We are a family of 5 from Canada, and this blog is a place for us to share our travelling adventures. We have always loved travelling. We understand that life is short and believe that you can continue to travel even after having kids. Our philosophy is to do it now with our children, rather than wait for retirement. Our tagline, “On a boat, On a plane, It’s Really All the Same” is our travel philosophy – as long as we are travelling we are happy. We have lived as expats overseas twice, taken extended career breaks, and cruised on a sailboat. We also have long patches of regular everyday living as we try to figure out how gypsy and vagabond we want to be. Read on for a more detailed background of how our travelling has evolved.
I had a fairly typical childhood in Canada until I was 14, and it was at this point that my family and I sailed to the Bahamas for two years. This planted the wanderlust seed, that creates a restlessness within me today. I am constantly trying to find a balance between – the need to travel and the need for community and stability.
Paul emigrated to Canada from England when he was 8. While growing up, he enjoyed summers back in England and local travel in Canada. Paul lost his parents at a young age, which has contributed to both of our travel-now mentalities. While I was living in France, Paul was doing a university co-op placement in Arizona and flew to meet me. We got engaged in Paris and got married the following year.
After getting married, we took trips to Europe and Australia, and then one day we decided that we wanted to travel for more than a couple of weeks at a time. Within a couple of months, we were off on our first extended trip. In 2006, we spent 3 months exploring Africa and 3 months in Southeast Asia. You can read all about our travels before kids here.
When we returned, we got down to the business of having kids (3 in less than 4 years!). We were never deterred from travelling with kids and managed to visit Europe, Turkey, New Zealand, and the Bahamas while our kids were babies.
In 2010, an opportunity came up for Paul to transfer to his company’s Malaysian office. We had always wanted to work overseas, so we jumped at this opportunity. While Paul was in Malaysia signing the contract, I found out I was pregnant with our youngest, which was certainly a new development. However, we opted to go ahead with the move, and Miles was born in Malaysia in 2011.
We had visited Malaysia before, but living in Malaysia gave us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the country. We also had the benefit of living the expat lifestyle. We thoroughly loved our time there: the food, the travel, the great friends, and the new cultures. However, with 3 young kids, including a new baby, we also really missed our lives back in Canada, especially all our friends and family.
We were in Canada for 2.5 years enjoying being close to family and friends and being home in our house. We took some more traditional trips like travelling around Alberta in an RV, driving to Florida and doing Disneyworld, sailing in the Bahamas on my parents’ boat, and enjoyed some parents-only trips to California and Las Vegas. However, that itchy feeling returned pretty quickly.
After exploring various ideas and staying motivated by reading endless travel blogs, my parents gave us the amazing opportunity of using their sailboat in the Bahamas in 2015.
We took 6 months off from our jobs, pulled the kids out of school, and boarded the boat in just a few weeks. We had a lot to learn. It helped that I grew up spending my summers sailing in Canada and spent two years living aboard the boat when I was a teenager. Paul, on the other hand, was new to sailing, but he became quite a good co-captain – it also helps that he can fix anything. We spent 5 glorious months exploring the Bahamian islands. We then flew to Nicaragua and spent a month backpacking around.
We had barely landed back in Canada before the planning for the next trip began.
The new adventure started Fall of 2016 as we embarked on our second overseas placement in Melbourne, Australia, for a work opportunity for Paul. In typical Nicholson fashion, we squeezed 6 weeks of travel en route. We enjoyed exploring Amsterdam, re-visiting some of our backpacker haunts in Bangkok, and spending a month in Southern India, our introduction to this amazing country.
While in Australia, we managed to see a lot of the country on holidays and camping weekends. It wasn’t an easy adjustment and in the Expat Life section, I blogged honestly about the challenges, joys, and experiences of living overseas.
After nearly two years in Australia, we had to make the hard decision about what was next for our family. We have loved our time in Australia, but the pull of family and friends and the desire to continue travelling is bringing us back to Canada. Luckily we had a wonderful 9 weeks of travel in Asia and Europe on our way back to Canada. We returned to where we lived in Malaysia, explored Indonesia beyond Bali, planned a completely kid trip to Greece to explore the world of Percy Jackson and visited family in the UK.
Adjusting to life back in Canada was easy for most of the family, but hard for me. I missed the excitement of living in a different country, living in an urban area and just Australia in general.
On our quest to find a balance between home and travel, the 2018-2019 year saw us spend 3 months abroad. We fulfilled a long time wish to trek in Nepal, spent more time in India and finally got a chance to explore Mexico.
Stay tuned for what the next chapter brings!