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6th November, 2018 Posted under Impressive
Welcome to the second episode of Impressive. This episode is all about travel and adventure. Kimberley talks with Michael Peachy, the CEO of Seasoned Family Traveller. Listen to how Michael Peachy moved out of the CEO lifestyle into travelling and spending more time with their kids. You can enjoy:
Impressive is a weekly podcast that sheds a new light on the world of parenting. Join host, Dr Kimberley O’Brien PhD, as she delves into real-life parenting issues with CEOs, global ex-pats, entrepreneurs, celebrities, travellers and other hand-picked parents.
In an approachable on-air consultation style, she listens to some of the smartest, kindest parents share theit latest parenting challenge with their incredible kids. Together they brainstorm solutions and Kimberley offer handy tips and valuable resources to help bring out the best in toddlers, teens and in-betweens. Drawing mostly on two decades of experience as a child psychologist, Kimberley also shares her personal insights as mother of two and entrepreneur with a passion for problem-solving.
[00:00:08 – 00:00:29]: Impressive starts on the right note with Doctor Kimberley O’Brien’s words as being the podcast’s mission statement.
Doctor Kimberley: Hello, I’m Doctor Kimberley O’Brien — a child psychologist, entrepreneur, and mom with a passion for problem-solving in family adventures. Join me each week for practical tips and on-air consultations with the smartest, kindest parents and their incredible kids. Find answers faster, do things differently, and take your family further. This is Impressive.
[00:00:35 – 00:04:39] Dr. Kimberley introduces the guest of the program, the CEO-turned-seasoned family traveller, Michael Peachy. He is a loving husband to Natalie and a protective father to his three children. Michael then tells the story behind his decision to leave his position and live a much quieter life.
Dr. Kimberley: Hello, and welcome to Impressive. This is episode two. My guest this week is Michael Peachy, from CEO to seasoned family traveler. I am so happy to speak to Michael, and to find out how he makes it happen, and how he transitioned from a fairly high-paced, high-pressured position in Adelaide to now traveling, kind of indefinitely, with his family at a very leisurely pace, just to spend more time with his kids and his wife Natalie. His children are aged between one and seven years, and so far, they have found that spending family time together has been the highlight of their trip. Michael is really generous and really shares lots of tips on how to transition from the workforce into a fairly, carefree lifestyle with travel, as well as giving us some tips on how to maintain employment while you are on the road.
So, without further ado, he also shares some resources, which I’ll share in the show notes like The 4-Hour Workweek and the Facebook group called Jobs For Families. So, listen up and I hope you enjoy this episode. I know I did.
Dr. Kimberley: Now, the [angle] I was interested in for our interview today was he used to be a CEO based in Adelaide, and then something happened. You decided you want to spend more time with the kids and be a better parent, you said. Can you tell me more about that decision and what it was like to step away from a corporate life into more of a full-time parenting mode?
Michael: Well, like you said, I used to be the CEO of a national organization. It was in healthcare, so because we had a national footprint and my role was largely customer-facing, I was spending a lot of time on planes. But on top of that as well, I was also an officer in the army reserve, and on top of that, I had a lot of other extra-curriculars that are quite typical of a Type A personality. And as my family was starting to grow, I was just realizing I was missing out on some of the things that may seem small to a non-parent but are really big like missing out the first step or hearing those first words. And when I was looking at my future, I could only see getting more busy, and so I thought: What’s actually more important to me and my family? Is it to do with having a hop in Korea but lots of hours? Or spending time with my family?
So, I made the decision to scale back, and then the travel was the second part of that. That was a bit of an afterthought.
Dr. Kimberley: So, you’re kind of thinking of just settling back into like a quieter life in Adelaide, and then reality came up to actually pack up and start moving?
