What, Where and How

Oh dear.

I seem to be confusing some family and friends with this blog.

I’m hearing things like:  “Are you going on a long holiday?”…  to “You need to be sensible!”… to  “Are you emigrating?”  to “How can you afford this?”  to  “You still need money to survive – everyone does!”.

To clear things up – here’s a blog in FAQ format.


No.  Holidays are short-term periods of time where you spend large quantities of money that you’ve saved by going away somewhere pretty… staying in a hotel… and going sight-seeing.  Make no mistake, we love holidays – but they’re expensive!  Not least because you’re ALSO continuing to pay all the bills “back home” while indulging in a little me-time somewhere exotic.  We aren’t planning a holiday.  We’re planning to change the way we live our entire lives!


If you mean that we’re selling our house and stuff in this country… in order to move to another country… and settle down and buy a house and fill it with stuff there instead… the answer is no  (or at least not at this point).  We want to roam the planet for a few years before we make any kind of firm decisions about “settling”.


We’re going to embark upon a long-term travel adventure – as a family.  We’re interested in travelling both locally (South Africa) – to internationally.


It doesn’t need to be excessively expensive.  For a start, we won’t be staying in fancy hotels… instead, we’ll seek out local rentals and much cheaper (and simpler) accommodations.  In places like Central and South America – the cost of living is very reasonable.  Same for South East Asia.  We’ve done an (enormous) amount of research about the possibilities and are connected to a group of over 250 travelling families who have been living like this for many years (they have excellent connections and resources for us – everything from cheap, clean accommodation – to the best markets to shop for food).

Secondly – we won’t be paying for or maintaining another life “at home”.  By the time we leave, we’ll have all of our stuff either sold or given to charity (with meaningful or sentimental bits and pieces kept in storage).  We  won’t have bond repayments (covered by house rental), household insurance, car repayments, household security, gardener, housekeeper, phone bills,  property rates & taxes (also covered by house-rental),  school fees, credit card debt, satellite TV (and I could go on and on).  By the time we leave – all those expenses will no longer exist (we’ve already ditched many of them as we prepare for our new life).


Of course we do!  We’ll need money for accommodation, food, medical insurance, our various websites – and – of course – travel!  But we want to spend our money on experiences rather than “stuff”… and we want to invest in our family and make memories with our kids – rather than purchase more things (that only drain us – and don’t make us happy in the long-term).

We will have a small, but fairly reliable monthly income from the rental of our home.  We also have a savings account (which is helpful – but we’re not planning on relying on that money).

Both Nick and I have worked from home for many years.  Both of us are able to earn a living with the use of the following:  1:  our laptops  2:  Nick’s cameras  3:  The internet.   Nick has done a lot of work for clients all over the world – and will continue to do so.   The only difference is that instead of him sitting in the cottage that’s attached to our house…  he’ll be working while we travel – from destinations all over the world.  Again, we are fortunate in that we’ve worked for ourselves for most of our lives… so this actually isn’t such a big “shift”.

And, by the way – we aren’t alone in this.  There’s a rapidly growing number of “Digital Nomads” – people who earn a living using computers and the internet whilst simultaneously travelling the world.  People who are location-independent.

We totally “get” that it’s not for everyone – and that not everyone wants to live this kind of life – but it IS for us and has been a big dream of ours for a very long time.


Honestly – who knows?  We don’t have any set deadlines or timelines or dates.  We may be back after just a few short months… or perhaps we’re gone for years… or maybe we settle in another country on another continent… or maybe we never settle.  At this stage, our only plan is to GO…  the rest of the adventure will unfold in time.


Same as always.  If the shoot is worth the time… if it’s for a movie that he really wants to get involved in… or a campaign he wants to film…  he’ll fly out to the location and shoot (he has been doing this for years – flying all over the world to shoot various things).  If it’s a short shoot (and depending on where we are in the world) – the kids and I will wave him off for a week or two to shoot.  If it’s for a long-term project or a big film… we might join him (as a family) wherever the shoot is taking place.  It all depends on the job offer and what we decide is “worth it” as a family.


We’ve met travelling families who move quickly around the world – staying in one location for only 2 or 3 nights at a time before moving on.  Other families move to new countries and stay from six months to a year.  Some like to move in to a new area and rent a little apartment for 1 or 2 months – using it as a base from which to explore the local area.  We’re definitely interested in slower travel (and the latter option) – and want to take time to explore and immerse ourselves in the culture of new places.


