I want to know your Secret

“What is your secret? How do you get to do all these amazing things?”

I was asked this question recently when I announced on our Facebook page I was flying to Dubai as a guest of Qantas to attend their partnership launch with Emirates.

Looking in at my life from the outside it’s a fair question. I get it often, or a statement like…“You’re so lucky”…or…“Aren’t you living the dream life!”

I understand. I really do.

After all, you see our status updates announcing our next exciting trip or campaign, photos of us drinking cocktails by the pool in Asia, jumping out of planes in New Zealand, going on cruises to Mexico, or taking the kids to Thailand. I know some people would be thinking – there they go again!

I have been fortunate to experience a lot of cool shit in the past three years – ate at incredible restaurants, swum at stunning beaches, drunk beer around the world, and slept in amazing properties.

I’m also very grateful for the exciting campaigns we have been a part of. There’s been the Canon photo safari to the Northern Territory, attending the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the flight with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, seeing the orangutans in Borneo with Malaysian Airlines, and the Qantas trip to Dubai.

Sounds good doesn’t it? It is.

BUT

There is a whole other story. Getting to this point in our life came with a price – a massive one. Rewards will always be matched by effort and sacrifice (and passionate care).

Before I pull back the curtains on some heartbreaking moments and tell you my secrets, I just want to say,

We’re extremely grateful to all our readers because without you a blog doesn’t exist. Your emails, your comments and your support never go unappreciated and we hope we can continue to provide you with value and inspiration to travel and live your dream life.

We care to ridiculous passionate levels.

We are passionate about helping people to create life long memories through travel, change their own world and live their dreams. We understand what it feels like to live a life you are desperate to get out of. We understand the pain, the fear and its far-reaching negative effects.

Let me share with you where our passionate care comes from and WHY I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved with our blog.

But Craig, I want to know your secret. How did you get so lucky?

I don’t believe in luck, and I’m afraid of people who do. I wish I knew the secret formula because it would have saved me YEARS of heartache, pain, and desperation.

I’m nervous about this blog post, about revealing our personal reality. But, we care about being real and authentic and we want you to see what we’ve been through so you know,

If we can do it, you can too.

We’ve always looked up to people who are where we want to be. To us, successful people have been an inspiration, not someone to tear down because of our own fears of not being able to do the same. We decided that if they could do it, there was no reason we couldn’t. We’d just have to find the way.

Even if it meant wading through a ton of shit.

From the outside my life may appear like perfect blue skies, but the reality is its been filled with many tears, mistakes, and a truck-load of guilt and regret.

Today I’m going to share with you how we went bankrupt, how I nearly lost my marriage several times, how our health stood in our way, and how we turned it around with this blog and the determination to create my dream.

This is a very LONG post. A post I have probably been writing in my head for three years, and I’ve re-written it many times over the last few weeks. But I need to get this down and on with my life.

1995 – Lang Park, Brisbane

I sprinted back to retrieve the kicked football. It bounced sharply straight back into my hands as I was at full speed and I planted my right foot down heavily to change directions. CRACK. My anterior cruciate ligament in my right knee snapped and I hit the ground like a bag of shit.

It was painful at first, but as I lay there on the stadium ground, and then on the stretcher whilst being carried from the field, the mental anguish took over from the pain and I knew that moment was the beginning of the end of my 6 year professional sporting career.

From as early as I can remember all I ever wanted to do was play football, and straight out of high school that was what I did. I played for the North Sydney Bears from 1990-96. I had no degree, no formal “job” training, and no desire to live a life other than the one I had on the footy field.

I thought my life was over.

“I want to know your secret?”

I got the same questions as a sportsman as I do now as a blogger. From the outside, people saw me playing on TV, going on tours around the world, and hanging out with high profile people.

I was fortunate to play against legends of the game like Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga and Peter Sterling. I was paid well and travelled often. But what people didn’t see was the 10 years of hard core training and preparation behind the scenes. They thought I was just born talented and that is what got me through.

Wrong. Everyone is born with a talent, it is up to each person to decide what to do with it.

We see what people have and we label them as lucky because it’s easier that way to explain why we don’t have it ourselves. I don’t believe in lady luck. I believe you create your luck. I believe in preparation meets opportunity. I believe in sacrifice and having priorities.

It started with a dream as a kid, and became reality through action and commitment. (The Secret.)

The luck believers didn’t see the 5am workouts in the middle of winter. They didn’t see the three times daily training sessions; the video sessions; the weight training sessions; the swimming sessions; the sprinting sessions; the commitment to diet and mental preparation; and the twice daily visits to the physiotherapist seven days a week for six months, to come back from my injuries.

I played again the following season after my knee reconstruction, but it was over. I wasn’t the same athlete. My knee injury came on the back of two previous seasons of little game time – thanks to the dislocated shoulder and the chronic groin injury.

There is no place to hide on the field, and I couldn’t do the things I used to be able to do. The passion and love for the game was gone.

