Is it possible to leave everything behind for a whole year? The house, the job, the schooling, the bills.The dog.
Is this possible?
To leave everything behind to go and travel the world.
Could I start a travel blog? Take two teenagers, a shed load of hormones, four rucksacks, and a fistful of savings and go around the world?
I’m in my late forties. Am I too old? Will Brian’s back be able to take sleeping ion a futon? These, along with a thousand others are the questions have been plaguing me for the past few months.
We are somewhat addicted to change, Brian and I, and have always lived by the rule that if something wasn’t making us completely happy than we would have to set about changing it, to live life differently. This post contains affiliate links. They cost you nothing but we make a small commission.
This isn’t the first time we have left everything behind to start a new life.
We’re old hats at it.
We emigrated to New Zealand 8 years ago. It’s been eight years of bliss.
Admittedly, there have been challenges, of course, there has, but mostly it’s been fantastic.
Brian works hard. Very hard. And the kids hardly ever get to see him. Two days a week and sometimes only one.
What family doesn’t love spending time together? I know we do. That’s why we initially moved to New Zealand – to be able to take more time as a family, but it just hasn’t worked out that way.
Not for Brian anyway. He’s our breadwinner and our hero, but the kids miss him terribly.
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We have always loved to travel. Both as a couple, before the kids were on the scene, and as a family.
Travelling is exciting, travelling makes you work things out together. Travelling brings you closer, creates amazing memories and gives you lots to talk about when you have a power cut.
We have been on some jaw-dropping holidays over the past few years, but they have been just that; family vacations.
Staying in fancy hotels and going out for dinner. Disneyland, Vegas. Three weeks max.
Wonderful and exciting and yes, I know how privileged we have been to be able to take the kids to those places, but they just didn’t cut the mustard if you know what I mean.
The kind of travelling I’m talking about is the one where you just leave everything behind and go on an adventure. Backpacking. Cheap. Adventurous. Memory making. Reconnecting. Budget.
All those sorts of fun things that my two teenagers squirm at, but the kind of travelling that excites me the most.
What Makes You Decide to Quit Your Jobs, Start a Travel Blog and Leave Everything Behind For a Year?
We were camping at Blue Lake in Rotorua on the North Island of New Zealand.
We had just been to some amazing free hot pools and had met a bunch of backpackers.
They were all buzzing with the places they had been to and what adventures were next. They were incredibly energetic and carefree. It was infectious.
That night, over a bottle of wine, we got talking about the Tim Ferriss book and began to talk about how much money we would need to take a whole year off and travel the world with the kids.
It was one of those nights where the wine and ideas never ceased to stop flowing I wished I could have bottled that night and kept it. Saved it for those days that are hard for us. The ones that make you feel as though nothing is ever going to be possible.
Those sort of days.
When The Idea Of Travel Just Won’t Leave Your Thoughts.
I was expecting to get up the next morning and the little itch be gone.
I would have put our giddy conversation down to the warm, balmy evening, the wine, the hot pools, the fact that Brian had been with us for a whole two weeks. After all, when you’re a team, everything seems possible.
But the itch didn’t go away. Every night of that holiday, we talked about the possibility of taking a year out and travelling the world. Whether or not it was feasible. Realistic. Fair even.
Over the months that followed travelling the world plagued our every thought.
We tried to talk ourselves out of it loads of times.
It was there; that question; Could we leave everything behind for a whole year and travel the world with the kids?’ Could we go and have a big fat adventure as a family?
Travelling The World With The Kids.
And then there are the kids. That’s another factor.
Ever since they were babies, we would talk about how we would love to take them all over the world. Show them different things, see the world through their eyes.
Experience the travelling bond that you only ever experience when you’re stuck at an airport as a family together, and you miss the last flight.
The years have just melted into one big beautiful blur of emigrating, homeschooling and hormones and here we stand, Sonny is 16 and Tessa 13.
We reckon it won’t be long before our boy is off on his own, and he certainly won’t want his mum and dad tagging along – even if I do tie myself to his trouser leg. And it wouldn’t be the same – travelling with just one of them; I wouldn’t want to do that.
Sorry, Tess. Another deciding factor that it was either now or never.
We kept umming and ahhing, two-ing and frow-ing, shall we? Shan’t we? And then, a month ago we decided.
We. Are. Going. We. Are. Doing. It. Leaving everything behind and embracing change.
Brian is in the throws of pulling away from his business, and me? Well, I’m trying to get the house, my children, our finances and the washing sorted.
Oh, and I have to walk the dog.
But How Can A 16-Year-Old Drop Out of School?
