Family Traveller writer Hannah Canavan is embarking on a round-the-world adventure with her husband and three kids. Follow their travels here!
The single biggest act of bravery or madness anyone can do is the act of change. – Matt Haig
Watching my husband wrestle our sofa out of the front door and into the waiting van of a local eBay buyer, I start to wonder if we might have crossed the line from bravery into sheer madness. A quick glance around our living room, now devoid of furniture, and the home that we created for ourselves and our three children is barely recognisable.
Over the past six months, we have been giving away or selling all of our possessions in preparation for a nomadic adventure. My husband Patrick and I are flying to the other side of the world with our three home educated daughters – Esmae, Eira and Elfie – and my mum, who has quit her job and rented out her house for a slightly different kind of retirement!
We have been dreaming of taking our kids on an adventure like this since before they were born. In today’s hectic society it’s increasingly difficult to carve out quality time as a family, and I can’t think of anything more valuable to our girls than being able to have their dad to themselves for a year or so. Without the distractions of the office, the ‘ping’ of emails flying to our phones and endless housework, we’re hoping that we will be able to improve our relationships, make memories and benefit from a different perspective of the world.
On October 3rd, Eira’s 5th birthday, we will be hopping onto a thirteen-hour flight to Singapore. After a night spent sleeping on chairs in the airport (wish us luck) a cheap and (hopefully) cheerful plane will then take us to the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali. We’ve booked the first two weeks in a basic hotel; after that we’ll find our accommodation by word of mouth. After Bali, perhaps a couple more Indonesian islands and then Thailand for Christmas… that’s as far and as detailed as our planning goes!
The girls have always been home educated, so for them the trip is a holiday and field trip rolled into one. We are looking forward to studying religion at the temples in Bali; geography and ecology in the rice fields of Thailand and maths at every noodle stall and currency exchange counter. We’re hoping that meeting children and adults from all over the world, from vastly different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds will help us all develop our social skills, compassion and interests in language.
We hope, too, that as much as we get out of our trip, we will be able to give back. We are arranging visits to various charities and local projects along the way and will be offering whatever help we can to the communities that we stay in. Whether that’s an early-morning beach clean or helping a small hostel with their website, we are looking forward to connecting with people around the world in a meaningful way.
It’s not all going to be sunshine and ice-creams. Planning, prepping and panicking packing for this trip has taken a lot of hard work, sleepless nights and some tears. We know that life, with its bumps and scrapes (and with three kids under six, there are a lot!) will go with us wherever we are.
If a normal holiday is the tiny spinning teacups at a fairground, this trip is more likely to be the six-loop, hundred-mile-an-hour rollercoaster that makes one both scream in delight and want to throw up. We’ll be adjusting to extreme changes in temperature, unreliable Wifi, new food and a huge change in family dynamics, with both Patrick and my mum at ‘home’ full-time.
We’ve done all we can to prepare the kids and ourselves for our new life, and as they say, ‘you can’t do more than your best’.
Hannah will be sharing her family’s story here on FamilyTraveller as they travel, with all its ups and downs.
Hannah says: ‘We are always on the lookout for travel tips from families who have already been to the destinations we are visiting, so if there’s a waterfall or restaurant in Bali that we just have to visit, please let us know!’