When I found myself driving to games and seeing a guy riding his bike to the beach and thinking “I want to be that guy”, I knew it was time to hang up the boots.

Why am I telling you about my sporting career?

Because I believe there are moments in life that lead you to where you are today.

If my football career continued past my 24th birthday and into my 30’s, I wouldn’t be a blogger, and probably would have never married my wife.

There are also skills I learned from my sporting career that have served me well in blogging. I learned about communication, focus, self discipline, and what it feels like to get publicly criticized in the newspaper, on TV and in the street – usually by people who have never met you – which also happens in blogging.

New Beginnings

I understand how lost and lonely athletes can feel once they retire. All those years of certainty, routine, and team camaraderie are suddenly gone and you’re left with just yourself.

What was I going to do with my life? How was I going to support myself?

I bummed around for about a year doing odd jobs and feeling sorry for myself until I ended up in the construction industry. It was a move that proved to be beneficial as it was a portable industry and once Caz and I married it helped me find employment around the world.

Fruits of My Labour

Financially I did pretty well out of football and, combined with Caz’s dedication to her teaching career and part-time jobs, we were able to accumulate two properties, one of which we would own free and clear by the age of 32 – no easy feat if you know property prices in Australia. It was only two blocks away from Mooloolaba Beach on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland – a pretty awesome location.

Life was good.

After getting married in 2002 we took off on our dream 5 year extended honeymoon around the world. We lived in Bangkok teaching English for 6 months and travelled extensively through Southeast Asia.

Next was a year living in Dublin and traveling around the UK and a 5 month overland trip from Uganda to Cape Town in East and South Africa.

Not ready to settle down after all that, we moved on again and lived in Raleigh, North Carolina for four years, Caz teaching and me working in construction and also for Delta airlines. We travelled extensively through the States, loved it, and we plan live there again.

Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia 2003
Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia 2003

Taking Shortcuts

During our time living in the States and a brief stint back living in Australia we struggled with the idea of being tied to a job and a destination. We longed for freedom, hated our jobs, and felt our lives were increasingly unfulfilled.

We wanted independence, we wanted time-freedom, and we wanted to live wherever and whenever we wanted.

We decided we needed to create a portable income. So we turned to the internet to find it.

There are people doing exceptional things on the internet, and then there are sales letters and people selling the “false” dream – you know the overnight one based on luck. I’m sure you’ve read them. And maybe even replied.

Seriously do not feel bad about that. There is nothing wrong with you really wanting to create your dream life and making daft decisions in the process. Read on…

We initially spent roughly $30,000 dollars on online courses and seminars and went on to dabble in various home businesses. We tried selling on eBay, we tried Herbalife, we got involved with a personal development company, a travel business, AND, worst of all, donated $35,000 dollars to the stock market trading options.

There was MORE, but I’m just too embarrassed to mention them – nothing illegal – just embarrassing. When you are looking for a way out, it is crazy some of the things you will believe in and try.

HOT TIP

Never ever play around on the stock market with money you can’t afford to lose. When the pressure is on and you have to make quick decisions, you will always second guess yourself. And you can get burnt, and often, and trying to win back money you’ve lost is even more deadly.

Lessons Learned

We failed at all those business ideas because we chased money and not the passion.

When I look back now I could never see myself in any of those roles and was kidding myself. It just wasn’t me. The skills and knowledge needed didn’t come naturally to me and I was embarrassed to tell people what I was doing – that should have been a red flag.

(For a large part of this we were also suffering from reverse culture shock which we knew nothing about. This is why we always like to talk about it on this blog as it can lead you to make decisions stemming from disconnection and heartache.)

The BIGGEST Mistake

Whilst those business failures took a lot out of us emotionally and we wasted many months, even years, of our life pursuing them they didn’t totally cripple us financially.

We found another way to do that.

Because we had previously invested well, we turned our attention back to property investing. If only we could get enough properties and people paying us rent and accumulate passive income we would be free – that was the dream remember!

Raleigh, North Carolina is a fantastic city in which to live. It’s affordable, has a young population, a great location, a happening college vibe and sports scene. We have amazing friends there, and a ton of memories.

It’s hard to explain to people when we have been all over the world that we would love to live again in Raleigh. But some places just get under your skin.

Raleigh also had a solid real estate market. It’s not like west coast USA or Florida with huge spikes and troughs in the market. It just gradually chugs along. However, every city has its ‘troubled areas’  where only the super experienced should invest – guess where we ended up investing?

We purchased a 4-unit building for $150,000 and at full occupancy would bring in approx $800 per month positive cash flow. Cha ching! It was going to be the start of our empire.

I wasn’t a big believer in following your gut back then and always listened to those little voices in my head…“Craig, just think about what you can do with that $800 positive cash flow per month! A few more of those and you’ll never have to work again!”

I am now a believer in following your gut.

