Us in Squarm Lake, New Hampshire

Three Years of Freedom

This month, Andrew and I marked our three-year travel anniversary. Although we hit a rough patch recently in Spain and the path ahead of us is still far from clear, we’re so grateful for everything we’ve experienced since we left London in 2013. For most people in the world, this kind of travel is simply not an option and we know that we’re incredibly lucky to have had the means and opportunities in life to make our travel dreams a reality. Here’s a look at our journey so far and what we’ve learned about the price of freedom.

Us overlooking Squam Lake, New Hampshire

Three Years of Travel – Our Story

We left the UK in March 2013 and enjoyed an initial period of pure, intense, non-stop travel in New Zealand, Australia and Asia. By the end of our first year away we’d burnt a serious hole in our savings account and were exhausted, so our thoughts turned to establishing a temporary home base where we could replenish our travel fund. Year two saw us achieve that goal as we transitioned from full-time travel to expat life and settled in Vietnam as English teachers.

Faces at Bayon Temple in Cambodia

During our third year abroad we finished our teaching contracts and left Hanoi, excited about the next phase of our adventure. We holidayed in Thailand, returned to the UK for a summer visit, spent the autumn road-tripping through the USA and celebrated Christmas with family. While we started 2016 with high hopes for establishing a new life in Spain, things didn’t go to plan and when our three-year travel anniversary hit this month, we found ourselves totally lost for the first time since we began this journey.

Elephants at the Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

The Price of Freedom

The last three years have been full of new places, people, experiences and challenges. Andrew and I have proved to ourselves that we can create a very rich life by living simply and frugally, adjusting our lifestyle so that we reside in cheaper parts of the world and finding ways to earn money abroad. We’ve prioritised travel and as a result, our perspective on how we want to live has changed drastically – the biggest gift travel has given us is the freedom to figure this out.

White Sand Beach, Koh Chang, Thailand

Here’s the thing about freedom though: it can also completely paralyse you. As our plans crumbled in Spain, Andrew and I found ourselves lost in a sea of infinite possibilities, drowning in options; should we move to another part of Europe, go back to Asia or even return to the UK permanently? Could we volunteer, house sit or find a teaching job somewhere else? During the last few weeks we’ve spent hours researching living costs and work options in countries as far apart as Croatia, Hong Kong, Nigeria and Thailand, yet we still don’t know exactly where we’ll be in a few months’ time.

Mango Shaved Ice in Taipei

In short, we’ve now realised that this kind of freedom can be scary and our nomadic lifestyle isn’t as carefree as we once thought it was. Despite this realisation, I’m incredibly thankful for the life we have and I try to always remember that many people in the world struggle to attain the basic human freedoms we take for granted; we are so fortunate to be able to choose how we live our lives. I also know that while we’re struggling to find our way at the moment, we will work things out.

View of mountains from a plane window

Facts, Figures and Highlights from Three Years of Travel

On a lighter note, here are some facts, figures and highlights from our three-year travel story.

Countries visited: New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Taiwan, UK, USA, Spain.

Number of flights taken: 32

The cost of our trip: we’ve spent around £51,000 since we left the UK three years ago; that covers everything, all our living and travel costs for two people.

Money earned since we left the UK: £30,311, you can find out more about how we earn money and can afford to travel full time here.

Sunset in Koh Phangan, Thailand

Most expensive travel destination: New Zealand, where we spent £122.50 a day.

Cheapest travel destination:  Laos, where we spent £29.10 a day.

Favourite experiences:

Road tripping in New England
Celebrating Songkran in Thailand
Volunteering in the Philippines
Skydiving in New Zealand
Touring Angkor Wat

Hardest moments:  

Crashing our motorbike in Vietnam
Freaking out on the Gili Islands
Visiting the Killing Fields of Cambodia
Facing up to the ugly side of emerging tourism in Burma
Learning hard lessons about responsible travel

Most popular blog posts:

Terror in the Monkey Forest
Cost of travelling in Australia for five weeks
Cleaning up in Vang Vieng, Laos
Our Packing List
What’s it actually like to teach in Vietnam?
Our Caving Adventure in Sagada

A huge thank you to everyone who has ever read our blog over the last three years; we are still amazed that people take the time to follow our journey and reach out to us through comments and emails. Your support helps us to continue travelling – we appreciate it.

  • Patti
    Posted at 16:37h, 29 March Reply

    “the biggest gift travel has given us is the freedom to figure this out.”

    I love this sentiment! Just keep taking 1 day at a time and it will all come together. You two are amazing!

    • Amy
      Posted at 18:19h, 31 March Reply

      Thanks Patti, it has been great to have you following along on our journey 🙂

  • Zara jhon
    Posted at 05:10h, 01 April Reply

    Amazing blog. Thank You for sharing with us.

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:43h, 02 April Reply

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  • DLR
    Posted at 15:07h, 02 April Reply

    I love reading your travel blog. I appreciate your sharing that it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Good luck deciding among all the options.

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:51h, 02 April Reply

      Thanks so much Donna, we appreciate your support. We are making progress with the decisions and have exciting news to share about our upcoming plans soon 🙂

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 00:14h, 04 April Reply

    Thankyou Amy for being so honest about your experiences Please don’t give up,as Patti said ,take each day as it comes and everything will fall in place.Try and pick a country who pays a reasonable wage,to work in.Then travel Europe,which is a fantastic place to visit..It is at the UK’s door step.Alot of Australians visit Europe.They are able to take 4 weeks annual holidays and some of them will take leave without pay and take 6 weeks off to travel across Europe.If they can do it so can you Even if you settle down and have children,you can still take the family for a holiday and do a travel blog on your holiday experience Anyway ,I think you will definately work out what you are going to do.Out of all the travel blogs that i have read,your’s seems to be the most personal.That is why i read your travel blog all the time.You and Andrew are both good hearted people and deserve to continue your dream,love always louisa

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:25h, 04 April Reply

      Thanks so much Louisa. We will be revealing our travel plans for the coming months very soon and we’re determined to keep on travelling 🙂

  • Stefan
    Posted at 17:35h, 05 April Reply

    And what always impresses me the most is that those figures you always quote are for 2 people not 1. Amazing. So when do we find out MBFTA’s next move? 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:20h, 06 April Reply

      Hi Stefan, yes, we were quite amazed by that figure too! I think we saved a lot of money living in Vietnam for almost a year. I will be publishing our upcoming plans very soon! They involve some new countries and lovely apartments in beautiful places 🙂

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 07:43h, 09 April Reply

    What amazing 3 years you had, I folowed your blog from the start and have enjoyed it so much, thank you for taking me on this journey with you. Whatever your future decisions, the fact is that you have experienced and learned more in these last 3 years than some people do in a lifetime. It is a privilege to be able to to enjoy the freedom and live your lives the way you want to live it. Keep doing what makes you happy, I am looking forward to year 4 of the blog?

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:48h, 09 April Reply

      Thanks for the words of support Gilda, we feel lucky to have you following our journey 🙂

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