After a year and a half of continuous travelling we decided to hang up our boots, empty the backpacks and attempt some sort of normal life again. Then we sat down as a family to make the hard decisions, including where to live? Ben and I experienced some serious post-travel blues, homesickness and the boys have see-sawed between wanting to stay in Australia or go back home to the UK on a daily basis! But, finally we decided to stay here in Brisbane and give it our best shot. It’s a beautiful place, with fantastic weather, friendly people and an outdoor lifestyle that is hard to resist.
This is not to say that we have fallen out of love with the UK, a glimpse of a lush green country field, or a picture of kids making snowballs in winter, and we experience waves of homesickness, never-mind how it feels to leave your loved ones and friends behind! We will miss seeing so many wonderful people in our lives on a regular basis. However, as my brother Andrew recently commented, “regrets are harder to live with than mistakes” which could have been our motto for the last eighteen months…so here we are!
Home from home? We’ve rented a house in Brisbane, as we thought being near this lovely small city would give us more opportunities. We also enrolled the boys into a local school which they love, they have great teachers, are making friends and are thriving in the informal attitude in the classroom after no school for so long. It is also easier to not be their teacher, this was one of the most challenging aspects of family travel. We decided early on that formal education while travelling was impossible, so museums, science exhibitions, ranger talks and just talking to the locals about culture, religion and politics wherever possible gave the boys a really interesting, varied education. They are certainly smashing their geography lessons! Both Cameron & Ollie are delighted to have their own bedrooms again after so long sharing hotel rooms, cabins or tents. I’m just happy to have somewhere to hang up my clothes!
Jobs? It’s proving much harder than we thought to find jobs similar to the UK here, especially for Ben, as Brisbane is a very small market in comparison to London. I would like to teach in the future, but settling in here with the kids is a big priority for me right now.
Friends and Family? This is the one we are struggling with the most. We have gained a lot, especially being close to my family again after so long and its lovely for the boys to get to know their Aussie family better. It’s also been made easier having dear friends here who have helped us settle in so many ways (thank you Schnitzerlings!!), but this also means you have to leave people you love behind, and the impact of this is not to be underestimated. It’s hard.
More travel? We will, of course, still be travelling at every opportunity we get! We’ve just been camping for a long weekend near the beach, and there are also a lot of places we haven’t been to on this side of the world. We just won’t be doing the long term travel again; at least until the boys have finished their education. We do hope to see some of you here in sunny Brisbane at some stage ?!
What’s next? We have no idea where or what we are going to be doing in the future, we are seeing what life brings us.
Ben is working on a round up of our travel statistics and tips on the Stats & Travel Tips page, this is aimed at those who might thinking about doing the same thing as us, as well as those who like numbers! It’s good to share the knowledge and we benefitted from reading other people’s travel blogs before we made our own travel plans. Especially when it comes to budgets!
But for now it’s goodbye from Walker Family Travels. Our gap year (and a half) is officially at an end. This blog has been a labour of love and, we hope, a reminder of all the amazing, life changing experiences we’ve had, and shared. We appreciate you taking the time to read it.
Thanks again for travelling with us!