Last week I wrote about how we have a beautiful million dollar home that we just don’t want. The post proved very popular and I got a lot of comments from readers who couldn’t believe we’d want to leave such a lovely house but also understood that we didn’t want to be tied down. It goes further than that though. It’s not just about the travel. It’s about having the freedom to live a meaningful life.

It’s funny though. I always thought that owning an impressive house filled with beautiful things was what I wanted. Before Lee and I were together, I went on a development workshop. I was trying to discover my path in life and, in order to do that, I had to know what I wanted my life to look like. The workshop facilitator encouraged us to draw what I wanted to have within the next five years. I drew three things. My first drawing was of a big house on a hill, with a husband, a baby and a nice car. My second drawing was a plane winging it’s way to Machu Picchu in Peru. The third – piles of cash (who doesn’t secretly wish for that??). I always knew I longed for travel but I totally surprised myself when my mind decided a house and family was what it desired. Once that picture was drawn, almost immediately, the wheels were set in motion to create drawing number one and within a year, my wish was my command. Funny how when you achieve something, you realise that’s not at all what you wanted in the first place!

What changed?

My priorities shifted dramatically after the fatal earthquake in Christchurch in 2011. When you lose all your stuff in a dramatic event like an earthquake, a fire or a flood you realise very quickly that stuff just isn’t important. I didn’t care about my wedding china and cupboards full of vases and bowls. I was just happy to have a family. We had always wanted to travel but this realisation really affirmed it for us. It was the final nail in the coffin of our former life. We began making the most of our location independent income and spent six months each year travelling.

But the biggest thing for me personally is not feeling like I really fit into New Zealand culture. It baffles me. I don’t get it. I don’t identify with any of the iconic Kiwi personalities of a farmer, a battler, a pioneer or a sporting hero. For thirty years I haven’t been able to find my place in it. It’s time to give up, move on and find a place in the world that better reflects who I am and how I want to live. I don’t know where it is but I know it’s not New Zealand (or Australia or the UK for that matter.) For now I just want to be everywhere and see everything. I want to wake up each day and be excited by what lies outside my doorstep. Even though I’m a real homebody by nature I also thrive with change. I just don’t mind where my home is so long as it’s not one place for too long.

No matter what my mind says it wants, my heart knows it just doesn’t want to be at home. It wants to be free to get out explore every corner of the world until it finds where it belongs.

 

What do other travelling families think about he concept of home? Check out their posts:

Bohemian Travelers – Home is Every Where

The Nomadic Family – I Hate Home, and That One, and That One

Outside of the Box – Where Is Home?

Life Changing Year – I Never Thought We’d Be Home For Christmas!

A Minor Diversion – A Minor Diversion Comes Home

Grow In Grace Life – Home… Where Ever We Are, There We Are

Witness Humanity – Things I will miss about New York (or a Guide to the Awesomeness that is NYC)

Discover Share Inspire – How to Always Be Home For the Holidays… No Matter Where in the World You Are

The Barefoot Nomad – Where’s Home for a Barefoot Nomad?

Simon Says – Where are you from?

Gypseekers – Are We Home Yet?: Re-entering Society After a Round the World Adventure

Expat Experiment – Traveling Home

Bethaney Davies
A traveller for over ten years, Bethaney started blogging here on Flashpacker Family in early 2012. She founded the site to encourage and inspire travel and travel with small children and to share her own stories from the road.
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Showing 23 comments
  • Erin
    Reply

    Beautiful Bethany, we were so grateful you opened your amazing home to us while in New Zealand. I know how tough it can be to feel tied down. Try your exercise again and draw what you want over these next few years. I know you will accomplish what you deeply desire.
    Love and Hugs~
    Erin and the Gypseekers family 🙂

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      Thank you Erin. I think I will try and draw out again what I want. Lee and I have been talking at length and we’re working towards our goal life. Fingers crossed we can sell the house in the New Year.

  • Alyson
    Reply

    You and me both Bethaney! I just linked this to the post I’ve got up about feeling trapped in Port Douglas, Paradise, as most of the locals call it. The problem is, if you don’t love it here, the other locals immediately think you’re weird. My home was London, I had freedom to travel there, it’s cheap and easy and we were earning good money. Here I just feel stuck. But it’s OK, we can fix this!

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      We’re on the same track Alyson. People think I’m crazy for wanting to leave a beautiful home, a flash car and an easy life in Christchurch. Easy is just boring to me. I’m up for a challenge and the world is just waiting for me to get out there! We CAN fix this!

  • Rachel Denning
    Reply

    It’s amazing how our ‘failures’ help us get focus on what really matters. Great story!

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      Thanks Rachel. Life is just all about trial and error really. Once you get what you want, you realise it wasn’t what you needed and it helps you refocus. It’s not the destination but the journey of getting there!

