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Reflections

So It’s been 6 Months – You Won't Believe What We Have Learnt!

Back in May we packed up our home life in Perth, Australia and hit the road. It’s now November and we are celebrating not only 6 months of exploration and discovery but 200 days into our nomadic journey. I can tell you that in the last 200 days I have learnt copious amounts. And not only about my surroundings, but about myself.

So where have we been for the last 200 days?

Bali, Indonesia

2 months:

1 month in Ubud

1 month in Jimbaran

Manila, Philippines

1 month including

3 days on Boracay

Bangkok, Thailand

1 month

 

Singapore

3 days

Hong Kong, China

5 days

 

Penang, Malaysia

2 months including

3 days in Ipoh &

3 days in Johor

 

And today on our 200th day we head back to Thailand to discover the beautiful Chiang Mai with new friends made on the road & witness the astonishingly picturesque lantern festival.

As you can imagine with so many new cultures and different places we have been learning a lot, even my children have gained a wealth of knowledge. 

IMG_1648.jpgWhat are some of the life lessons my children have learnt so far?

  • Both kids have learnt to count to ten in 2 other languages – Spanish and Indonesian. And are currently learning Mandarin.
  • Together my 2 & 3 year old have learnt to swim, since spending most of the hot Asian days in swimming pools.
  • Mia has spent ample time learning to write her letters and draw her numbers. She can now write her name. Also because of the strict teaching in Malaysia she has learnt to draw very well & colour in the lines.
  • Caius has learnt every shape, every colour, even how to spell. My two year old is so smart and I think the time we can put into him now is paying off.
  • They’ve learnt how to fly frequently (even if they have yet to master sitting still or quietly).
  • They have learnt a global language. That they can play with kids who don’t speak the same as them, but still share moments and life.
  • My kids experience two full time parents.
  • They will try new foods and be grateful for the times they get their hands on a pizza.
  • They have learnt to cherish their loved ones. To communicate on Skype to family, to miss friends, to reminisce on good times. And in line with that they have learnt the quality bonding time that comes with visitors from home.

How can I even stop with everything they have learned? We could be here all day. But I feel some of these are the most improvements I have seen and the details I have noticed.

What about my life lessons? Well 6 months on the road may not be much to some people, but to me it has been one of the heaviest learning curves of my life. And while my list is triple what my children have learnt I am going to just give you my top 5 for now.

Top 5 lessons I have learnt

  1. That home is where I am. 
    I had a house, a car, and a job. Now I still have all those things even if some of them don’t belong to me. While I rent a house in different countries around the world, each one of them has still been my home. My home is no longer defined by an address or ownership. 4 walls and a roof no longer confine it. My home is where I rest my head with my family. My home is where my suitcase lives and my children sleep. It still is 4 walls and a roof (well except that one time in Bali), generally it usually has an address, but a home has become more then that. I use to sleep very badly on the beginning of holidays getting used to a new bed and foreign sheets. Now I can hit the sack and quite swiftly pass into unconscious slumber. When did it happen? Somewhere along the road.
  2. IMG_0246.jpgDiscovery of my children & husband. 
    My husband had a job that he devoted himself to 8am – 8pm and sometimes more. Granted it was in our home, but sometimes that was worse as he could easily roll out of bed and then at the end of the day roll right back in. On our journey I have spent so much more time with him and discovered things about him I never knew. 
    My children have also become a grand discovery to me. We use to always be so busy that family time was holiday time. Now we spend at least 4 days a week doing quality family things. It’s a treasure being with them on their discovery of this new world and it’s with an absolute grateful heart that I watch them grow with mum and dad at their fingertips.
  3. The more I see the more I want to see.
    I was afraid after my round the world trip in 2007 where I saw all my bucket list items that I would never be in awe again. That I had seen all there was to see. I thought this trip would be over and done by October and now I find I have planned all of next year and then some. The more you see, the more you realize there is to see. This not only lifts my spirits and gives me dreams, but creates in me wonder and amazement, which is one of the most child-inspired feelings that I love to capture and hold. I am eternally grateful to be able to watch the wide-eyed wonder my kids experience each new place and to share that with them.
  4. You don’t have to be rich to live well.
    I know you expect this to be deep and philosophical about how riches are seeing a smiling Thai person or feeding a monk, but let’s skip that bit since that you already know. I mean you really don’t have to be rich to live better. In South East Asia we barely cook, we never clean or do our laundry, we always have a pool, a gym, a playground and generally the most amazing views you’ll ever set your eyes on. With all of this we have also cut our budget by a third. Yes we live better and we spend only a third of what we use to. What a life lesson!
  5. Life was not made to be busy.
    There are moments when one sits and stares, catches themself & gets up to go do the laundry or brush their teeth or tidy the mess. But while you may think we have been super busy on our nomadic voyage it is quite the opposite. We have spent more time being okay with not being busy. With doing a puzzle with the children for the 10th time in one day, with reading a book by the pool for hours on end, with losing oneself in writing about the places we have been and the things we have seen. Whatever we now find ourselves wasting time on, it’s ok. The moments are no longer slipping us by. “What are our lives except a vapour that appears for a little while and vanishes and passes away?” Stop. Enjoy. Treasure.

And there you have it. I could write so much more, but honestly there is another way to discover our life lessons… Read all our blogs. :)

When I think about all I have learned I feel immense gratitude. In a few days we will be celebrating our very first thanksgiving with a whole bunch of our new American friends… in Thailand! Living a Christian lifestyle I am often convinced of our blessings and thankful for my life, but this year it will be with renewed purpose. 

