Couple who quit their jobs to travel full-time with their children explain how they did it

Couple who quit their jobs to travel full-time with their children explain how they did it

‘We set a goal to retire at 30’: Couple who quit their jobs to travel full time with their two kids reveal how they did it – and why they will NEVER sell their home

  • Katie and Mark Sievers, a couple from New Zealand, have two young girls named Poppie, five, and Lillie, two
  • The pair have worked hard their entire lives – Katie initially as an accounts assistant and Mark as a builder
  • They set a goal for themselves as late teenagers that they would retire at 30; and they’ve essentially done that
  • Travelling full-time comes with its difficulties, but they have a few ingenious tricks for keeping costs low 

Matilda Rudd For Daily Mail Australia

Katie and Mark Sievers were only teenagers when they set an ambitious goal to retire at 30.

The New Zealand couple, who have two daughters named Poppie, five, and Lillie, two, have always been driven and worked extremely hard – Mark as a builder and Katie initially as an account assistant.   

‘The goal was not to be able to literally retire, stop working altogether and travel the world necessarily but to give us financial freedom and security to choose what we wanted to be able to do for work,’ Katie, now 34, told FEMAIL. 

Katie (pictured with her daughters Pollie and Lillie) and Mark Sievers were only teenagers when they set an ambitious goal to retire at 30

Katie (pictured with her daughters Pollie and Lillie) and Mark Sievers were only teenagers when they set an ambitious goal to retire at 30

The New Zealand couple, who have two daughters named Poppie, five, and Lillie, two, have always been driven and worked extremely hard - Mark as a builder and Katie initially as an account assistant

The New Zealand couple, who have two daughters named Poppie, five, and Lillie, two, have always been driven and worked extremely hard - Mark as a builder and Katie initially as an account assistant

The New Zealand couple, who have two daughters named Poppie, five, and Lillie, two, have always been driven and worked extremely hard - Mark as a builder and Katie initially as an account assistant

The New Zealand couple, who have two daughters named Poppie, five, and Lillie, two, have always been driven and worked extremely hard - Mark as a builder and Katie initially as an account assistant

The New Zealand couple, who have two daughters named Poppie, five, and Lillie, two, have always been driven and worked extremely hard – Mark as a builder and Katie initially as an account assistant

In 2017 – just three years past their dream retirement age – the duo were able to stop working.

‘It has taken us (particularly Mark) many years of hard work, second jobs on the weekend, working constantly on our own properties and businesses in the evenings to make happen,’ Katie explained.

‘Our plan was originally to just have a month off, rent a place by the beach somewhere warm and just finally relax and spend some quality time all together. 

‘That idea somehow snowballed into travelling full-time. We have had a really full-on and stressful last 10, particularly five, years and we wanted to have some fun together and focus on putting each other and our girls first. 

‘We felt we only had a few years until the girls are at school and we wanted to spend that time with them.’ 

In 2017 - just three years past their dream retirement age - the duo were able to stop working

In 2017 - just three years past their dream retirement age - the duo were able to stop working

In 2017 – just three years past their dream retirement age – the duo were able to stop working

'Our plan was originally to just have a month off, rent a place by the beach somewhere warm and just finally relax and spend some quality time all together,' Katie said

'Our plan was originally to just have a month off, rent a place by the beach somewhere warm and just finally relax and spend some quality time all together,' Katie said

'Our plan was originally to just have a month off, rent a place by the beach somewhere warm and just finally relax and spend some quality time all together,' Katie said

'Our plan was originally to just have a month off, rent a place by the beach somewhere warm and just finally relax and spend some quality time all together,' Katie said

‘Our plan was originally to just have a month off, rent a place by the beach somewhere warm and just finally relax and spend some quality time all together,’ Katie said

To finance their trip the family relies on the rental property Mark purchased when he was 20 and the funds from renting out their family home near Auckland. 

And while travelling full-time might seem daunting for the average person it was even more so for Katie and Mark. 

‘Mark and I had never travelled before this, so it’s been a real adventure. We aren’t just traveling full-time, we are doing it with little kids too,’ she explained.

‘We’ve also learnt that we are not on holiday as such, traveling full-time means we can’t have massively busy days everyday and eat out for all our meals. What works for us is to keep the routine – the naps, bedtimes and good healthy meals. 

‘We may be in different places every week but we keep the same routine most of the time. We achieve that by travelling slowly.  

