Pros and Cons of full time family travel
Two Kids and a Caravan
We get heaps of people message us and ask about the pros and cons of travelling full time so we thought we’d put pen to paper and share the highs and lows of full time travel with kids
PROS : You get to spend a lot of time as a family CONS : You spend A LOT of time as a family Haha just kidding — sort of…
Let’s start with the nitty gritty and look at the disadvantages
Disadvantages of full time family travel
Quality over quantity
You really do spend a lot of time together and a lot more than “normal” so it’s easy to take that time for granted if everyone isn’t getting their own alone/1:1 time. Instead of looking forward to seeing each other at the end of the day, you’re in each other’s pockets all day and sometimes you can lose sight of the amazing opportunity you have to spend quality time together. It’s helpful to schedule alone time, couple time, family time and 1:1 time with the kids to make sure everyone’s cup is getting topped up.
One thing we struggle with is the feeling that our kids “miss out” on being a part of a club/team and all the good things that come with that — despite popular belief it’s nothing to do with homeschooling and is a result of our transient lifestyle and not being in one place long enough to sign up for a term. When we are parked up for an extended time (e.g over winter) we always try to get the girls involved in some extra curricular activities.
It gets dirty fast
This one is both a pro and a con. You’ve really squeezed an entire house into 14m2 — it has a full kitchen, a bathroom, beds, windows, lounge, and since all your living happens in the same square inches, the mess is amplified — and fast. However, it’s equally fast to clean, there’s less surfaces to wipe and less floors to sweep, there’s just more crumbs on them.
We always say it takes 5 minutes to mess it up but only 5 minutes to clean it up
Lack of routine
When your life isn’t prescribed for you (whether you have a job or business requiring you, or specific times to have kids ready and out of the house) it’s easy to dwindle the day away. A sleep in, a slow breakfast before deciding what to do for the day — we find we have some pretty “unproductive” seasons where we feel we should have done more with our time. Isn’t it interesting that the reason we started this journey was to get out of the busy, monotonous routine we were in, and now that we rule our own world we miss the routine?
Mark finds it stressful when his life isn’t stressful enough. [Note from Kim: Do you know how stressful it is to experience a new supermarket layout every. single. time.]
Maybe we just need to remind ourselves that rest is productive. Quality time is productive. Recovering from burnout is productive.
Now for the best bits
Freedom to travel, freedom from the shackles of everyday life and the freedom to be available and ABLE to take opportunities. All of our best experiences so far have been as a direct result of our ability to say “we’d love to” and having the flexibility to go on a whim, without the constraints of time and place.
We spend heaps of time out in nature and even all the extra chores like lugging water around, keep our bodies moving. On top of that, all the ridiculous new hobbies we take up, like hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and learning to sail as well as trying to buy produce at local farmers markets and side of the road stalls and we find ourselves living a generally healthier lifestyle overall.
Lower cost of living
We’re much more in control of our overheads and are able to lower them by travelling more slowly (reduced fuel costs), parking up in low cost spots (no rent), relying on solar for our electricity, catching fish (haha good one), and making the most of free entertainment (after the initial outlay costs of bikes/kayaks etc). This in turn allows us to work less if we want to, or decide (key word — decide) to do longer hours to save some funds for the next leg and/or park up at a campground with all the facilities.
We’ve learnt first-hand the difference between what we think we need and what we actually need and while we live a pretty minimalist life in comparison to house life, we still never want for anything (if you know Kim, you’ll know she’s prepared for every situation, no matter how small). We’ve learnt to stretch food, conserve water, reduce rubbish, chase experiences not things, and ensure items in our caravan have multiple purposes.
We’ve learnt to live simply and as a wise friend said “home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling” and we can take ourselves anywhere in the New Zealand and feel right at home.
Making lifelong memories
We’ve spent the last 937 days almost 24/7 as a family and wow have we had some experiences together.
We’ve seen, experienced and achieved more in those days than we have in the rest of our lives and feel that if we died tomorrow we’d have few regrets as we’ve spent these years really LIVING. We’re creating lifelong memories with our kids which we hope will shape them in growing into adventurous, curious, resilient, resourceful and fulfilled adults.
We’ve met some amazing people along the journey that we never would have crossed paths with (or been in the right frame of mind or open to creating connections with), as well as over 1000 of you who follow along over our social media platforms and who we hope to meet some day. It’s a pretty special feeling to be able to travel anywhere in the country and have people to connect with and people we can’t wait to catch up with or meet.
Having a kitchen and bathroom everywhere you go
This one is a bit of a funny one but honestly, towing your home along behind you and being able to pull over to the side of the road and make a cup of tea or use the toilet, or come back from a hike or activity and jump in and whip up lunch is something we’re not sure we’ll ever be able to give up
Obviously the positives well outweigh the negatives and our 2.5 year journey so far is testament to that.
We don’t see this adventure ending for many more years.
We don’t see this adventure ending for many more years
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