Vagabonding Case Study: The Makepeaces

The Makepeaces

Age: Caz: 35 and Craig: 37 Kalyra: 3

Hometown: Woy Woy, NSW, Australia

Quote: “Vagabonding is understanding that the only thing that matters is the present state and the memories you are creating in your life.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip? I actually discovered it within the last year. I connected with it so well as it is really the only life I have known and lived since I became an “adult” 14 years ago. I found it useful for the validation it gave me that I was living my dream and making a difference in doing so. It also inspired me to keep on doing it.

How long were you on the road? I have been traveling since I graduated from University in 1997. Craig and I married in 2002 and have been traveling ever since. In 2007 our daughter was born and she now travels with us. Our traveling involves living in a different country for a couple of years and using that as a base to explore a different side of the world. We have traveled for almost a year straight on the road without working, but usually we travel for about 2- 4 months at a time and of course we are always taking weekend trips and short getaways.

Where all did you go? We have traveled through UK and Western Europe, Turkey, East and South Africa, South East Asia, China, Indonesia, USA, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Fiji, and the USA

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey? As we work along the way we use that as our main source of funding. I am a teacher and Craig is a carpenter. I taught in London for 2 years (as well as bar work) and Craig and I both taught ESL in Bangkok. We worked in Dublin and Raleigh, NC- myself teaching and Craig in construction and for Delta airlines. We also worked together on a pearl farm in Western Australia where we earned and saved a lot of money to travel on. We have also had success investing in Real Estate, which helped to fund some of our travels.

Did you work or volunteer on the road? Yes, we worked London, Dublin, Bangkok, Australia and the US. We have not volunteered on the road but are looking at doing this in the future. We would really like to incorporate this into our future travel plans and involve our daughter.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite? I find this a really difficult question to answer as each place brings something unique that I really love. I love Africa for its untamed beauty- the animals, the cultures, the natural environment. When I am in South East Asia, I feel relaxed and carefree and so connected to my spiritual self. I love Europe for its history and festivals and the USA for it’s larger than life spirit, its outdoor adventures, and its stunning South West landscapes.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging? Each place you arrive in has some challenges, sometimes they are worse then others, but a lot of that depends upon your frame of mind at the time and how well equipped you are to deal with the problems. It’s not so much a reflection of the place, but your eyes that are viewing it.

I would have to say I really didn’t like Athens much. I went there twice and both times made a quick getaway to the islands. I found it dusty, dirty, hot and unsavoury. Even though I didn’t see much of it, there was just an energy hanging around it that I did not click with. Now that I’m older and more positive in my approach to things, I would like to go back and see it with fresher eyes. I found the people in Tanzania very aggressive, which was challenging, but they are really poor so I can understand while they are so intent on getting your business.

Did any of your pre-trip worries or concerns come true?  Did you run into any problems or obstacles that you hadn’t anticipated? To be honest I don’t really recall having any pre-trip worries or concerns. I was so excited about traveling. I always felt that I was in the right place, so I never focused on any problems it was always about the adventure that was to come. 99% of what you worry about never comes true anyway so there is no point in worrying. Just get on the road and go and worry about it when the problems arrive.

I will say that now I am a mother I am concerned a lot more with safety. But this is part of being a mother and I will feel this protective fear no matter where I am in the world or what I am doing. I’m afraid being a parent shows you more monsters living under the bed than you ever saw when you were a child.

I think you need to travel with the knowledge that things are going to go wrong- a lot. Every day obstacles and problems appear, and many that you never thought were possible. If you just accept this as part of the adventure you signed up for, then you can deal with them quite well when they arrive. We’ve had just about everything happen to us, lost passports, missed flights, accidents, caught in cyclones, stolen money, illnesses, taken for joyrides on motorbikes by crazy locals who threaten to kill us, and the list goes on.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful? The most useful for me is having a backpack that loads from the front. Top loaders are an annoyance and make it so difficult to find things. I don’t know how many times I needed to quickly pull out a long sleeved shirt and had to unpack everything just in order to find it. With front loaders you can find stuff quickly and easily. And you usually have a daypack, which can zip onto the front.

A sarong also has many uses- I use this instead of a beach towel, you can carry things in it, use it for clothes, linen on a warm night- and it weighs nothing.

