A year ago, we packed up our personal belongings, rented out our house, sold one of our cars and got the right people on board to manage our business back in South Africa while we try out suitcase-living and travel the world with our two kids, Anika (a then 7-year-old wheelchair user) and Reuben (then 2 years old).
We opted for house sitting, which meant we didn’t have to pay for accommodation, water, lights, internet, etc – and sometimes it even includes the use of a car! It gives us the opportunity to stay in local neighborhoods to get a more authentic cultural experience while we work and school from “home”.
I get the “How do you manage to live out of a suitcase?” question regularly, so I decided to write down some of the “Pro’s” of our recent way of living – I like to call it my Return on Investment 🙂
Here’s why I’m choosing to hold onto suitcase-living for a little while longer!
- As a family, we’ve discovered and experienced the cultures, food, landscapes and people of 6 countries (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Mauritius, Luxembourg, Ireland and we’ll be heading to the USA soon!)
- We’ve spent more time with the kids in a year than we would’ve in a very very long time at home. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know my two kids on a whole new level.
- I’ve learned that things are just things. Material things just don’t matter to me anymore. Places and things are nothing compared to realationships and people! Home can be anywhere for us, as long as we have God and each other.
- Things that were usually done by our cleaner, au pair, therapists and school teachers back at home in South Africa, are now done by us. For the first time ever I really know exactly what my children’s needs and abilities are.
- We’ve stepped out of the box. The world somehow managed to put us into little boxes. Boxes with man-made rules about when and where and how to do things. We’re more flexible now and we re-think everything we do.
- I’ve come up with more productive ways to manage my day to fit in work, play, school, and home tasks.
- I truely appreciate my own mom for the first time – I now partially understand what she went through and did for us as kids. And I’m still spoiled compared to everything she did!
- We’ve made new friends for life!
- We appreciate and maximise time with friends and family back home now more than ever. The old Quality vs Quantity thing really kicked in now and we’re making most of our time with them when we get the chance to see them.
- We realize that this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and while we’re at it, we might as well do it for a little while longer!
Through our travels, we want to encourage other people with challenges to make the most of their situations and we also share Anika’s testimony of a full, joyful life.
Surely we won’t travel forever, we will settle down again, but for now – we’re not ready to stop traveling.
Have you lived out of a suitcase for a while? We would love to hear from you – please leave a comment and tell us where you’ve been 🙂