Our Backpacking Family
Welcome to our family’s travel journal. To get to know us a little better, we’re your average Australian family – living, working and dreaming in Melbourne. Steve and I both travelled ‘bk’ (before kids) and along the timeline of life, our lives expanded to include four kids, a number of pets, and a mortgage. And when it was time to finally come up for breath…we realised that throughout all this chnage there was one constant, lingering yearning: to travel.
So we travelled with our family.
Our lifestyle is what we call living a hyrbrid life. It’s a mix of ordinary often boring suburban life of careers, school and kids sport with an extraordinary, adventure-filled, do-it-yourself backpacking travel stints. Each time we travel, we seek out authentic travel experiences and slowing the pace of travel down so we have plenty of time to immerse in all the places we visit with the plan of creating real connections with locals.
On the road (intermittently) since 2012, our family has been known as Sixbackpacks.
Six people carrying six backpacks. We waited until our youngest daughter was seven years old – an age we thought she could carry her own backpack – before setting off on our first overseas backpacking travel adventure to Vietnam.
The next followed soon after in 2013 to Myanmar (Burma), followed in 2015 to Thailand and Cambodia.
The we upped the ante in 2017!
We took a leap in the face of all ours fears and embarked on our first family backpacking gap year. It was an awesome 365-day backpacking journey around the world with our kids.
Yep we made it happen.
We packed up our entire home, renting out our house, finding long term pet-sitters for our two dogs and one very unfriendly cat. We enrolled our kids in Distance Education. We happily swapped our ‘normal’ life for a year-long travel adventure by simply following the sunshine!
The day had arrived – to do something different; something extraordinary. We wanted to have family memories made together. Each year the kids were edging closer to adulthood and it was now or never. We jumped in!
Dream, Plan, Save and Go…repeat! Dream, Plan, Save and Go.
‘Living the dream’ in Australia was an exhausting and unrelenting experience of living the triad – 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 really wanted something else in my life and my family’s life.
I started to get curious about what my/our life could actually look like.
After intense discussions 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 a world backpacking adventure 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 settled easily. We were excited but also completely terrified about that decision. Over time, we both felt was sense of passion and purpose creep back into our everyday lives.
We saved like crazy syphoning my whole wage into another account while living off the other. We did without the first world wants. Our goal (and departure date) was bigger than any of that and it was right in front of us.
We downloaded a countdown app and got more excited as each day passed. No more credit cards, no more debt. We gave up drinking alcohol for an entire 10 months and the money we saved purchased 6 ONE-WAY tickets to Langkawi Island, Malaysia. No jokes!
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 so right. But for our four daughters, well they were less than impressed with the thought of travelling with their parents for an entire year. Not seeing their friends was the hardest one to confront.
This is a video interview 60 days before departing for our family backpacking adventure. It gives an insight into how our quirky tribe actually felt about the trip but also shows some of the ‘issues’ we’ve had to manage on the road.
As always, feel free to say hi or send us your comments on our contact page or on one of the blog posts. We’d love to hear from you.