A family-of-four – who sold their home and donated their possessions to charity – have swapped the rat race for an adventurous life on the road.
Parents Clare and Andrew Barnes, both aged 35, took their two children out of school for a once in a lifetime ‘gap year’ travelling the world after quitting their jobs.
With their son Spencer, aged nine, and 11-year-old daughter Lily in tow, the family, from Victoria’s Geelong, have a full world itinerary planned – as they make their way around the globe.
Here, the family – who are currently travelling around South East Asia – shared a glimpse into their nomadic lifestyle – and why they decided to live a life many dream about.
Parents Clare and Andrew Barnes, both aged 35, are travelling around the world with their son Spencer, aged nine, and 11-year-old daughter Lily in tow (pictured together)
The children are exploring the world with their parents after taking a once in a lifetime ‘gap year’ travelling full-time
‘We know life is short and precious,’ Ms Barnes told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We believe that we have one life and need to live it to its fullest. Life on the road is not easy, but so far, the good has definitely outweighed the bad.
‘Our children are at the perfect age to see the world and to remember each and every place we visit together.’
As the family document their spontaneous travels on Instagram under Her Travelling Tribe, the mother said their seemingly-perfect holiday snaps are not all it’s cracked up to be.
‘I won’t lie – it’s not always sunshine and rainbows,’ she said.
‘We all get cranky from time to time – but we are all truly loving it. Just like when we’re at home in Australia, some days the kids are happy and get along – some days they’re bickering all day.
‘We make an effort each night at dinner to say what we’re all grateful for, and this helps everyone to appreciate each other, especially on those cranky days.’
The young family-of-four sold their home (pictured) and donated most of their possessions to pursue their adventures
The family spent one month in Vietnam exploring the culture, food and places (pictured in Hoi An Ancient Town, Vietnam)
After getting rid of most of the possessions, the family-of-four are currently backpacking with a bag and luggage each
The jet-setters are travelling on a tight budget by spending just $150 a day for the whole family.
‘We try to stick to a rough daily budget. Some days we spend more, some days we spend less. As we currently have a steady income, it’s making things easier,’ she said.
‘While in South East Asia – we are working on a rough $150 per day budget. This includes accommodation, meals and activities – this figure does not include flights.
‘The cost of living for us in South East Asia is far less than our every day costs back home. We are spending less travelling full-time than we would in Australia. We will need to reassess the budget as we head further west.’
After selling getting rid of most of their possessions, the family now live out of a luggage and backpack each.
‘We each carry one pack [check in luggage] and one backpack [carry on],’ she said.
‘We are following the seasons around the world, so we mainly have lightweight clothing as well as each of us having long pants, a jumper and running shoes.’
The jet-setters are travelling on a tight budget by spending just $150 a day for the whole family (pictured in Vietnam)
The family made the snap decision to quit the rat race so they can embark on a permanent holiday (pictured in Cambodia)
The kids are currently being ‘worldschooled’ as the parents are working with the Australian curriculum to ensure their son and daughter are getting the best education on the road
The idea to go on a permanent holiday sprung into mind after the family-of-four returned home from an overseas trip in October 2016.
‘We got talking about how amazing it would be to take a year away from life as we know it and do something out of the ordinary,’ Ms Barnes said.
‘We started to research and realised it was actually something we could do, so we put the wheels into motion.’
After both losing their parents at a young age, the couple realised life was too precious.
‘Andrew and I both lost parents when we were young children. When Andrew was seven years old, his dad passed away from a heart attack. I was 12 when my mother lost her short battle with breast cancer,’ she said.
‘For us – this has always been a driving force in all of the big decisions we make in life.’
Proving that parenthood doesn’t mean the end of adventure, the couple made the snap decision to sell their home to pursue an adventurous life on the road with their two children.
‘We are ‘all or nothing’ kind of people and we didn’t want one foot in and one foot out – so we put the house on the market,’ Ms Barnes said.
‘We sold a few large custom pieces of furniture with the house, so that worked well. And we also sold both of our cars – they’re easy to replace when we get back.’
Little Lily exploring South East Asia (pictured right kayaking through Halong Bay in Vietnam and left in Malaysia)
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The parents said their children are ‘learning new words and phrases in different countries and meeting locals’
The family donated more than 20 bags of clothes and toys to a local charity as well as two mini vans of furniture and sporting equipment.
‘We donated all of the children’s clothes because they won’t fit anyway when we get back to Australia. We donated beds and mattresses and sold a few other pieces,’ she said.