Michael: Yeah. So, I was always under the perception or had the perception that the gray nomads were the ones who sold up their house and traveled indefinitely in a caravan around Australia. And then one time, my brother told me about some people, who were midlife 30’s and had three kids, a good professional career, and that they had rented out their house for a year, taking the year off work, and would travel around Australia in a caravan. And to me, that was such a foreign concept and it just blew my mind. And then, one day, my wife, Natalie, came into me and said, “Look, here’s another family that’s doing that.” And this was another family, and now on YouTube and now called Trip In a Van. She was like, “Maybe we could do this.” And I got onto the YouTube, went down the rabbit hole, and started looking, and realized that there was a lot of other families who were just like us who were doing the same thing. They had realized what was more important in life. They realized that if they didn’t have a whole house to look after, their expenses would actually go down, and then have way more freedom and flexibility and do this travel thing. So, you’ll see these amazing sites across Australia, but more importantly, have some great time with your family.
[00:04:40 – 00:07:31] Choosing to live life as a traveler is not as easy as it seems. When asked about how it was like before their family hit the road, Michael reveals the adjustments his family had to go through.
Dr. Kimberley: I love it. I want to hear more details about when you first took off and that adjustment like, coming, I’m guessing like, how long was it from finishing up as a CEO to then starting up, first day on the road?
Michael: Well, the going from a CEO to making that decision, that would’ve been in the space of a few months. And so, I’ll scale back a little bit, anyway. But the moment we watched that YouTube video to hitting the road, we’re talking maybe three months. It was actually quite sudden, and it was actually quite amazing. And so, when we’re talking adjustment, there was a lot of excitement, so it wasn’t a thing of, it wasn’t a lifelong dream. It wasn’t something we dream of planning for several years. It was a case of we’ve only been on this minimalistic journey, anyway, of trying to declutter our lives of our things, of our commitments. And so, it was a case of, “Okay. Let’s rent our house out.” From a financial point of view, it worked out pretty much close to neutral, so there wasn’t really going to be any harm doing that.
And there was a case of, “Well, we can use this as a great opportunity to get rid of that kitchen table that we bought when we first moved into our first unit together, and start afresh when we come back.” And when we do come back, fill our lives with just the minimal things–the things that we need–and things that we’ve intentionally planned and loved anyway.
So, it was three months, and that time, it was pretty exciting. We literally sold nearly everything. We’ve got a few things in storage. Don’t ask me what they are. I cannot remember that. And so, because of that excitement, that initial excitement was still there when we hit road, which made it easy to adjust. So, it was like a holiday because it was like we planned a trip traveling around Asia or something. We packed up. We had what possessions we have left. We filled our caravan, which, you know, we had to buy for this trip, and we had this massive road trip plan, and then we got in the car and literally drove the five kilometers to the nearest caravan park.
So, that adjustment, we actually stayed locally and that allowed us and our children to sort of continue with those relationships and say farewells and not feel that we’ve gone from nothing to zero… oh, sorry, a hundred to zero straightaway in terms of the people that we know, the things that were involved, and everything as well. So, that little transition period definitely helped and that was probably one of the cases of success, and I’m still loving that–this whole trip–to this time.
[00:07:32 – 00:10:55] Apart from undergoing adjustments, Michael continues by revealing the anxieties that he had to endure with the new life he chose for the whole family. But after some time, he adheres to the positive thinking that starting a new would be good for them. As he said, “Get back up and have faith and have an amazing story to tell.”
Dr. Kimberley: And do you fully learn to do the fun part of the trip, and then working, and traveling, and spending so much time with the family? I wonder if you just could circle back onto the change in your role and your identity from long hours and lots of responsibility to giving that up, was there any kind of anxiety about falling behind in terms of your career path or making the wrong decision, or tell me from a professional point of view, what were the challenges?
