An Australian couple sold everything they owned to move their family-of-four overseas after finding themselves unable to afford a comfortable life Down Under.
Jimmy Mitchell, 36, and wife Pauline, 35, gave up the ‘stereotypical Aussie lifestyle’ in Western Australia and have been travelling around south east Asia for the past 10 months with their sons Riley, seven, and Liam, eight.
Jimmy, cofounder of digital marketing agency My Online Guy, told FEMAIL he was working endlessly to make a decent amount of money but felt like he was ‘never getting ahead’ and would at times arrive home in tears.
At the time the couple were renting a four bedroom house in Mandurah, an hour south of Perth, and struggled saving for a house deposit despite working long hours.
‘The core reason why we decided to travel full-time was to improve our quality of life and spend more time together as a family,’ Jimmy said.
They’re also now saving as much as 50 per cent of their income in a good month instead of zero to five per cent.
The pair haven’t looked back since taking the leap and aren’t sure when – or if – they will return to Australia permanently.
Jimmy Mitchell, wife Pauline and their sons Riley and Liam have been travelling around south east Asia for 10 months. The couple decided to relocate overseas after Australia became ‘unaffordable’ for them
While it was a difficult decision, they haven’t looked back and have been able to spend more time together as a family
‘In Australia we earned good money – this is the thing I couldn’t get my head around. We had good jobs but we always felt like we weren’t getting ahead,’ Jimmy said.
‘The more I worked and the harder I worked to earn the money so we could have the stuff, the less time I got to spend with my family.’
The stress felt like such a massive burden that sometimes Jimmy would come home from work crying, and it was only getting ‘progressively worse’.
‘I’d come home and say to Pauline, “I can’t keep living like this anymore”. And that was a combination of the fact that we were both working in the business, the kids were at school and we had barely seen each other,’ he said.
‘We were just sick of it and couldn’t continue.’
Pauline agreed and said every day felt like a repeat of the last.
‘We felt like we were living the same stagnant life. You just do the same thing day in day out, and there was just no reprieve from it,’ she said.
‘Even on the weekends you think you’ll have some family time or go somewhere but the plans never eventuated.’
Due to the stress of running a business, even on quick family getaways, the couple would always receive calls or emails from staff and clients.
The family of four have travelled to Malaysia, Vietnam and Bangkok. Next year they’ll visit Hawaii and Japan
The kids are homeschooled which can be challenging for the parents at times, but otherwise the boys enjoy learning together
So they decided to take a leap of faith and relocate overseas.
It was an 18-month process from the initial idea to leaving the country – in between they had four garage sales to sell all their belongings and downsized the business.
They booked a one-way flight in February and have since visited Malaysia, Vietnam and Bangkok.
They stay in new destinations anywhere from two weeks to three months via Airbnb or short-term rentals and explore the areas in-depth before moving on.
They’re also able to continue working full-time for themselves through their digital business.
Next year they’ll return to Malaysia for a month before jumping on a cruise bound for Hawaii then Japan.
The kids are homeschooled which can be challenging for the parents at times, but otherwise the boys enjoy learning together.
In their spare time they’re always with the kids exploring new places, trying new food and going on adventures. They’ve been on safaris, spent a week in the jungle and have gone to countless theme parks.
The cost to live in Asia is incredibly cheap compared to Australia so the couple no longer stress about money.
In Australia they were spending $460 per week ($1840 a month) on rent for a four bedroom, three bathroom house, whereas in Vietnam they briefly lived in a luxe four-level townhouse for $1,500 a month.
Back home they would spend between $200 to $300 a week on groceries while overseas this cost was slashed to just $70 to feed the whole family.
‘In Australia you knew your minimum spend. I was worried every single day about bills and now I don’t,’ Jimmy said.
The price of public transport, medication and dental appointments is also decent and the couple don’t have any vehicle expenses because they don’t own a car.
Jimmy claims the cost of living in Australia is so out of control it’s ‘impossible for families to be families’.
He also slammed the government and urged politicians to ‘do better’.
‘I think the Australian Government is completely out of touch with what families and Australians in general are actually going through. In my opinion, they prioritise the wrong things when it comes to policies,’ he said.
‘It feels like they prioritise big businesses over people.
‘We’ve been to places where you can see the planning has been done 10, 15 20 years in advance as well which is so different to Australia.’
The cost to live in Asia is incredibly cheap compared to Australia that the couple no longer stress about money
They will likely move back to Australia before the boys start high school as they feel it’s an important age to have a sense of security and made friendships
But it was a difficult decision leaving home and they do miss Aussie barbeques.
Jimmy said: ‘For me, I had already made up my mind. We’re sacrificing a lot with the business to do this but I thought being able to spend more time as a family outweighed all the negatives.’
Pauline, who has a large family, added: ‘It was a lot harder for me to leave family, friends and the life we had created in Australia. I felt it for the kids in as well, because I made friends at school, and I had all these connections.’
The couple says they also had mixed reactions from family and friends after sharing the news – some thought they were ‘mad’ while others praised their choice and were excited to hear how it went.
They’ll return back home for Christmas but have no set plans to return full-time yet.
They admit this could change as the children get older but they’ll likely keep travelling around the world while the kids are young.
If they do return it will likely be before the boys start high school as they feel it’s an important age to have a sense of security and make friendships.
For now the kids have no problem with the lifestyle and don’t want to stop any time soon.
Jimmy has also gained a following on social media under the moniker @themothfamily and ‘Mitch’s On The Horizon’ to share how other families can travel full-time too.
‘You’d be surprised – there’s actually a lot of families from the US and UK in different situations who are travelling full-time too,’ Jimmy said. ‘It’s all about changing your mindset and thinking what other options are out there.’