I wake up at 5am, walk out of my bell tent, and jump into the adjacent icy cold Lake Ainsworth for a dark swim, giving me just enough time to complete my ritual “self work” routine, warm up the body, then bang off a few emails before I am due for a conference call with a client in Washington DC.
I hotspot from iPhone to Macbook and only have to halt the conversation twice: once as the council garbage truck storms past, and once when my usual 6am swimming partner, a hobbling duck with an injured leg, tries to bust through my tent – missed me by an hour, buddy.
I am writing this in Lennox Head, NSW, and we have been living in tents for four months. “We” is me and my two sons, aged 5 and 7. We are just about to celebrate our one-year anniversary since selling all our possessions to travel the world full-time.
The kids murmur around 7am, then turn their attention to Lego before climbing the tea trees to play “space wars” at our rented patch of caravan park grass.
Brekky (a fresh fruit platter) is served al fresco, then I pack lunchboxes as the ducks waddle past to scope any rogue crusts.
The kids have been in school for two terms this year, after missing half a year in 2016 traveling around South America, Colombia, and Japan.
I had resisted returning “home”, but my sons missed their friends and were ready for some structured academia to complement their “life education”.
I opted out of renting a house for the six months we would be back in town. It would be expensive, require the acquisition of “stuff” that we are happier without, and confining.
Camping has set us back $292 a week for an unpowered site, but we have the best real estate in Lennox, minimal domestic duties, and open spaces for the kids to play and explore during each waking moment out of school hours. It’s a fair price for happiness.
We walk to school by 9am, then the day is mine for a quick chai at a local cafe before I tuck into some writing work.
I work on multiple projects all over the world at any one time, and can usually lock down a solid four hours of deep work from the banks of the lake, my tent, camp kitchen or the local library. By 3.30pm I am a mum again.
Yes, there are the late night nudie dashes to the toilet block, or the time both kids woke up vomiting and by the time we made it to the bathrooms it was coming out both ends. Living the dream right there.
But with minimal attachments we are free to hit the road or skies when opportunities arise.
I scored cheap flights to India a few weeks ago, so we are now getting ready to take off again.
The wi-fi there, like most places in the world, is faster, cheaper and more reliable than Australia’s – wi-fi is most certainly the most important tool in a digital gypsy’s swag.
We are hosting a women’s rights trek in Nepal shortly after, then continuing across Asia – backpacking through Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Korea, then catching the ferry to Japan, my sons’ second “home” being half-Japanese.
A nomadic life
I was born with gypsy blood. My parents had travelled to more than 65 countries in a 10-year period before I was born.
At the age of 21 I left Australia with a backpack and relocated to Japan.
With a job pre-arranged teaching English the move was easy and affordable.
One year in Japan turned to 10, a marriage I felt I had to end, two kids, and an up-and-down career in media.
A few months after being made redundant from my first and only full-time travel editor role, I realised it was time to reclaim my freedom and live a life more authentic.
Divorce almost sent me bankrupt. I felt trapped as a single mum with kids whose heart longed for the world, but where there are problems there are always solutions.
In a matter of weeks I sold all our stuff online or gave it away, and bought one-way tickets to Colombia. If you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. We haven’t looked back since.
What I’ve learnt
- Don’t take life too seriously.
- Learn to laugh at yourself, and with your kids.
- Smile more, frown less (your face will thank you later), and eat clean – you are what you eat.
- Be barefoot as often as possible, and take cold showers.
- Pay the extra for VIP lounges wherever you can – think showers, couches, kids’ rooms and free food.
- You meet the most interesting people when you are travelling the local way – on foot, by bus or train – and don’t be afraid to talk to people. More often than not they are kinder than you think.
- Think outside the box and know there is a solution for every problem.
- And finally, if someone suggests you can’t do something, don’t believe them. Start believing in yourself, anything is possible.
Self-described digital gypsy Angie Davis and her sons are now travelling from India to Japan without using airplanes or plastics. She expects the trip to take around four months.