After losing a dear friend to cancer, Australian mum Evie Farrell realised one thing we so often forget: life really is short.
So she decided to make changes in her life. Instead of spending on a new kitchen, Evie took her AUS$30,000 (US$21,700) savings and brought her then-five-year-old daughter Emily on an adventure around the world.
“My girlfriend passed away from cancer,” Evie told Daily Mail Australia. “She was the most wonderful, gorgeous woman and she had two children. It was a big reminder to grab life and do everything while you can.”
Since leaving Sydney, the two have traveled for almost a year now and been to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, China, and even as far as France and the UK.
A couple of people asked about Emmie sitting on this buffalo and why I feel it's different to riding elephants – which we are strongly against! It's a good question and I'd be interested to know what you think. To me there is a world of difference. This buffalo is a working animal that is traditionally used in the rice paddies around Hoi An, often growing up with a young boy who cares for it during its life. We see them all around the town, just wallowing in rice paddies with their mates and a bunch of geese. That's the life of a working buffalo – work in the fields and then hang out when the work is done. This buffalo was clearly well cared for – they are also really valuable (around US$1000 each which is a huge amount of money here) and regardless of its owners commitment to animal welfare, financially it makes sense to care for the buffalo. In contrast, elephants are taken from their natural habitat, their spirit is cruelly broken through force and isolation and they are kept in awful conditions in elephant camps. These poor elephants are used for the amusement of tourists who watch them do 'tricks', jump all over them for selfies and ride in heavy metal cages on the elephants back as they climb steep hills in pain with the cage digging into their back. They are often chained in patches of dirt and kept 'obedient' with sharp bull-hooks that dig into their skin. It's heartbreaking to see, as they are such beautiful animals and so gentle. Their sole purpose is to earn money from the tourist trade – it's unnatural and cruel. And people still do it! ? When we saw this buffalo in a field, its owner was laying on its back and it looked so amazing we went to take a look and Emmie asked if she could sit on the buffalo too and have a photo. The buffalo was placid and didn't seem to mind – his owner just gently plonked the her up there and she gave the buffalo a big hug – and that was it. I didn't have a problem with it at all – what do you think? Evie xo
We had such a lovely morning here in Paris ?? ? We found our way on the metro from the airport, dropped our bags at the hotel and after a quick wet ones bath and a change of clothes in the WC we set off for a morning exploring while we waited for our room. We are in Marais so everything is beautiful – buildings, doors, footpaths, rooftops. We strolled along the Seine and when Em saw a small group of people playing bocce she ran over and asked if she could join in! And they let us play! It was so much fun playing with locals and we stayed for at least an hour. Kids bring so much to traveling – if I'd been my myself I would have walked by, or maybe liked to have join but not said anything. I can't imagine anything better for our first morning together in Paris than bocce by the Seine. We then walked to Notre Dame – oh my gosh it was so crowded, and a huge line for mass and to go inside! When I was here years ago I just walked right in for mass…so we will try again another day. Then a huge falafel salad plate for me and chips, blueberries and carrots for Em and off we went home to our room where we collapsed and have been sleeping for 12 hours. I'm going back to sleep now so I'm full of beans for a big day tomorrow! ??? . . . . . . . . . #loveparis #visitparis #seine #bridges #visitparis #parislove #eminparis #potd #photoftheday #picoftheday #parisfrance #parisjetaime #pariswithkids
UP ON THE BLOG: ? This is Emmie snorkelling on Lady Elliot Island at four years old. It's on Australia's Southern Great Barrier Reef and in a protected green zone. It's the most amazing island – one side is a lagoon where turtles swim around and play, and black and white tipped reef sharks zoom past ?? ? The other side is deep water for diving and snorkel safaris – on our last trip Emmie and I saw hundreds of manta rays up so close as they swam past us, feeding on a tidal line of plankton. Turtles nest here, and we've seen the babies hatching. It's the most amazing place, we've stayed three times and Emmie started snorkelling here at four years old. A lot of the staff are young women studying marine biology and they are such great role models for children. Kids are so capable. Lady Elliot is remains one of our most favourite places and I would love you to experience it too, so try and get there if you can ??? you can read more about it on our blog – link in profile above! . . . . . . . . . . #travelbuddy #turtlelove #visitaustralia #seeaustralia #thisisqueensland #southerngreatbarrierreef #mytravelgram #jetset #snorkelaroundtheworld #mytinyatlas #instatravel #travelgram #funtimes #instamood #holiday #adventure #kidstravel #travelwithkids #snorkeling #wildling #australia #snorkle #latergram #wanderlust #turtletime #instanature #lpkids #turtle
The 43-year-old former PR consultant and her daughter have no plans on coming home anytime soon. Their savings might have already run out, but they’ve rented out their Sydney home, as well as received sponsorships, to keep them going.
