A British father has revealed how he and his wife quit his jobs and removed their children from school to travel around the world for a year.
The Taylor family, from Wigan, made the decision after father Steve saw motorhomes while camping and began fantasising about quitting his job and going travelling with his family for 10 months.
Steve had already travelled extensively as a student, but his wife, Jess, also 31, hadn’t, but he knew that a love of adventure was an important quality he wanted to pass onto his children – Isaac, seven, Millie, six, and Poppy, one.
Steve quit his job as a project manager and Jess quit her work as a commercial administrator to set off on the adventure of a lifetime.
Meanwhile they pulled their children out of school for the year, claiming it was ‘much cheaper to live’ and it has helped their kids ‘come out of their shells’.
Explaining his motivations, Steve said: ‘It was a mix of the pandemic and the kids getting to a certain age and wanting to spend more time with them.
‘We went camping with Jess’s family last year. I looked at all the motorhomes and thought, ‘That looks awesome! It’d be amazing to get one and go on an adventure.’
‘But we thought we couldn’t do it because we couldn’t take the kids out of school; we couldn’t quit our jobs, and we couldn’t cover the costs.
‘Then we said if we’re not going to do it, will we look back in 10 years time and think, ‘Why didn’t we go for it?’ And we said, ‘We’ve got to do it then.’
The couple discussed the idea and concluded that they didn’t want to have any regrets down the line, so they bought a van motorhome and went for it.
Steve said the process of taking his children out of school was simple and their teachers were supportive of the adventure.
To help cover the costs, he set up a business as a contract project manager, which he could do remotely and part-time, and that, coupled with the family’s savings, was enough for them to live on after they rented out their home.
He added: ‘Luckily, because of Covid there were so many resources available when it came to homeschooling the children.
‘We had an online tutor one day a week who filled in any gaps that we were missing.’
In terms of costs, the family admitted that it varied, but they found that their outgoings were generally less than half of what they were living at home.
Steve said: ‘It was much cheaper to live. We probably spent less than half our previous outgoings living in the van.’
The family visited nine countries on their 10-month-long adventure – France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Morocco.
What followed was an almost instantaneous positive change in their children, and the family as a whole became a lot closer.
Steve added: ‘It was a big culture shock for the kids, especially seeing some of the poverty in Morocco. It made them appreciate how lucky they are.’
Steve said: ‘We didn’t have the distractions of day to day life.
‘One of the stand-out things was how little my children were watching screens when we were travelling. My oldest son developed a love for reading.
‘My daughter’s socialisation skills improved. She would have full-blown conversations with adults. It was like a night and day in terms of her coming out of her shell.’
While the family are now back at home, they are already planning their next big trip, and they are thinking about exploring Turkey, more of Africa, and potentially South America.
Steve stressed that they ended up doing a lot more than just seeing the world.
He added: ‘I know my kids inside out now. Living inside a metal box, you get to know every little personality trait, every little trigger. It’s the same with my wife.
‘Travelling has also given us time with the baby that we never would have had if we’d kept working.’
Steve’s now advising any other families who are considering a big adventure to ‘just go for it’ because the benefits could be life-changing.
He said: ‘There were quite a few occasions where things were tough. We broke down in the mountains in Morocco.
‘We were stranded at night with three kids, no breakdown cover, cashless, and no idea how we’d get sorted.
‘By then, we’d realised that if you zoom out far enough in terms of timescales, even the biggest problems in the moment seem manageable. We asked ourselves, ‘In six months time, will the problem I’m facing still be a problem?’
‘If it’s a no, then it’s likely you can handle whatever problem you’re facing.
‘It really helped us to keep our cool.
‘Thankfully, we managed to get towed to a garage in the closest city. They got the van fixed and we set off again.’