Hands up if you have day dreamed about leaving your 9-to-5 lifestyle behind and hitting the road! Reading through the questions on the BebeVoyage group, we know that many of you dream about an around the world trip or an extended family sabbatical. Meet Emmie & Evie, the Australian mom & daughter duo behind www.mumpacktravel.com who hit the road in 2016 and have been on many great adventures since.
“There wasn’t a line in the sand or a flash of clarity when I decided this is what we had to do”, Evie says about their decision to travel the world “ It was more of a collision of circumstances that brought me to this place that I feel was absolutely meant to be. I’ve always loved traveling but have also felt compelled to live within the lines, to work a stable job, move through the ranks and maintain my financial independence. And that’s the opposite of what I love doing – exploring, adventuring and seeing the world. I decided I would try to build travel into my life as more than just holidays every few months with Emmie, I just wasn’t sure how to.” And then her lifelong friend George, a mother of 2, passed away and this was the sign Evie needed to reevaluate her life, she firmly believes that in 10 years her daughter Emmie wouldn’t thank her for installing a brand new kitchen and bathroom in their home, but for filling her early years with amazing experiences, learnings and sights and sounds from around the world.
Evie agreed to share her story with Bebe Voyage!
You gave up your secure 9-5 lifestyle enrolled your daughter in the NSW long distance curriculum and decided to hit the road. How did your relatives feel about your trip?
They were really supportive. I’m not sure how they felt behind closed doors (haha) but they knew it was something we really wanted to do and it was important for Emmie and I to spend time together. There was no stopping us anyway! Emmie’s dad was also fine with it.
Let’s talk about fear and doubt – Was the fact that you would embark on this trip as a single mom something that scared you or was that not something that played heavily on your mind?
Nope not at all. I never felt fear or uncertainty. I knew we would be getting so much out of this trip, especially to go from working all the time and never seeing Emmie to being able to spend every day with her. Emmie and I are a great little team! I don’t see that being a solo mum is inhibitive or a disadvantage to travel in any way at all.
As a single mom, ensuring financial stability abroad is not necessarily more challenging than it is in at home in Australia. You said that life on the road is cheaper than living in Australia, how?
When we are on the road I am renting our house out so the mortgage is taken care of and we get a little extra in our pockets each month from rent. We don’t have day to day expenses like insurance and the high cost of living in Sydney, Australia where we are from. In Asia we can stay in guesthouses for $20 a night and eat for $10 a day. That’s around the same price as a return train trip to work and two coffees in Sydney.
Do you feel that the freedom the nomad lifestyle allows outweighs the frustration of not having a home, a 9-5 job and what some people would refer to a ‘stable’ environment to raise Emmie?
I don’t find not having a home frustrating – I find it liberating, and similarly I love not working! When people refer to a stable environment and mean just being in one location then that’s a very narrow view of stability! Traveling enables me and Emmie to be together and to me that’s stability, and the most important kind of stability a child needs.
What has surprised you about yourself?
I’ve realised that I am much stronger than I thought, and the thing that really surprised me is I’ve discovered I am a bit different to the person I was at home. I think sometimes our personalities are crafted by the life we have, and when I stripped that all away and we were just on the road I found I am a much softer and kinder person than I was at home, and I have discovered an inner strength and confidence I didn’t have before.
What has surprised you about Emmie? Has she changed a lot since you two hit the road?
I definitely think she has grown a lot, and she has developed a very strategic approach to problem solving which I love! She enjoys mapping out a plan and she loves flying and moving around. She is great at meeting people and making friends too. Our relationship changed a lot since we left Australia – of course we still argue and being a team makes it hard for Emmie to understand she still needs to defer to me at times – but we are very close and love being together. I feel like I actually know my daughter now.
Biggest cultural shock you have experienced while travelling?
We love everything about Asia, I don’t think we had any big culture shocks, Emmie even loves squatters – they’re her toilet of choice!
Your favorite travel resource on the web?
I rely on everyday travellers’ blogs for information online, but it’s even better to get info from people in person. Some of our best tips have come from people we’ve met on the road. I love hearing other travellers’ stories and finding out where they’ve been, their favourite places and what they loved doing.
What is your favorite article of travel clothing?
We love Kathmandu clothing – I’ve been wearing it on my travels for more than 20 years! We both have long pants that zip off into shorts which are so handy for when we start out when the weather is cool and it heats up – we just unzip the bottoms and take them off. Et voila! Shorts! They’re also great for space saving so we have one item that is pants and shorts in one!
Most practical piece of advice for those planning travel?
If you’re already planning to travel I think one of the things to think about it how you want to travel – the level of comfort you need and the way you’ll approach unexpected opportunities. Many people focus on working out a budget, how much they need in each country at a minimum and tightly sticking to it. I looked at how we wanted to travel – as in, I wanted us to do everything we wanted to, I didn’t want to worry about sticking to a limit each day, and if something came up that we wanted to do like ziplining or something a little expensive I wanted us to take the opportunity without feeling guilty or looking back later and wishing we’d done it. We still travelled as cheaply as possible but without the anxiety of sticking to a strict budget. So I think it’s a good idea to work that out before you leave too.
Why should people travel?
Travel is everything. It opens your mind, it bonds your family, it helps you discover who you are without the pressure and conformity of life at home. It raises your awareness of the world outside your boundaries, it teaches you kindness and humility. It creates informed children who have seen kindness in poverty, the struggles people face, the beauty of nature and the overwhelming joy of sharing new experiences with your family. It has challenges of course, but when you face life in incredible locations with your most precious loved ones around you it’s the best day, every day.
SOME FUN QUESTIONS
Who plays you and who plays Emmie in the movie about your life?
Hahah I’ve already thought of this! Emmie would play herself and Kate Hudson would be me!
Travel book you most wish you have “lived through.”
I feel like we are kind of living a bit of Hideous Kinky, a book and movie I loved, about a single mum on an adventure with her daughters.
Whose tweets do you most look forward to when they pop up in your stream?
I’m not big on twitter. I have to be selective about how much social I get involved in as we travel to spend time together, not to be on social media all day! I love Instagram and travel family accounts I adore include @fromthevinetraveltime @hola_lafamily @smithsholidayroad and @travelmadmum
Language you’d like to be fluent in?
Chinese – we love China! And French of course, but I know just enough to get by and Em knows a little too.
Three things you would never want to travel without, aside from the basics like passport and credit card.
That’s a hard one, mostly because I feel like we can live without very much at all. We only have one backpack of basics. I suppose the essentials are things that we need to keep healthy and safe so definitely a medical kit and a phone for emergencies.
What is the oddest place you and Emmie have ever spent the night?
On the Great Wall of China, atop a watch tower – it’s something everyone should do and one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Even Emmie was overwhelmed by the atmosphere. And then of course, overnight at Starbucks at Kuala Lumpur Airport a few times…Em sleeps on the trolley while I power through the night.
Funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?
Oh gosh so many. I always return to the time when monkeys started to attack us on Penang Hill in Malaysia and I ran leaving Emmie surrounded by them, with the whole tribe pawing at her legs. It was not my finest moment but I did rescue her unharmed.
What’s your favourite travel childhood memory?
We didn’t go camping much but I do recall a few times we went away with lots of other families and spent days tubing down rivers, climbing mountains and sitting around campfires. Those were really magical times for me, I love being outdoors and sharing adventures. The only thing missing for us is a sibling for Emmie to share things with, but she is great at making friends and now has buddies all over the world.
If you want to follow Emmie and Evie on their adventures, check out:
Tell us in the comments where you would travel to if you would embark on a round the world trip!
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