Just when I was starting to think that Nick and I were the only crazies on the earth who would dare sell up… pack up… purge everything… and embark on a long-term, indefinite future of adventure and travel (with small children in tow)… with no definite plans of where exactly we’ll go… or even when (or if) we’ll be back… I discovered (to my utter glee) a group on Facebook with about 200 families who have done exactly that!
I have been devouring their blogs like a frothing addict! How wonderful it feels – not to be alone! I LOVE that we are now connected with a large, international, like-minded community of sojourners.
Anyway – one of the things we (as a group) like to do… is group writing projects – where a whole bunch of Travel Family bloggers share their thoughts on one topic. The most recent topic posed this question:
Did you find you were happy with your life / job / home when you decided to travel – or were you unhappy? In other words, were you making a major change because something was missing and you felt the travel lifestyle would provide a better life for your family? Or did you decide to travel because you inherited the soul of a gypsy and couldn’t be held down?
Clark, from Family Trek writes:
“Running from is ultimately about negative energy. It is about fear, frustration, helplessness. Running to is loaded with positive energy. It is about curiosity, possibility, and openness. Running to is about the power of yes and yes is the most empowering word in the world. No is the most stifling. Yes opens up a world of possibilities. No closes the door to what might have been”.
Okay, here’s my take:
Over the last 7 years, Nick and I have done the following:
- Got married.
- Purchased a nice, new home.
- Renovated the home.
- Filled the home with “stuff”.
- Purchased a brand new car.
- Had 2 children.
- Sent our children to day-care.
- Run numerous businesses and projects from our home.
- Travelled to USA (numerous times), England, Haiti, South Korea (only Nick), China (only Nick), Costa Rica (only Nick), Honduras (only Nick), Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Austria… on a combination of work trips / honeymoon / Tearfund trips / and other stuff. All of the trips have been fairly short – mostly between 1 and 2 weeks away – 3 weeks max.
- Taken our children out of day-care & started home-schooling instead.
- Renovated the house some more.
- Purchased more stuff.
I’m grateful and thankful for the past 7 years – and I have no regrets. It was a season of building connections, growing our family and learning.
Really – there’s nothing to run away ‘from’. We have a good life. We love our home. We have nice stuff. We have family and awesome friends who live just down the road. We’re down the road from parks and decent schools. There are lovely coffee shops and yummy places to eat. And Joburg – of course – is renowned for it’s lovely weather. We have a good life here.
But the season is over now… and what’s more, we’ve overstayed our welcome. Things we used to enjoy have now become mundane. The stuff that was once new and exciting – is now old and stale. Routine has set in… and all the comfort is making us distinctly uncomfortable.
Nick and I have always been pioneer types. We have always loved The New. I have been an adventure seeker from the start – even when I was a child and we lived on The Plot – I always dreamed of a life of travel and adventure. I always wanted to try something different – something new.
Granted, this is not everyone’s cup of tea. There are many people who are far happier with the boundaries and routine of the Settled Life. Which is a good thing – the world needs the settlers as much as it needs the pioneers. There’s room – and place – for both.
Nick and I aren’t Settlers – in fact, 7 years is somewhat of a record for me. Seven years in one place? My feet itch just thinking about it!
So – it’s time for us to move into a new phase of life – a new adventure… a new Season.
We are completing the final renovations on our lovely home (the upstairs bathroom). Then we’re putting our house on the market. And selling it. And, at the same time, we’re going to sell / give away all of our “stuff” – (except for very sentimental items which will be stored away).
And then, we’re buying plane tickets – and we’re going to travel – indefinitely – as a family.
Don’t ask us about the plans. We don’t have any set plans. We’re not sure exactly where we’re going… how long we’ll stay… where we’ll go next – or even if we’re coming back (or when).
Nick and I are built this way. We enjoy a journey filled with surprises. We find it exciting and invigourating! It makes us come alive! We went on honeymoon to Austria and we didn’t book a single hotel! We simply hired a car and drove… followed our noses… and we discovered beautiful places along the way – and, when we discovered a little town or village that we liked, we found ourselves a place to stay. We’re built like that. We’re not meticulous planners – and we’re okay with that.
The only plans we have are these:
- We will work on the road. Nick and I have been fortunate enough to have worked from home and for ourselves… for many years. We’re not tied down to a job or a company or an office that we need to be in every day. As long as we have our computers… as long as Nick has his cameras… as long as we have access to internet – we can earn an income anywhere in the world. That has always been a non-negotiable for us. This lifestyle of ours – of travel and adventure – is to be fully-funded by us.
- That being said, we want to live as frugally as possible. We want to spend our money on experiences and memories – not stuff! So – we will seek out cheap accommodation – and well priced food from local markets and shops. I’m sure we’ll occasionally splurge on a nice hotel room – or a lovely meal at a fancy restaurant – but most of the time, we’ll be seeking out ways to live-on-the-cheap.
- We’ll be road schooling our kids. That’s a whole topic on it’s own. Nick and I have discussed it at length – and we can assure the “concerned” citizens out there that WE have our children’s best interests at heart – far, far more than strangers who claim to know what’s best for OUR kids. I want my kids to fall in love with learning and with knowledge – that “learning” isn’t just something that happens when one is in a classroom with a teacher standing in the front – that learning happens with life, happens every single day. To get an idea of what Road Schooling looks like – click here – for an article by my new friend, Jenn. I’m pretty much in agreement with everything she writes in that article.
- To LIVE life to the fullest. To suck the marrow out of life. To enjoy every precious moment with each other and our kids. We want to live a life without regrets – to follow our dreams and do what makes us come alive…!
So – are we running away from something?
Nah. We’re running, full-force, with a spring in our step – TOWARDS something.
Here are some photos and stuff we have enjoyed about our Joburg home:
Above: There’s lots of parks in our area – and a nice playground – just down the road…
Above: Joah and Morgan’s cousins live in Benoni – so they get fairly regular Cousin-Time…
Above: It’s impossible for me to choose my favourite coffee spot in Joburg. I particularly enjoy some Me-time where I can illustrate, think, write – whilst consuming yummy carrot cake and a nice cappuccino.
Above: And… of course… we have loads of family and friends in Joburg. Wonderful people – whom we will absolutely miss! (This photo was taken in March this year when Joah turned 4).
Above: Nick’s work… it’s convenient here in Joburg. There’s a lovely green-screen studio – just down the road for us… really convenient when Nick needs to shoot that kind of thing. Also – we know where everything is in Joburg. We have a really good business network here.
Above: We have the Neighbourgoods Market – every Saturday!
Above: Everyone helps themselves and feels at home – which is how we like it!
Above: The best thing we love about home is the people. People like our dear friends, Rogan & Tracey Kelsey – and their children, Matt and Erin (now two years older than in this photo). Rogs and Trace… Tony and Jo… James and Anel… Josh and Meegs… Ryls & Stephane… (and, of course, many more). It’s people we’ll miss – far more than the ‘place’.
As I mentioned – this is part of a group blogging project. Clark tagged me from his blog, Family Trek – and now, it’s my turn to tag Rich and Carolyn. They will be adding their opinion on this topic too – and will then tag the next blogger in line (I like this game!) 🙂