HOLIDAY TALES OF THE FAMILY WHO SOLD EVERYTHING ...TO TRAVEL THE WORLD
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