After several weeks of loan applications and building inspections, it came down to 5 minutes before we had to sign the papers or lose the deal.

The gut said, No you idiot, something just doesn’t feel right! But the head kept saying $800 cash flow a month. Chase that money!

We signed the deal without doing my due diligence or running the numbers with consideration to the property being unoccupied, and hidden maintenance costs.

Two years later, the property had became our living nightmare.

The street was taken over by drug dealers and gangs, rents never came in on time, if ever, and repairs were constant – the heating in the winter and the A/C in the summer – as well as constant vandalism.

I had secret meetings with the police and they bunkered down in one empty apartment for evening stakeouts to bust the gangs. We often had to break in and evict tenants. I was physically threatened many times by neighbors and fined by the county for trash littering the front of the property.

We had to continually dig into our Australian equity to pay the mortgage and insurance.

We tried to sell for 18 months, but because it was a commercial property the value was largely calculated by the income it produced, so it went down sharply. This was also during the peak of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in the US and people were nervous. Nobody wanted to touch it – they were smarter than me, they did their due diligence.

For a long time I ignored the numbers and avoided opening the bills hoping the problem would vanish. I just kept believing lady luck would visit and take it off our hands.

Many nights I would cry myself to sleep because deep down I knew what was happening. The way we had our finances structured, EVERYTHING was at risk.

When I finally sat down and had a good look at our financial situation, we were done.

I’ll never forget the day at home in Raleigh when I had my 2 year old daughter in my arms and called Caz at her teaching job and I said, “It’s over, even if we can sell this property we are still WAY in debt” – I broke down and cried like a baby.

I was a complete failure and had lost everything I had every earned in my sporting career, and all Caz’s hard work as a teacher and working two jobs was for nothing.

We had to sell our property in Australia, and to top it off we were left with the bonus prize of $30,000 in credit card debt.

We were bankrupt.

All up we lost close to $500,000.

I don’t think you could get any lower.

I would often think, would it be worse if someone else caused you to lose everything, or if you were the one to blame?

Either way, it’s a dark and lonely place to be. If you’ve ever lost a half a million dollars, you’ll know what I mean.

You can’t run or hide from it. Not only are you left with your own remorse and guilt, but you have to deal with the words and whispers that are spoken about how stupid you were– they cut like razor blades.

HOT TIP #2

Never ever use credit cards to pay off other credit loans. For MANY months I argued on the phone with the bank (Wachovia) for a solution. They were meant to be helping struggling homeowners during the GFC crisis by restructuring loans – they didn’t want to know me.

We couldn’t sell it, no matter how much we dropped the price. I had one last phone call with the people at Wachovia and I simply told them we are walking away, the property is now yours, the keys are in the door.

I was emotionally and financially spent.

I struggled for so long playing the blame game. I blamed the local real estate agent who supposedly knew investments and that area very well. I screamed she never should have let us purchase that property. I blamed the tenants, I blamed the GFC, I blamed Wachovia, I blamed everyone – but me.

But at the end of the day, it was our call. I knew property investing pretty well, and there’s no way we should have bought that place. We should have done our due diligence and we got greedy, lazy, and arrogant.

Lessons Learned – Listen to your gut, your gut knows.

y Travel Blog Is Born

Somehow, during the final 6 months of us living in Raleigh and during all this property fiasco, we started this thing called a travel blog.

I had never heard of a blog before. I knew nothing about design, SEO, building email lists, and social media. We stumbled on a few others doing it, found out there was very little financial investment, and got started on this new chapter in our lives.

The one thing I finally learned after all my mistakes was to follow your PASSION.

There is nothing that makes us feel more alive than travel. We love sharing tips and stories with others, and at that stage had already accumulated 9 years of extensive travel and living abroad experience to share.

The first 6 months was incredibly difficult. Caz was teaching full-time, which also took several hours at night and over the weekends, and I was working full-time for Delta. We were raising a toddler and had a normal busy life.

I stayed up until midnight every night and got up at 4am to go to work. We were zombies, living on no sleep and still dealing with the hangover from our financial situation.

I think back to that period now and it’s mostly a blur. We were running on empty and fumbling our way through.

Moving Back to Australia

The GFC hit again and Caz lost her teaching position in North Carolina – the foreigner on the J1 visa understandably was the first to go. We were six months into the blogging – too fresh to be making money – and were faced with a return back to Oz.

We had re-located our family over from Australia with the dream of staying permanently, which at the time was a big financial and emotional commitment. We were devastated, but, there was a small glimmer of hope that perhaps this was our chance to work on building our blog – our true passion. We’d find a way to make it work.

Only a couple of weeks after losing her job, Caz’s boss had found an opening in the budget and offered her job back.

Two weeks before, she would have bent down and kissed her feet in gratitude, but now, after coming to terms with moving home, something had shifted.

A decision had to be made: Go home (with tail between legs), and finally create that dream life you really want, or stay and keep spinning your wheels.

