Here is how a Lancashire couple threw caution to the wind and upped sticks to New Zealand - and then took their children around the world for a year
“Just because you’re married with a mortgage and children doesn’t mean that you can’t dive into the unknown," say Liz and Brian Deacle, who just can’t sit still.
And considering their background, it is no surprise.
The pair were born in Lancashire and unknown to each other, their parents uprooted them to Newquay where they later met.
With adventure in their blood, they travelled the world, earning a living by working in bars and restaurants.
They returned to the UK to have their children, but they soon got itchy feet.
Liz, 49, who grew up in Ashton, now details her journey through her blog It’s a Drama and reveals how it all began.
She says: “When I was seven, my parents, who were travellers themselves, decided to up and move to Newquay in Cornwall.
“My dad wanted his family to grow up by the sea and must have fancied the promise of sun, sand and a nice Cornish pasty.
“Unbeknown to us, at exactly the same time, in the same year - 1978 - my husband’s family, who lived in Mawdesley, had the same idea.
“They too headed off for a new life in sunny Newquay.
“Fast forward ten years to the summer of 1988 and those same two Lancashire kids met at a Newquay night club.
“Discovering that we each originated from Lancashire, we hit it off instantly and along with many other things, we shared a love of travel, adventure, good food and wine.
“While our friends were spending money on hotels and package holidays, we preferred to put a cheap tent into the back of our beloved red Peugeot 205 and head off to some beautiful woods where we could camp, build a fire, cook camp food, drink wine and star gaze.
“We went all over Europe in our little car called Poo, which is French for amazing.
“She took us from the tip of the UK to the Greek island of Paros, all in one summer and usually on the dregs of her diesel tank.
“It was an amazing adventure. We spent three blissful months living under a tree in Greece, and it was while we were there we decided that rather than go back to the UK and settle down like most of our friends, we would work our way around the world, funding our travels.
“Driving home from Greece through Italy, we stopped for a few days in Verona, home to the famous Capulet house as mentioned in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I sat and posed for a photo and Brian pulled out a little ring that he’d been stashing in his rucksack for the whole summer, and proposed to me.
“The next ten years saw us frying fish and serving cocktails in Greek tavernas, tiling bathrooms and pouring wine in France, guiding people down ski slopes and then returning to a 5-star chalet to cook a gourmet meal for 10 guests in Whistler, Canada.
“We had the time of our lives. We had no worries other than where to travel to next, and we had one adventure after the next.
“We weren’t wealthy, but we were time and freedom rich.
“As I approached my 30s, my biological time started to sound like a massive grandfather clock.
“I began to dream of having a family and settling down. We were also keen to start our own business.
“We had found ourselves to be very popular hosts amongst our Canadian chalet company guests and so decided to return to England and try our hand at running a cafe.
“We bought a cheap little greasy spoon in Bath and over the next four years transformed it into a beautiful, chic cafe.
“In 2001, our first baby was born - a little boy, Sonny.
A few years later in 2004, Tessa, our daughter, joined the party.
“Because I wanted to spend every hour I could with my babies, we sold the cafe and Brian started a property development company.
“Brian did all of the major work as he is a multi-talented tradesman and I would often take the children round to whichever house it was we were doing up and let them play in the garden, while I quickly slapped a coat of emulsion onto the walls or lay some turf.
“Having this kind of business meant we had lots of time to travel with our young family.
“We took advantage of this freedom, taking the family back to explore Canada and America.
“One year, we imported an American fifth wheel (it’s like a gigantic caravan that hitches onto the back of a truck), and we drove it around most of Europe. It wasn’t a patch on our old girl Poo but all the same, we had a wonderful, if not very different, time.
“By 2008, we were very much encased into family life.
“We lived in a beautiful house in an expensive city. As you can imagine, this brought with it a hefty mortgage and very high bills.
“I had to go and get a job, so I started another cafe, and Brian was working all the hours under the sun in his own heating business. “We realised that we were living to work, not working to live.
“We felt trapped by school restrictions and financial pressure. Living in Bath felt claustrophobic.
“We longed for the days of freedom and adventure, of space. Of making do with what we had, rather than needing more and more to make us happy.
“It was time to emigrate to the other side of the world. We would sit, night after night, scanning the internet for places to emigrate to.
“We love wilderness and walking. We needed space and somewhere that the property would be cheaper.
“We emigrated to New Zealand and have been here for eight years now. We love it.
“Of course, no country is perfect, but in my humble opinion, I think New Zealand comes pretty close.
“The past eight years have been so exciting for us. Brian started his own business. He is a plumber/electrician and gas fitter by trade and so built a fantastic company with a friend installing European heating systems into the cold kiwi houses.
“We took the children out of school a year after getting here, and have home schooled them ever since.
“Because of Brian’s income and lower house prices, we have managed to live on just one wage.
“Home schooling is indeed living differently. It hasn’t all been a breeze and can be very challenging.
“It has been immensely rewarding and has given us the freedom to go where and when we want to.
“We have travelled throughout New Zealand extensively, but we still have so many hidden places within this country that we haven’t yet touched upon.
“People ask why we home schooled and the honest answer is that we just love spending time with my kids and were willing to make that happen at whatever cost.
“We don’t stay settled for very long before we start to feel the itch of starting a new adventure, start looking for a change of scenery, a challenge.
“So last year we took our teenagers and backpacked around the world with them for a year – that was why I originally started the blog to document it and to show other families that you can be a middle aged, hormonal, wine dependant rat bag and still backpack around 32 countries with your children, who were aged 17 and 14. I was 48 and Brian was 56.
“When we came back to New Zealand from our trip, we did indeed find ourselves unemployed so for the last twelve months have been working hard on building our online business (my blog) as well as starting a drop shipping business which is just starting to take off and bring in a semi decent income.
Our aim is to become location independent so that we can continue to travel while earning money online.
“If this fails I might come back to Preston and open a parched pea stall.”
Liz hopes her blog and tales of travel will inspire others to explore the world.
She says: “We threw everything into the air and took two teenagers around the world.
“Children can be a big game changer. You suddenly see them growing up so quickly before your eyes.
“Had we listened to people’s advice, we would have heard that now wasn’t the right time to take teenagers around the world.
“Now’s not a good time for your husband who is in his 50s, to leave his business and travel the world.
“You should be saving your money for university fees, not living it up around the globe. No, no and a big fat no.
“We are living life as it was designed to be lived - to the full.
“We are always looking for positive changes, because change brings adventure and adventure brings experience.
“And experiencing life to the fullest with my family is what I love.
“We want to travel to as many different countries as our money will allow and find places off the beaten track, that are waiting to be discovered.
“We want to discover new cultures and spend time with the local people. We want to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and live differently.
“I’ll admit, the two teenagers were a little reluctant for all of about three minutes, and then, when they found out that there might be WiFi, there was no stopping their enthusiasm.
“I love the saying if not now then when? There is never the perfect time to do anything. There is just time. Sometimes, you have to listen to your heart and just take the leap.
“I know everything won’t be a bed of roses, of course, it won’t.
“But as long as we can experience different things, smell the different air, make memories, be together as the team that I know we are, then I know we will have the time of our lives.
“The reason I started this travel blog was to not only document our world travels but to hopefully show that no matter what age you are, family or not, you can do whatever it is you want to do.
“If we can do it, anyone can do it.
“Just a few little pushes and you’ll be on your way. And once you get rolling, there will be no stopping that butterfly in you.
“Just because you’re married with a mortgage and kids doesn’t mean that you can’t dive into the unknown.”
To read more about Liz’s travels visit www.itsadrama.com.