We’re homeschooling / road-schooling.  Again, we are not alone in this.  Many travelling families are successfully raising their children in this manner and have been doing so for years.

Update:  We recently spent 6 weeks on the road.  Here’s what Road-Schooling looks like for our family.


Sadly – I have seen way too many people (if not even most people) live their whole lives out of a deep sense of fear regarding their “future”.  I have seen family members spend DECADES working… working… working…. saving… saving… saving… (and neglecting themselves and their kids in the process) and investing their money into schemes (or countries) that failed – and then everything was lost.

For what???

The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying says it all.  When people die… they don’t ever say:  “Gee, I wish I had saved more money“…. or “I wish I had invested in a better retirement plan”… or “I wish I had purchased an extra property”.

They say:  “I wish I had not wasted my life away”…  and  “I wish I had not worked so damn hard”… and “I wish I had spent more time with my children and my spouse”… and “I wish I had followed my dreams”… and “I wish I hadn’t bowed to expectations” and “I wish I hadn’t lost touch with my friends”.

Those are the things that matter.  

Life is precious.  Life is short.   We’ve decided not to waste another moment of it.

Quick Disclaimer:

Are we saying that the future isn’t important?  No.  We’re not saying that.  

Are we saying that people who save for their retirement are ‘wrong’?  No – we’re not saying that either.  

Are we saying that we don’t care about what the future holds and that we’re making absolutely no plans for the future?  No! – we’re not saying that either.  

We’re simply saying that there are things MORE IMPORTANT than living for (or in fear of):  “The Future”.   


Interestingly, it’s the older folk who have been the most supportive.  Nick’s parents… my parents… they’re all saying: “GO!  LIVE your life now!  While you’re still young, healthy and able!  Go!”

It’s the younger generation (interestingly) who have been more skeptical.


In the following order:

  • Finish renovating the house (so, so close… just the downstairs bathrooms to go!)
  • Rent out the house.
  • Donate or sell most of the “stuff” in the house… except for our favourite items – or anything sentimental or precious – which will be stored away.
  • Decide where we’re going… and GO!


Yes – as always!

  • We absolutely understand that not everyone wants to live this kind of life.  We don’t judge you for not wanting this life – please don’t judge us for wanting to live differently.
  • Our decisions to live in a certain way are not a direct affront on your decisions not to.
  • We love diversity!  We love that there are lots of different people who live their lives in different ways.  We appreciate that people have very different dreams to ours.  We will support your dream – no matter how different it may be to our dream…  but please… DREAM!  Do what makes you come alive (whatever that may be!).  Don’t just plod on dutifully and “survive” this life!  Spend time with your loved ones!  Do the things that make you happy!  Life is a precious gift.  Don’t waste it!



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10 thoughts on “What, Where and How

  1. Heather, I think that what you area doing is super exciting and wonderful and I don’t think you and Nick and your gorgeous kiddies are going to regret this decision for a second. I will be following you’re blog with great interest to see how you area doing. I have felt for a long time that there has to be a better way of living this life and I will be very keen to watch your progress and chat to you about your experiences as you go. Jacques and I are so tempted to follow in your footsteps. So keep us posted, who knows what the future will hold for us?

    • Thanks for the vote of encouragement, Heather. And you’re right, who knows what lies ahead in our respective journeys? Imagine how awesome it would be if we hooked up in some random part of the world. 🙂

  2. Wow… Heather… this sounds so awesome. I have long felt a pull on me to minimalize “things” in my life… that there is so much more to life than having a house, a car, the latest electronic gadgets, etc. As I was reading your blog, I found myself wishing I had the courage to do what your doing. I’m so very happy for you guys… and look forward to reading all about your adventures.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Tess. It’s a scary move – but it resonates so deeply within our hearts that this is the right thing for our family at this time. We’ll definitely see you in 2013 though… the kids have been BEGGING us to take them to Disney World – so we’ll be in your hood in a couple of months’ time. X

  3. What a great Q&A! I’ll refer our friends and family to your blog to answer the questions we are constantly asked- haha! It’s fascinating to follow families from all over the world planning similar life changes. Thank you for sharing yours!

    When will you be coming to the states? We are in Washington state, and will be for another year before beginning the next chapter of our journey. If you come this way please do connect!

    • Wow – thanks Tiffany! The closest we’ve been to Washington state was when we visited Portland about 4 years ago. I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle though… 🙂 And I agree – I love connecting with like-minded people from around the world. I have met the most fantastic people online!! Thanks for your encouraging reply. 🙂

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