18 Ways Travel Has Changed Us


July 6, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Deciding to Travel,Planning,Travel Tips,World Schooling



Looking back, I think we all knew travel would be life changing. We understood that life as we knew it would never be the same again. But has it been everything we expected? We are now 18 months into our travel and we’ve reached a point where we have all started making comparisons between our old lives and our new. Did we make the right decision?



To truly understand how life changing our decision has been, we need to step back to 2014, when, in reality, we were probably at a real low point in our lives, and we realized something needed to change.

We need to do something life changing!

 

Cam was working very long hours. He worked FIFO (fly in, fly out) – traveling away for work seven days and then home for seven days. To make matters worse, he worked the night shift, which is scientifically proven to have dramatic effects on a person’s health. After a week away it would take days for him to adjust to being home – constantly tired during the days and wide awake at night. But the money was good, and we all enjoyed the extra luxuries and adventures we could have.

 

Cam’s former transport to and from work

 

I was busy running our small family business. A cake decorating business that was never planned, but something I fell into in 2010, after posting some photos of my cakes online. Overnight we seemed to go from being new parents to 8 week old Sienna, to business owners, with a business that people couldn’t get enough of. It was a dream job for me, and high demand is not a problem business owners usually complain about, but after four years of crazy hours, trouble finding decent staff and commitment to a business that just wanted more and more attention every day, I was exhausted.

As parents and as a married couple we were struggling. Struggling with sheer exhaustion. Struggling to be the parents we wanted to be and struggling to look after each other and our marriage. We were at an all time low. We were stuck on a daily treadmill of work, school, preparing meals, homework, and sleep, with next to no downtime. When the weekends came, we were so exhausted that we would hibernate for two days, dreading the week ahead. We decided we needed to have a complete break – to get away from everything for an extended period. Little did we know how life changing that vacation would be and that it would completely change the future direction of our lives.

 

We didn’t know but a trip on the Golden Princess was the start of a brand new life!!

 

Our time away gave us time to look at our lives. The opportunity to re-evaluate where we were and where we wanted to be. As a Mum, I realized that while I loved our business and my cake decorating, I was missing out on our kid’s lives. As a Dad, Cam spent so much time recovering from his off shore night shift when at home, that he had no real quality of life, despite the money he earned. Life had become too serious, and none of us were happy.

So after much research and with some deep soul searching we decided to sell everything and leave the lives we’d always known. But was it worth it? Let’s have a look at 18 ways our adventure has been a life changing decision.

We are happier!

When you have the time and ability to truly choose what you want to do each day, how can life not be better? We are able to do what we want when we want (as long as it fits in the budget!) And this gives us complete freedom over our lives. No longer are our lives dictated by other people’s schedules, by school bells or by demanding bosses. If we are tired, we sleep, if we are hungry, we eat. If we feel like swimming, we do. If we want to laze around and have a quiet day, or a day at the beach, our daily schedule is up to us. Having the ability to do what you want is a sure-fire way to increase your happiness.

 

 

We are less stressed!

We no longer have to deal with the stress of day to day life. Our old lives were controlled by the unrelenting necessity of achievement – to meet the needs of each other, our jobs and the people around us. We now have the time to slow down, and without the constant pressure of our old lives, our stress levels have been dramatically reduced. That’s not to say that we don’t face any stress, travel, of course, brings a whole new level of stress, but with time on our sides, our stress levels are minimized, and any stress we face is far easier to deal with.

We are more patient!

With time on our side, and with far less stressful lives, we can be much more patient. Patience was never my strong point, but looking back I have discovered that it was simply the result of stress and having too much on my plate. Today we have the time to relax and deal with life in a calmer manner – things don’t get to us as they used to because we have the time to work them through and deal with them.

We fight less!

With less stress and more patience, we are a much calmer family and we have the time to listen to each other and understand what each of us needs. This naturally means far less fighting and arguments than before and a far happier family life. Again, that’s not to say that we don’t fight, we are together 24/7 and being in new and exciting places can be mentally tiring, but we can help each other more when one us gets in a mood!

We laugh more!

Sadly, our old lives were almost void of laughter. Life was serious, we were all so stressed and we just didn’t laugh nearly enough. With time to relax and enjoy our lives, we have time to have fun, be silly and laugh.

We have more time with each other!

When life is busy with work and school, the time we had together was limited to before and after school and weekends. But of course somewhere in there we each needed our own down time, which meant even less time to enjoy time together. Now, we share our lives full time and get to enjoy exploring the world together.

We know each other better!

Do you know your kids? Do you truly know your partner? Do you know why they do the things they do or the logic behind the way they think? I thought we did. But one aspect of travel that has been truly life changing is that I am getting to know my kids and Cam in a whole new way. I see why they do things, I have time to understand who they are and I am learning so much about them.

After 15 years of marriage, Cam and I are very different people to the 20 something kids that fell in love all those years ago. And while one might think that day to day life teaches you all you need to know, stepping back from the pressures of life gives you the time to REALLY learn who they are, in a way I didn’t expect.

We get to watch our kids learn!

Remember that moment your child (or Niece or Nephew or friend’s kid) walked for the first time or said their first word? The moment the first tooth came through, or they learned to read and were super proud of their accomplishment? We now get to see these sort of moments every single day, and every day one of our kids blows my mind with something they’ve learned.

We are less materialistic!

I didn’t ever really think we were materialistic, at least not in a negative way. However selling up and traveling with carry-on bags only has made us all realize just how little we need in life, and just how much “stuff” we used to have.