I‘m not sure. But my teenager won’t be dropping out of anything. Think of it as stepping up into a different kind of learning. A worldschooling learning experience.
Sonny currently learns at home online.
Because he’s the person he is (motivated) and I am the mother that I am (a worrying, neurotic freak) he started his exams a year early.
In New Zealand, these are called NCEA. In the Uk, they are called GCSEs. I’m not sure what they are in the States.
You get the picture though, exams that apparently say whether you have achieved enough to get into a University or get a decent job.
I’ll tell you my real opinion on this another time, but for now, you might want to read this.
Should he want to, he will be able to continue working online as he travels, but in reality, if he passes all of his exams by the end of November 2017, he will be a year ahead and so won’t need to bother.
I’m hoping this is the case that way we can just learn as we go without being restricted to assignment deadlines and skype calls and such.
Same goes for Tessa.
She’s going to learn everything there is to learn about the world first hand. We pay for a couple of online Maths and science courses that she may well continue with, but along with her brother, she will be world schooling.
How Much Money Does it Cost to Travel the World?
The big question that everyone wants to know. Including myself.
I suppose it will come down to what we want to do.
If we plan on going diving with the reef sharks in Malaysia or experience fine Japanese dining, it’s going to cost us an arm and a leg. But, that’s not on our agenda, (sorry kids).
I’m thinking more along the lines of real travel staying in hostels and such so that we can afford to go and do a few unique things with the kids.
There are so many ways that people pay for their world travels. Here is a post I wrote about how people on a normal wage afford to travel the world.
We want to be able to order a bottle of wine, eat some delicious authentic street food, and get a taxi or a boat ride if we need to.
I’m also saving my money for an Indian desert safari on a camel. It’s an obsession of mine. The thought of my two teenagers, no phone signal, atop a camel in the middle of the desert is enough to make me want to sell my teeth to pay for it.
I’m new to this.
I’ve done loads of research on various travel sites that I follow regularly, but at the moment we are making a rough estimate. We are budgeting on about $70,000 NZD for the year. ** Updated Feb 2020…Crikey Liz! You were way out! This trip cost us a lot less than half of this amount!
It might be less (hopefully) might be more (please God, no). That will be tight, I know, but hopefully, we will manage it.
If not, we will have to come home and move on to plan B. I just haven’t thought of plan B yet.
It had better not involve selling my teeth. I already did that for the camel.
How Can You Afford to Leave Everything Behind and Travel the World?
I‘ll have to keep you updated on this one.
It’s a combination of Brian’s business sale and a few other contributing factors.
We have rented our house out. That will cover the cost of the mortgage, plus, a few little extras like the rates and insurance, so all of those bills are being taken care of.
We have been selling as much of our stuff as possible. All the crap that we never use but can’t bear to part with? It’s going. Steadily and surely.
We’ve been selling things privately and so far, its all equated to the cost of our first four flights out of NZ so not too bad!
And living frugally. It’s amazing what you can change when you have a dream to achieve.
(In case you’re wondering, home educators, get paid a measly sum of about $600 per year per child. It’s not enough to travel the world!)
I worked full time at a theatre company that I started last year, but again, I did it for love, not the money. I seem to have a knack for choosing professions that don’t pay that well.
And Now I’ve started a Travel Blog. (Just to keep me Busy)
I have just started a travel blog which I am hoping will help pay for some little extras.
Either that or it will keep me company when it’s just me, Brian and the kids.
I have always loved to write. To chat. Someone told me that if I was going to do a big round the world trip with the kids then I should document it. So that’s what I set out to do.
If you are here and reading this then thank you!
Where Will You Go On This World Trip With Your Kids?
Haha! This is the exciting part! We plan on going over to Fort Lauderdale in America to spend some time with Brian’s family. From there, SE Asia. India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China and Japan. Over to Greece. Through Europe. Over to the UK to see both our families.
oh. And not forgetting a trip to Ireland. One place I have always dreamed of seeing.
And then, (if we haven’t run out of money) Cambodia and back to NZ. (with a pair of false teeth).
It’s all very up in the air at the moment, and that’s how we like it.
We are not ones to plan right down to the minute. Far from it.
It drives people mad, especially my daughter who, like any teenager, wants to know what time dinner will be on the table, whether or not it will have mushrooms in it and what film she will be watching afterwards.
That’s just the way we are. We like to go by the seat of our pants and plan as we go. It’s always worked for us that way, so we aren’t about to change it now.
But You’re Leaving Everything Behind! Are You Nervous/Excited/ Both?
The answer is all three.
Some days I sit there and think, what the hell are we doing?
