Couple Sell £350k Home, Quit Their Jobs And Take Children On World Tour
Stock market trader Andre Baldeo, 45, took the bold decision after realising that he was just 'going through the motions' rather than living life to the full.
It was a life he didn't want for his kids, Rico, 12, and Tiana-Mae, 10. So in a bid to show them that there was 'more to life than suburbia,' he and wife Becky, 44, sold their £350,000 ($450,000) home and embarked on a journey which would take them to 13 countries in South America and Asia.
The family spent Christmas in Tokyo, hiked the Andes, walked up volcanoes and explored the Amazon forest.
They swapped days at school and work for stints conserving turtles, working on farms and football coaching, 'home-schooling' the kids along the way.
Now back home, the couple are unemployed and living in a rented property - but they say the £65,000 ($84,000) trip was worth every penny.
Andre, from Enfield, north London, said: "Working long hours stuck in front of six monitor screens, studying graphs and looking at news can become very lonely and extremely depressing.
"It became suffocating. We needed a change and needed to do something different.
"I wanted to show our children there is more to life outside of suburbia."
He added: "I do feel proud to have done it and it is the best £65,000 I have ever spent.
"We now have the most amazing memories to keep forever and nothing will change that.
"I know when on my deathbed, I'll have a head full of amazing experiences and memories and won't have any regrets to what we sacrificed to make them happen."
Andre worked as a trader in London for nine years, meeting wife Becky, a PA from South Africa.
In 2007, the couple moved to Cape Town, where they settled down and had two kids.
In 2016, the pair realised they weren't totally fulfilled with their lives and that a change was desperately needed.
But as well as helping them get out of their '9-5 working life rut', Andre and Becky felt it would be a great experience for their children.
Over the next 18 months, they got busy putting all their belongings into storage before they boarded a one-way flight to Sarawak, in Borneo, in April 2018 - planning their trip as they went along.
For the first part of their trip they aimed towards Malaysia and the Philippines, where they climbed the 4,100m tall Mount Kinabalu, did turtle conservation work, and volunteered in animal sanctuaries.
The family then went on towards Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan.
Andre said: "Another volunteering opportunity arose in Japan, this time for me to dust of my boots and help coaching football at an academy.
"We lived with a Japanese family who had three small children. Food and board was provided in exchange for our help - me coaching football, and Becky helping around the house.
"Christmas was spent in Tokyo with an old friend of mine and his family, from my home town Enfield, North London."
Over the next few months, they stopped off at Colombia, Ecuador - where they explored the Amazon and trekked the Andes - Peru, and Bolivia.
Andre said the highlights of their stint in South America were a three day, 40km hike in the Andes mountains to Lake Quilotoa, in Ecuador, and visiting Machu Picchu.
Their last port of call was the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, where they boarded a flight for home, arriving back in Cape Town on October 29.
And while he wouldn't change a thing about their trip, Andre said it wasn't always easy.
"It is very difficult being together, just the four of us 24/7. No one gets any personal space at all", he admitted.
"To be honest living out of bags, having cold showers, long bus journeys and constantly moving and not having familiar surroundings got draining.
"But the amazing experiences that we had cancel out the negatives."
The family are now renting a fully-furnished family home while they get back on their feet.
Rico and Tiana-Mae will start back at school in a few weeks time.
Andrew said: "It already feels like a distant dream but we have a different outlook on life now and we are all better people for it."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS