Indefinite family travel – Why Not? Interview with Justin Mussler!

If anyone has been keeping up with our facebook page, you will know that we’ve been wiped out the last few days with some kind of poisoning!

Needless to say, when you can’t get out of bed, you can’t blog!

To make up for the drought, I have an awesome interview today from my friend Justin Mussler.

Justin, his wife Heidi and their two small children plan to set off late in 2012 on an indefinite travel adventure!!  They are one of many families getting ready to escape the rat-race.  If you’ve ever had a glimmer of a yearning to travel long term (or you think we are mad for setting off for a year) maybe you can get a look into the reasons travelling with your family could be the best thing you’ll ever do!

You can check out the The Great Family Escape at www.greatfamilyescape.com.

There are piles of tips on how to save for travel, how to get organised, why you should,  etc. and Justin even wrote an article questioning whether people really need to travel with all the technology that they cart along!  And I’m still talking to him!!  That’s the kind of great guy he is!!

So let’s see what their family plans are………….

1. Why have you decided on indefinite travel instead of just a one or two year career break?

Why not?

Right now, I don’t like the idea of settling back into a routine where  we ship the kids off to school and head off to the office.  We’ll come back when we are ready or the money runs out.

I also think the “year off” thing kind of forces travel.  If you only have 3 days at Disney World you are going to be racing around, trying to squeeze out ever last minute and hit every ride.  Without limits on time we have so much freedom.  If we find a a place we love, we can stay as long as we want.  There is no pressure.  We can just enjoy life as is.

2.  You are married to the lovely Heidi. Did she agree to your plans for travel straight away or did she need some convincing first?

If the lovely Heidi had her way, then we would be traveling right now!  No, Heidi did not need any convincing at all.  I’m the more cautious one who plays the “what if” game.  Ultimately, we both want to travel.

That is one thing that does make a huge difference.  You and your spouse/partner need to be on the same page.  Disagreements are normal, but if someone has a serious objection, things can go bad.  I’ve seen it happen.  Heidi and I are very much on the same page when it comes to travel.

Kids are always going to have reservations, especially those over 6-7 years, but they will get over it and adjust quickly as long as the parents keep it together.  Once traveling, if our kids start to struggle, then we will reevaluate, but the kids are just going to have to trust us initially.

We are very much all on the same page now.

3.  When I first met you, you planned to let your blog readers choose the country you would first travel to!  Is this still the plan and where will you travel to first?

NOPE! – Not at all.  It was a good idea, but there were many problems.  The main issues were that  a lot of people didn’t want to take the time to vote and when they did they often voted for their home town.  I should have offered a prize or something!

I think we are going to Central America.  We want to leave in late 2012, and have some North American weddings and stuff to attend in Summer 2013, so it helps the budget to stay close.

Part of the reason we have decided to change our lifestyle is so we have more time to see family and friends.  Heidi’s family is from British Columbia, while my family is in New York.  We never get much time to see both of them.  But now, we will have all the time in the world.

4.  And after that?  What are your plans for the first 2-3 years of travel.

We don’t have many plans.  Part of the idea behind what we are doing is to try and change our habits around planning.  We spend our lives reserving, booking, and dreaming about what will come later.  I love the idea of just waking up and doing what the day brings.  That’s easy when all you have is a backpack.

We both love Asia.  I would like to go to India and work our way to Australia.

We want to cycle Europe, but our kids are still a bit young for that.

And South America, we might drive there.

We want to go everywhere, but I try not to think of destinations too much.  That’s really not what this is about.  Seeing the world was only one of the many reasons to change our lifestyle.  We wanted time, and the ability to do things we could have never done before with family and friends.  We also wanted to pursue other personal interests we have.  That is hard to do when you both work demanding jobs and have kids.  This lifestyle provides us a great opportunity to change.

5.  How do your extended family feel about your travel plans?  How do they feel about not seeing the children for long stretches?

Most love the idea, some hate it.  Heidi and I have always made every effort to see family and friends.  We feel that is very important for us and the kids, and as I said, it is one big reason why we are doing this.

What can you do?  Everyone reacts in different ways.  Some people get really emotional.  Some even get angry, as if we are doing this to piss them off.  I try not to worry about stuff like that.  Our motives for this whole adventure are very good and honest.  I can’t control what other think and feel about it.

Some people have a funny way of trying to talk you down from your mountain top just because they aren’t able to imagine climbing up themselves.

6.  Do you plan to work while travelling?

I work all the time.  I like work.  And yes, we plan to work as we travel.

We don’t have set jobs.  To do that would just be like doing what we’re doing now.  I don’t want to live via my computer.

We will teach, volunteer, maybe pick up some manual labor.  I might even buy a sailboat and start playing tour guide.  Why not?

I feel like we all work to make money.  I would like to work for a while because I really like what I am doing.  I don’t want to have to think about money for a while.  I know many will say that sounds like a luxury, but it’s possible.  It’s taken us many years to be able to pay off our debt and save enough for this adventure.  It can be done.

7.  And finally, what’s the one thing you hope to achieve/experience on your long term travels?

That’s a big question.

I think we just want to change.  Change the way we see the world, play with our kids, work.  We want to change the way we spend our days.

Working 5 days a week it is always a go, go, go – I want to change that.

I would like to learn to do with a bit less.  To focus on the few things I really care about and forget about all the other nonsense.

I think travel creates independence, but it also creates a respect for family and other people and cultures.  All of these things are very important to Heidi and I.  And we want these things for our children.

I also just want to have some great adventures.  I want to go places with Heidi and the kids, and it sure doesn’t sound like a bad idea to sit on a beach for a few months.  There is definitely a selfish side of me that wants a few beers and quite place of my own – and we’ll find it.

Also, I think I just want to see what happens.  I really think that if we give ourselves a chance, we will find something we love to do.  This trip is really about just taking the show on the road and giving change a chance to happen.

Thanks so much to Justin for taking the time to answer my questions!

Don’t forget to follow along with the Mussler family at http://www.greatfamilyescape.com.  Who knows maybe your family will be the next to hit the road…….

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Comments

Indefinite family travel – Why Not? Interview with Justin Mussler! — 8 Comments

    • Thank YOU Justin!! Was just what we needed to break the sickness drought on our site!! I hope our readers found it as interesting as I did!! We will definitely make it to Boston this year before you escape on your own adventure!!

  1. Love it! We can’t wait to hit the road. It still feels a little funny to tell people that we’re doing it. They either look at us like we’re crazy or their envy shoots poison from their eyes. But I think it does make people stop and think about whether they might be able to do something that crazy.

    • Lol. Envy poison from their eyes – love it!! I think it’s never occurred to most of us that we could actually do this. I thought we would be the only ones and was amazed to discover so many other families on the road!! It sure has opened my eyes!!

    • Hi Amber. It sure was ordinary! And now Gert and I have shocking sunburn!! Had to go to the doctor at the hospital to get drugs and cream!! Lol. Justin told me he was pretty ordinary – I thought his interview showed just the opposite!!!

    • As someone nearing the end of their 12 month trip I can assure you that you are so right!! I so wish we had budeted a little better and planned to go until there was no cash left. Of course there is NO cash left, it’s just a little earlier than we would have liked!

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