Despite desperately wanting to stay in the States, a very determined voice spoke that now was the time to swallow your pride, apply all we’d learned and make it happen.

There would not be another opportunity. Success does not leave room for fear and complacency.

For the first time in years I knew we were making the right decision, but still my heart was heavy.

Reality Hits

It was at this moment that the second lowest point in my life occurred.

I had to face reality.

I was 36 years old, married for 8 years, a father, and here I was moving back home to live with my parents. I was bankrupt, had huge credit card debt, had no job prospects, no possessions, no superannuation (retirement savings), and no plan.

My self-esteem was ZERO.

I am extremely fortunate my parents are very supportive and opened up their home for us. We will be forever grateful. But it was extremely tough to swallow.

To go from being a professional sportsman, to owning Real Estate, to having so much freedom traveling and living around the world for many years, to end up living back with my parents was depressing to say the least. It’s nothing personal against them, it’s just not what I was supposed to be doing with my life, at my age, with my own family.

I felt like a loser. I felt guilty. I hated myself and my life. I felt a responsibility to take care of my family financially. I had failed.

Fortunately my parents own a two story house and we had the upstairs level to ourselves – 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen – things could have been worse.

I started working with a mate of mine back in construction, and Caz started teaching part-time. It was good to be busy and earning money again. On the side we continued to build y Travel Blog and learned as much as we could about being a travel blogger.

We were making steady progress, but little money. Our focus and game plan was to build our brand and readership over a two year period first.

After a few months back home we finally had exciting news, we were expecting our second child. It gave us inspiration and motivation to keep going, to keep believing that good things could happen again.

We were excited about our 3 month ultrasound check up. It was going to be even more special this time as Kalyra was in the ultra-sound room with us to see her little sister or brother on the big screen.

The nurse started the ultra-sound and turned on the TV monitor, and when I saw her facial expression change from cheery to blank, I just knew.

We had lost the baby.

I don’t even remember what we said to Kalyra.

It hit us both really hard, Caz more so being the carrier of our unborn child and having to have surgery to complete the miscarriage. The roller-coaster of emotions started again.

Fortunately, several months later we conceived for a third time. There were no complications and baby Savannah was born.

Building Our Brand

We decided from the beginning of our blog to put ourselves out there, to be transparent and, not only tell our story, but show our story. Our passion became our mission, to not only create our own dream life, but inspire others to do the same. We know the value of travel with our kids and we want to do all we can to share this lifestyle.

Unfortunately to be able to make that difference and stand up for your passion you have to put yourself out there and promote what you do. We always try to soften this by providing a ton of value and giving our time to others in a friendly and fun way. Doing this comes with sacrifice though. You cop flack from others, you get more eye rolls, and smart arse comments.

I still get uncomfortable sometimes updating our status on social media. I’ve never been one to toot my own horn – always better to get someone else to toot it and the sound travels twice as far.

But you have to make the decision – your passion and dreams or living your life for other people?

Who cares what the naysayers tell you and how they make you feel? All that matters is that you are following your heart and caring passionately about making a difference.

I’m never going to blatantly brag about any opportunities, but I’m not going to apologise for them either. At the end of the day we are promoting travel and our brand, so getting excited about a destination and sharing it on social media is just a part of what we do.

Thailand
Our recent trip to Thailand

The Ground Work

For the first two years we published almost daily, did courses, attended conferences, and worked on our business to the early hours of the morning. Wrote. networked. wrote. networked. wrote. networked.

We devoted every spare minute we had to working our business. I can’t remember the last time I sat on the couch with my feet up and watched a movie. (and even when we are not on trips it’s work from sun up to sun down.)

We’d travel hours to attend meetings and events – none of which made us money – but we did it to build relationships and to prove to the Universe that we were serious. Many of these Caz attended to the early hours while pregnant, or when we went to the Problogger conference in Melbourne with newborn baby Savannah in her arms.

I’ve barely slept in 3 years. By the time we’d get home from work, spend time with the kids, prepare dinner, clean up, bath the kids, read to the kids, and then get them to sleep we wouldn’t start working on our blog until 8.30pm at the earliest and wouldn’t see bed before midnight. I’m sure this is a familiar story for other parent bloggers.

There’s been endless technical issues with our site, juggling parent life, jobs, and traveling with kids on the road whilst trying to run the business.

Our house is a constant mess, we have no routine, I still only live off 5 hours sleep per night, and it’s difficult to keep friendships to the level we would like.

It’s like any business. It takes work, time and sacrifice.

Don’t get me wrong, we are fortunate to be where we are now – we love what we do – but there is a tradeoff. There is always a tradeoff.

We don’t travel like we used to as just travellers and not bloggers. We have to constantly update social media, take photos, take notes, shoot video, edit, publish and promote. We have to engage, reply to comments on the blog, reply to emails, attend meet-ups, get on skype calls.