Michael: There was a lot of anxiety around that. And when I thought of richest position here, and also upward career trajectory, and the organization I’m also involved with, they were continuing to grow and looking at other acquisitions and it was part of a bigger property equity, bank firm as well. And so, there was a huge element of fear, of “Am I doing the right thing?” And then, I thought about, you know, I’m 39, and what’s the worst that could happen? The worst that could happen is I come back in two or three years time, and I go back to being my initial profession, which was I used to be a physiotherapist, I guess I still am one. And then, I thought if that’s the worst case scenario, that’s not that bad. That’s using that whole fear-busting approach as being the key to all of this. So, throughout this whole process of not just letting go of the career but letting go of our stuff, our house. We’re currently in Darwin. It’s always been a case of what’s the worst that could happen? So, trying to adopt that mindset and our whole family doing that was key.
So, I thought that the worst that can happen is I’ll quit my job, we’re in the middle of nowhere, the caravan catches on fire, someone steals our car, we’ve got to renew the insurance and our house back in Adelaide is burned down as well. And it’s like, we could use our credit card, fly back home, stay at the in-laws, get a part-time job. Get back up and have faith and have an amazing story to tell.
From a professional point-of-view, I look at it from the perspective of: if I have a gap on my resume of a year or maybe more, and I go to apply for a pretty commensurate job and a potential employer says, “Oh, tell me about this gap for a year on your resume here. What happened?” And I’d tell them that we took a year off and had a gap year. “Yeah, and you’re 40, and spend a year traveling around Australia with the family.” I couldn’t actually see that impacting my career.
Dr. Kimberley: Yeah, and it’s so positive.
Michael: And if it did, well, that employer wouldn’t be the right fit for me anyway.
Dr. Kimberley: Yes. Yes, I totally agree. I mean, if I was thinking of interviewing someone who’ve just taken a year off, I would just think, “Great. I like his character-building.” There’s so many stories to tell, and I feel that’s definitely positive on anyone’s resume. So, yeah, I totally take that point. I love that you’re just busting fears and moving forward.
Michael: Yeah, or maybe having a bit of a positivity blindness or something like that, whatever you want to call it. I figured, yeah, what’s the worst that could happen?
[00:10:56 – 00:15:59] At one point, it is exhilarating to know that he is out of the busy corporate life, but Michael explains that there are pros and cons of living a life on the road.
Yes, he is not to make anymore paper works at the moment, but then he still has to do the duties of a father to his kids even while in the caravan. He keeps in mind that even as a traveler, he still has to find ways to sustain his family.
Dr. Kimberley: Awesome. So, now, maybe take me to your top three highlights since you’ve been on the road and you’ve been spending more time with the kids? Now, that might be hard.
Michael: No, it’s actually quite easy and it’s a question we get asked quite commonly. And I actually have to say that the biggest highlight, the number one benefit at this whole trip is the time with the family. Now, people are expecting you to say Uluru, Parnell Park, or somewhere random. But the thing that really stuck out and very early on was I can’t believe it’s a Tuesday afternoon and I can just go guilt-free, go play [Duplo] or I can go for a walk with the kids along the beach for two hours and build sandcastles and not be worrying about how to get home and mow the lawns, or I don’t have a report to write, or you don’t have a large house with a messy footprint to mop the floors.
So, having a caravan and living a mobile lifestyle, there’s less of that daily administration and looking after your life. It’s actually more about living your life. So, the number one thing is that seeing nearly every single milestone of our one-year-old; have seen him take his progressing from sitting, rolling, crawling, taking first steps, and seeing that whole thing is amazing. Seeing my little boy who’s four make the relationship between numbers and dates and learning Red Oasis a week. He can be actively involved, and that’s amazing. Hoping home school our little girl had been actively involved in her developing her Math and English skills. That’s the number one highlight outside, so far.
Dr. Kimberley: That sounds really, really good. I’m thinking, with so much awesome, stress-free parenting time and just being there with the kids, how do you manage to balance earning an income while you’re traveling if you need to? And then, what time of the day do you do it? And how does that work out with the kids?
