Having travelled for years and enjoyed the irresistibly addictive nature of having no fixed destination, staying in super-cheap accommodation and really just winging it from day to day – how do we cope when life moves on and we have kids in tow?
It seems there are so many reasons to give it all up, deny your inherently itinerant personality and just settle down into suburbia. It becomes harder, there is more gear to lug, more stomachs to feed (and get tummy bugs) and of course there is that ever present unsaid obligation as a parent to settle down and be, well a little bit dull. Here are five ways to keep the travelling spirit alive when you are ‘with kids‘:
Travel in your own back-yard
OK, it isn’t quite as glamorous as a day exploring street markets in Vietnam, but on any given weekend, set yourself the challenge to explore somewhere new and drive a stupid distance to get there even if it is raining!
Not exactly cultural exploration, but a wonderfully cheap way to get around and explore – and that feeling you get living outdoors is remarkably similar to the buzz you get from travelling. At the end of the day it is just different to normal life.
Go on a house swap
Now we are talking – you’re leaving the country, but why settle for a shared villa in France? Save money and do a house swap. If you swap well, not only will you benefit from a place to stay & wheels already kitted out for kids – you also get an incredibly vivid insight into life in a different culture in a way which travellers or tourists rarely do.
Sell up and buy a yacht / camper-van
Depending on your propensity to turn green at the merest sight of an aquatic oscillation, you might choose to down tools, chuck the kids and all the gear on board and go explore. Distance learning is more than feasible with modern communications and you have the advantage of always having a comfy place to stay every night. It certainly gets over the hassles of lugging all that gear and worrying about the food. On the other hand it is a bit tricky to travel deep into the cheaper often more interesting parts of the world – due to the issues of piracy, crime and maintenance.
Just go backpacking
Backpacking with children is perfectly feasible. You will just need a relaxed attitude to life and a seriously maniacal attitude to gear. You are going to have to make some serious compromises on your attitudes to routine, diet etc. but that is probably not such a bad thing anyway. It has to be the ultimate objective, you’ll just need to sort out the mortgage first!