One of the biggest questions we’re asked as a family is, “How do you manage to travel as much as you do, pay a mortgage on your property and still save money?”
Before we got married my husband and I were steadfast backpackers and our hearts belonged to overseas adventure.
When we had our daughter Acacia, we vowed to make our lives such that we could continue exploring the world with her.
So we decided that Samuel would take up a well-paid city job as a teacher, while I did my upmost to save where I could so that we could continue our adventuring as a three person family.
But it’s never quite as easy to ‘do without’, in a world that requires us to have so much.
We live in a chiefly privileged society here in North Shore Sydney. It’s not uncommon to see children dressed in designer pieces, mothers heading out to lunches at oceanside restaurants and almost every car a new model of SUV.
It’s a challenge to consciously NOT keep up with the Jones’.
Choosing to dress our daughter in hand me downs, op shop attire or even finds on throw out isn’t really a problem for us. Deciding to live in a one and a half bedroom apartment to save on rent, is reasonably workable. Limiting a restaurant outing to once every 6 months might sound like we’re denying ourselves, but these conscious deductions have always been made so that we could sustain our end goal.
Our every day choices to keep life simple and expenditures down has been so that when our daughter turned one year old we could pack our lives up and travel the world for 10 months. And that’s what we did.
So that each year we could afford to spend 2-3 months traveling abroad to places like North America and the United Kingdom.
That while we choose a lifestyle that takes us around the world as a family, we’ve still managed to save enough to buy an investment property. The latter being a decision of ours so that we might see our money grow, while we rent in the city for my husband’s commute to remain at a minimum.
Living in the alternative way that we do by choosing to dumpster dive, buy our food from a community pantry, have our wardrobe curated by the rejects of others and using what we have to the best of our ability is certainly not the easy choice. Nor is it a lifestyle others would care to take on themselves.
But for us, living MORE through adventure, travel, experience and being outdoors was only ever going to be a reality if we made a conscious decision to spend less in whatever way we could, without denying ourselves completely.
That’s why next year we plan to tackle the renowned PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) in North American with Acacia. Hiking 4,270km from Mexico to Canada in just 6 months.
It will take giving up our income, spending out of pocket and having to be financially prepared for any extra and unknown expenses.
Thankfully, due to the little choices we make each day, we’ve allowed ourselves the possibility to do just that, without breaking a sweat.
SOME CHOICES LIKE:
- Buying a $3,200 second hand Ford Focus as our only family car.
- Not being attached to modern home appliances (fridge, washing machine, tv etc) and finding them again second hand or free on facebook marketplace.
- Not denying ourselves privileged experiences like eating out, but keeping the number of outings to a minimum.
- Using up everything we have in the fridge and pantry before buying more, keeping food waste/costs low.
- Finding recycled materials and what’s around the home to craft/entertain/educate my child (read more about that here).
- Remembering that we don’t need much to be happy.
The less we have the less we need to pack away before the next big adventure.
The latter for us is the most vital aspect of our choice to live more.
The less we have the more room we make for ourselves to live a fuller life, however that might look.
There’s so much to this world. If we weren’t so blinded by the construct of stuff, we’d be better able to experience more of it.
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