Michael: Yeah, and this is probably one of the hardest things that we actually find, I’ll be honest. And that especially for the first, probably, three months, it was like this is an amazing holiday. But we had to realize that this isn’t a holiday; this is actually a lifestyle now. So, things like work, exercise, getting to the supermarket and do groceries, you still had to prioritize those over playing [Duplo] sometimes. And so, to make it easy, try to compartmentalize it as much as possible–that would be my biggest tip. It’s that I do a work pretty much the whole day every Monday, and then I do other bits and pieces around the week as well. But I try to make those as separate from the family as possible. When I’ve tried to do things like I’ve got a work-related e-mail that I have to send. If I’m sitting there and the kids are around and they wanted to have a chat to me about random questions: do people people eat bees? Or what’s the hardest metal in the world? Just something, that little questions that kids want to answer. I’m so unattracted; I’m so distracted. I’m not giving the kids as much attention and time as they deserve.
So, I just have to move away, and moving away from the family and say, “Look, I’m really going to make a five-minute phone call. I’ll see you in five” is way better than trying to make that phone call which then takes 10 minutes. I’m holding a baby in one hand who’s crying, and then I got someone else who wants some milk or someone in those lines. So, making that time and separating ourselves has been really important. So, on a Monday, I’ll pretty much lock myself in the car or in my café, or Natalie, my wife, might take the kids somewhere for the day. And I’m in the caravan, the laptop open and the headset on. But other times as well, it’s a case of not even trying to do anything work-related during the day, but I’m waking up early. And I’m like, or I might stay up late.
So, in one way, it’s actually harder to find time for yourself because when you’ve got three kids, there’s always one of them who wants some attention and that’s a good thing. It’s just trying to balance there or they all want attention, but in order to pay the bills, you do have to move away sometimes and get work done.
Dr. Kimberley: And does Natalie do the same? Does she have a Natalie-only day—a little bit of a solo time?
Michael: She doesn’t have a Natalie-only day similar to myself and the rest of the week where she’ll move away and say I need some time to myself. It’s not I always scheduled it in on Outlook or anything. It’s more of a light onto that at some point. I need two hours to myself. Yeah, that’s completely cool.
Dr. Kimberley: Yeah, it sounds like standard parenting style.
[00:15:50 – 00:16:22] Dr. Kimberley: Hi, I’m just popping in here to let you know that Quirky Kid offers school-based programs. They can be facilitated in any school around the world. And we are really happy to train the facilitators. If you would like to find out more about becoming a facilitator for our Quirky Kid program or just to find out more about what programs we offer, you can go to QuirkyKid.com.au, that’s Q-U-I-R-K-Y-K-I-D-dot-com-dot-a-u and have a look at our school-based programs.
[00:16:23 – 00:19:41] As a tip for listeners, Michael talks about Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek, where he got the fundamental concept he applies as he works remotely. It says there that working smarter is brought about by one’s focus on things that give a larger amount of result. He also gives assurance that there are different jobs for different people, even those who don’t have a college degree.
Dr. Kimberley: How about making the money to continue travels? You produce this podcast and you also write content. Have you got any tips for other parents that are considering making that transition, and then how to generate being calm? Is that independently? Is that how you do it? Or what would you suggest?
Michael: So, one of the first things, and I’m going to give some credit to Tim Ferriss here.
Dr. Kimberley: I love it. The 4- Hour Week.
Michael: The 4-Hour Week and that was, I would have to say that was a life-changing book I read.
Dr. Kimberley: I agree.
Michael: I read this book probably six or seven years ago. And the concepts, although, the execution may have changed in terms of the technology available. One of the fundamental concepts that I got from this book was a focus on those things applying the 80/20 rule: focus on those things that provide the largest amount of results. But also try to make yourself as valuable to your employer as possible by doing the best job and the most productive job as possible, and that would set you up to be in a position where you can work remotely.
