Podcast Episode 2: Family Backpacking Adventure Life Change with Wild Forever Family
Welcome to episode 2 of the Exploring It Families podcast. In this episode I talk with Natalie, whose family are known online as Wild Forever Family. We got to know Natalie and her family during our own life change (thanks again Instagam!) and have since met up a few times in real life. Natalie, her husband Will, and their daughters Ava and Bonnie, stepped away from their 9-5 lives to backpack around SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand – but as you’ll hear live rarely turns out as you plan it.
In this post you’ll find all the details discussed in their podcast episode, which you can listen to above (or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcast), plus more photos and information. I hope you’ll give it a listen and please leave a review or rating if you enjoyed it. And share it!
About Wild Forever Family
Natalie and Will sold their house and all their possessions and took their two unschooled daughters Ava and Bonnie on a backpacking adventure around SE Asia. After an unexpected change of direction to their travels, they returned to their hometown in England after only 4 months travelling. Natalie shares openly and honestly the story of why they wanted to change their lives, the challenges of family who disapprove, and the desire to spend more time together as a family.
Natalie and Will are a brave couple who’s “go do it” attitude is inspirational and a must listen for all those hesitating about taking a step closer to their dreams of a different life.
Their life change and what they did
- Quit their jobs and sold their house, plus almost all their possessions.
- Spent 8 months living with Natalie’s mum in her 2 bedroom apartment after their house sold quicker than expected.
- With their daughters they planned a mini family bucket list to take them through SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
- Researched the most ethical ways to travel and have experiences.
- Dealt with disapproving family members who thought they were ruining their lives.
- Set off on their adventure starting in Dubai and India.
- Made some incredible memories and shared family experiences across SE Asia.
- Returned to England after 4 months travelling due to a medical concern.
- Made the hard decision to stop travelling.
- Bought an old motorhome and renovated it.
- Used the last of their savings to rent a house in their hometown while Will looked for a job.
- Currently living in England, with Will working, as they save to take their motorhome on an adventure through Europe.
Photos of their life change and travels
Will and daughters Ava and Bonnie in Koh Tao, Thailand
Bonnie and Ava on the train in India
The Elephant Freedom Project in Sri Lanka
Waiting for a bus with their backpacks in Thailand
Will and Natalie with theirs daughters Bonnie and Ava at Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ava and Bonnie watch gemstones being cut in Jaipur, India
Trishaw ride in Malaysia
Wanda their motorhome that they bought after returning from their travels
The t-shirts inspired by their travels that Ava and Bonnie designed with mum Natalie to raise money for charity
Topics discussed in the podcast
- Why they made their life change
- How they made their life change happen – selling their house, saving money
- What their travel plans were and for how long – SE Asia, Australia, NZ
- What they hoped to get out of their travels – making family memories, family bucket list, reset, question the lives they felt they’d been told to live/aspire to
- Selling all their possession and why they did this
- How family and friends reacted to their plans – how to deal with negative reactions
- Financing their travels – budget, safety nets
- Travel insurance and any other things to budget for when backpacking as a family
- How their daughters reacted to the travel plans and how to meet their needs – emergencies, coping strategies, sensory processing disorder
- Concerns about uprooting their daughters from their home education friends and groups
- Highlights from their travels – seeing orangutans, catching fireflies, visiting a slum in New Dehli, kindness of people
- What luggage and items they took in their backpacks
- How they handled being without a homebase
- Memorable experiences – cockroaches, huge spiders, a fake Airbnb
- Travelling ethically – what this means and looks like
- Why their travels were cut short and they returned to the UK
- Why they didn’t resume their travels after Will’s operation
- Buying a motorhome and then settling down in their old hometown – impact of Covid-19 pandemic
- What their life currently looks like – renting a house, Will working 9-5, the struggles they have, feels of failure
- What they miss about travelling
- What they enjoy most about their current lifestyle
- Lessons learnt from travelling – using their privilege, climate change, plastic problem
- How their travels have inspired their daughters – creating t-shirts to raise money, XR youth assembly, meeting with their MP
- Would they do anything differently
- Dreams for the future – travel Europe in their campervan, housing co-op
- Advice for families considering a life change
Resources and websites mentioned in the podcast
- Natalie’s blog post on their family bucket list
- Bucket List Family on YouTube
- Natalie’s blog post on selling all their possessions
- Natalie’s blog post connected to family/friends disapproval
- Natalie’s blog post on pre-travel budget
- Travel insurance – Natalie and Will got their travel insurance with Boots via Compare the Market
- Natalie’s blog posts on travelling with a child with sensory processing disorder
- Natalie’s blog posts on unschooling
- Natalie’s book ‘How To Raise A Rebel’
- Natalie’s blog post on kids travel bags
- Natalie’s blog post on memorable travel experiences here and here
- Natalie’s blog post on their ethical New Dehli slum tour
- Why Elephant Riding Should Be Removed From Your List
- Natalie and family went to the Elephant Freedom Project in Sri Lanka
- LifeSaver water bottle and filter
- Natalie’s blog post on the dark side of travel
- Buy Ava and Bonnie’s charity t-shirts
Find out more about Wild Forever Family
To find out more about Natalie and Will (Wild Forever Family) and their life change, you can find them:
You can contact them via the contact form on your website.
Photo credit: All photos belong to Natalie of Wild Forever Family. Do not use without permission.