Brians work van has just blown a cylinder head gasket, putting it off the road. The bill to get it fixed is going to run into the thousands. We didn’t need that, but, it’s not stopping us.
I need to remind myself that worrying about money does you no good.
When we had $600 a week coming in I worried, and when we had $1700 a week I still worried. It’s pointless. You have what you have.
Everything you have is all that you need.
Every night we all sit and watch travel documentaries on youtube together after dinner. Because we are BIG foodies are the favourite one at the moment is Mark Weins from Food Migration. He’s amazing, so positive.
I’m not joking that man could eat a cockroach and make it sound delicious.
Watch his channel or read his blog, if you love food and travel you’ll become hooked.
This is the best feeling ever!
Knowing there is a change coming and rising to it.
Of course, it’s not going to be a bed of roses, there’s money to think about, always, but I’m sure we will be fine. I know we will be more than fine.
We are adventurers and the time has come for me to reconnect with my lovely family in a way that only a big trip can do.
No work. No house. No crap.
If you would like to follow my journey as I travel the world with two teenagers and not enough wine, drop me your email and I’ll send you my updates! I will not spam you. I’m too lazy for that.
So, to date, that’s us. We reached a point in our lives, a very comfortable point might I add, where we sat in a campsite (once again) and thought ‘what is it all for?’ We have both worked hard all of our lives.
We have travelled, set many businesses up, we have emigrated, we have homeschooled, and now we are going to throw it all up in the air once more and travel the world with two teenagers.
One of which could probably eat $85,000 worth of food in two weeks.
When you have an itch, a feeling, desire, call it whatever you like, I think you have to scratch that itch, pursue that dream. Otherwise, that’s all it will ever be – a dream. Make it happen. Why not leave everything behind? At least give it a go. What’s the worse thing that can happen? You have to start again. So what?
We are not wealthy, we are not poor, we are just an average hard-working family who wants to go on an adventure together and in November we will be turning that dream into a reality.
I hope you will follow us on what is bound to be a year filled with real-life adventures, truths, challenges, laughter, tears and of course…Drama.
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Have you ever felt as though you wanted to leave everything behind and do something different? Are you starting a travel blog? Drop me a comment below and chat.
Did you do it? Are you planning on doing it? Was it fabulous? Horrific? Did you sell your teeth?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Until then, happy adventures my friend,
What a fantastic,brave and exciting thing to do!!!
It takes guts,determination,and an amazing sense of adventure and optomism,all of which you have bucket loads.
We will miss you all, more than you will ever know,but….. Cannot wait to read those blogs!!!!!
Thank you, my number one fan xxx I inherited it all from you xx
“I can be your hero, baby.”
Keep it up, love the post,
Hey Bri… You will see clearer now that rain has gone… xx
I don’t know if I could do a year of travelling. I think it’s so wonderful that you’re doing this as a family too!
I’ll let you know in 12 months if I could do it again Jennifer!
Haha! Of course you can. Join us 🙂 Our big decision came one evening over wine too, but it was Sav Blanc, it’s hot in Australia, I needed something chilled. Can’t wait to see how your adventre unfolds and gosh what a lovely website. Best of luck with leaving everything behind.
Thank you my friend… I wouldnt have done what I’ve done without all of your help and support xx
Thank you for this article, the ‘leaving everything behind’ for a year is a conversation we have over and over again in our house. We have 2 kids (5 and 7) and every time we discuss leaving for an adventure, all the emotions you mention come into play. We are pretty sure one day we will move again (we are an international family) but at present I am not sure how or where. I find super inspirational what you are doing, so thank you for this point of view, I’ll get my husband to read this post too!
Thank you, Marta, and don’t worry, you still have loads of time with your children so small. Once you get it into your head that that’s what you want to do, there is no stopping you.Keep me posted with your progress and good luck getting hubby to read this! Liz x
Go you! I don;t think I have it in me to be a world roaming backpacker, but I can certainly identify with wanting to spend more time with your family, and having a family project to complete means you won’t waste it. Sounds like you have it under control! Good luck.
I don’t feel as though I have anything under control Sol, Ever!! I’m very excited and very terrified at the same time. Thanks so much for the comment.
Wow! I’m kind of speechless. 12 months of full-time travelling with your kids, that’s crazy and awesome at the same time. You are brave! Dear to dream big. We only have one life – so better live it :-). I’m in a wheelchair and I can only encourage you in fulfilling your dreams! Happy travels with your family!
That’s such an inspiring comment Melanie, thank you x
This sounds amazing! What an adventure you’re all going to have and what memories you’ll make. I am a bit worried about the dog though….!