I had that realization once we were in the trip that, “Wow, I’m actually living this for our workweek.” I’ve been applying these principles, and when I actually resigned from my position as CEO because I had made such an effort to contribute to this company as much as possible for an extended period of time, I’m still in a position where I could add value to the organization. So, that one day a week, I’ll work remotely for the same company. So, my one piece of advice would be make yourself as valuable as you can now while you are still working the 9-5 and identify those things that you cannot value and try to set up, so you can work remotely, if possible. That being said, we’ve come across so many other families on the road who haven’t taken an immediate approach and have literally have said, “You know what? We’re doing this. We’re going to find work on the road.” and they’ve made it work because believe it or not, this lifestyle is actually way cheaper than maintaining a house, electricity bills, gas, extra-curricular activities for the kids, the mortgage, the rent, whatever. It actually works and quite cheaper on a lot of cases even though seeing all these amazing sites and so forth.
Some people have adopted more of a sink or swim, so that’s the primary source of income. But on top of that, there’s some other skills that you can develop to work remotely that don’t require to be in a physical location and some of these skills don’t require to go back and get a separate university degree. Some of these skills like freelance writing, there’s things like web design, and podcasting. You can learn these skills remotely. There’s a lot of free work, so a lot of free content on the Internet, on YouTube, on places like Udemy that will teach you these valuable skills that people are willing to pay for, and you can really add value to someone. So, we do freelance writing as well and not just travel writing either and related to other topics that we know about as well.
[00:19:42 – 00:22:47] Michael shares about the beginning of the family travel podcast. He also gives facts and figures on the expenditures of families who chose to be on the road.
Dr. Kimberley: Great. And I’m wondering about the other families that you meet. What sort of jobs do they do? And then, what’s the average spend like for you to say that the listeners can kind of get their heads around if they’re not doing, you know, like writing content or working for a previous simply. What other options have they mentioned? Graphic design, any other jobs that seem to keep coming up, and then near the average daily spend.
Michael: Yeah, okay. So, when we’re sitting there in the caravan park and a place called Bermagui on the New South Wales coast one day, we were talking about something to do with setting up a 12-volt system in our car for a second fridge, and all of this sort of stuff. And then, at that point in time, we thought, you know, I don’t want to read all these stuff because I’m not much of a reader. I wish there was a podcast about getting ready for family travel.
Dr. Kimberley: Right.
This was intentionally, not just about learning how to set up a caravan, and then everything as well. But we’ve made a intentional effort to interview other families who are very travel-focused and particularly travelers who know a particular family who know about a particular topic. So, we’re in a position where we interview families all the time about those exact questions, and one that sticks out in particular is a family who run a Facebook group, and if anyone is interested in traveling around Australia and how to make it work, there’s a Facebook group called Jobs for Families traveling Australia. And this family, this husband and wife, who are known as the wandering jocks, they had this attitude of I’m not a 100% qualified, I’m not 100% sure how to do it, but I’m just going to give this job a good go and I’m going to put in effort, and I’m going to work as hard as I can. So, there are a lot of families out there who work on cattle stations. They might be doing reception work at caravan parks. Some of them take cleaning jobs, others find local work as nurses. They might be laborers. They might be doing something that’s 100% related to their current professions, so they might be doing, looking for physio work around Australia, or they might be doing it, or as an electrician. And there’s a lot of work out there that’s just not advertised.
And there are other families who got to places like where we are right now, and I’ll find work at the local golf course as a greenskeeper or doing bar work and so forth. I’ll just get online and get their RSA. And the next thing you know, you’ve got work which funds their travels.
