I wanted to bring you tales of inspirational women, women who take giant leaps of faith and just go out there and live their best life, in the hope of inspiring you to do the same. And I don’t know about you, but jacking it all in and going travelling is most definitely the dream for me. Prior to getting ill it was all I thought about and I could really see it happening. But then life happened and those plans are currently on the back burner.
But around that time, when I was dreaming of the places i’d see, I met Katie Skelton when we both did Sarah Akwisombe’s Money and Manifesting Course. Katie mentioned in the Facebook group her and her husband’s very tentative thoughts of travelling, expressing her fears and whether it was something she should or could do. Immediately she received a barrage of support telling her to do it, to welcome the changes which had brought about this idea and to get planning.
That was last summer and in less than a month Katie, Paul and their two children leave the UK for a year of travelling and i’m so envious I could punch myself in the face!!!
Katie and I kept in touch after the course and, as luck would have it, i’ve just spent the weekend in London and managed to meet Katie IRL and it was divine. She has very kindly agreed to be interviewed and here she shares her thoughts about the upcoming trip.
Please go and follow their journey. Katie’s instagram handle is @littlegreenduck and during her travels she will be using the hashtag #tantrumsontour, which I think is bloody genius hashtagging and you should all go and follow it!
So let’s meet Katie:
What did life look like for your family before you had the idea to travel for a year?
I guess you'd call it "normal" family life. Married, two children, both employed, earning decent money. Work for us, nursery for the children. Family holidays once a year, day trips, visiting friends and family. On the face of it, everything that anyone would aspire to. But everyone knows that what you see on the surface isn't always exactly what's going on underneath.
When and how did you go from thinking about travelling to deciding it was going to happen?
On a rare date night! We were walking into town on 9th July 2018. At this point I'd been made redundant during my second spell of maternity leave, and had recently set up Little Green Duck, which had just turned from a hobby blog into a writing business. Paul was talking about how he was absolutely hating going out to work early every morning, and coming back when the children were hungry, tired and not at their best. We still disagree about whose idea it was but one of us (it was me), said "well why don't we just jack it all in and go travelling for a year?". I genuinely didn't think he'd be interested in the slightest (I wasn't sure I was to be honest!) but the idea snowballed from there and by October we'd decided we were DEFINITELY going to do it.
How are you and your family feeling right now about the process of selling everything and packing up and leaving the country for a year, with less than a month to go?
Well, the children are just going about their days as normal. Our eldest, Amber, knows we're going away and is excited but her little brother William has no idea that in less than a month his entire world is going to change.
Paul is still working 2 days a week and in the process of working on his plan for when we come home, so I think he's still not really processing it all, not at the level I am anyway.
And me? As of yesterday (4 weeks exactly until we leave) I'm an absolute ball of emotions. Here's a list of some of them:
GUILT. Guilt that we're taking our parents' grandchildren away from them for a year mainly. But it's either stay here for the next year and regret not going, or help people understand that we feel we have to do this for our family now. It's such a small window of opportunity for us all to have a proper adventure together, and sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions if they work for you, right?
NERVES. Nerves about feeling homesick, about the children being unsettled, about two under 4s on a plane for 8 hours, about not selling the house in time. You name it, I'm feeling a bit sicky nervous about it. But I'm hoping that will ease once we get going - it's probably mainly fear of the unknown at the moment.
PANIC. Is panic an emotion? Anyway, whatever it is, the countdown panic about just how much we have to get done is REAL. My to-do list is never ending and I never know where to start, which means the big tasks like selling the car and packing are just not being done because I'm feeling so overwhelmed by it all. Should probably stop that and get on with it really.
EXCITEMENT. Of course I'm excited. All the other stuff is just a bit more all-consuming at the moment. But every so often I'm at the local swings, or in the car, or in the shower and I get a wave of pure, butterfly-inducing excitement that makes me just want to GET GOING NOW. Once all the pre-departure admin is done, this will move up the list and become my number one emotion I hope.
The world is a big place and you have given yourself a year to do as much as possible, how have you decided what to see and what not to see on this trip?