Shit. By the time we’ve taken photos of our lunch, updated facebook, tweeted, pinned and instagrammed the kids are running loose and our food is cold.

It becomes your life. It’s an addiction and can get overwhelming.

But this is the path we have now chosen, and it sure beats banging nails for a living. The alternative is us both working full-time jobs and being away from our kids. This way, we get far more personal time with our kids and we are seeing the world together.

This is how we roll
This is how we roll

Health Challenges

On top of all this Caz had a health scare and over a 12 month period had surgery three times, partly because it’s a tricky condition and partly because of the hospital’s incompetence. She’s still kind of battling with it.

I also had a chronic lower back injury for about 8 months that almost needed surgery. It was a burst disk that was pushing on my sciatic nerve and shooting pain all the way down my leg. I was in terrible pain for most of that time, could not sit in a chair, couldn’t play with the kids, and the only way to get comfortable was to lay flat or stand up. For several months I had to stand up with my laptop on a tall bench to blog, which got tiring real quick.

It’s been hard work, extremely hard, and there’s been MANY times I’ve wanted to quit and walk away.

But we’ve come too far now.

As they say,

“Winners never quit, and quitters never win”

That has been our secret. To say No matter what, this is our passion, we have value to share and we’ll do what ever it takes.

We try to look above the challenges for the silver lining. There have been some real high’s being back in Australia with our business and personally as a family. And yes, I will say we are very fortunate and grateful that we have two adorable, healthy girls.

It’s very rewarding and encouraging to kick little goals along the way and throughout the process Caz has been AMAZING! She’s a very determined woman, an incredible mother, and a great friend. She’s very passionate about what she does and has really been a rock to lean on in bad times.

Our financial situation has placed an incredible strain on our relationship, and there are several times when we almost separated.

We’ve of course argued and said things we shouldn’t have and often wanted to walk away to stop the guilt and the pain. And then we don’t even want to go there with how much we feel we’ve let our girls down. That is a heavy burden to carry.

Its been said that financial pressures are the number one cause of divorce. I know why. If it wasn’t for the years of travel we shared giving us such a firm foundation, I think we would have become another statistic.

There’s been long walks and a lot of reflecting. But our love, our friendship, our kids, and our travel memories are everything to us and these challenges have bonded us now like never before!

These days, we mostly just argue about who has the biggest nose:

you be the judge?
you be the judge?

Thank you to travel

One of the things that has kept me going over the years has been looking back on our travel experiences.

We’ve spent a lot of time in third world countries and during the tougher times I’ve always reminded myself that there is always someone worse off than you, and usually much worse off.

There’s been the family in Laos we spent a week with who lived inside a cave for 10 years during the Vietnam War to escape the aerial bombings, only coming out under the cover of darkness to attend to their crops. Many years after the war was over, one of their sons picked up an undetonated bomb and had his arm blown off. But he was so happy and successful attending University, running tours of the local area and building his own bar.

His secret: get up and over it and make something of your life.

There’s been the guy with no arms and no legs begging on the beach in Vietnam.

There’s been the kids in Malawi who have no running water, no possessions, extremely hot weather, but the happiest people I have ever met with the biggest smiles on their faces!

Many times I have said to myself “Craig, you are very fortunate to come from Australia, you have two arms and two legs and you are breathing, you are going to be ok”.

Thank you to travel for giving me a broader perspective. Thank you to those I have met traveling for showing tremendous courage and the will to live without the freedoms and opportunity that I’m fortunate to have in my own country.

That’s the only luck I believe in – the place you were born.

If you are personally having a rough time, hang in there and never think you are alone. Look at the crap flung at us for the past 5 years and look how we could still create our dream lifestyle. You can too. We are not special or any different to you. We just made a decision to not accept anything but the life we really wanted.

I like reading quotes, I find them inspiring and uplifting and here are a few I’ve fallen back on during the darker days to pick me up:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going” – Winston Churchill

“This too shall pass” – ancient proverb

”To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.” – unknown

Where Are We Today?

It’s 2013 and we have one hand that has reached the ground, and the other is about to join it and pull us out of this black whole we dug.

I no longer cry myself to sleep. I believe in myself again and I’m excited about my future. Things are going really well with our blogging business and my relationship with Caz is as strong as it’s ever been and we recently celebrated our 11 year anniversary.

It’s time for us to move on now. It’s time for us to get our own life back and start living again, instead of merely existing. (We’ve got great plans coming this year for a great Aussie family road trip)

I turn 40 this year. I’m grateful these events took place in my 30’s so I had time to recover, and not in my 50’s or 60’s, as I know has happened to many people.

We spend our days caught up with our problems and trying to move forward, and our focus is often on the wrong things. We put off what we really want to do until we are retired or when the house is paid off or when we get that promotion.

None of us are getting any younger and the older you get the quicker the years seem to pass. If you are thinking of a career change, relocating, or even ending a relationship, listen to your gut and don’t waste another day.