Keeping their sentimental items in storage, the family boxed up whatever was left.
‘The children both have a few boxes from their bedrooms of toys, books and special keepsakes. We kept our art collection and boxed up items we couldn’t replace which are all in storage, but that’s it,’ the mother said
‘It was a very cathartic process. Ridding ourselves of stuff. We are all so guilty of owning way too much stuff these days I think.’
Walking away from their comfortable jobs, Mr Barnes quit his corporate job after 17 years while his wife left her interior design career.
‘Andrew has worked in the corporate world for 17 years. He works in Melbourne and was away from us for about 70 hours a week. This was a major factor for us when planning this ‘gap year’ so more time together,’ she said.
‘I am an Interior Designer and stylist, working on both small and large projects – residential and commercial.’
The family donated over 20 bags of clothes and toys to a charity as well as two mini vans of furniture and sporting equipment
Travelling wherever the road takes them, the pair admitted there were still challenges trying to juggle family along the way
The family set out on their holiday as they build fond memories – starting their journey in South East Asia (pictured in Vietnam)
And on November 2 last year, the family set out on their holiday as they build fond memories – starting their journey in South East Asia.
The family document their spontaneous travels on Instagram under Her Travelling Tribe
‘Our main drive behind this year-long travel is to see the world together, enjoy quality family time and being present,’ Ms Barnes said.
‘We really wanted to show the kids how other people live. The good and the bad. Teach them about different cultures and realise that the world has so much to offer them.
‘We hope this helps to open their eyes and injects the travel bug into them both.’
Travelling wherever the road takes them, the parents said their children have been under control – but admitted there were still challenges trying to juggle their family on some days.
‘The kids have always been great travellers, but like all children – they get tired and cranky from time to time. Majority of the time – they’re really good,’ Ms Barnes said.
‘They enjoy learning new words and phrases in different countries and talking to locals. They have also been great with trying new cuisines. We have a little family motto: ‘You don’t have to like it, but you have to try it’.
‘Both children have become pro travellers. They know exactly how to pack their bags so everything fits perfectly, and to be patient at the airport and in long queues. It’s a great lesson for them.
‘They’re keeping a daily journal which has become a bit of a scrapbook. They glue in coins, tickets and brochures. It will be really great for them to read back over in years to come.’
Making friends with the locals: The family have been backpacking around South East Asia since November last year
The family are building fond memories together by exploring the world together and learning new cultures and food
The family have made it possible to sustain their adventures after saving up the money they made from selling their possessions as well as their annual leave from work
So how do the parents educate their children on the road?
‘We’re ‘worldschooling’ as we call it,’ she said.
‘We have a really unique and brilliant schooling setup. With the assistance of a teacher friend of ours back in Australia, she has a cyber classroom set up and she emails the children back and forth, correcting work, assigning new tasks and tests.
‘We’re working with the Australian curriculum and school term dates. It is currently school holidays until February 1. The kids are really enjoying a new way of learning and they’re picking up so much knowledge from each place we visit.’
The family have made it possible to sustain their adventures after saving up the money they made from selling their possessions as well as their annual leave from work.
‘We did sell our home, cars and most of our material possessions. The house profits are locked away for now, but we will be able to dip into that if necessary,’ she said.
‘Andrew had leave entitlements – annual leave and paid long service leave – which will end up funding approximately 70 per cent of our travelling – so we’re fortunate to have this.’
After selling their home, the family-of-four swapped the rat race for an adventurous life on the road
With no return date yet to be set, Ms Barnes said she can see her family eventually ‘settling’ down in the future
So far the family have visited Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. They are currently exploring Malaysia.
‘At the moment we are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, having just arrived from a week in Penang. We love it here. Next, we are onto Singapore and then onto Sri Lanka and India hopefully,’ she said.
‘We are also planning China and Japan before heading west towards the UK and Europe in a couple of months.’
With no return date yet to be set, Ms Barnes said she can see her family eventually ‘settling’ down in the future.
‘I have no doubt that we will go back to “normal” life at some stage. But for now, we have at least 12 months planned out,’ she said.
‘We’ve said that we will keep going for as long as we’re all still happy and getting along with each other. We don’t like thinking about the end of the adventure.
‘For now, it’s one day at a time and we’re loving it.’
And for families who want to leave their ‘normal 9-5 jobs’ behind for an adventurous life on the road, the mother said: ‘You only live once, so if you can, then go for it.’