The only big decisions we've made about fitting stuff in are to skip Africa and Europe entirely at the moment (although I am still slyly eyeing Madagascar). Africa because we feel that the activities we'd really like to do (namely safaris) are better suited to slightly older children, and Europe because it's easily explored in school holidays in the years to come.
We've made a list of absolute must-go places, then loosely worked the rest of the itinerary based on the best times of year to visit. We've had to make a couple of hard decisions along the way - for example I don't think we're going to be able to do Torres Del Paine in Chile because of the cost and distances involved to get there for the short period of time we'd have. Things like that are just going to have to be parked for the future.
What has the planning process involved? Are you the type of family who need to have it all mapped out and booked or do you prefer to see where the wind takes you?
We currently have the first 8 weeks of travel and accommodation planned day-by-day. After that it's fairly open although as I said earlier we do have a loose plan. I think we need to find a balance between flexibility so we can adjust plans as we go along, and certainty that we'll have somewhere to sleep each night. Will be interesting to see how it goes!
What are you most looking forward to doing/where are you most looking forward to seeing?
I'm really looking forward to seeing New Zealand and the Canadian Rockies (I love an epic landscape!) and also finding somewhere after the first couple of months to slow right down and just live like locals for a month or so - you'll have to follow us to find out where that is!
What are you worried about the most?
Sleep, being unwell, being together so much we drive each other insane and the possibility of getting bad news from home and how we'll deal with it if we do. But none of the worries outweigh the excitement, not yet anyway.
What will you miss most about home?
I think just the familiarity of it all. Everyone knows the routine, where everything is, how to get medical care, who to ask for help. I won't miss the winter in the UK though - I really struggled this past winter with the darkness and crap weather, so I'm looking forward to skipping that for a year.
Do the children understand what’s about to happen and how are they feeling about it?
Amber is VERY excited at the prospect of going on trains and seeing lots of animals. She's given me a long list of animals she wants to see. This has been revised slightly recently after risk-assessing each one and deciding she's not so keen on crocodiles, sharks or tigers but penguins, seals, flamingos, whales, dolphins and bears are still on the list. I don't know how bears have avoided the danger test!
You are a vegan family with an eco-living ethos, how are you hoping that will translate while travelling?
Hmm, let's go back to my feelings of guilt. The obvious environmental cost of air travel is on my mind a lot at the moment. We're going to try our absolute best not to fly whenever possible, but sometimes we're going to have to. The only things that reassure me slightly are that we don't eat meat or dairy products, the production of which are the two biggest polluters out there, and that in showing our children exactly what it is we need to protect, they'll become the next generation of eco-conscious and sustainable thinkers. We're also planning a few little eco and conservation activities along the way to do our bit to give something back. Food-wise, I've made sure there are some good vegan food options in most places we're planning on visiting. This, coupled with the fact we're planning on staying in apartments with kitchen facilities should mean that vegan food shouldn't be an issue. If all else fails, pretty much everywhere has rice, pasta and fresh fruit and vegetables so I think we'll be fine.
Will either you or Paul be working while travelling or will it be a pure ‘year off’?
It'll be a mixture. Paul will be keeping his hand in with the work he's planning on doing when we get back just so he's not coming in cold when we return. I will be continuing to write for any of my current clients that need anything, as well as collaborating with some brands and companies along the way to help them with their blog, social media and video content. But we certainly won't be working every day, because we want to make sure we're living in the moment and enjoying this experience as much as possible.
Have you thought about what you might do if you love travelling so much you don’t want to come home? And what if you hate it, is there a contingency plan?
We've not really thought about what we'll do if we love it so much we don't want to stop. We don't have the money currently to not stop! I guess it would depend on the situation but at the moment my feeling is that I wouldn't want to be away from family any longer than a year.
If we hate it, we come back. Simple as that. We will have a "return home" contingency fund, and if at any point we decide we've had enough, we'll just book flights, come back and proceed as planned with our future plans, just a bit earlier than we'd anticipated. Hoping this won't be the case though!
I can’t wait to follow their journey on Instagram and live vicariously through them for the next year. Have you ever thought about leaving your comfortable life behind and go and see the world, if only for a short period? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.