Some people say 3 kids overseas is crazy. I agree
I started this post as a private reflection, but half way through realised that it was probably the perfect post to begin my contribution towards our sharing of our experiences raising our three girls and living out of Australia for a year.
There are three reasons why we have decided to take The Small Lane in 2019.
Reason 1) My adult daughters
Lisa and I have a plan to do something similar with our family every 10 years – allowing us to commit fully to our communities/roots in the meantime – yet still cultivating experiences that allow our family to grow together.
Today, building on some notes from the last year and the task set by Stephen Covey in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” I sat down to write about the life I wanted for my three girls: Issy, Etta and Evelyn. I like these tasks as they help drive my choices on a daily/yearly basis.
If I could give anything to my adult daughters, it would be to live a life that was:
- full of joy, laughter and curiosity
- surrounded by good people
- centered around strong relationships, community and helping others.
I’m hoping that our first year overseas helps to sow the seed for this. Lisa and I have a plan to do something similar with our family every 10 years – allowing us to commit fully to our communities/roots in the meantime, yet still cultivating experiences that allow our family to grow together.
Reason 2) Time off the dance floor
I’m also confident that living overseas allows Lisa and I as parents to step outside of the everyday stresses and pressures that come from the achievement/progress focus that we find ourselves constantly in, to focus on the lives of each other and our children. There is a double benefit to this:
a) a level of happiness and presence brought about through travel; and
b) the space that it provides, by stepping out of our culture, to reconnect and reset our life and expectations.
At the school in which I work, a mentor and good friend talks of “getting off the dance floor and on the balcony”. I think that this is something we all need to do, and honestly, much more frequently than most of us do it. I’m confident that spending a generous time in another culture will allow this to happen for me and Lise.
Reason 3) Addressing the Irrational Fears
Finally, in thinking about the reasons for travel, it was also important to consider the reasons NOT to travel. Tim Ferris of 40 hour workweek fame uses a “fear-setting” experiment when making decisions based on Stoic thought. This is where you write down your greatest fears, the consequences of them actually happening and the likelihood of them happening.
So, in no particular order:
Fear 1: Career stalls
Action: I leave for a year and come back.
Consequence: Little/none/reduced income for a year. No progress in our careers.
Reality: Reduced income means we will need to be clever about our money overseas – however, other than this, both Lisa and I are lucky to be able to step back into well paying professions with supportive workplaces when we return.
Fear 2: Health risks
Action: We are taking 3 girls overseas. Is this a risk? Well, yes, just as it is in Australia.
Consequence: A lot of people live overseas, including international families. There are generally very good international health clinics.
Reality: We are thinking that we would live a relatively close flight home to Australia if we ever needed. We will have good insurance. And we would be making decisions that don’t put our family in greater risk – so “No” I won’t be hiring a motorbike with Issy in Vietnam – not yet anyway.
Fear 3: Lost connection to friends/family
Action: leaving our community for 1 year.
Consequence: Our good friends and family will always support our decisions.
Reality: We back these relationships in, and know we are very lucky to have such great support in our lives. There is a great Dr Seuss quote “those that mind, don’t matter and those that matter, don’t mind.” Sage advice Dr Seuss, sage advice.
Will the costs (i.e. difficulties with kids) outweigh the benefits? We don’t know – but, you know what, we are happy to take the risks to find out. We’ve taken time for extended travel before and the benefits were immense. Some people say 3 kids overseas is crazy. I agree, in part, 3 kids is crazy. I just think it doesn’t matter where you have them, it is the whole journey that’s crazy.
If you agree with this post – feel free to share on any of the social media channels below. Here is a link to a previous post on The Act of Buying Our Tickets to Sri Lanka