Did you know that there are a whole cast of families traveling the world with their children in tow. We had no idea until a few months ago and this knowledge changed our lives.
This adventure evolved from an invitation from friends to travel to Bali in June with our children. It was proposed that 3 weeks in Bali would be a great ‘testing’ ground for travel with children in tow. The flight was an easy 5 hours. We were hopeful that all would go well so we could consider a trip to our beloved Thailand later in the year.
We had been thinking of heading to Thailand in September, just before the high season room rate rises. We thought we were being adventurous and brave by even considering to travel abroad with 3 small children with some of our friends and family saying as much. Our passion for travel, the need to redefine ourselves and re-start our lives were so strong that we were prepared to give it a go.
We had nothing to loose and everything to gain.
We expected travel with the children to be different to what we were use to and even difficult at times, so that in mind we wanted to travel slowly, allowing for ample rest days if required for the children.
So after a few days of thinking ‘yeah, we can do that’ - a trip to Bali in June, then a trip to Thailand in September I had a crazy idea.
Why come home in between ? We would be half way to Thailand when in Indonesia after all.
So our initial thoughts of 6 -8 weeks in Thailand quickly jumped to 4 months of travel starting in Bali then going to Thailand and Vietnam, perhaps even to Cambodia. We needed to do some research to decide if Cambodia was kid friendly and safe.
It was during that research that I stumbled upon a website dedicated to families travelling with their children, some indefinately. Finding vagabondfamily.org was like a light bulb moment for me.
To think that others thought and dreamt like us.
It was reassuring, inspiring and validating all at the same time. I quickly registered as a member (which happens to be free) and received access to other members who were in varying stages of family travel. Some were planning and working towards saving for their big adventure, others had been on the road for a few months through to a few years.
Each member could list their contact details. This is how I learnt about travel blogs, in particular family travel blogs. I had hit the jackpot.
I had found what I had been looking for.
I spent most nights for the next few weeks reading and researching what others had done or were planning on doing. It was awe inspiring. I was reading of families with not only more children than I had but some of whom were traveling with a disability. Surely if they found a way to make it work, we could.
This shed a light of hope into Joel and I. Our lives had been somewhat stagnant for the past few years, neither of us having much direction in what to do or where to go next in our professional lives.
Maybe this could be our new life.
Maybe just maybe we could live life to the fullest and love life again. The thought of being truly happy again was exciting. It was like our life dream was becoming a reality right before our eyes, yet we couldn’t believe it was really happening.
There were a number of families that were either currently in South East Asia or had travelled to destinations that were of interest to us. I made contact with a few of the families either via their website, blog or email. I was taken aback by how generous and helpful people were to us. The common thread I was finding was encouragement, positive reassurance that it had been the best decision of their lives and that the misconceptions about travelling with children were just that. Misconceptions.
There was so much about a nomadic lifestyle that appealed to us.
We were happy to be considering a lifestyle that encouraged openness to other cultures and belief systems.
We loved the thought of our children learning about the world in such a hands on way.
We also loved the thought of showing our children just how very lucky we are to be Australian and to have all that we do.
The thought of escaping the materialistic world, full of media tactics to entice you into thinking you NEED something that in fact you have no use for at all.
Then there is the news media. That is definitely something that I could do without.
So that 4 months of travel soon expended into being on the road for the remainder of 2012. So six months of adventure was now in the planning. After a few speed bumps, the plans were falling into place. The first leg of the adventure was set, but after that we were free to explore where and when we wanted. We were wanting to be open to the advice and direction we received from other travellers whilst on the road.
So we are now coming to the end of that first leg and fast approaching the winging it part. We have had the pleasure of meeting four of the vagabond families already. A King's Life , Travel with Bender , Bohemian Traveler's and Going Anyway. Each one of them have inspired us and shown us how travel has changed their life for the better in more ways then we even thought possible.
We have been exposed to a whole new world of options in relation to financing a life of travel. Our options are endless. Yes we have a blog and a facebook page but we have so much to learn and so much to work towards.
The future is excitingly bright.