  • Linda McCormick
    Reply

    I’m so with you, Bethaney. I spent many years searching for somewhere where I truly felt at home – it wasn’t Northern Ireland, where I’m originally from – and then just when I thought I found *the place* we had to change all plans and move to Australia, where the hubby’s from. We know we won’t be here forever, but it will be a while, and although I don’t want all the trappings most people do I sorta have to do it anyway as I know we need to make Melbourne our home for the next few years.
    I’ve now come to the conclusion that this is where I have to be for now, whether I like it or not (I really don’t have a choice) so gathering all the crap again is weirdly just part of the whole acceptance thing.

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      Linda, I can totally sympathize. We’re the same way. The pressure of society to accumulate seems to seep into our lives the longer we’re here. Sometimes it’s just a matter of sucking it up and making the best of a situation. I feel like I’ve been doing that enough and I’m at my tipping point now. Something has to change! My only suggestion would be to make sure you have at least a little travel to keep yourself sane.

  • Micki
    Reply

    Bethany, I’ve struggled with exactly the same thing in Canada. I’ve felt out of place in Canada for a long time (since my first year long trip, really). I’m much more interested in building experiences and meeting new people, and challenging myself. It seems that every time I travel, I go home changed, with so much to share and say, and that the world I left behind has stayed exactly the same…

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      That’s the thing about travel isn’t it Micki? It gets under your skin and makes changes within you. I’m finding it increasingly hard to relate to people at home especially those that don’t travel or aren’t interested in travel.

  • MaryAnn
    Reply

    I can relate to living somewhere and never feeling at “home” or that you fit in. I felt that way for so long I was like an actress in a bad movie, going through the motions of living while being dead inside. I finally cut-loose, sold my house, furniture and miscellaneous stuff, loaded my car with the essentials for a new life and my dogs and hit the road. I’m currently living in Chapala, MX which is an awesome place, but after 6 months I’m antsy to move on. I’m thinking of driving south through Latin America and South America spending some time in each place to see what calls to me and says “home”. I subscribe to several travel blogs, but no one traveling with pets. Maybe I’ll have to write about my own experiences to encourage other trapped souls to travel with their pets.

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      Thanks MaryAnn. It’s good to know I’m not the owning one who feels like this. I applaud you for making your escape! I know of another couple families who RV with their dogs. I’ll put you in touch. 🙂

  • Susan
    Reply

    Really heart felt post. The funny thing is, the places you don’t want to be in, is where I want us to be! We dream of going to NZ, OZ and UK !!! I think it’s what you said about thriving on change and wanted to see and do everything is what resonates with me. Lets trade countries for a while!
    Susan

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      It’s always a case of “the grass is always greener” isn’t it Susan? There are things I like about New Zealand but I can appreciate them so much more when I’m not here.

  • Mary
    Reply

    Beautifully written! I understand completely. We did the same thing, feeling really proud of attaining the huge home and all the bells and whistles that went along with it. But one day we just deciede it was crazy and like you said not really what we wanted. Luckily we were able to get out of our house quick!

    Maybe you should rent it out long term and bail?!

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      The bail out plan is in effect Mary! We’re putting the house on the market after the Christmas period. Cross your fingers for us!

  • Tracey - Life Changing Year
    Reply

    Hehehe…from all the comments on this post we are all feeling exactly the same! That makes me feel so much better! I never wanted a house but I wanted a great income and a company car. And as soon as it arrived I realised it was not all it was cracked up to be! And now after travelling I’ve finally discovered what I like. I think if I narrow it down it is freedom that I’m after. Great post – thanks for sharing.

  • gabi klaf
    Reply

    bethaney, what a beautiful piece. thank you for this. i love how you look into yourself and at least know this one thing, that your heart doesn’t want to be home…. and with that, you go….. go with the wind lovely.

  • Andy
    Reply

    Bethaney,

    I can complete relate to what you are saying. Very few people in life will ever understand your cause or desires. I experience much the same in the area that I come from. People rarely leave, and think that it is quite strange to want to do so. However, other people see freedom and realize that there is more to life than being tied to materials. I appreciate your perspective in this article! Take care and Happy New Year!

    • Bethaney
      Reply

      Thanks Andy. The idea of staying in one place my whole life sounds like torture. I think it’s a case of once your mind has expanded (through travel or whatever else) it’s very difficult to go back to doing what everyone else does.

      Happy New Year! I hope 2013 takes your somewhere interesting. 🙂

  • Rob
    Reply

    Great post Bethaney, we know exactly how you feel. In 2005 we built a house that we always wanted. In 2009 our son was born during his first year we realized that the life we had, working 48 weeks to live for 4 weeks, was not going to cut it. So a year and a half of figuring out how we wanted to live and how we could finance the life we now wanted we put the house up for sale and made some changes. We are still waiting for the house to sell but we have moved forward with making our dreams become a reality.

  • lissie
    Reply

    I used to think the same about NZ – but actually I think I feel the same way about anywhere I stay for more than a few years – it gets too familiar and too boring and I’d rather be somewhere, anywhere else! We did however downsize to a much smaller place which we can just lock up and leave when we travel, which has helped a lot

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