“The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.” – W. M. Lewis

When I hear that question now…what is your secret?…I don’t see luck and I don’t remember any secrets.

I see struggle, I see lessons, I see persistence, and I see forgiveness and gratitude.

I’m finishing this post as I sit on my Qantas flight on the way back to Sydney from the Emirates Partnership launch in Dubai. I’m listening to one of my favourite Coldplay songs ‘The Scientist’ and the words:

Tell me your secrets, nobody said it was easy, nobody said it would be so hard, I’m going back to the start”

These words ring true in my head and I’m not embarrassed to say that again I’m shedding a few tears when I think back to when I didn’t know how I was going to feed my kids, how I was going to pay the bills, and how was I ever going to forgive myself.

Starting all over again was tough, but it brought us full-circle to where we are today. I believe I earned that seat on the plane.

But Craig. I really want to know. What is your secret?

I made a decision that I wasn’t going to let those dark days define my life, and I was going to stop making excuses.

“The day you take ownership of your actions, the day you forgive yourself, the day you give yourself permission to succeed, that’s the day you turn your life around”.

You can spend your life thinking of a thousand reasons why something won’t work and why you can’t have the life you deserve, or, you can focus on the reasons why you CAN.

Never give up on yourself.

It’s up to you.

2018 UPDATE:

We finally achieved our dream of getting a green card to the US. The journey we shared here eventually lead us to getting it for our extraordinary ability in the art of travel blogging. Can you believe it? Life is a trip! Enjoy the journey and trust in it.

More inspiration

We recorded our story in podcast over 5 episodes. Each episode showcases how we made travel our lifestyle despite many challenges, and not matter what life stage we were in.

Episode 3 is where we dive into the dark times spoken about in this post. All episodes are filled with nuggets to help you see how anything is possible. Pull up a chair and your favorite drink and let us help you keep your dreams alive.

  1. Episode 1: Solo Travel and Working Abroad before we met
  2. Episode 2: Our 5 year honeymoon living and traveling the world
  3. Episode 3: The Dark times and Birth of the girls and travel blog
  4. Episode 4: Embracing Family Travel and our 18 month Australian road trip
  5. Episode 5: Getting a green card and traveling the US (our dream realized)

You may also enjoy The reality of us as travelers: then and now and You’ve got time + the end of 22 years of nomadic travel.

405 thoughts on “I want to know your Secret”

  1. Hi name-sake! I haven’t visited recently, but glad I came by today and had the time to read this… It’s been an amazing journey; and looks even more amazing as we peer under the curtain and see what’s been happening behind the scenes. Thanks for sharing!

    1. G’day Craig. Nice to connect with you again, and thanks for reading because I know how busy you guys. Let the journey continue for us all. I hope you and Linda are well, wherever you are these days??

  2. Beautiful. I’m sure this was incredibly difficult to write and to lay all of the past troubles out there for the world to see, but thank you so much for sharing. It’s truly inspiring.

    1. Thank you Katie. The hardest thing I have ever written, as I don’t usually share personal stuff with very many people, and it definitely brought to the surface some old emotions. They’ve always been there, but I’ve gotten better at controlling them and changing my focus when needed.

      Cheers!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story. We, and we’re sure many of your readers, get that same question, “How do you do it?” I think they expect a simple short answer but really the answer is your entire life until the present moment.
    We’re very happy for you both that things are now working out for you. After such a rough time, you certainly deserve it! :):)

    1. I appreciate that Mindy & Ligeia. It’s true, so many things in our past shape us for who we become and what we do with our lives. I’ve always wanted to control my own destiny, have my own business, and just be passionate about what I do – it just took me a long time to get here. But definitely worth the struggles.

  4. Best post on your site so far. Thanks for sharing this personal story and showing how hard you guys have had to work. I think it’ll inspire others to pursue their dreams the way you guys have done. Cheers!

  5. Great post!

    I get this a lot as well from friends, as many never left more than a hundred miles from home and I’ve gotten many a “you’re so lucky” when I announced I was moving to Amsterdam for my astro PhD and travel on the weekends. But no one thinks of all the hard hours of hard work you need to do before and after you get into your program because that’s not so obvious on the surface.

    To be fair I do think what many people do in life who are in a position they like to be in- I have been lucky, but I certainly had a big hand in making my own luck. πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Yvette,

      That’s great you took “action” and chased your dream to Amsterdam for your PhD. Another quote I love is:

      “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do” – Henry Ford

      I hope more people start talking with action, instead of words. I hate seeing people not following through on their dreams.

  6. Craig – What an amazing post. I feel like so many pieces of the puzzle have been put together for us here. I knew that you guys had said that things didn’t work out in the States but I never knew the real story. And I feel like I now understand the crazy work ethic you guys have put into what you do. It’s just that easy when you have the motivation. Congrats guys – I know you’ve worked your asses off and you deserve the success and life of your dreams. Keep chuggin’ along and soon you’ll even be able to catch a full night’s sleep! P.S. We must catch up, Pat and I will get the Kilkenny!

