Annecy and Rhône-Alpes with Kids

It was SO hot. Even as an Australian, even atop a mountain, it was hot.

Probably because of our budget, we made the call to stay outside of Annecy, at a guest house in the mountains of Manigod, about a half an hour drive from Annecy. We enjoy the smaller communes and here we felt like we had won.

We ventured into Annecy on Sunday, with the (completely non-unique) idea of checking out the market, buying some delicious picnic provisions and then sitting by the lac, swimming and enjoying our loots.

By 10.30am the centre-ville was swarming with tourists with the exact same agenda (uncanny!). It was like Times Square right before Christmas and gave us flashing, anxiety-inducing imagery of how we are to cope in future Moroccan medinas.

Sadie was on my back, in the carrier, pretending to be constantly on the verge of sleep when enquired upon (she weighs 16kgs), Rosie, who never complains, in a voice, so perfectly whiny it would suggest otherwise, insisted that she too be carried, because (and rightly), she never gets that opportunity and she never complains (that kid stores truths). As team managers (aka exhausted pack animals), we willingly made a motion to call the proposed agenda too ambitious and head home for an afternoon of down time which was spent in terrifying anguish whilst we hissed at the children to ‘STOP CLIMBING DOWN THE CLIFF TO CATCH THOSE KITTENS!’

The cats/ The view – choose whichever you prefer!

Armed with the knowledge gained from yesterday’s fail, we woke early (easy with little people), and headed back into Annecy to take 2, this time at 8am in the morning. It was peaceful and there were barely any other tourists, and unfortunately no market either but we didn’t mind. We parked at the Hotel D’Ville and it was cheap compared to other places we’ve been. The street art was visible and the flower adorned bridges were bare, so the girls could run around freely and did not make demands to be carried.

Afterwards, we headed for the Lake, at D’Angon which was suggested to us by our lovely host, Aurelia. There they have a patrolled little stretch just beyond the private beaches. It cost us €5.60 as a family to ‘get in’ which I always find a bit funny… who owns that? But it was perfect. A little stall sold ice creams, drinks and snacks, pontoons were anchored close to the beach but far out enough to dive from safely and the views of the mountains were gasp inducing. The littles played happily in the shallows whilst we swam and read and were satisfyingly exhausted and happy to head home when the suggestion was made.


And home for the week was surrounded by jutting mountain ranges that have for me, an allure that I can’t quite explain or perhaps comprehend. The girls told us, emphatically that it was their most favorite place so far:
Us: ‘ah yes, we know; that view!’,
Them: ‘No, because of the cats.’.


The Budget.

This word gives us constant yucky feelings inside!

When we made the decision to travel full time (aka take leave from our very nice jobs and our very nice home!), we had no idea what it would take and what kind of money we would need. Actually, we thought it would be impossible and truthfully our initial idea was to work abroad as teachers.

BUT! We did some research of other families who had taken this leap, did a few sums and settled. I remember feeling sick that night actually that we were ruining everyone’s lives and we would never be able to afford it.

We sold our house. We didn’t use the money from this (we’re not THAT irresponsible!) but we did move in with my Dad for 6 months so that we could save (and save and save and save).

We sold ALL our stuff. Except the important stuff. The kids/ the books. We really didn’t feel attached to any of it and had mostly picked it up cheaply when we first moved back to Australia from Canada as broke university students.

Talking about money is so private and icky but I found it so helpful to hear about what others were budgeting when we were planning, so we are completely exposing ourselves here (and feeling a little vulnerable about it too!)

We came up with a per day budget and allocation based on what others had done and our own knowledge of how we travel.

LEG 1: Three months in France, two months in Northern Africa/ the Middle East @$170 per day (this budget includes accommodation and daily expenses like food).

LEG 2: 4/5 months in South East Asia @ $100 per day including accommodation.

LEG 3: (if we have managed to stick to our budget) 3 months in Eastern Europe, beginning in Turkey @150 per day including accomodation.

We also allocated a budget for tours and activities: $15,000

And lastly, a budget for flights and transport: $20,000

That’s a lot of money. BUT we have no other expenses for the year, just to live and Jordan was able to take Long Service Leave from his teaching job which gave us the final boost across that line. Also, remember, at this stage, this is a projection, so far we have managed to stick below budget so we may end up coming under budget overall… doubtful but possible!

A pause on reality…

Yes to memory making, no to regrets.

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”

— Paulo Coehlo.

The decision to take a step away from our lives (home, family, friends, work, comfort zone, etc!), came surprisingly, incredibly easily to us. We felt really safe and content in our lives thanks to our wonderful home, family, friends, work, comfort zones, etc… and we knew that if we were going to do something this irresponsible, we probably needed to do it when the girls were young (enough to not hold it against us) and in this way, too, we knew that we would be able to really savour these childhood years of theirs before there were teenagers in our house (we often anticipate just how dreadful that might be!). We also had this palpable, unshakable awareness of the fragility of life and that growing old is not always on the cards for everyone. So here we are, carpe dieming our every single day (for the next year and a bit!), saying yes to adventure, yes to daily ice cream and no to future regrets.