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Going YOLO*

I’m going YOLO.

With my best travelling companions ever. Husband Fraser (48): fluent in Spanish, whizz at currency conversions, timetables and map reading. Older son Thomas (10): excellent at running very fast through airport terminals in a bid to reach precariously timed connecting flights. Younger son Robert (8): always happy to eat fish. And me, Ruth (39): who, if she hadn’t realized she could take the family with her, would be going solo.

*You Only Live Once

Our house doesn’t have a far-reaching view, but if you crane your head around from the upstairs window it’s possible to see the lights of the houses on the hill. I was looking out, trying to see distance, trying to ignore the Lego and kids’ pants strewn over the floor.

Distracted, I watched the woman next door. She was sorting clothes from the washing machine. Her young son played video games on a huge screen.

This is our lives.

Have you ever had a thought that explodes in your chest? That you feel? A hotness that expands – making your heart beat faster and your breathing quicken? A huge idea you know is totally, utterly, completely right?

‘Let’s pack up and go travelling for 3 or 4 years’ I said, as I rushed through to my husband. ‘There’s a whole world out there and I want to be in it.’

With no more time than was needed to expel the words, he said ‘OK. Let’s do it.’

Nothing else was said. We chased the kids around, as you do, needling away at them until they finally settled into bed.

Later, under the inspiring blank canvas of the bedroom ceiling, we agreed to go travelling for a year. Homeschool the boys. Rent out the house. Ditch our jobs.

It was our secret until we could inform the boys’ head teacher. We told only the estate agent as she valued the house.

Now, explaining our plans feels slightly uncomfortable. You might think us brave, stupid, delusional, irresponsible. You might be wondering how the hell we can afford it. How he can leave a reliable job and how I can leave a fledgling career. How our sons will learn during a year off from school. So I limit the breadth of my smile. I clip the lilt of my voice. I’m careful not to jump around in my seat and clap my hands together like an over-excited twenty-something.

But hey. Wonder away. Cos I’m super-bloody excited. Hawaii. Montenegro. Mexico. Cape Town. Tokyo. New Zealand. Cuba. USA… There’s a world out there. And I’m getting in it.

Going YOLO Ruth McAllister Kemp Around the World
The McAllisters exploring Costa Rica in 2015
February 23, 2016

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The heck with what anybody thinks, go do it!! It’s your lives and no one has the right to deny you living it your way. Luck and happiness to you all.

Fantastic Ruth! I don’t think you’re stupid, delusional, irresponsible or brave – just very open-minded, adventurous, fun and ALIVE! I did the same (before children), packing in a career without much thought and I have never regretted it. Someday I will do it again. I wish you all the very best of luck and I look forward to reading your blog!

Bravo bravo!!! I am 100 per cent behind you and have no doubt you and your kids will benefit massively from the experience. I hope to do this some day with my daughter – who cares about convention and the way you ‘should’ do things? It’s your life and YOU get to decide. You are giving your kids – and yourselves – a huge gift in embarking on this adventure. It’ll be tough, it’ll be daunting but it will be AMAZING and give you all many special memories to look back on that well ordinary life just can’t compete with!

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