Home is where my family is

Where Do We Come From?

When people first meet our family they are often confused as to our home country or origins.

Where are you from? Which country is home for you?

Our accents and background often require an explanation! So here you go…

Truro Cathedral

Truro Cathedral – town of my birth in Cornwall, UK

I was born in Truro, Cornwall but from the age of 5 to 18 grew up in Plymouth. Left home at 18 to go to University in Manchester and haven’t really stopped moving house since! Paul grew up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK but does not have a strong accent, unless he returns home to visit family. After 10 years in Manchester (where we met at University on an Environmental Science degree course) we emigrated to New Zealand. We had been to New Zealand for a month driving around in a campervan in winter.

Our children were born in New Zealand and Australia

Our first 3 children were born in Christchurch, New Zealand. We rented numerous houses in our 10+ years living in the South Island of New Zealand. Ashburton, Christchurch, Diamond Harbour, Lyttelton, Governor’s Bay and Le Bons Bay were all areas we called home. In Southbridge we attempted to put down roots by buying a house. I say attempted because within 6 months of buying we were already looking at rentals back on Banks Peninsula. We ended up renting out our house and renting in Le Bons Bay so our eldest could attend a small one-room mixed age school with less than 10 children.

A job situation meant we moved to Australia for an initial 18 months that turned in to over 3 years. Our 4th child was born in Australia. We returned to New Zealand with no firm plans and ended up spending a number of months renovating our house and selling it. At the point of sale we decided to put into action our plans to travel for as long as we could.

Sold house in New Zealand

The only house we’ve ever owned!

The Start of the No Fixed Abode!

We booked flights to Kuala Lumpur! Why? Because it was halfway to Malta. Why Malta? We wanted somewhere English speaking with a mild climate to start our travels. We stayed in Malta for just under 3 months before heading to England to apply for the children’s British passports. At this point we hadn’t decided where to go next or if we would stay in the UK.

Decision made we were off to Gran Canaria! We called a 6th floor apartment in Las Palmas ‘home’ for 8 months.

las palmas harbour view

View from our Las Palmas 6th floor apartment – home for 8 months in Gran Canaria

Next stop: we found a house available for short term rental in the same Cornish village that my 90 year old gran has lived in forever! We are currently enjoying a Cornish summer and exploring the places I remember visiting as a child, with our children.

children feeding fish walled garden cornwall

Children feeding the fish in the walled garden at our Cornwall home

Our Next Home?

We have just secured a six month winter let for a cottage in Launceston, Cornwall. Too much still to see so we’re staying longer but nearer the Devon border so we can explore there too. One thing is for sure we have no intention of buying a house or renting unfurnished long term. We will continue to travel and explore albeit slower than many travelling families. A whirlwind round the world trip lasting a year is not our intent. We are embracing this mobile lifestyle for as long as we can.

Where do the children call home?

If you ask them they will say, “Home is where my family is.”

With, “Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R Tolkien sums up how we feel!

Not all those who wander are lost JRR Tolkien

Sunset from ferry between Gran Canaria and Tenerife

We don’t know what we’re looking for, but we certainly haven’t found it yet!

The bag image below is one I had custom made by Rare Bags featuring patches that mean a lot to me. The bag incorporates a vintage tie from my then extensive collection. For a period of time I expressed my creativity designing necktie necklaces/scarves for ladies.

I love the ‘Crazy Ones’ quote too…and the SIMPLIFY patch on the shoulder strap.


Rare Bag patches

Where Is Home?

We don’t feel that Plymouth is home, nor Manchester or Newcastle. Our family has no plans to live in Australia again. New Zealand stole our hearts and will always be somewhere we would love to visit again. Not sure we could live in the Canterbury region again though.

We travel with around 100kg of belongings in 4 suitcases. Too many clothes and toys, we’re still thinning out! When staying somewhere for a few months we find the children are happier with some bought duvet covers or sheets that they choose. Maybe these help to personalise the space for them? Certainly helps minimise wear and tear on the owners white linen – why white I have no idea – I hate it but it’s so common!

I have my cushion cover, Tigger and Bagpuss that travel with me. The children have their favourite soft toys and a small amount of Lego and other personal items and toys. Lily has her fairy wings and scarves of course, and George has Batman and Spiderman figures.

Personal duvet covers help the children feel at home.
Tigger, travel cushion cover and Bagpuss make me feel at home wherever we go!

Why do we travel?

Life is too short! Tomorrow is not promised!

We have had our fair share of natural disasters: earthquakes, floods and tropical cyclones (Gladstone, Queensland). Home was Southbridge, New Zealand when the M7.1 Darfield September 4th 2010 earthquake struck at 4.35am. Our daughter was one month old, it was the day before my 36th birthday and we were approximately 40km from the epicentre. Nasty car accidents (I was 20 weeks pregnant with Tom) and health scares added to living through life-changing natural disasters makes you value things differently. If we can walk away with our lives then we will be happy just as long as we are together as a family.

We do not need a place to call home, at least not for now.

Home & Family Canvas from our Southbridge, NZ home

A Future Home?

Maybe we’ll get that catamaran we’ve been dreaming about and that will be home. Or maybe we’ll settle for a land boat (caravan or motorhome) in the short-term, at least until everyone can swim!

The world is waiting for us and we want to see more of it. We are not content to just view the pages of books or pictures on the Internet!

I love this quote that was emailed to me when I was a rapidly burning out secondary school teacher over 12 years ago!

 “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967


We’re from…

For anyone with a guide or scout background you may remember this chant?

leader chants, campers repeat…

Everywhere we go! (Everywhere we go)
People always ask us (People always ask us)
Who we are (who we are)
Where we come from (where we come from)
So we tell them (So we tell them)
We’re from …name your camp… (we’re from…)
And if they cannot hear us (And if they cannot hear us)
We shout a little louder (we shout a little louder)

With origins in so many places as a family that I’m not sure what we would put for, ‘We’re from…..?”

Where are some of our fellow travelbloggers from?

There are so many people travelling the world with their families and sharing their adventures via blogs. Some have a permanent home base whilst others are just as mobile as we are.

  • Jessica shares her hometown story on Magnets from Everywhere
  • Sarah writes about Victor Harbor in Australia over at Not All Planets Have A North
  • Gillian from World Schooler Exchange gives her experience on ‘Returning Home’ after an extended period of time away and the difficulties that can arise when trying to reintegrate back into your original life. How can everything still be the same, when you have changed and grown so much?
  • Jessica and her family from Travel with Jess always return to their home town of Hervey Bay in Queensland, Australia in between exploring all that this world has to offer. Here are her top reasons why Hervey Bay is a fantastic place to visit with your family
  • Oh I do love Edinburgh very much. Gillian from The Little Den is a third culture kid and currently lives with her family in rural France. She has a very strong attachment and affection for Scotland and shares why she considers Edinburgh to be her hometown. Read here her top favourite family friendly destinations and activities in the capital city.
  • Visit Border Free Adventures to see what home means to them.
A place to call home