Our Backpacking Family
Welcome to our family’s backpacking travel journal. We’re your average Aussie family of six who enjoys travel – the immersive, adventurous, DIY backpacking kind. We seek out authentic cultural experiences whenever we travel and prefer the snail pace of travelling slow that gives us plenty of time to immerse in a foreign place and create real connections with people from lots of different cultures along the way.
Our family is known as the Sixbackpacks since 2012.
Six people; six backpacks. We waited until our youngest daughter was seven years of age – an age we thought she could carry her own backpack – before setting off on our first overseas travel adventure.
Then in 2017 we upped the ante!
We took a leap of faith (with fingers crossed and hearts filled with anticipation) and embarked on our first gap year – an epic 365-day backpacking journey around the world.
Yep we made it happen.
We packed up our entire home, renting out our house, finding long term pet-sitters for our two cute dogs and one very unfriendly cat. We enrolled the kids in Distance Education and before we knew it swapped ‘normal’ life for travel adventure and wanderlust by simply following the sun and travelling the world!
Rewind…since our first family backpacking trip back in 2012, we had been dreaming and planning and most of all wondering if we could, in fact, pull it – a gap year – off someday one day.
That day came.
Dream, Plan, Save and Go…repeat! Dream, Plan, Save and Go.
‘Living the dream’ in Australia was an exhausting triad of home-work-school that made life downright repetitive and uninspiring.
You know how it goes, when I wasn’t working, I was cleaning or cooking, and when I wasn’t cleaning or cooking I was transporting kids to netball training, friends’ houses, and collecting them at midnight from teen parties.
I know I’m not the only mother dealing with this scenario, but I wanted something else in my life and my family’s life.
I started to get curious about what this life was actually meant to look like.
Our daughters were getting older and taller and their final years of primary and secondary school were fast approaching like a freight train without brakes.
Then came the leap of faith.
After an intense discussion outlining pros and cons and changing our minds several times with yes-no and maybes, we finally made the decision. We bought tickets with no return. We were taking our family on an adventure of backpacking the world throughout 2017.
I quit my job; Steve took a combination of long service leave, annual and leave without pay. The home renovation – an extra bedroom and a modern kitchen – could wait. We came to realise that when we were old and grey sitting in some nursing home, we were fairly certain we would not be thinking I wish we completed that renovation when the kids were young!
Once we booked tickets, the relief that we had finally made the decision came in. Of course we were elated but also completely confronted and terrified about that decision. What we both felt was sense of passion and purpose start to creep back into our everyday lives.
We saved like crazy syphoning my wage into another account while living off the other. We did without the first world materialistic purchasers. Our goal (and departure date) was bigger than any of that and it was now right before us.
We downloaded a countdown app and got excited each passing day. No more credit cards, no more debt. We even gave up drinking alcohol for an entire 10 months and the money saved purchases 6 ONE-WAY tickets to Langkawi Island, Malaysia. I kid you not!
There’s something sweet about saying one-way tickets that just sounds so pleasant. I’ll repeat it again…SIX ONE-WAY PLANE TICKETS!
For Steve and me, the decision felt right. But for our four daughters, well they were less than impressed with the thought of travelling with their parents for an entire year.
This is a video interview I conducted in our lounge room 60 days before departing for our family backpacking adventure. It gives an insight into how our quirky tribe actually felt but also shows some of the ‘issues’ we’ve had to communicate about at length.
Did you enjoy reading our Six Backpacks family travel journal and looking at the photos and videos? Feel free to say hi or send us your comments on our Contact Us page or on one of the blog posts. We’d love to hear from you.