How Travel Ruined Our Plans


Sullivan family in Venice 2015


Long-time readers will be all too aware of the plans that we have been working on for many years. Our dream for as long as we can remember was to work hard, pay debts down, to become independent of any employers and to work for ourselves. Once we did that we would be in a position to cash in on the equity on our home in order to buy and run a smallholding in Ireland.

Last year we worked really hard on getting our house ready for the market. At the start of this year the house went up for sale.

We were excited. Everything we had been working towards was finally coming together. We were going to achieve our dream!

We decided to squeeze one more trip in before our dream became real. We knew that once we had moved our travelling days were numbered.

We chatted excitedly with our friends about our impending move and their plans to travel the world for a year with their three boys. We chatted with another friend before she moved to Amsterdam with her family. We packed up and set off to Italy once again for another couple of months and nobody, not a single one of us, wanted to return.

We just wanted to keep on going.

Suddenly we realised that we had a decision to make. Were we really ready to take on something so restrictive, especially when the lives we had carved out for ourselves meant we didn’t have any restrictions to hold us back? We work for ourselves in a job that we can do anywhere at any time. The children are home educated and not bound by term-times and timetables. We have complete and total control of our own lives. We can decide what we do and when. We can take off on a whim if we wanted, we can go anywhere we like and we can travel for as long as we feel like doing.

The turning point, we realised, was what we thought was our trip of a lifetime – our road trip travelling around Italy in 2013. Instead of it being the special, one-off trip that we thought we would take just once in our lives, it instead opened our eyes to how cheap travel could be, how much of the world there is to see and how much we loved doing it.

We weighed up the options. The children were still young and had developed a love of travelling. The learning opportunities are immense; there is nothing quite like seeing the world from the world itself to be a part of it. Travel could be done extremely cheaply.

Did we really want to commit ourselves to a smallholding?

We had to concede that the dream we had worked so hard for over a decade to achieve was no longer the dream we were chasing.

We’ve traded it in for a new dream instead.

The house is off the market.

We’re hitting the road and next year looks like it’s set to be pretty packed indeed. We’re starting with camping down through Germany, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania before settling in Greece for six weeks next spring. Then we’ll work our way back up again in time for Harry, Cait and I to sit our exams in June before heading off again.

They say travel changes you. It seems that’s true.

Travel ruined our plans but I suppose there are some things in life you just can’t fight.

Guess we’ll have to go with the new dream instead.

Will you join us for the journey?


34 thoughts on “How Travel Ruined Our Plans

  1. Such a wonderful experience for you all, can I be one of your children please? 😀 I bet it will be amazing & your kids will love it. I hope you all have a fantastic time & I’m already looking forward to reading all about it xx

    1. No. Because of studies/work/meetings/talks etc we still have to go back and forth but at the moment at least half of next year is set to be travelling. As the kids get older, I finish my degree and we can start plane-hopping to further places we’ll look into more continuous travel.

    2. It’s great if you can manage without doing it but you could do it unfurnished (storage costs tho) and have a healthy income from it – £1500 per month at least?

    3. But then we’d have to think of the older kids at uni and stuff too… if they needed to come back. So much to consider for us but yes, most definitely would be something to look into when the time comes.

  2. You know that we will all be following along! So excited for you all – none of us want to stop ever, we are having the time of our lives and you will too :). Xx

    1. Still wondering how you’re going to readjust when it’s all over. I reckon you won’t. Perhaps we’ll meet up somewhere along the way some day? Loving following your travels. Love to the boys xx

  3. We just returned from the usa ( we are in Australia ) and i would agree our plans have changed to. That was our trip before building our dream house and now we are deciding what to do.

  4. It sounds an amazing trip you’ve planned. From what you’ve said I’m 100% sure you’ve made the right choice. I travelled a lot with 5 children and we had the most amazing time seeing new things, going new places and having fantastic new experiences. Then things changed radically when we moved house as it took all our spare cash fixing the new place and for various reasons we’ve never been able to travel since. I have 9 children now and I really wish I could take them all away like we used to. I often look back at our old holidays photos and memories and really wish we could do it all again and that my younger children could have the same chance and experiences too. We couldn’t have stayed where we were as it was way too small, but I would give anything for that chance to travel again – it’s a long supressed dream of mine and it opened the children’s worlds up so much. The memories made from travelling are special and good for the family – so much better than memories of lots of stress from all the hard work of trying to make a new venture pay for itself. I know it’s irrelvant, but I think you’ve made the right decision so go out there and enjoy it!

    1. Thanks, Vicky. I don’t think that there is anything on this world that you could give to a child quite like the gift of travel. Once you’ve begun it’s very difficult to stop so I can imagine how you feel when you look back on your travelling days. Rather than asking for ‘things’ now our children now tend to ask to visit places instead. You’ll always run out of room for stuff eventually, but you’ll never run out of room for memories.

  5. ‘Ruined’ one set of plans maybe but created another. I’m loving reading this. So many people plod along just wishing, but I love how you take up the challenge Tania-Mike Sullivan. Go Team Sullivan!

  6. aww a new chapter 🙂 we also were hoping for similar, but a bigger house means more cleaning, more stuff accumilated and lest time to do stuff together without worrying about bills, a nice house ect…hubs is doing out an old camper to fit all 7 of us in to travel/camp ect

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