Growing up in England, travel was a natural thing to do for all employed. In some ways, it’s a right of passage that almost all families enjoy – rich and poor. My first international trip was to France many years ago in middle school. A student exchange program followed this to Germany. Later, my family and I took several vacations to Spain, Tunisia, and Greece. I particularly enjoyed my trips abroad with my cousins — some of which still stand out in my mind as classics. I was hooked on travel long before my relocation to the US.
Despite being fortunate enough to have experienced travel, I came from a typical working-class family. No one in my family had an education beyond high school. No one was making a great living, and few owned their own homes. My family has always struggled with the dependency and mental illness. Early on, I learned and understood what it meant to be born into a working-class family. My long-term options were limited. The search for stability seemed like the only option. Back then, security meant getting married to a man in a better class than me, having children, and hopefully living happily ever after. All of this never appealed to me.
The Teenage Years
In my late teens, I went through a phase where I rebelled against everything my family tried to teach me, including rejecting a paid scholarship to a private school due to teenage pride and dating all the wrong men. I quit school and went on a rebellious quest to define my independence, sabotaging every ounce of normality along the way. I don’t regret a single moment. While I made mistakes and took the long road, I learned life lessons you cannot buy, which ended up setting me up for success in personal and professional aspects in the long run.
Fast Forward to Adult Me
When the self-pity party ended, I had an epiphany that education was the only way forward for me. After exploring different schools, I knew I wanted to study overseas. It was critical to breaking the cycle. Separating from my pack and spreading my wings were needed. I looked at schools in India, Australia, and America. Having decided on America, I relocated to the US in 1996 to attend the University of Central Florida (UCF). By far the best decision of my life! Since relocating to America, I have:
Become the first person on both sides of my family ever to attend a university and earn a degree
Been happily married for over 20 years – still am!
Raised a couple of fur balls that I adored, that taught me what true unconditional love is
Became a parent to my beloved nephew – the Monkey
Made lifelong friends, priceless friends with the depth
Bought, sold, and rented out several homes.
For the most part, lived almost debt-free
Traveled extensively globally – 54 countries and counting
Visited every state – all 50, by age 44
Held a Director level position in a Fortune 500 Company for over 20 years. Still, do and expect to soar!
My Turning Point
I’ve always enjoyed traveling, but a life-changing event accelerated my quest to see more. I was a strict and conservative saver. I thought one or two trips a year were doing well. That is until I learned my mother had stage four stomach cancer. I spent almost two years traveling back and forth to the UK to care for her. Sometimes staying 5 or 6 months at a time while my husband took care of our home life in the states.
Despite a gastrectomy and chemo, my mother’s tumor returned, and she succumbed to the disease. Death by cancer is one of the most horrible soul-shattering things you will ever witness. It’s a life-changing experience that redefines who you are. Quite frankly, it scared me and left me in a depressed state that I’ve never experienced before. Outside of the obvious pain, I was left pondering my mortality. If the average retirement age is 65, could my expected lifespan be 62? I needed to cash in on life today! It was like a lightning bolt reality check. It’s a feeling I can’t explain, but it forced me to re-evaluate what’s important.
Brian and I live a very non-traditional lifestyle. We have never conformed to society’s norms and never will. I no longer save to save. I never say no to any experience we can afford. Mainly, I do not say no to going somewhere I have not been before. I’m no longer interested in material items, as they are pointless. I will go anywhere once, and I’m willing to try almost anything that doesn’t involve heights! In short, I’m now living my life to the fullest. After all, there will be plenty of time for sleep when I’m pushing up the daisies.
My husband and I are working professionals with fulfilling careers. Neither of us comes from wealthy families; we are regular people just like you! Now we travel approximately twelve times a year to a variety of locations. Sometimes it’s a long weekend away, or it could be a couple of weeks away, but we are always on the go for a new fantastic memory.
Brit on the Move – The Blog
My friends requested that I start this blog since they’ve wanted me to share information through emails or be the expert to book the vacations for their family’s memories. Knowing how critical, good memories are for a family, this has been a great responsibility, which I’ve enjoyed to make perfect.
I use a combination of strategies, from collecting points to using my timeshare to offset travel costs. Typically, one portion of our trip will be free or almost free. For example, free flights and pay for the hotel, or pay for the flights and stay in the timeshare. I’m not a nomad or a full-time traveler, but I’m an expert. I’ve mastered travel hacking, and so can you!
Brit on the Move provides practical advice about how you can see the world without breaking the bank coupled with a hefty dose of British sarcasm or Britlish, as my friends call it. I am no holds barred type of gal who is going to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If your idea of a great vacation is the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons, this blog is probably not for you. Likewise, if you are a back-packing hostel type, there will be little value here for you. If you are interested in traveling on a modest budget and using some strategies to score decent deals, you will enjoy this site.
I think traveling could be educational for all students to experience the world outside of their norm. It’s something everyone should do. I believe it’s impossible to understand the world unless you experience it for yourself. It saddens me that the average American has never left America, and most have only been to a few states. For Americans, it’s not a cultural norm as it is in many other countries. I want to change this norm by sharing our stories, tips, and tricks.
Want to write for Brit On The Move? Check out the guidelines for Guest Posts.
And yes, I do accept guest posts.
Brit on the Move ™ – You Only Get One Life.
The question is: “What will you do with your life?”