To finance their trip the family relies on the rental property Mark purchased when he was 20 and the funds from renting out their family home near Auckland

To finance their trip the family relies on the rental property Mark purchased when he was 20 and the funds from renting out their family home near Auckland

To finance their trip the family relies on the rental property Mark purchased when he was 20 and the funds from renting out their family home near Auckland


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Budgeting is key for the family of four and so far they've spent time in many of the 'cheaper countries' or cities in Central America and Eastern Europe

Budgeting is key for the family of four and so far they've spent time in many of the 'cheaper countries' or cities in Central America and Eastern Europe

Budgeting is key for the family of four and so far they've spent time in many of the 'cheaper countries' or cities in Central America and Eastern Europe

Budgeting is key for the family of four and so far they've spent time in many of the 'cheaper countries' or cities in Central America and Eastern Europe

Budgeting is key for the family of four and so far they’ve spent time in many of the ‘cheaper countries’ or cities in Central America and Eastern Europe

‘We try and stay a week in each spot and visit a couple of areas in each country. We can’t do massive flights every week and ping pong around the world. Sometimes yes, we do have to do an overnighter or three nights here and there, a week in some places is a long time, but we try not to do a lot of that back to back.

‘And we almost always rent a place with a kitchen and a separate bedroom – this is a biggie for us – healthy meals and good sleep are important.’

Budgeting is key for the family of four and so far they’ve spent time in many of the ‘cheaper countries’ or cities in Central America and Eastern Europe.  

‘We usually spend a few weeks in each country. That means we are not flying every week – plane tickets are our biggest expense – and the longer we stay in each place the more the cost per day goes down,’ Katie said.

‘It also means we can do a decent supermarket shop so again you can get more bang for buck out of staple items.

'We usually spend a few weeks in each country. That means we are not flying every week - plane tickets are our biggest expense - and the longer we stay in each place the more the cost per day goes down,' Katie said

'We usually spend a few weeks in each country. That means we are not flying every week - plane tickets are our biggest expense - and the longer we stay in each place the more the cost per day goes down,' Katie said

‘We usually spend a few weeks in each country. That means we are not flying every week – plane tickets are our biggest expense – and the longer we stay in each place the more the cost per day goes down,’ Katie said

They started their travels in Hawaii in August last year, before visiting Mark's family in Washington State

They started their travels in Hawaii in August last year, before visiting Mark's family in Washington State

They started their travels in Hawaii in August last year, before visiting Mark's family in Washington State

They started their travels in Hawaii in August last year, before visiting Mark's family in Washington State

They started their travels in Hawaii in August last year, before visiting Mark’s family in Washington State

‘If we can travel by bus, train or ferry we do as its generally cheaper than flying but with the girls so young we also have our limits so we weigh up easy vs the cost. 

‘Renting an apartment or holiday home we have found to be usually cheaper than staying at a hotel, plus there is a kitchen and a bit more space. That saves us money as we eat nearly all of our meals at “home” and gives us somewhere to just chill out, we don’t always have to go out, lots of places have a yard or shared pool. 

‘Many places have great local markets or road side stalls which are great for in season fruits and veggies. We don’t do activities every day, tours and boat trips. We do a lot of free things, exploring the city, hikes, museums, parks and just going to the beach.’

They started their travels in Hawaii in August last year, before visiting Mark’s family in Washington State.

'We did six days in London, before getting a cheap flight to Crete, Greece, and from there we caught a nine-hour ferry to Athens before coming to Corfu,' Katie said

'We did six days in London, before getting a cheap flight to Crete, Greece, and from there we caught a nine-hour ferry to Athens before coming to Corfu,' Katie said

‘We did six days in London, before getting a cheap flight to Crete, Greece, and from there we caught a nine-hour ferry to Athens before coming to Corfu,’ Katie said

While many travelling families tend to sell their homes and worldly possessions to make the experience more permanent, the Sievers always wanted something to come back to

While many travelling families tend to sell their homes and worldly possessions to make the experience more permanent, the Sievers always wanted something to come back to

While many travelling families tend to sell their homes and worldly possessions to make the experience more permanent, the Sievers always wanted something to come back to

From there they’ve been to Mexico, Belize, Cost Rica, Panama and Colombia before eventually flying across to Europe.

‘We did six days in London, before getting a cheap flight to Crete, Greece, and from there we caught a nine-hour ferry to Athens before coming to Corfu,’ Katie said.

‘We leave for Croatia in a few days, after that we plan to make use of the amazing Europe rail system and visit Hungary, Austria, Italy, before staying with friends in Ireland and then going to watch a friend compete in Spain. 

‘I am hoping to add Morocco in at the end too! After Europe we will reassess, but our thoughts are maybe Africa and then Asia.’

While many travelling families tend to sell their homes and worldly possessions to make the experience more permanent, the Sievers always wanted something to come back to. 

‘I guess that’s why we have never travelled before… we really prioritised that over anything else. We would not have sold our house to travel, but that is just us,’ she explained.

‘And that would be our advice, set yourself up first.’

You can follow the family’s adventures on their Instagram page Kiwi and Free

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