Out of everything, she’s the one I will miss too! She’s staying with my mum for a year so she will be spoiled rotten. A bit fatter when I get back no doubt but spoiled all the same!
This is almost the exact story of my family, except that our family went on our trip several years ago and now our youngest daughter is finishing NCEA (also through correspondence). I say go for it, without hesitation. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and really invaluable.
Thank you, Rhonda, and thanks so much for reaching out. So nice to chat with someone else who is wide awake when the rest of the world is fast asleep!
How inspirational, you’re so courageous! Taking a year off to travel with two teenagers? I don’t think I would be able to handle that. But I am sure it’s an experience you’ll always cherish. Kudos to you for doing this.
As i said Medha, either courageous or just off my trolley! Im hoping the hormones will settle down (not just mine!) and we will all relax a little. If not, it will be an interesting 12 months!
I know exactly where you are right now. Finding time to spend with your family is a fleeting luxury with work and social lives becoming more and more busy as kids get older. It sounds like you have an amazing opportunity to build some family memories that will stay with you for a long time. You’re going to do awesome!
Thank you, Kevin. Sometimes you just have to remember what we are doing all this stuff for in the first place! Thanks for your comment 🙂
So when you started with leaving everything…the job, the schooling, the bills, I was with you. But the dog?! That would be tough. 🙂 But what an amazing experience this will be. Love the “worldschooling” term – and wish more people would do it, especially for their kids. It’s an absolutely priceless experience!
She is being left in good hands…but don’t. It’s too late now. The tickets are booked! Thank you for your comment, Lori!
How absolutely incredible! I’m in awe and I’m a little bit (lot) jealous! I think you are doing the most amazing thing and you shouldn’t have any doubts because you’ll look back on this experience and you will be so happy to have spent this time with the kids before they fly the nest and it’s such a very special thing to do – to see the world and enjoy your freedom!
I met my husband while I was travelling Australia (we’re both from UK) and that was almost 25 years ago and we were fortunate enough to work hard and be able to take our kids to many gorgeous places from Machu Picchu in peru and road trips across Australia and America plus other places. My kids are 23, 21 and 17 and have their own lives now so couldn’t take them with us on a big trip now (unfortunately) but me and hubby plan to continue or travels together and hope the kidults will join in when they can! Good luck and keep us posted! Lisa xx #TweensTeensBeyond
Thank you Lisa for such a lovely comment! You sound as though you could write a book on the amazing adventures that you and your kids have had! Thank you for the encouragment and I look forward to chatting soon! xx
this is something we’ll be doing when hubby retires and we relocate back to the UK, we’ll set up home then pack our bags and travel europe and further afield until we get bored, we already rent out our family home and have purchased a 2nd property that we can dump our stuff in and return to when we want #tweenteensbeyond
Sounds perfect! If you need a sitter for your second property, I know a nice woman who has two extrememly well behaved teenagers??! x
Lovely Liz, you know how thrilled I am that you are undertaking this wonderful adventure and just imagine looking back on this in a years time. Knowing that you did it! Those fingers will be flying across the keyboard regaling us of all of your adventures and I cannot wait. What finer education can you give to your family. So glad you managed to join us at #tweensteensbeyond this week. We are all rooting for you xx and hope to see you in the U.K. too x
Oh,thank you lovely Nicky xx It is so nice to be with my old friends online again, Ive missed you all so much and look forward to keeping in touch xx
That sounds like a dream come true, although I think i would miss that feeling of belonging to a community of ‘home’ beyond my immediate family, I would love to explore more of the world with our kids. How awesome that you undertook this huge adventure. #tweensteensbeyond
Thank you, Liberty. Yes, I think the kids will miss home more than us, but in saying that, I will miss my dog and my bed!
Oh my word how wonderfully exciting! I can’t wait to hear about your adventures, I’m sure they will make addictive reading. I totally agree that it is a now or never thing for you and wish you and your lovely family a safe journey. Lot’s of love xxx
Thanks so much Sharon! I have missed you guys so much. So nice to see your photo on my comments again! xx
Omg Liz! I’ve only just read this! How amazing and good for you! I could not pursuade my husband to do this but I would love to do this!! And I think it’s the right time for your kids… mine are 17 & 15 and it’s a bit late in school terms I mean. Good luck! I wish you well and will look forward to reading more as your travels start. Sophie XX
Thanks so much Sophie! It’s a huge adventure and we are both nervous and excited! I think sometimes you just have to do it! Your blog is looking fantastic, so proud of how far you have come xx
It looks like it will be an amazing adventure! You’re going to make some wonderul memories together. Homeschooling is a great way to go! We moved to the Netherlands last year and this is the first year my kids are in school. I wanted to give them a year of being an “exchange student”, but we’re definitely going back to homeschooling again after this year. I don’t like being stuck on someone else’s schedule! Looking forward to seeing your adventures.
