We are all over the internet. Families like us who have thrown everything in the air and set about to travel the world. We start a blog and fill it with beautiful Insta pics. The mother (quite often in a long white flowy dress, with her perfect set of gnashers; smiling as she bathes her tiny feet in the Trevi fountain) the father (usually wearing a linen shirt and looking at wifey adoringly) and the kids (never once staring into their phones and pretending instead to like each other).
The perfect travelling family blog.
But here’s the thing.
Last year we were that family. Just with a few little tweaks added.
I don’t own a white dress, my husband is always scowling because he can’t find his glasses and my kids hate each other’s guts. Mostly.
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A Travelling Family Blog. The Dark Truth That Nobody Warns You About
Last year, our family (me, hubby, two teenagers) decided to quit our jobs, rent out the house and start something new. We travelled the world for a year; left everything behind and spent twelve glorious months exploring countries that we had only ever seen in the films. And it was the best decision we ever made.
Unlike some family travel blogs, I have to tell you the truth. In case you are thinking of doing the same crazy, wonderful life-changing adventure as we did.
There is one thing that nobody warns you about when you set off into the horizon with your kids. Something that those who have gone before you fail to tell.
How hard it is to come home.
That small unspoken truth that gets brushed under the carpet. Packed away in the spare room cupboard with the empty rucksacks. People don’t want to talk about that.
The reality is that coming home after travelling the world is like coming off a bucket load of happy pills overnight.
My happy pill is travel. Particularly travel with my family which I have been doing for the past 12 months. Backpacking around the world with my husband and two teenagers. We rented our house, quit our business and off we went.
It was a midlife crisis on my part. And a bloody good one too.
But last week we came home after 370 blissful days on the road. And it was horrible.
After seeing my family and close friends, playing with my dog and marvelling at how many clothes I had, everyday life was pretty depressing for a good few days. I was a right old misery guts.
It was as if I was cloaked in fog. Everything seeming strangely familiar yet massively alien.
I didn’t want to phone the vets and contend their latest bill.
I didn’t want to fork out $300 on a set on front tyres for the car.
I didn’t want to own a fridge with double doors or sit on a deck that needed staining.
I wanted to visit the Taj Mahal and climb treelined hills that lead to hidden temples. I wanted to read out loud to my kids behind a Croatian church in a forest. I wanted us all to stand in the middle of the train station in Tokyo and marvel at the peacefulness of it all.
But that’s not what normal life looks like.
Normal home life requires you to worry about whether or not your kids will get into college and if the recycling bin takes glass bottles.
Normal life is answering “busy,” when a neighbour asks how you’ve been. Normal life is moaning about the cost of fuel. And vet bills.
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How People React When You Come Home From Travelling
The people you leave back home, those that don’t travel themselves, they are never really interested in your travel tales. Not really.
They will feign interest because that’s what they are expected to do. It would be rude not to. They will smile politely and nod in all the right places but they are itching for you to finish your sentence so that they can get on with telling you their news.
While you were gone the number 4 bus stopped running on a Wednesday and that nice guy that owned the cafe in the village? Well, he sold it to a Chinese couple. For a pittance.
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Not to worry. Two weeks on and I’m happy to say that my mood has improved. The future is looking exciting again. We are making plans to move forward— a new business to incorporate travel into our lives.
And the vet knocked $50 off the bill.
So be warned. If you are going to throw everything in the air, quit your job and run for the airport with your knickers on your head, be prepared for the return journey.
You might want to invest in a pack of Pampers nappies for when you come home. The big ones.