The least useful was one of those chamois towels. They never dried me. Also a sleeping bag in South East Asia and many parts of Africa was a waste of space and weight to carry.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle? That you tend to live each moment in the present state- the only true place where life exists. As a result, you experience such joy and happiness and when the challenges come along you are well prepared to deal with them.

We believe that life is all about the memories; they are the only things that can remain with you no matter where you go. Therefore this has to be the greatest reward of the vagabonding lifestyle, you are constantly creating so many varied, unique and dynamic memories through the people you meet and the places you visit.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle? We often receive comments about how “lucky” we are to have had the vagabonding lifestyle we have. I think so many people tend to think a fairy godmother comes down, waves her magic wand and gives you this life. We have lived it, first, because we chose to, and second, because we made massive sacrifices to get there. You have to give in order to get. We have given up stability, security, fancy cars, stylish wardrobes, the latest gadgets, and so on. Everything in our life is on a budget level in order for us to save and travel longer.

Travel for long periods of time is tough. Days can be intense; travel can be exhausting and dangerous. If you are on your own it can be lonely and frightening. You are constantly living out of your comfort zone so every day is a challenge. There are language barriers, hygiene issues, dealing with different currencies, trying to stick to a budget and manage your money and learning how to solve problems and get along with people from many different walks of life.

What lessons did you learn on the road? …that we never stop learning. There is so much joy to be had and awe to be present in our lives when we continue to learn and grow.  A favourite saying of ours is “When you’re green you’re growing and when you are ripe you’re rotten.”

I learned an incredible amount about life and myself through my experiences traveling, because I was open to learning them. I wrote a free ebook, which shares 20 lessons I learned through traveling- lessons that have helped me to live an empowered life.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip? Vagabonding to me is the letting go of the need to control and direct, instead giving in to the flow of life. It is living in the moment, jumping in the tube and letting the river take you for an amazing ride- it’s always going to end up in the right place isn’t it?

Vagabonding is understanding that the only thing that matters is the present state and the memories you are creating in your life. The ownership of goods that so many of us strive to get are essentially meaningless. It is the relationships you build with yourself and others that will bring joy and meaning to your life. Vagabonding opens the doors for you to experience a life that explores the truth and purpose to our existence.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be? Savour the taste of the strawberry. Your travels are going to slip by your fingers really fast. Make sure you spend every minute of your travels, the good and the bad, relishing in its freedom, exquisiteness, newness, and vibrancy. You never know when you might have to “grow up” and in its place will come bills, structure, and things you don’t want to do but have to. Make every moment count and make each moment a story to tell.

Be prepared for when you arrive home. You will feel lost and afraid. You will want to turn your back on travel, so scared you are with facing the fact that it is over. Don’t allow yourself to think like this. Take your memories and all you have learned and share them. Never turn your back on your dreams, you can always find a way to continue to live them.

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure? Just do it. Stop telling yourself all the reasons you can’t and listening to those who will try to reinforce that for you. Instead focus on why you can and why you should.

Really consider living and working in another country. That way you don’t have to save as much money initially, travel will be slower, and you can spend time fully immersed in another culture.

Make an effort to live how the locals do- catch the transport they do, eat in the same restaurants, visit schools, temples, festivals. Engage in conversations so you can find out more about them and why they live the way they do.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey? I am in the process of trying to figure that out. I would really like to spend some time living in Thailand again. I love their stress free, healthy lifestyle and I feel after a couple of crazy years I am in need of this rejuvenation.

However, my husband has not yet traveled Europe, so I would love to spend several months traveling this area with him. We both are yet to go to South America, so I am also investigating possibly living here in order to fully explore the area.

Now that we have a young child, we need to weigh up our options a little more. She is currently saving all her coins (and everyone elses) for a trip to Disneyland. So we may have to stop over there on our way to our new destination.

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Posted by | Comments (5)  | November 3, 2010
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

5 Responses to “Vagabonding Case Study: The Makepeaces”

  1. Mark Says:

    Vagabonding coasties! I’m from Davistown and currently live in Northern California after circling the planet a couple of times. Here is a funny tidbit for you that only people from the Central Coast would truly appreciate – I traveled to some shady places on my global jaunt and the only time I ever ran into trouble was with a junkie in Gosford the day I got back from being abroad three years. True story. He tried to mug me in broad daylight and I just began laughing at him and thinking “yep, Gosford…wow…good to be back”.