So, there’s so many job options for people to make it work. A lot of people do different things as well. They might be doing it through sell funding. Some people sell their house—that’s not the part we wanted to take. We wanted to have that as a bit of a safety net to come back to. But there are literally hundreds of different ways people are doing this. In terms of the average spend, we interviewed one family who have been traveling around Australia full-time. They’ve gone all-in for $500 a week. But I’ve heard of other families who are spending up to $1300. It depends on how many exciting attractions you want to go to. Do you want to stay in a 100% best caravan parks everytime? Would you want to go exploring and go stay in national parks, and go free camping, and enjoy the look of it as well? So, our expenses have ranged from some weeks literally spending $1500 on groceries and that’s it to when we drove from down to Uluru in the space of the week, and then went back. That was a very expensive. I mean, we spent probably a couple of thousand of dollars in just mostly in days in accommodation because that place was way more expensive. So, our family could easily do on $500 a week. And if you’re going to make sacrifices or as it seems to be $700-$800, a thousand dollars a week
[00:23:48 – 00:29:47] Dr. Kimberley asks Michael about the possibility of temptation in the decisions they had to consider in regard to traveling and living outside of Adelaide. He also enlightens the listeners as to how he and Natalie made such decisions work.
Dr. Kimberley: Thanks so much for sharing those facts and figures. It just, I think you just helped other families of the listeners to just consider whether that could be possible, if that’s something that I’d like to do, just by knowing the details and sort of helps to bring that decision forward like you said for us. Another question I had for you, Michael, was around settling down. You know, in this, you arrived at a beautiful place, and then a job option or something comes up that interests maybe mom or dad. Do you ever consider staying and putting the kids, so I would have spent in school and settling down? Is there a temptation?
Michael: Absolutely, absolutely. One of the biggest things that is making us want to come back to Adelaide is not a house. It’s the fact that we have a family there. So, we’ll end up settling back down on Adelaide. But especially around on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland or even here in Darwin, there is that temptation because you look at it and you say, “Wow.” Adelaide’s very cold in winter; it’s not pleasant. If we went back to our old lifestyle, it would be leaving when it’s still dark and the sun’s just coming up and getting home when it’s dark again. And that’s not a pleasant lifestyle. That’s not really living life. That’s not spending time with your family. So, you come here, somewhere where it’s warm and sunny everyday, and you’re having to spend, you get to spend all these time with your family. But we just have to remember as well though that we’re saying it from almost from a tourist perspective. We’re saying the highlights. We’re here for a few weeks. We’re seeing the water parks and we’re socializing. We got on a café for breakfast or whatever. And we think, “Wow. This place must be amazing.” But we haven’t really got a sense of what’s employment opportunities really like? What’s the cost of living? What’s it going to be like in the wet season? So, we are always looking at nearly every location we go to of, “Wow! This looks pretty livable.” Or “Nah. This is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live here.” So, that temptation is there every stop.
Dr. Kimberley: And can you sort of paint a picture for the future like if you do go back to Adelaide? I’m thinking yourselves you will do to see family and friends. How would you like it to be if it was just the optimal kind of lifestyle when you go to settle back in?
Michael: Look, we’ve met families who have been traveling indefinitely and literally five to six years on the road with small children. Hats off to them, that is an amazing lifestyle. But I don’t think that’s for us, but at the same time, travel is in our DNA. So, for us, it’s actually about we’re looking at designing our life when we do hit Adelaide before we get there. So, we’re going to have specific goals in terms of how we set up our lives and our work environment as well. So, what ideally is going to be is having a small house that is very low-maintenance and work in short chunks, and Hawaiian short chunks as well. So, in an ideal world, it would be, we go to a house but we don’t have to look after it much. So, we’re either working or we’re with the family, and at that time that we’re working is to save up money. To that way, we can go, “Let’s go backpacking through Asia for three months.” Or we’re saving up for our next mini-retirement, which is 12 weeks in Europe. And not just doing that once a year or once every two years, but almost having three months on, and three months off. That’s what we’re aiming to work back towards because we couldn’t go back to working 9-5 and just seeing the kids at night and on weekends.
Dr. Kimberley: Yeah, I hear that’s the kind of lifestyle we’re trying to also create.
