This Globetrotting Family Turned One Year Of Traveling Into Eight And Visited Over 50 Countries Over That Time
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Alyson and Chef
Back in 2012, Alyson and Chef decided to take their two boys, D and Boo, traveling for a year or 3, which turned into 7 or 8 years.
17th Jul | 9 min read

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    Back in 2012, Alyson and Chef decided to take their two boys, D and Boo, traveling for a year or 3, which turned into 7 or 8 years.  Alyson started a travel blog, just for fun. A few years in it was fully funding their lives and by the time they got back to their bricks and mortar in Australia, it was making them an excellent income. 

    Alyson and Chef never planned to stop, but Covid swung the gates shut behind them and they've been stuck ever since, waiting to be free. 

    During their years on the road, the family visited at least 50 countries, sometimes putting down roots for a few months, sometimes traveling at a typical backpacker pace. The younger of the kids was 6 when they left, the elder came back at 15 years old. Neither ever went to school. The elder sat his iGCSEs during the lockdown and passed well. It all worked out wonderfully and if they had their time over they'd certainly do it again.

    You can follow along with the adventures of Alyson, Chef, D, and Boo by visiting World Travel Family and by also checking them out on Instagram @worldtravelfamilytravelblog. You can also connect with Alyson on GAFFL.

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    What Inspired Us To Start Travelling

    Chef and I had traveled a lot before having the boys and we knew what the lifestyle was like and that we loved it. Once you've tasted that freedom you can never really go back.

    We knew it would be good for the boys and good for us as a family, it was the obvious thing to do. He had reached the top in his career, he was an executive chef with nowhere higher to go. 

    I had already quit my career in hospital science to be a full-time mum. We wanted to do it, and there was no reason not to do it. We had no strong roots holding us down, we had emigrated to Australia, neither of us was "home", it was an easy choice with huge educational and whole-life benefits for the boys. I think in short we were bored. As we are now. We needed more in our lives than our location could offer.

    We Travel Long-Term

    Well, that trip was 7 or 8 years!  But it varies. It's usually months because if we're going to spend big on flights, we're going to want to get maximum experience for that cost and probably add trips to nearby countries too. Long-term travel is vastly more cost-effective and for us,  enjoyable. We don't travel to relax, ever, we travel to find out, see, and experience.

    When we were younger and in employment, obviously, we took the usual two or three weeks, because we had to. But we'd stretch out our leave and money for as long as possible by working extra days and taking time off in lieu and so on.

    Our first RTW was 12 months, and that was before we were married. We'd only just met, in fact, and both quit our jobs to travel for a year. We met through travel, on a small group tour in Egypt. Travel is just what we do, it's part of our identities.

    How We Choose Where To Travel Next

    Our trips are usually led by interest or convenience. I’m not one of these people that has to tick off every country that I know I never want or need to visit. But the countries I love, I’ve visited dozens of times. There is always more to see and find out.

    In the early days, we were more cost-driven, we’d go wherever flights, accommodation, and food were cheapest and that’s usually Asia. Luckily Asia is our favorite part of the world.

    These days, if the opportunity arises we happily take off to the big price-tag destinations. One of our last trips before the lockdown was to Bhutan, my ultimate bucket-list destination. The kids also ask to go places.

    Right now they both want to go to Mongolia. They’ve never been. They also asked for Greece and Egypt because of their love of ancient history. It varies, but I’d always rather be in Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, all of those places are like home to me and the kids.

    How We Pack For Our Trips

    I always used to pack too much and end up jettisoning items. These days I'm the queen of carry-on. I can pack for months in a tiny bag.

    All I pack is a pair of jeans and a couple of pairs of running tights. If we find ourselves doing anything that requires specialist gear, like our Nepal treks, we buy it as needed.

    We’ve Had So Many Memorable Moments

    We lived in Romania on and off for 3 years in a tiny, remote village. We have so many lovely friends there and we can’t wait to get back.

    We also have friends in Nepal, Sherpas, and guest-house owners. We really must, all, get back to Nepal as soon as possible. Things are desperate for the people who rely on tourist income.