While it’s lovely to have a nice home, a nice car, and all the nice trimmings to go with it, what do these things actually do for you? Sure, they make you happy when you first get them, but what then? Experiences, on the other hand, create memories that last a lifetime and put a smile on your face whenever you think of them.

When we first decided to travel carry-on only, we were all a little freaked out. Like so many people we had way too much stuff, a fact that we only truly appreciated when we sold up. Today, as we travel the world, we no longer feel the pull to spend our money on “stuff.” And when you no longer have the desire to spend, you enter shops with a whole new outlook!

 

If it doesn’t fit in the bag it’s not coming!

 

Every day is new and exciting!

One of the biggest problems I faced in my old life was that I was bored. Just absolutely sick to death of doing the same thing day in, day out. And while I could change it up a little, essentially every day was the same thing – get up, get the kids ready for school, drop them off, go to work, pick them up, drop them to activities, go home, cook dinner, go to bed. Not very exciting stuff.

Today, EVERY SINGLE DAY is new and exciting. Nothing is familiar; nothing is commonplace, and even just a walk to a local shop is full of new and amazing sights and experiences.

We have a better social life!

Travel has been life changing – but one aspect I completely underestimated was just how many friends I would make. In fact, I naturally worried about leaving my friends and family behind and being somewhat isolated. I couldn’t have been more wrong! We have met so many amazing friends along the way and we have a better social life now than I think we’ve ever had before. Some days we find ourselves exhausted because we’ve been so busy having fun with other traveling families! Oh, what a problem to have!

 

Traveling down a river in a long boat with friends – Bangkok, Thailand

 

We are learning every day!

I knew that travel would be a huge learning experience for the kids. I didn’t expect to reignite my own love of learning! From learning about different cultures and local customs to new languages and alternate ways of doing daily tasks, we are all learning so much.

 

North Korea at night (in comparison to South Korea and China. Almost pitch black because the power gets turned off at night across the country.

 

I have found that travel will spark an interest in something you may not know you had. While in South Korea, I became fascinated with anything to do with North Korea. Through meeting English travelers, I feel I have a better understanding about Brexit and it’s impact and our new American friends have helped me understand how and why the recent Presidential election will have a dramatic impact on their lives. These are all subjects that I previously had little interest in or knowledge of, but as I travel the world these issues now impact my life or the lives of people I know, and I am excited to learn all I can.

We are more tolerant!

Things don’t always go to plan as we travel. But we have all learned to roll with the punches and take things as they happen. We have also realized that people in other countries handle and respond to issues in completely different ways. In Australia we line up to get on a plane; in South East Asia it’s everyone for themselves. That was incredibly frustrating to us when we first started our SE Asian adventure, but we quickly realized that the way we do things is not always right and it is not our place to get frustrated. Take a deep breath and roll with it – it’s half the fun of the adventure!

We are healthier!

Before we left, the pressure and stress of our lives were literally making us sick. Depression, anxiety, allergies, colds, and flu were a common part of our lives. Today nearly all of those items have been eliminated – and while we might get an upset tummy now and then, as we adapt to a new place, overall we are so much healthier.

Our dollars go further!

I didn’t realize just how expensive it is to live in Australia. In so many countries that we’ve visited, the cost of living is substantially less than at home. $AUD1200 in rural Victoria, Australia, rents you an old, three bedroom unit. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it gets you a brand new 3 or 4 bedroom condominium, in the heart of the city, with all the facilities one might expect.

In Australia, a meal in a restaurant would cost us around $100 – in SE Asia we can feed the family for $20!

Every dollar we have goes so much further, which is why when Cam was made redundant recently we didn’t rush home but instead we are making our redundancy payment stretch further, as we begin to generate income online.

We are completely free!

We have no commitments, and we are completely free, which is an incredible feeling! As long as we stay within our budget, which we showed in Point 12 isn’t too hard, we can go where we want, do what we want and have nothing holding us back.

 

 

Before traveling we had a house, we had loans, we had jobs, we had commitments. And we felt trapped. The sense of freedom we have now is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

Our holiday never ends!

When we began traveling, we would finish one stage of our travel (a 3-week house sit in Perth for example), and as we got towards the end, a feeling of dread washed over us. You know that feeling? You’re at the end of your holiday and as you head home the reality of your real life takes hold again! But for us, that is quickly followed by the excitement of our next adventure – we literally get to have one holiday after another! And I promise you, that is the best feeling in the world!

We appreciate life!

We are happier, healthier and enjoy life. For the first time in my life, I am actually looking back at the time we’ve had and I am excited and proud of just how much we’ve done. We have seen and done so much and experienced the most amazing things together. We have created so many incredible memories in the past 18 months, and we appreciate not only that we made such a life-changing decision, but that we are able to experience all of this together, as a family.

 

Camel riding in Dubai

 

It was a big decision. A decision that completely changed life as we knew it. But our lives are vastly better than we could have ever imagined. As we packed our bags a couple of days ago and prepared to move to another new housesit, a smile came over my face and I announced, “I love our life”. It took a whole lot of guts, many hours of planning and perhaps a little bit of insanity, but giving up our old lives and traveling full time has truly been a life changing adventure.

Comments
  1. Becky said on July 6, 2017 6:34 pm:

    Great article! Knowing you all pretty well I can say that all of the things you listed are true of your family. Thank you for your commitment to inspiring others to embark on their own magical journeys!

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