Dr. Kimberley: Three months in Asia, but then there were about two years between the next big trip, which is only three months in Brazil. And I don’t want to sound greedy, three weeks is great, but once you had a long travel, and my longest travel was two years, it’s hard to kind of come away from. So, you’re finding that balance, I think, is a challenge and having both people like mom and dad both on board with the sibling girls. I think also, for us, it’s a challenge, too, because we tend to get really passionate about our work, and then new opportunities come up, new team members come on board and, yes, sometimes you can kind of lose focus. So, that’s, that’s a great thing to consider.
Michael: Yeah, and I think having the whole team on board is probably one of the most important elements because quite often on somebody’s Facebook groups wherein we’ll see questions like, “I want to go traveling, but how do I convince my hubby?” Or “ How do I convince my wife?” And my view on it and I could be completely wrong here is: if you have to convince them, if you have to try to sell it to them, it may not work.
Dr. Kimberley: Yes.
Michael: For us, it was a case of Natalie mentioned it, and I’m like, yes. So, within an hour, we’re both on board and the whole time we’ve been looking at how we’re going to set out our life-long term and we’re just in the same page, and I think it’s really important.
Dr. Kimberley: Yes.
Michael: Because if you’re trying to convince each other, it’s not going to be sustainable. You might get six weeks down the track and it’s like, “I want to get back to my career because it’s super important to me.” Or somewhere those lines.
Dr. Kimberley: Yes, I think the timing is key. Finding that time wh
en both are ready to jump and do something exciting. And also had the time we keep school commitments and starting high school or I hate to say but I think everything needs to kind of align to make it work. But if it’s that the number one goal, then I’m sure it would definitely happen.
[00:29:33] Michael: Yeah, and that is a fact as well. We do want to have that sense of stability and less disruption in those formative years in second-year education. So, while our children are still young, that’s when we feel like it’s the best time for us to do it.
[00:29:48 – 00:36:42] As the interview draws to a close, Michael shares the outgoing qualities that his children have. Even if his kids knew how to socialize, Michael makes it clear that these qualities were brought about even by setting boundaries. This, he believes, is a good parenting style.
Dr. Kimberley: Can I just quickly ask you for a wrap up about your children? What have you noticed? What are the changes that you’ve seen, maybe positives and some challenges that you didn’t expect along the way?
Michael: Well, I guess the biggest one and most notable one for us is our little girl, Chloe. When we were, back when we were living in Adelaide, she had a really close group of friends and four core ones and a couple of other on the proofreader. But she wasn’t that outgoing in terms of meeting and engaging even with other people on her own class. She was actually so outgoing and went with her group of her friends, but an introvert when it came to the rest of them. Since we’ve been on the road, we’ve noticed the massive change in her willingness to go and introduce herself to other children, male and female roughly around her age, maybe a year or two or other side as well and instantly strike up a conversation and everything is well.
Same with adults as well; she’s more willing to openly chat and engage with adults. So, even our own family whereas before she used to be quite shy. One of the main, I guess apprehensions that we… we’re very apprehensive about how should go with the home school and form her social skills point-of-view. We thought she might be more socially isolated and she might actually go backwards, but she’s actually quite opposite.
Dr. Kimberley: And what about your four-year-old, Michael? Has he been traveling?
Michael: He makes best friends wherever he goes. So we were at Mataranka a couple of weeks ago, and we got there late one night. We pulled on a caravan park at 5:30 in the afternoon, set up, had dinner, went to bed. First thing in the morning, he got up and had breakfast. He’s like, “Okay, I want to go see my friends now.” I’m like, “We only got here last night. You haven’t met anyone yet.” He’s just so outgoing and he just assumes that he has friends everywhere. So, for him, he’s been thriving in terms of the social side of things. And even with the academic side of things as well, so using things like Reading Eggs or getting him actively involved in understanding the days of the week and numbers and playing games with number recognition on the clock in the car. He’s common ahead in leaps and bounds from that perspective because in the past, he’s just being interest in toy trucks. So, from the learning point of view, it’s been really good for him as well.