I think once you have had a taste of homeschooling it is hard to go back isn’t it? Thanks so much for your comment Jennifer!
Oh Liz! What an adventure indeed. We talk alot about travelling in our house at the moment. My son is in the minority of his friends who have gone straight to University, most are enjoying a gap year and are now starting to plan their travels. I did the same at their age and have had many a wild adventure. My parents always took us on great holidays but the real travel bug came later, we left home and they started to travel with my father’s work so it gave my sister and i an excuse to plan trips which of course would involve a stop off with our parents. Reading your story I was thinking brave woman! The only thing to stop us with teens is their education. You have that sorted and obviously helped by the home schooling – you know what to do. You will have a great time and you will all have the best stories to remember forever! Good luck. Keep us posted and let us know when you are in the UK! #TweensTeensBeyond
Thank you so much Jo! I would love to meet my real life blogging heroes for real! I appreciate your support. I think there are for and against for both concerning the gap year. Sometimes, I think its just best to go to Uni and then travel afterwards, without the thought of having to come back and start studying again. Once you get that travel bug its hard to shift it isn’t it?! xx
Go Liz!!!! What an incredibly exciting adventure to share as a family. I am green with envy! Perfect timing too as before you know it they will have left home and will have lives of their own. We have found that travelling together as a family without WIFI is absolutely THE BEST 🙂
I am so very excited for you all . Good on you to have the courage to follow through and make it happen and follow your dream. I love your blog and I am so looking forward to keeping up with your travels through it. Go team Deacle! Enjoy each other and this beautiful world and thanks for sharing it with us XX
Hellooo Sue! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m so glad to hear that you prefer to travel without wifi – I know it’s the way to go… There’s that horrible awkward period for about 6 hours and then as if by magic your kids come back to you! I only thought about you today as we were at Brooklands park and drove past your road.:) I hope you and your lovely family enjoy the next year and one of these days we WILL have that coffee!! Lots of love Sue xx
OMG, Liz! So many similarities! So many memories triggered by this post! You will love it! OK, so you will also hate it too at times, but it is worth every stress, every sleepless night, every penny spent. And you HAVE to do the camel safari in Rajasthan. Sleeping in the desert, freezing your ass off and listening to the sound of camels farting is NOT to be missed, trust me! My kids wrote a blog post about it with lots of photos if you fancy a look. You’d have to go to my website and search for ‘camel’ though. Anyway, loving your work. xxxxx (www.growingapair.co.uk)
Thank you Floss, you don’t know how much I needed to hear this right now. It seems eryone I talk to are like “OMG… are you crazy? what about this what about that?… You’ll get robbed in India, you’ll run out of money…” And I WILL ride that bloody camel if it kills me! Thank you for this positive comment – love your work too! x
Hi Liz. I’ve just read this bit of your blog.
“The thought of my two teenagers, no phone signal, atop a camel in the middle of the desert is enough to make me want to sell my teeth to pay for it.”
I wouldn’t count on no signal in the desert though ! A few years back we were on a Camel Ride in the middle of the desert in Egypt when my phone went Really ! – it was my Bank lol – checking if I was in Egypt! Could not believe it !
Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip (and get to keep your teeth) It was lovely meeting you this week xxx
Oh! I can just picture you on your camel answering your phone and Colin trotting off in front!! Hilarious! Thanks for the comment Ang,really appreciate the feedback! xx
Ah …you’re good Liz. So very very good.
Greetings from a skanky budget ( there is no other sort) hotel in Lumbini. The birth place of Buddha..
It’s the best. You’re the best. We’re the best, Travel is the best.
Onward and upward.
What a beautiful comment. Yes, travel is the best. The best in the whole world xx Sending you my love from Shanti Lodge in Bangkok. One of your very excellent recommendations! x
Been following for ages, would really like to see a post with breakdown on the costs of your travel and how and what was spent on.
We are in the process and you guys and AL have been great inspiration.
Thank you, Thomas. This is a post I have been putting off for ages because it will take me a while! I promise I’ll get it done for you in the next few weeks! When do you leave? If it’s any help, we spent approx $45,000 (US) for the four of us for a year. This was achieved by doing loads of couchsurfing, housesitting and being SERVAS members. Look out for the post!
Hi, Got your latest email and you mention $31620 for the year to travel? Was that USD total or NZD total? Thanks .