Ahhhh Paris! It was not in our plans for this year but our friends at @thaiairways made it happen! A few months ago we found ourselves in this magical city and I got to introduce Emmie to her favourite tower in the world – L'Eiffel ??? We stayed in Marais and walked around 20 kilometres each day and had such fun together – from boules on the Seine, the Barbie exhibition, Musee L'Orangie, falafel in the Jewish Quarter, sailing boats in the Jardin du Luxemborg, playing in the sunshine in beautiful parks, Disneyland and so much more ? We met up with Emmie's beautiful au pairs from back in the day when I worked full time. At different times these lovely girls looked after Emmie and became part of our family – and we didn't have au pairs cause we're rich and fancy. At home babysitters cost $25 an hour ? and au pairs live in and charge from $6 an hour PLUS you get to know them and become great friends. And then, best surprise of all. One of my most favourite people in the world, Todd, saw we were in Paris and came soaring in from Washington, bringing armfuls of Moet and treating us to brunch at Laduree and dinner and drinks at other fancy places around town. Gotta love a fairy Godfather ??✨ LOCATION: The top of the Printemps building on Haussmann! Very quiet and there's a small cafe and bar selling yummy champagne. You can sit at the tables and take in the view – you don't even have to buy anything!) just make your way up through the department store to the top ? . . . . . . . . . #loveparis #thaiairways #seeparis #weloveparis #visitparis #photoftheday #picoftheday #parisfrance #parisjetaime #pariswithkids #openmyworld #ditchingsuburbia #seeparis #happydays #greatday #bestday #weloveyouparis #beautifulparis #bringthekids #travelmums #worldschool #travelgram #travelwithkids #instatravel #travelmemory #holidays #goeverywhere #lpkids #letsgo
I do love the beautiful memories we are making. Guess I should be checking out Em's face as much as mine when taking a selfie ??? AND I left my fave white sunnies behind on the steps ? . . . . . . #kolnerdom #cologne #colognecathedral #cathedral #visitcologne #badselfie #kidselfie #lovecologne #germansummer #huffpostau #tinytraveler #bestday #happydays #traveldays #citydays #lovecologne #colognedays
Today was AMAZING! Even though it rained in the morning and was cloudy all day we had the best time. It helps that this part of the world is just stunning.? The water is clear and so many shades of beautiful blues. We swam in caves, over shipwrecks and corals, climbed over a mountain to a fresh water lake, gazed up at tropical green covered limestone walls, swam in twin lagoons and saw so many FISH! ??? The other people on the trip were nice too. Em delighted in telling them about climbing a waterfall in Cebu: 'I climbed right up, but people had to push mum to get her up the mountain.' I love how she has my back ? and it's not even true! ? . . . . . . . . #cebupacificair #soulofthephilippines #philippines #coron #lovecoron #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travelph #choosephilippines #fish #travelwithkids #traveldiaries #jetsetkids #snorkelaroundtheworld #holidaywithkids #travelstoke #instatravel #coronislandtour #visitphilippines #snorkel #traveldiaries #travelgram #mytravelgram #mysomewhere #escapesnaps #wearetravelmums #islandhopping #loveph #funtimes
“I’ve learned this year that if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen,” added Evie.
“There’s more to life than sitting at a desk every day to earn money to buy stuff. We’ve travelled for a whole year with one backpack and there’s no way I’m going back to my old way of life now.”
More wow moments at Angkor with lots of smiles and chats with Emmie and these lovely monks who were visiting for the first time. We've come into town for Emmie to eat as she's only had rice in the past 24 hours – four eggs, 12 rashes of bacon and counting! ??? And wifi whoop! . . . . . . #cambodia #siemreap #visitcambodia #explorerkids #khmer #angkorwat #lovecambodia #angkor #travelwithkids #traveldiaries #littlestepsasia #tinytravels #holidaywithkids #luxurytravel #travelstoke #traveldiaries #escapesnaps #wearetravelmums #angkortemples #angkorpark #traveltheworld #traveldeeper #traveljunkie #temples #siemreaptrip #travelblog #monks #angkortemple #mysomewhere #kathmandu
Here's one of my fave pics from our last trip to China in June – we camped overnight in the Great Wall of China and it's one of my most treasured memories from this trip so far ??? [even though as usual I carried all the bags with Emmie running ahead impatiently yelling 'come on, mum' as I staggered behind] ? ? We leave China tomorrow for Hoi An, and we should be at a hotel in Shanghai right now but I stuffed up – I knew I should have grabbed train tickets before today but I left it to chance and whoops – we trudged out to the station at lunch time carrying the backpack and bags of Emmie's Christmas presents, all ready to go and… uh oh no seats til 10pm tonight…so we are still in Wuxi, back at the house-sit. Emmie is ecstatic she gets to watch more episodes of Ever After High on Netflix and I'm just biding time and checking tomorrow's flight details so I don't mess those up too! Train trip then a cross city taxi and a few hours at the airport Starbucks til morning and our first flight of the day ?? ? Thanks so much for all the supportive comments after yesterday's story! I love our community here and how kind and encouraging everyone is to each other. I was surprised at the nasty comments online but that's prob because I'm so used to being here and chatting to everyone and just being in a really nice place. So thanks everyone for making it so awesome here ??✨??? . . . . . . #greatwall #greatwallofchina #beijing #china #greatwallcamping #lonelyplanet #lpkids #mysomewhere #goeverywhere #openmyworld #travelwithkids #travelmum #travelbuddy #chinaholiday #instanature #climbing #travelchina #mytravelgram #traveladdict #chinacamping #chinagreatwall #explorerkids #travelwithkids #lovechina #chinahiking #familytravel #travelgram #visitchina #familyfun #hwk50th
It's our anniversary! We've been traveling together for SIX MONTHS today!! I can't believe it – where did the time go? It doesn't feel like six months at all. We are so lucky to be here in Paris to celebrate – thank you so much @thaiairways for flying us over. We're having the BEST TIME. Just got back from the Eiffel Tower at night, and we sat on the steps at the Trocadero listening to a French musician and singing along to Beatles songs with the big crowd of people from all over the world, the golden tower sparkling in the background. Had a lump in my throat as I cuddled Emmie on the steps and sung along ??? . . . . . . #loveparis #happy #together #sixmonths #weloveparis #visitparis #parislove #eminparis #photoftheday #parisfrance #parisjetaime #pariswithkids #openmyworld #ditchingsuburbia #happydays #greatday #bestday #weloveyouparis #beautifulparis #happyinparis #bestever #trocadero #eiffeltower #anniversary #followyourdream #escapesnaps #huffpostau #funtimes