I suppose it has to start somewhere, and so it is starting here, in my living room while my youngest crashes his cars together on the floor and I drink yet another brew, just another standard day in the western world.
I wonder how I will start this particular blog ball rolling; we started the larger travel plan ball rolling some months ago when we made the decision to go. I think that the day I dropped my eldest daughter on her head outside my flat was the day I knew that things had to change.
Like many people my age, I was gradually coming to realise that my imagined future of a three-bed house and successful work/life balance wasn’t really on the horizon. We had been saving for a deposit on a flat that would have already been too small for our family, but it seemed that house prices in London were forever jumping ahead of our ability to put money away, so it had become a bit of a soul-sucking Sisyphean task.
Spud had left his stable job for riskier, but better paid work as a locum so that I could take time off to have my son. When I went back to work his contracts had him travelling all over London so I had to drop the kids off at childcare and pick them up again at the end of the day. The mornings saw me stumbling out of the house at he crack of dawn trailing the kids behind me to the nursery, before I began the headlong rush to get to my desk before 9, but the real challenge was the sprint back to the nursery before closing time at 6 and often my kids were the last to leave. No one was having any fun.
The walk home at the end of the day was difficult, often done in the dark and frequently in the rain. On this particular day Newt was just too tired to walk and so there I was, pushing a bag-laden buggy with Buzz in it one-handed while trying to carry an almost-sleeping Newt on my back. When we got to our front door, I tried to manoeuver Newt off my back but I somehow dropped her on her head. So there I was on my doorstep with two small exhausted, howling children and I remember thinking that surely it shouldn’t be this hard.
Something in my brain just switched over, I came out of maintenance mode, where I was just going through the motions in the hope that something better was coming up. My kids were exhausted by long days in childcare, I was stressed trying to manage everything, and Spud was doing ridiculous hours. To top it all off I didn’t even know what we were trying to achieve anymore, even if we managed to buy our own place I could see that the pattern would just continue in the struggle to keep up with the mortgage and bills.
So we have chosen to stop. We are taking the money that we had saved for our imaginary future home and are going to spend it travelling the world as a family instead. I quit my job and put the family into hard-core savings mode so that we could squirrel away as much cash away as possible, the more money we have, the longer we can spend doing this.
The sensible me sometimes wobbles and reminds me that the money will run out and then we will have nothing, but the brave me counters that that’s not true. If it all goes to plan we will have years of fun and adventures and learning experiences, not to mention a million memories. I don’t think I would swap that for a two-bed conversion in a second-rate London neighbourhood. I have faith that we are resourceful people and we will always find ways to make more money; but no matter how much we want to, we will never be able to find a way to make more time.