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Top Tips And FAQ’s

Travel doesn’t need to be expensive or off-limits. We are a blended, interracial and neurodivergent family with 4 kids which raises a lot of questions about our travels.

We travelled full-time from May 2019 until we got locked down in the Solomon Islands in 2020. Once we got repatriated we settled in Noosa, Australia as I was pregnant with our son and had complications.

During the pandemic, we did some trips e.g. a road trip from Noosa to Melbourne inland then back along the coast and a 3 week holiday in Tasmania when I was 20 weeks pregnant with our 4th child.

Some of the most common questions include:

How do I make money/how do you afford it?
What about the kids’ education?
Where are the other parents?
What do we pack?
Have we faced racism? How do we deal with it?

Here are our top tips, links to articles we’ve written to help you travel more and answers to the most frequently asked questions.

How do we Afford to Travel?

We do a mix of travel including staying with friends, work trips and travelling on a budget. Doing slow travel makes it more affordable as since there are bigger discounts usually on accommodation, transport etc if staying for 1 week or a month. Read all my tips to travel cheaper.

I get paid to travel so that has enabled us to travel more than the average family. Freelance writing for magazines and websites, doing marketing consults for tourism companies and government departments and public speaking are the main ways I get paid to travel.

Read about how I get paid to travel for more details on all the ways we’ve made money directly through travel. As well as some tips for things I do to work remotely making travel easier.

How Do Kids Do School While Travelling?

Before doing it full time we worked with the school they attended. Using their iPads, apps they used at school and a few extra activities such as journaling, their education continued.

When we would be away for 2 to 4 weeks, they never fell behind. In fact, most of the time they did more work in less time so they were ahead when they returned to school.

On top of that, during our travels, they learn more. They read more, visit museums, get involved in cultural experiences, meet new friends (who we stay in contact with and catch up with on our travels) and are exposed to more.

Aside from the usual academic things learned at school, my kids are learning to cook different cuisines, learning about cultures and experiencing more. They can study something about WWII for example and then snorkel a wreck they did an assignment on e.g. Bonegi II in the Solomon Islands.

When we travelled full time they did free-range distance education. Meaning, they chose what subjects they wanted to focus on and could go deeper into their areas of interest.

As a result, when we repatriated to Noosa and they went back to school, they were years ahead of their peers academically. As for mental, emotional and social skills and similar, they were ahead of their peers too.

How Did We Meet?

Justin and I met in 2018 in the Solomon Islands. He’s from Vanuatu but was working in the Solomon Islands. I was there to write about the trip.

Amazingly, our work brought us back together a few times, enabling a relationship to develop. At first, we had a long-distance relationship as we both had some pretty exciting work things happening.

For example, he was part of the expedition to find Amelia Earhart’s plane while I was working around the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Australia and was on the 75th Anniversary hike of The Crow’s Flight in Slovenia.

October 2019 we were finally able to be together full-time with my older kids. Starting in Vanuatu for my kids first overseas trip, we were there a few weeks before coming back to Australia.

Upon arrival in Vanuatu, my kids commented they finally felt at home.They are Tongan and Maori so the islands felt like home compared to inner city Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney where they had grown up.

Justin has 3 properties in Vanuatu and most of his family are in Vanuatu. During the pandemic, his ex-wife got a job in Vanuatu so she moved there with her daughter. She’s remarried and has a son with her husband.

What About The Other Parents?

My daughters and I have no contact with their father as he was abusive. After 7.5 years in court (mainly due to extensive wait times for a court date), I won full custody. We were also granted another protection order which is 5 years.

Justin’s ex-wife is Solomon Islander and lived there with their daughter until recently. Now she is in Vanuatu, close to his parents and she is married to another Solomon Islander. He moved to Vanuatu with her.

They have an amicable relationship. We see his daughter when we can and do what we can with her in Vanuatu when we visit, or previously in the Solomon Islands when we visited her there.

What About Our Stuff?

I sold off everything we owned except a few things special to us and some paperwork when we went travelling fulltime. It was stored at my sisters in Melbourne until we repatriated and I picked it up.

Did I miss it? Nope. As I sold things it felt freeing. We each had a bag, some camping gear and overall, I had no desire to buy stuff. Experiences matter more to me. If you want to sell off everything, read this on how to do it to make the most money.

We do have a home base in NSW, Australia now and a lot more stuff. I’m not sure how I would manage selling it all off again as I feel my teenagers would want to keep more now.

What Do We Pack?

This depends a little on what we are doing and where we are. When travelling internationally we have a suitcase each, some clothes, toiletries, snorkelling gear etc. I cover our essentials and resources here.

Because I am super fussy about hair and beauty I have a mini-kit that has an epilator, manicure set and my hairdressing scissors etc. For starters, I am qualified in hair and beauty. To get done what I like it would cost around $7,500 a year vs $100 a year for my little kit.

Read more about what we pack in my travel essentials guide.

Racism: Have We Faced it? How do we Manage it?

The difference in how we are treated between Australia and the islands is extreme. In Australia, we faced a lot of racism to the point I had to take it higher at the kid’s schools and they had to change policies and retrain staff as well as do some things with the kids.

Walking around with the babies, we had people stop and comment because we were the only interracial couple they’d seen in the area (Noosa). Not all the comments were positive.

We’ve had people tell friends they are unsafe because Justin is black and other horrible things.

In the islands, our relationship is exciting, praised and people are happy for us. Our only struggle there with it is people assume I am rich because I am white.

We are uncomfortable with some of the views around our family there. Mainly because in their culture, white was seen as wealthier/smarter/better and it was an aspiration to get married to a white person.

So he is often congratulated for having a white wife and asked how he did it. As a mother of mixed-race kids, this is difficult to navigate.

In short, racism, cultural views and managing different elements of each is difficult.