Dr. Kimberley: I can imagine.
Michael: And [Eddy], our one-year-old, he’s just been progressing through his milestones and taking them off almost textbooks, so not too much for him.
Dr. Kimberley: How do you go parenting in this set of saying, “I’m off.” And walking out into the unknown and in the caravan park that you might not be familiar with is the kind of hanging around or hover or, how do you parent when there’s not such clear boundaries?
Michael: I guess, the thing is that we try those clear boundaries.
Dr. Kimberley: Okay.
Michael: So, there’s a standard set of rules that our children have. I know they know inside and out were reinforced in day one. So, no kids are not allowed inside our caravan. They’re not allowed inside anyone else’s caravan. That’s been line of sight. We couldn’t meet the families. We know which kids they’re going and hanging out with. So, there is…
Dr. Kimberley: A gameplan.
Michael: Yeah, you’d like to think that the world is full of good, but accidents happen. And there are always the nicest people around as well. So, we do set boundaries. This one is like, “I’ll go and play with my friends now.” So, okay, which friends are the caravan next door or so we can see them there.
Dr. Kimberley: Great. Good to know. These are things that you don’t really consider, but how would you manage that so your kids would go through these house rules when it comes to with the caravan part. That’s awesome. Is there anything else that you wanted to add, Michael? I feel I’ve gone through lots of questions, I’m looking forward to adding that Facebook page you mentioned—Jobs For Families—to our show notes and also link to the family travel podcast. Anything else you think is important that you want to share with our listeners and any other things for the show notes?
Michael: No. I think I’ve covered about all. I just agree at that point where you ask yourself that question: what’s the worst that could happen? I mean, I may have still my career slightly. Natalie may have as well. Totally worth it. If all that means is that we’re going to delay our corporate progression by a year or two is not the end of the world. If we have to go back to our anxiety again with a new house is not the end of the world. We’re very lucky here in Australia, and I think us taking several backward steps, we’re still ahead of a lot of other people who are less fortunate than us. So, I think, we’ve all got these amazing opportunities to spend time with our family. It is a choice. And there are a lot of people out there who are doing the same thing, spending a lot of time with their families, having an amazing adventure, and they didn’t have many resources to start with. But they’ve been out to make it happen, and if anything, our financially better off doing this as well.
Dr. Kimberley: Great. And those go so faster when you’re with the little kids. And I’m thinking sort of ages 0-12 ideal for family travel, less frequent, I guess, when they’re teenagers. And now I did see in the episode you did with a mom and a teenager that were traveling, but by the sounds of things, it’s less common. So, families with teenagers to do the loop.
Michael: Absolutely. I mean, there are a few of them and you could almost list them by name doing distance education with everything with high-schooler is a bit harder? And that’s why for us, it was okay. So, it was rather now or in 20 years time.
Dr. Kimberley: Michael, thanks so much for joining us today. I’ve learned so much and I’ve just really appreciate the topic that you came up with today talking about moving out of your CEO lifestyle and into traveling and spending more time with your kids. So, thanks again for joining us on Impressive. Have a great travel. When do you plan to go back to Adelaide?
Michael: Early to mid next year. It depends on how the weather goes with us being up and down within the North Coast at the moment
Dr. Kimberley: Okay. So, we can listen to your updates when you podcast. Thanks again for joining us.
If you’d like to find out more about the show notes and download some of the suggestions that Michael generously gave us today, please go to BriteChild.com. That’s B-R-I-T-E-Child-dot-com-forward slash-impressive. And you’ll find a whole bunch of helpful tips there and you can also join our Facebook group, so that we can get to know each other. I’m looking forward to generating a really friendly, smart, and kind community of parents who want to do things differently, find answers faster, and take their families further. Thanks for joining us. This is Impressive.