Long term family travel: Is it worth it?

Six months after selling up and hitting the road with her family, Teresa Kennedy reports on the high and lows of full-time travelling

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We’re coming up to six months of travel now. It doesn’t seem like a lot – we left in the winter, it’s now summer, and not a lot has passed in the world. But when we look back at photos and old blog posts and remember the places we’ve been it seems incredible to have fitted that much in. The current stats are: 163 days, 26 countries, 15,000km, 60 destinations.

So, what’s it really like to just get up and go and do it?

The first 3-4 months were the best. You’re riding high on a wave of excitement and wonder. The future is unknown. You can’t quite believe that you’ve done it and you’re here. Now. Anything could happen. Literally. We took maybe a week or so to settle down and relax, another few weeks to break the routine of normal life, and then you really feel like you’re free.

Looking back on the time we spent in the very north of Europe in the winter feels very magical – admittedly it is an awe-inspiring place to visit – but it was more than that. It was actual freedom and I think that was the first time that we felt it.

If I could bottle that feeling I would because it is probably the most magical thing that a human can feel. Maybe you can only feel it once with travel, like a first-timer thing; maybe you never feel that one first burst of freedom ever again. I feel a part of my soul was painted in during that time, a colour that will never fade, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have experienced that.

But how do you keep that feeling going? The answer is, I don’t know. Maybe in time you come to that place again. Or maybe you need a break before heading out again and feeling it all over. I hope that for me it is the latter. I (we) were never disillusioned with our lives at home, we didn’t come to this trip in desperation to break away, and so we fondly look back on our previous life in the knowledge that we will happily return to it one day. And then head out on an adventure again. And then return. Head out…

Because continual travel is very hard. Very hard. Yes, it is incredible to experience all these different cultures, to see the changing landscape, to make new friends, to speak new languages, to eat new foods, to be free. But to keep that drive and that desire and that interest flowing every single day is tiring. 60 destinations, one after the other, is kind of madness.

I would say that we have all found the last few weeks particularly hard. Maybe it’s because we are coming to the end of the next leg and so are sort of time-filling before our crossing to England next week. Or maybe we’ve seen enough. I mean, we’ve seen a lot. A real lot. And we’ve loved it. But do we want to keep seeing more now? Or do we want to come back and fill in the few gaps at another time?

Being back in western Europe is like being on a long holiday. Yes, the cultures are different but ultimately we know we are in holiday destinations. We could come here next summer for 2 weeks. We could get to Italy, or France, or Spain, Portugal, and travel around for a few weeks during the school holidays.

Maybe that’s why we feel like the oohs and the aahs have gone. Western Europe could not be more different from the east, the central swathe, the Black Sea, Romania. We were well and truly wowed there. We felt like we were seeing something, experiencing things we probably wouldn’t experience on a holiday. We were travelling then. But are we just holidaying now?

So, we have another leg coming up. We have two weeks in the UK and then we head back out. What do we do? And that is what we are brainstorming at the moment. We feel we could actually DO something. We feel that we’ve seen so much that Europe has to offer and that we could offer something back. Volunteering or charity work is an option that we are considering. Or maybe we could achieve something – like a pilgrimage. Or learn a skill – like sailing, surfing. We are open to suggestions if you have them.

But I think we are all decided that we need to get something else from this time.


New NomadsWe are Teresa, John, Livi and Georgia. We didn't get tired or disillusioned with life in the UK, we just opened our eyes to the fact that we had a choice. There was no years of planning involved – it took us 3 months to decide, sell and go. It is possible! We have our car and a trailer and a map book. We are not skilled travellers or teachers and we're not just doing it for the kids – we're doing it for us all. You can follow our adventures on newnomads2015.wordpress.com.

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