    Then there was the time another family recognized us in Chiang Mai. They’ve been friends ever since. There are daily small interactions, on a bus, in a market, just walking the streets.

    Because we tend to visit quite remote places, with kids, we usually get a lot of attention from locals and it’s lovely. They’re teens now, I doubt quite so many people will want to ruffle their hair.

    Countries We’ve Visited So Far

    50+ countries, I haven’t counted properly in ages. We’ve been to Thailand maybe 30 times and keep going back, so the country count doesn’t really go up much.

    Mongolia is where the boys want to go next but Chef and I have already been, so that won’t affect the count. I honestly think we’ve been to every bucket list country now. But we’ll happily go back to many places.

    We have a few big treks in Nepal that we’d love to do. We’ve already done Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit. We’d love to see Mustang.

    We’d also love to get back to the northeast and northwest India. Chef and I already went to McLeod Gange but the boys want to go there, and to Assam, Sikkim, Cherrapunji, Rishikesh, those would be cool places to see. My husband’s grandmother grew up in North East India, so we’d love to see where she’s from.

    Tibet was a real highlight for us, the Potala Palace was immensely emotional. Also, we’ve never been to Jordan, I’d love to go. I’d also like to climb a few more mountains before my knees give in.

    Some Of Our Favourite Travel App & Websites

    We don’t use anything special and it varies by country. Uber and Grab are handy, but one or the other might work for each specific destination. Then we just book hotels using or Agoda.

    Why We Started Our Blog

    I just wanted people to not be scared to travel and to know how wonderful the world was. I dislike prejudice and mistruths spread by the media, so I’m on a bit of a campaign to bust myths. I actually started it as more of a homeschooling site, but over the years I’ve collected about 800 destination guide posts, plus some on travel blogging, some on world schooling, some on family and parenting on the road. It’s very broad and not at all “niche”.

    We also have 8 other sites on various topics that we’re growing. We’re neck-deep in website creation, it’s one of my passions and keeps my hyperactive brain busy.

    How We Manage Our Travel Costs

    We did, at first. We just spent as little as possible. There’s no magic to it. Then over the years, our income grew to the point where money really wasn’t an issue. But we’re still very frugal. We always look for the best deal and would far rather stay in a simple guesthouse in Asia than any fancy resort.

    Our Coolest Travel Stories

    We took two kids to Everest Base Camp. We’ve been snorkeling with manta rays off Bali and spotted a wild rhino in Nepal. We actually had a wild rhino in the garden of our hotel there one night. We met and had a chat with Prince Harry in Kathmandu, that was fun. We lived in Vietnam for 6 months, in London for 10 months, and Romania for 3 years while taking shorter trips from our ancient farmhouse there.

    We road-tripped from Canada to the Keys and drove the full length of Europe. It’s funny, I think most things are fairly ordinary parts of life but others might think they’re cool. I do get very excited about awesome wildlife though. I’d love to see a whale shark, I never have.

    Some Things That Prevent Us From Traveling More

    Lockdown is the only obstacle. We’re in Australia and unable to leave the country. It’s incredibly frustrating and I long to be gone.

    Our first stop will be our elderly relatives in the UK, followed by our other family in the village in Romania and then Mongolia, for the kids.

    At the moment our income is low, people aren’t traveling, but it will come back. My elder son completed his iGCSEs and isn’t really bothered about doing A levels. If we’re still stuck here (which seems likely) he’ll start the course in September. The younger one could sit iGCSEs next year, or the year after, or never. Those things don’t hold us back at all.

    If the boys decide they want to sit exams they can do them anywhere, anytime. Most people don’t know that the system is so flexible and that exams can be sat with no school attendance, ever.

    Advice To Anyone Looking To Travel Long Term

    Decide where you really want to go and make a rough plan. Don’t go to places other people enjoy, decide which destinations really touch your soul. Stay flexible, keep a smile on your face and get on with it. Don’t leave it for “someday” because someday never comes and kids grow fast. Don’t miss your small window to spend all your time with your kids. 

    Other cool stories you might enjoy! 

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