In September 2009 my wife and I decided to completely uproot our family, pack all our belongings into a storage shed and travel the world, with a 2.5 and a 4.5 year old in tow. Why would we do such a thing? Many times over the first couple of months we asked ourselves the same thing. Ultimately there are a number of reasons that we decided to make such a drastic change in our lives and travel the world.
One of the key reasons we decided to embark on this new lifestyle was to spend more time with our kids. Some days this can be much more difficult than just letting the kids go to daycare in Australia 3 days a week ;) . After mentioning our new travel lifestyle to a number of couples whose families are all grown up we were really encourage that we were doing the right thing. A number of couples that we spoke to had done exactly what we are currently doing 15 to 20 years ago. They packed up their caravans, hitched it to the Toyota Landcruiser and travelled around Australia for a year or so. The things they saw, the things they learned and the family bonds that they formed could not be undone with any amount of time. Not one of these people regretted taking the time to travel with their family, not one!
On the other hand, I also spoke to several people who wanted to do what we are doing and decided against doing it for one reason or another. Both of these people deeply regretted the missed opportunity.
Our children are only little once; we want to make sure that we really are there to build our relationships with them. This isn't to say that you can't work and build relationships with your children. This is simply our way of forcing ourselves to spend more time with them.
The cost of housing in Australia just keeps going up! When we bought our first house in 2002 house prices in Brisbane were in our opinion quite high, when we sold 18 months later they had grown by about 25%. We then bought a house in a less expensive suburb about 15km from the Brisbane CBD. We bought one of the better houses in on of the cheaper suburbs. We held on to that property for 5 years. During that time the annual growth slowed, but we still had a 25% increase in the value of the property over the 5 years. Now this all sounds fantastic in terms of an investment. But what it means is that when we sold our first property we made a decent profit, but that profit was eaten into when we bought our second house because to buy again the price was so much higher. At this point in time it was necessary to upgrade our house because we were preparing to have a family and needed a bigger house rather than a small two bedroom unit.
My point in telling you all about the cost of living in Australia is that we decided that investing $500,000 into a good, but by no means incredible house is not something we really want to do at this point in time. I don't want to be sitting here saying that Australia is a bad country to live in or that the government should do something about the cost of housing. That's not what I am saying, what I am saying is that I want to explore my options. In the long run I feel that we will probably end up in Australia, but what I would like is to be able to return to Australia and by a property either in a smaller town or city where we might be able to buy a house with a much smaller mortgage.
Why live in Australia that has a relatively high cost of living when we could earn Australia dollars through our Australia company and spend that money where our dollar can buy significantly more. That's why we decided that the first leg of our journey takes us through South East Asia where we can live day to day for much less than we did in Australia, see our budget for more info.
Both my wife and I are web designers. Well to be more correct I am a web programmer and my wife is more of a graphic designer. We decided to make the most of the ability to work anywhere in the world provided we have a laptop and a internet connection.
We have some fantastic clients back home in Australia so now all we do is work remotely through our Australian company. Our new aim is to leverage our currency so that we don't have to work anywhere near as much as we used. Eventually I would like to work a maximum of 2 hours a day.
Some time in August I was given the book the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. Now if you are on this website, it's either because your family or friends, or you are considering doing something similar to us. If you are please, please read this book. Even if you don't own your own business there are just some many interesting and thought provoking ideas given by Ferris.
Admittedly there is a fair bit of mania surrounding 4HWW but in my opinion it can and does live up to the hype. Get it, read it and adopt the aspects that fit to help you live the life you want, not the template life that more other people live simply because they aren't thinking for themselves.