By Scott Thompson
MEET THE adventurous couple who gave up their worldly possessions to save almost FOURTY FOUR THOUSAND pounds in LESS THAN A YEAR and now spend their time spontaneously hopping from one country to the next with their two young daughters in tow – and although they were once STRANDED on an island during an earthquake they have no regrets.
Early childhood educator, Gillian Harvey (31) and her electrician husband, Michael (32), moved from Dublin, Ireland to Perth, Australia for work and a better lifestyle in June 2012. They briefly returned to Ireland for their wedding in June 2013 before settling back to Australia and having two children Sophie (5) and Chloe (2).
But then just over two years ago the couple decided to make huge adjustments to their spending to save a travel fund of £43,720 by downsizing their rented home, selling a car, ditching paid TV and watching their discretionary spending to be able to save money and travel the world with their two children.
The family left Australia 14 months ago and have visited over 20 countries across the world including, Borneo, China, Japan, Maldives, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the USA.
The family share their extraordinary journey on their Instagram and got the inspiration for their handle, @WhereAreWeGoingTomorrowTravel, because they tend to spontaneously decide the day before, or even on the day, where they will go next and their daughter Sophie is always asking them this every night.
“Myself and my husband Michael are both from Dublin, Ireland. We moved to Perth, Australia eight years ago for work and lifestyle changes,” Gillian said.
“We went back to Ireland for our amazing wedding in June 2013 and then returned to Perth where we gave birth to our beautiful girls Sophie and Chloe.
“A few years ago, we decided we wanted to travel the world, so we started living a simpler life to make up the savings. We downsized our rental property, sold one of our cars, got rid of paid TV like Sky Sports and just watched our general lifestyle spending. Also, my husband worked away for long periods which helped towards our savings goals.
“We got our Instagram name from Sophie as she was always asking every night ‘where are we going tomorrow?’.
“Some of the highlights have been snorkelling the beautiful Great Barrier Reef in April 2018 and then we were skiing down a volcano in New Zealand in May 2018. In September 2018 we took a sea plane to the Maldives. In October 2018 we took the famous train Ella to Kandy in Sri Lanka and got to see wild elephants. We also saw pygmy elephants and orangutans in Borneo.
“Highlights of 2019 so far have been camping in Yosemite National Park, USA in February, walking parts of the Great Wall of China and cycling around the lake of Mount Fuji in Japan in April. Then throughout May we have been island hopping around Asia.
“Finally, we absolutely love Disney and have been lucky to visit all five international Disney resorts including hopping aboard two Disney cruises.
“We are very spontaneous travellers we just book flights and accommodation as we go. Most of the time it’s sorted the day before or day of because this way if we like a place and want to stay longer we can and if we don’t we can just move on.”
The family typically spend about three weeks in one place depending what there is to do there.
The biggest hurdle they’ve faced was during the earthquakes in Indonesia on Gili Island on August 5, 2018 as much of the area was devastated and the family’s hotel roof collapsed, and they had to run to higher ground on the island, which made them question their decision to travel.
“We usually stay somewhere for about three weeks when there’s a lot to see or need rest. If it’s a big city or stopover we will generally stay for a few days in basic accommodation. When we need to rest we book a nicer family friendly resort where there’s plenty to do for us and the kids,” Gillian said.
“We were terrified during the Indonesian earthquake, we had two very young children to protect and there we were climbing up to the highest point of the island and sleeping under the stars with nothing more than the clothes on our backs.
“We spoke about stopping travelling for a long time during and shortly after the event, but we had worked so hard for this and it was a chance of a lifetime opportunity and we are so glad we decided to keep going.
“Although we have settled on going back to Ireland to be with our family once our travel fund runs out, we still have a list of places we would like to see such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to name a few.
“I have helped a lot of people out with advice and travel tips to help them make the choice to travel with their children.
“If you’re thinking of doing this, just go for it. Even with young children it’s totally possible to travel the world. We have had no problems providing our children’s needs. They have adapted so well to all these different environments. I’d just make sure you get good travel insurance and make sensible choices.
“We have never looked back or regretted taking the leap to travel full time. It has opened our eyes and made us better and stronger people for it.
“Some people think we were crazy for packing up our bags and quitting our jobs to take two small kids around the world, but at worst if it didn’t’ work out we could simply just go home, and it will have just been like a big long holiday.
“Never put yourself in a position where in the future you’ll look back and think ‘we could have done that, but instead we did this’.”
A link to the contributor’s Instagram.