This time last year, Evie Farrell couldn’t have even dreamed where she is now.
But after the 43-year-old from Sydney lost a close friend and decided to pack up her life and AUD $30,000 in savings last February, she and her daughter, Emmie, set off on the adventure of a lifetime travelling around the world.
Here, Ms Farrell speaks to FEMAIL about their first year away from home, what they’ve learned – and why after one year the pair still have no plans to come home.
The mum of one is a firm believer in the idea that travelling is easier than many might think.
She said that not only is it cheaper than living in Sydney, but it’s also rewarding.
‘I’ve learned this year that if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen,’ she said.
‘There’s more to life than sitting at a desk every day to earn money to buy stuff. We’ve travelled for a whole year with one backpack… and there’s no way I’m going back to my old way of life now.’
While travelling the likes of Taiwan, Malaysian Borneo, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, London, Paris and China – where they spent Christmas and the New Year – Ms Farrell has been teaching her daughter, Emmie, via theNSW Distance Education primary school programme.
EVIE FARRELL’S TIPS FOR BEING ON THE ROAD
* Be prepared to change your plans, take your time and don’t be too rigid – things will change and you’ll need to adapt accordingly.
* Share decision making with your companion if you have one, and compromise. You need to make sure you do things you both want to do.
* Skype and FaceTime are great for catching up with long-distance friends and family – use them to your advantage.
* Plan ahead, save money and factor in things like schooling, budgets and things – then be prepared to roll with it when you’re on the road.
* Embrace local buses, overnight trains and ferries, pushbikes and tuk-tuks to save money.
* Realise you don’t have to follow the 9-5 pattern and that’s the hardest part. Then, have no regrets.
Emmie has also been sporadically receiving formal education, such as when the pair were in Hoi An.
‘The challenges of being away on a trip like this are mostly the same as the ones we have at home – schoolwork, manners, bedtimes and eating meals – we just deal with them in incredible locations,’ Ms Farrell said.
‘We’ve met other traveling families along the way and seeing Emmie have a great time with kids from all over the world helps me feel okay about her being away from her friends at home.
‘She has made so many new friends and had wonderful experiences in all the countries we’ve been to.’
Next, Ms Farrell and her daughter will return to Vietnam, before crossing over into Cambodia to visit an elephant sanctuary and celebrate their one year anniversary of being away from home:
‘It was funny being away from home for Christmas and celebrating it in China,’ she said.
‘We celebrated it by going to watch a Christmas show, ice skate and rock climb. We ate local xiaolongbao (Chinese soup dumplings) and caramel-flavoured Tim Tams which we managed to find in a supermarket.
‘I wouldn’t change our experiences for the world, though, and hopefully our life will inspire more mums and dads to go on an adventure with their children.’
With regards to any regrets about packing up her old life in Australia, Ms Farrell said she has none.
‘This is precious time and if we weren’t travelling, I would be at work every day and Emmie would be at school and being cared for by au pairs. It just makes sense to me to spend time together while she is young.
‘It’s the best gift I could have given her and the best thing I could have done for myself, too.’