DSC02236.jpg

My top 5 blessings are so easy; you’ll wonder why I had to write them for you.

  1. God – I am thankful for the faith I have been brought up in that my parents cultivated so well. When I travel nature is my number one starry-eyed moment. Seeing God’s creation in all its glory – a flowing waterfall, a mammoth cave, animals big and small. When I see creation, I know there is a creator. I am grateful to have a belief that inspires me to be passionate, compassionate & to love/live life to the full.
  2. My husband – for the hard work he does to keep our family and our business working. For loving me unconditionally despite my outbursts, fears and failures. For spending 15 years of his life with me this year – 10 of those married! For imparting his good looks into my children and his height. For being multi-talented and always learning. I’ll stop now before you puke.
  3. My children – who so readily accept another new bed and another new house. My beautiful little girl who at times is so independent, but still craves the certainty of love. For my son who is defiant, but dependent on cuddles and attention. They made me a mother and while they challenge me everyday it makes me into a new and better person.
  4. My family & friends – who gave us the encouragement and wings to fly. Who I miss immeasurably, but who understand the need to pioneer. They have visited with us even within these 6 months, because time apart from them is hard. We skpe, we write, we facebook and how thankful am I for technology. Without such products I may not have taken the journey.
  5.  Travel opportunity – I am so grateful that this year has been a journey across nations. To witness culture, to eat food, to make friends and observe religion. I believe my life has purpose and I’m living part of my destiny, how could I not be grateful. And with this opportunity is the chance to write about it. I am thankful to be writing. It has been my dream since I was a wee kid and again I feel as if it's part of my purpose. Find your passion, find your purpose.
 

6 months, 200 days, 4800 hours, 11 destinations, 11 flights (today we will be adding another 2 flights & 1 new destination), 2 adults and 2 kids. We’ve come along way in a short time, but we have a lot longer to go and a lot more lessons to learn I am sure.

 

There are other people who have learned lessons on the road. People who have been travelling far longer than us. Below you can read their life lessons from the road. 

Bohemian Travelers       Can You Embrace the Unknown
Nomadic Family   I Know Nothing (and 99 Other Things The Road Has Taught Me)
A King's Life   Two things I know for sure
Flashpacker Family   Lessons from the road of life
Our Travel Lifestyle   Travel: Teaching us about ourselves
Life Changing Year   Life Lessons From The Road - A Little Bit Of Planning Goes A Looooong Way!
Family Travel Bucketlist   3 Things We've Learned While Living Outside of the USA
Living Outside the Box   6 Life Lessons From the Road (why 6? I have no idea!)
PearceonEarth   5 Life Lessons Learned from Traveling
Family on Bikes   Complaining won't change a gosh-darn thing
RambleCrunch   15 lessons I've learned traveling the world
Grow in Grace Life   By Any Road..Lessons from the Journey



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Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Bethaney - Flashpacker Family on
What an amazing first six months you've had!! Here's to six more months... and six more after that! Who knows what you'll have learnt by then!
Posted by Rebeca on
Sounds like some good lessons learned! Here's to many more. We're only about a month into our traveling and it's great so far!
Posted by karin Holmes on
lovely what a great read xx
Posted by Living Outside of the Box on
Isn't it true...the more you see, the more you realize there is to see?! It's kind of mind-boggling...and then you tie that in with your thankfulness for God's creations...and it's like WOW. BAM!! Look at this amazing world we've been given...I feel like I'm showing respect and appreciation for it by valuing it all, and wanting to see more of it!
Posted by Jennifer Pearce on
Yes! I love your lessons learnt. Travel is great for bringing copious amounts of "wonder and amazement" into my life as well. :) You guys have done so much in your fist six months!
Posted by Tracey - Life Changing Year on
Wow, such a long list. How amazing that your kids have learnt so much in such a short period of time! Jealous that I'm missing the lantern festival!
Posted by Tracy Burns on
What a beautiful post! I love your points about you having learned that home is where you are - funny, I always talk about our kids having learned that but I've never considered that we've also learned that too! And that life was not made to be busy. You are so right. It sounds like you have all learned so much in that time. Daycare in Asia really does hone those 'colouring between the lines' skills doesn't it! You've certainly made me miss Asia and Penang with all your talk of eating out, swimming pools and cleaners for a third of the price.
Posted by Susan Verbeeck on
So beautiful and so blessed you all are! I love that have a life with your family in where you don't feel the need to have to be constructive or busy all the time. The Western way of life and our society makes you feel guilty if you are not constantly working. Reading your story makes me want to pursue your way of life even more now!
Susan
Posted by Mark @ Ramblecrunch on
Erin, as I read your post I am amazed by how much we have learned. The collective we. The families who choose to travel with their kids. The lifestyle is not easy, but so rewarding. And I am reminded about why we chose the lifestyle. Much like you and Josh, this journey has enabled Renee and me to spend more time together and learn more about each other. Besides our journey through the world, it has also been a journey with each other. And knowing my daughter, day-to-day as she grows up, is important to me as a father. Spending 8+ hours at an office doesn't let that happen. Good luck to you guys. Keep the faith.
Posted by Mary on
Wonderful post! I think you and the kids have learned so much more and will continue to do so. I am so proud of you for the realizations you have come to and for the courage to try new things and new ways of being. I can't wait to see what the next yer brings you!

Curious as you mention your belief system a lot, what has your take been on seeing and learning about other religions whose followers feel the same draw and admiration for it as you do of yours? That must be an interesting thing to view!
Posted by Rhiannon on
This is my fave blog so far! Beautifully written! So proud of you sis and josh and the kids! Missing you lots but my time will come to visit! You are inspirational! xxx
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