    1. Brooke, I need those pints of Kilkenny real soon. You know that’s my fave beer and it brings back fond memories of my year living in Dublin, which was probably the happiest year of my expat life. And like I said, those travel memories have kept me going and motivated to experience more.

      You know how much we love the States, besides the real estate nightmare, we have so many fond memories of our 4 years there. It’s an incredible country to live in, and we long for more!

      Looking forward to sitting down with you and Pat soon!

  7. Thanks for posting this open blog, means alot. I have a dream and I am so going to work hard at making it come true. Thanks for your words of reassurance that you can make anything happen as long as you work HARD and dont give up.

  8. Thank you for sharing such personal things with us. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must’ve been like to go through these situations. I’m so glad you and Caz pushed through the tough times and found something you can believe in and be passionate about. It sounds like life is much better than it was a couple years ago, and I’m really happy for you both.

    Luck doesn’t get you success and a happy life, hard work does. There is no easy path, no magic answer.

    I’m sure this was a hard story to share with us, but hopefully it also helped you to get it all out there. And hopefully it will help others to know it isn’t about luck at all.

    1. Thank you for reading Ali.

      As long as you have your health, and something to believe in, you can make it happen. I dropped the ball many times, but quitting was never an option. The pain of not turning our life around was too great.

      Caz and I both appreciate the online friendship we have with you and Andrew. Must change that to offline friends sooner rather than later!

  9. It takes a lot of courage to face the truth, and you should be proud of yourself for not letting you forget about your passion. I am one of those ones who is working at a desk job wishing I was traveling for a living. As you said, nothing comes easy in life, you have to work for it. I therefor started my own travel blog, not to make money out of it, only for my own personal experience. Since then, I have been enjoying my 2 weeks vacation per year and made most of my weekends by visiting my own backyard. I learned after going into dept that you should ALWAYS save your money before traveling and not the other way around. I think it’s the best tips for workers like I am. Thanks again to you and Caz for the travel inspiration you guys give us. Keep up the good work, as hard as it can be!

    1. Hi Veronique, you know what, I am proud of what we have achieved. So many times I could have easily walked away, found another job, and just gone through the motions.

      But I want more than that. I get bored easily and I need challenges. Creating this lifestyle around our passion of travel is the perfect fit for us, and we are extremely grateful for the opportunities is it opening up for us.

      That’s great you are exploring your own backyard – and keep enjoying those 2 weeks of vacation time. Best!

  10. Wow! What an amazingly brave man you are. I’m really inspired by your story in many ways… it makes me more committed to folow my dream to travel, even though I just got back from Tassie today. Thank you for your authenticity.

  11. A brave post Craig and one that shows the work and sacrifice that we all put in. It takes a lot to make this look like unicorn and rainbows all the time! I’m glad you’re feeling more like you and that things are turning around. You guys put a lot of hard work in and deserve success. I wish you the best of luck!

    1. You got it Gillian, this travel blogging lifestyle takes a TON of work behind the scenes. But we’re working on reducing our workload, especially shutting down on Sundays – Sunday is family funday πŸ™‚

      Rock on!

  12. That was very brave of you to write Craig. You guys are an inspiration to many people already but to know that you have struggled and come out on top, I think will help others who too have struggled and feel like giving up.

    You have always been an inspiration to myself, being a fellow Aussie, but now I admire you even more. Your courage and passion shows through and through, this is why you have succeeded and will continue to do so… that, and all your hard work! I

    Thanks for sharing your personal journey with the world and being an inspiration to others who have gone through tough times.

    1. Hi Nicole,

      I still have mixed feelings about publishing this post. I have wrestled with the idea over the past few weeks, and almost deleted it and carried on my merry way without people knowing more about our past. But I made a commitment to myself to just put it out there.

      I hope it helps someone who may have experienced similar tough times. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but if you can take one thing away from this then great.

      Hopefully we can share a beer, or two, somewhere on the road! Safe travels.

  13. If anybody ever needs inspiration I’m sending them to this. Having finally met you both in person recently I can say with all honesty you are two of the kindest and giving people I know. May your hard work and determination only continue to reward you, it’s been we’ll earnt.

    1. Cheers Chris.

      That means a lot mate. Hopefully what you see online is what you get offline. Because I can honestly say it’s hard enough dealing with being me, let alone trying to be somebody else!! πŸ™‚

      Really great having lunch with you and Isabelle the other day. We must find a way to do it more often.

      1. I agree, hopefully we can have these meetups more often!
        I truly enjoyed reading this post and you guys are such an inspiration. You are doing such a great job and may the future only have good things coming your way.

