip, people think we have a lot of money. We don’t. We have saved hard, but the biggest point is that we live simply. We don’t buy many things, we seek free or cheap experiences (which are often the best ones anyway), and we like spending time with good people. This way, we don’t spend much and we can save all our hard earned money to use as a resource with which to purchase some tickets overseas, visas, luggage and a few other things.

We plan for our cost of living to be less or equal to what we spend in Adelaide. We will cut costs by not having a car, but we will be spending more on things like train tickets. We’ve done a budget and it should work out, as long as we keep living as simply as we currently do.

In 2017, we will be earning a very small amount of money while on the road from some work we can do remotely, but most of all we will still cook most of our meals, eat locally, and not buy many things. This way, we hope to make our money stretch for as long as we can. Money isn’t about how much you have, but what relationship you have with it.

Minimalism

I’m a true minimalist at heart. I have never liked owning a lot of stuff. For anyone who has kids, you will know that being a minimalist with kids is near impossible. Who knew that when they were born with nothing on their back, we would soon be inundated with a whole world of stuff?

Travelling in 2017 means that we can sell and give away almost everything, and travel with only what we need to survive. This excites me. I won’t be at war with the toys left all around the house. I can enjoy my kids without having to make them pack up all the time. I can’t wait to see how this affects our lives.

What this means for us in 2017 is that we can really live our lives in an honest, simple yet exciting way.

We’ll explore this further in future posts, so stay tuned to find out more. In the meantime, leave a comment below telling us what bold choices you are making for 2017.

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Useful travel resources

Knowing where to find the right information is key. Here are some of the sites we’ve found useful so far. We’ll keep updating this list as we go.

Accommodation:

Airbnb – (if you click this link you receive credit on your booking, as do we) this is our first port of call when booking. Most of our stays have been with Airbnb because staying in people’s homes is excellent with kids, as it feels more homely, and prices are much better than hotels. We’ve also found some of the best out of the way places, like Porrua where we stayed for €22 per night for all four of us.

HomeAway – (affiliate link) book some incredible homes for a very reasonable price. We’ve found some very good deals on this website.

Hostel World – great for finding hostels. Can be filtered to only include hostels with family rooms. So far I’ve found the cheapest Paris accommodation here.

Nomador – For housesitting

Sabbatical Homes – house sitting, exchange or rental for travelling academics, but non-academic users can subscribe too for an increased price.

Transport:

<a href=”http://Avis ES Home” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Avis – (affiliate link) car hire, good discounts for cars in Spain and Portugal.

Go Euro – compares flights, trains and buses in Europe all in the one search. This one struggles a bit with trains but is good for flights and buses, and opens accommodation options in a separate tab.

Logi Travel – compares flights, trains, buses, skiing holidays, packages and offers all in the one search. This one gave us the best search results for trains in Spain.

Kayak – compares flights. We also booked a car through them and it was by far the cheapest option we found and the car was nicer and bigger than we expected.

Trainline – the best one we’ve found so far for train travel. It is the easiest one to search and purchase tickets within Spain as the Renfe website can be particularly difficult, especially with foreign debit or credit cards.

Information:

Lonely Planet – (affiliate link) these guides are so useful, and you can now buy them in e-chapters. We like that you can buy just the Asturias chapter, or just the Catalunya chapter if you are travelling in a specific area of Spain.

Money Changing:

Travelex – (affiliate link) buy currency, travel credit cards, order currency online.

Please note: we only have affiliations where stated. The others are all companies we have found and used ourselves.

And so it begins

Well, really, it all began a couple of years ago with an idea, which slowly but inexorably took root in our imaginations, until we find ourselves at this critical juncture.

Both Mem and I have recently come to a bit of a crunch point in our careers. About three years ago I was made redundant from a mid-level position in the higher education sector, which (along with an encouraging push from my better half) served as a catalyst for me to embark on a new direction as a freelance writer –  my third career so far.

I’ll let Mem tell her story in more detail, but briefly, for the last 15 years she’s had a successful career as a Stage Manager for theatre,  but after completing her Masters in Project Management in 2014, she’s been itching to move on to the next stage (pun intended), both personally and professionally.

The concept of an extended international adventure, kids and all, was Mem’s originally. I took some time to warm to it, but once she’d caught my attention and convinced me of its merits, I embraced the plan and we started plotting our escape. About a year ago we all travelled to Melbourne for six weeks, tagging along on one of Mem’s theatre tours. It was at this point that we realised that we could realistically uproot our lives completely and live out of suitcases for an extended period of time without it buggering everything up.

It was agreed – we were ready. So we drew a line in the calendar at April 2017 and committed to the plan body and soul. This. Was. Going. To. Happen. We’ve been introducing the concept of extended travel to the kids incrementally and they’ve reached a point, six months out, where they’re both in a state of acceptance. Promising La Chica a birthday in Paris did a lot to smooth out any doubts.

So yesterday, after much discussion, planning, yes-ing and no-ing, we bought our tickets. Bought and paid for.

Holy sh#t, here’s no turning back now!