Glamorgan Gazette - - Front Page - AMANDA POW­ELL amanda.pow­[email protected]­line.co.uk

FOR most of us, sell­ing ev­ery­thing we own and set­ting off to travel is no more than a dream.

But one South Wales fam­ily made it a re­al­ity and have just re­turned af­ter ad­ven­tur­ing to far-flung des­ti­na­tions with their two young chil­dren.

By March this year, 32-year-old Clare Fisher and hus­band Ian, 29, had sold most of their pos­ses­sions, re­moved their two young chil­dren from school and waved goodbye to fam­ily in Porth­cawl and Pon­typridd.

The colourful so­cial me­dia videos and im­ages which fol­lowed of this cou­ple and their son and daugh­ter in Asia, Aus­tralia and New Zealand made the whole thing look like a care­free idyll, but now back at Clare’s par­ents’ home, they’re hon­est about how liv­ing their dream was also a full-on job.

As well as an ad­ven­ture, they turned the mam­moth and ex­otic trip into a busi­ness ven­ture, set­ting up as travel film­mak­ers and pho­tog­ra­phers, with them­selves as the sub­ject mat­ter.

The cou­ple are among a grow­ing band of so-called in­flu­encers, har­ness­ing the power of dig­i­tal plat­forms like In­sta­gram to at­tract spon­sors like lux­ury ho­tels, re­sorts and cloth­ing com­pa­nies keen to as­so­ciate them­selves with the life­style this un­de­ni­ably good-look­ing fam­ily por­trays on­line.

What started it all was want­ing to make the most of their lives to­gether, es­pe­cially af­ter a close friend with young chil­dren died.

“When we were leav­ing the funeral, we both looked at each other and thought ‘life’s way too short’ and we wanted to do some­thing we’d never done be­fore,” Ian said.

“But peo­ple put you off,” he added. “Not just peo­ple, but even our­selves, as in ‘when’s the right time to go?’. When you get kids, is that your life over with? Or should you wait for re­tire­ment?”

Ian gave up his sales job and af­ter “six months of hard sav­ing and plan­ning”, the cou­ple set off with their chil­dren, six-year-old Kal­lan and Maddison, four.

“I’d worked my butt off, like most peo­ple, from the time that Kal­lan was born un­til we left and I work away a lot, so I never re­ally got to see the kids,” said Ian, who worked for a tele­coms com­pany.

“So, to be able to eat ev­ery meal with ev­ery- body, go to sleep at the same time, wake up at the same time, that for me is the big­gest take-away.”

Al­though they saved up to pay for the ad­ven­ture, the spon­sor­ship made a big dif­fer­ence and one In­sta­gram post could bring in £300 to £500 from a brand want­ing to be seen on their @trav­elthe­world­fam­ily ac­count.

They worked hard over the nine months to im­prove their pho­tog­ra­phy and edit­ing skills, build­ing on Clare’s stud­ies at New­port Film School. They trav­elled in Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia, Thai­land, Hong Kong, Cam­bo­dia, Viet­nam, Philip­pines, In­done­sia, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

Clare said some of the highlights of the trip were breath­tak­ing views and the ar­ray of wildlife.

“Whales, dol­phins, kan­ga­roos, that was a real big one for us, as well as some of the land­scapes,” she said.

But they did ex­pe­ri­ence some “mishaps” along the way.

“We were in­volved in a car ac­ci­dent in Thai­land,” Ian said. “Not speak­ing a word of Thai and them not speak­ing a word of English, it led to us be­ing in a po­lice sta­tion for five hours.

“We’ve lost bank cards and wal­lets and the kids have been un­well, we’ve been un­well, missed flights.”

The cou­ple met just over seven years ago, mar­ried six weeks later and had a baby straight away.

“We’ve al­ways been strong to­gether, but like any mar­riage, it has its ups and downs,” Ian said. “But, be­ing away, we’ve grown closer.”

Ian said they “were prob­a­bly at their most naïve” when it came to ed­u­cat­ing the chil­dren.

He added: “I thought it would be a lot eas­ier, you’d spend a few hours a day and get it done.

“It didn’t go to plan, just be­cause of our sched­ule, but the days that we couldn’t sit in front of a book or any­thing like that, we were ex­plor­ing vol­ca­noes, or snorkelling, things that kids learn about in the class­room, they got to see first-hand.

“We’ve met with the kids’ teach­ers and the feed­back was great af­ter their first day back in school in terms of where they’re at with their maths and English.”

The cou­ple now plan to con­tinue trav­el­ling, but want the chil­dren to go to school, some­where in the world.

In 2019, they’re plan­ning long week­ends in Europe and longer-haul des­ti­na­tions when the chil­dren are out of school.

Ian and Clare Fisher, with son Kal­lan and daugh­ter Maddison

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