“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read a page” – Augustine of Hippo.
For most, the reality of packing up everything and embarking on a lifetime of adventure will always remain a dream, but for Nicole Connolly and Michael Wright, it became a reality.
Four years ago they abandoned their mundane, ‘normal’ lifestyle for a life of adventure, exhilaration and excitement. We interviewed the couple, originally from Australia to see what it’s really like living the ‘freedom lifestyle’…
What inspired you to create the ‘freedom lifestyle’?
We were both working crazy hours in our ‘old life’ and knew there had to be more to life than just work! Then Nicole’s mother passed away and we decided life is too short to live an ordinary life. So we started planning our new extraordinary travel life.
What was the time period between the initial idea and actually going travelling?
It took just under a year of planning and organising before we could leave. We need to save up enough money, we needed to sell off all of our belongings and we needed to mentally prepare for such a huge change.
How many countries have you been to so far?
We recently hit 45! It’s crazy to think we have been to 45 countries in four years.
Which have been your favourite countries and why?
Michael: My favourite city is Barcelona, I love the architecture, the weather, and the food.
Nicole: My favourite city is Paris. It’s Paris, need I say more?
Any countries you haven’t been so keen on?
We have been really blessed and have enjoyed every place we have been for one reason or another. If I was backed into a corner I would say Brazil didn’t sweep me off my feet. But I am always willing to give it another go!
What has been your most memorable experience so far?
The day we left. Our whole lives changed on that day. For memorable travel experiences, our trip to Iceland would be way up there. That was an incredible experience. Also, living in Costa Rica for three months with sloths and monkeys in our backyard was surreal!
What is the best bit of advice you’ve been given whilst you’ve been travelling?
It is probably the advice we have given ourselves—never stop! And, the advice I always give to others is to travel as much as you can while you can. Travelling changes your soul and brings so much joy into your life – so travel as often as you can.
What have you learnt about yourselves over the last four years?
We have learned that we can do anything we put our minds to. We have created the most amazing life for ourselves, a life that no one thought possible at the start, not even ourselves. We have learned that we can run a successful business from anywhere in the world as long as we have wifi. We have also learned that life can be pretty amazing if you just step outside of your comfort zone.
How do you choose your next destination?
It has really been quite random when we choose where to go next. Sometimes we hear about somewhere amazing from another traveller so we head that way. Sometimes we choose a destination off our bucket list and sometimes we will just go somewhere because we haven’t been there before. The best part of this lifestyle is the freedom to go anywhere!
When do you decide that it’s time to move on to the next destination?
When we get bored! Our feet start to get itchy after about three months in one place, so that tends to be the limit for us. So once we start getting itchy feet again we know it’s time to move on to the next adventure.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of packing up and adopting the freedom lifestyle?
Do it! Don’t put it off any longer. For most people, the thing that stops them is the fear of the unknown but for me, that was the one thing that excited me. The unknown is so exciting and life-changing; you never know what amazing opportunities are just around the corner!
Whilst the lifestyle seems incredible, are there any downsides?
Our family misses us and it’s hard to be away from them on special occasions like Christmas and birthdays, but I’ll be very honest with you; there isn’t a lot we don’t like about this lifestyle!
Do you miss anything about your old life?
Not a thing! I know that sounds strange but when you find a path you truly belong on you really never look back at what you left behind.
Would you of had the guts to go it alone and travel solo?
Absolutely. We are both travel addicts so had we not done this together we would absolutely have gone it alone.
Have you got any tips for someone who’s thinking of going it alone?
Don’t let all the crazy news stories stop you from visiting new countries. What they don’t report on is all the wonderful people that are so helpful to solo travellers. We have many friends who travel solo and they have nothing but good stories from places that are supposed to be “bad areas”. Do your research of course, but there are a lot more good people in this world than bad. You don’t want to miss out on an adventure.
What are the three key pieces of information you think everyone should know before they decide that this lifestyle is for them:
• Life can get lonely on the road so be prepared to get out of your comfort zone so you can talk to strangers along the way.
• You will most likely put on weight because the food around the world is amazing.
• You will become addicted to a freedom lifestyle and the adventure – it will be very hard for you to go back to your ‘old life’.
Let us know where you’re heading to on your next adventure in the comments below.