  14. Thanks so much for that article! It is so good to read and being reminded that nothing is easy!
    The two points I so much can relate to are
    “you are so lucky”: I heard that so many times and I feel exactly the same way. The only thing I can feel lucky about that I was born into a rich country and I never and will never suffer from hunger and I am “rich” enough to have been able to done a fare amount of travelling (compared to so many African people I met on my journeys).
    And the second thing – related to the other: travelling does give you a different persective on things.
    I am wishing you an your family the very best and hopefully we can meet one day!! Either you come on a ride in our school bus or Dave and I are making it over to Australia – a country I haven’t been to yet!

    1. Natalie,

      You and Dave or doing an awesome thing with your school bus adventure company. I now Caz really enjoyed interviewing you guys on our podcast recently.

      Totally have to meet somewhere in the near future. Would love to swap African stories, and I’m sure Kalyra would love a ride in your bus. Thank you for reading and your comments – Cheers!

  15. Awesome post, thank you!
    Everyone has a story and it is all too easy to look at the outcome of someones success (or failure) at any given moment to and make a judgement. Life just happens to be a roller coaster of ups and downs and it is people like you guys to challenge what is possible on the ups!
    You have a great story and we always look to you for inspiration on our journey – especially the travelling with kids bit!
    Keep up the hard work, I hope it all pays off for you in every way you dream of!

    1. Hey Serena,

      Making your life a story to tell is one of our catch cries, I just wish I could rip a few pages out of my book, but it has made me who I am today!

      All the best to you too and your adventures!

  16. Wow, just when I thought we couldn’t love you 2 (4!) more!

    The best journey in life is not travel; it’s getting to know yourself better – to strive to be the best person you can be and to reach for a fulfilled life.

    You are proof of that.

  17. Man, what a post. One of the best blogs I have ever read. and I don’t say that lightly. It takes balls to be so honest. You must have some big cahooonas to put it all out there like this! I tip my hat to you sir.

    As an aspiring blogger and ex semi-pro footballer I feel almost every word you wrote rang true for me. I commend your ability now to articulate ideas and motivation in a succinct and inspiring form. Your hard work as a writer is paying off too. Or maybe you are just lucky!

    You have a shit load of comments to respond to now and that is one thing you are responsible for – you and you alone wrote a blog which will go viral and get people answering!

    My secret by the way is being born Irish – white, male, brains and a bank account – how much luckier can you get?

  18. What a beautiful, inspiring post Craig. I agree with Brooke that it does help to put the pieces together — I know from talking to Caz that you guys loved living in the US and want to go back someday, but I didn’t realise what a truly hard time it was there at the end.

    It really must have been difficult to share all of this with us, but thank you so much for doing it. It’s really inspiring to hear your story and to see that chasing what you love can really turn your life around. I find it especially poignant to read right now as I sit in a living room far away from Australia on a trip that I set out on not for career progression, but because it was something I truly wanted (and felt I needed) to do.

    Congratulations on going for your dreams and making them a reality. I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog because it is so honest and refreshing, and you’ve inspired so many people to follow in your footsteps and travel the world.

    Hope to see you and Caz at ProBlogger in September!

    1. Hi Kristin,

      I often think how much more we would have enjoyed living in the US if we didn’t have that hanging over our heads.

      It was crazy, crazy times but as I said I was determined to never let those mistakes and hard times define my life.

      You will definitely see us at ProBlogger conference in September. Sounds great about your current trip you’re on, enjoy!

  19. This is a very inspiring and touching post. It took guts for you to share so much of your struggle and pain. You faced a tremendous road to turn life around. You guys are amazing. I already loved your website, and now I love it even more. You will touch many people with this post.

  20. What a story! Thanks for sharing such personal details and a big congrats for coming out better for it. I agree especially that where you’re born is incredibly lucky — I’ll always be grateful for that little blue American passport, I know my life would be completely different if my parents hadn’t emigrated and I’m nearly positive I wouldn’t be traveling or living abroad now, doing what I love!

  21. Workingwomenaus

    Craig I’ve always had a shed load of respect for you two as I assumed you worked hard to get where you are, but I clearly had NO idea. I’m genuinely sorry to read all of the shit you’ve both faced and so pleased to see you clawing your way out. Others would have quit, you know that. The two of you are a powerhouse of intelligence and determination and you’ve earned every little bit of success – there’s no such thing as luck.

  22. I absolutely love this! So inspiring, thank you for sharing this. I completely agree that there is no such thing as luck, you make your own opportunities and the harder you work the more opportunities will come your way.

  23. Melanie Murrish

    Yes, yes, yes, thank you, thank you, thank you. I honestly thought this was going to be a post by Caz. I haven’t been following you for that long, but I really feel like I have connected to her for some reason. I feel the same way about you after reading this!
    Honestly, I can speak more openly on blog replies/ Facebook than I can with my ” friends/family”. I know this is something only I can address, but it’s so hard for me. Being myself is something I’ve struggled with all my life and I really think now is the time for change. I am seriously worried about the fallout though.
    I’ll stop rambling now-I know you’re busy πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi Melanie,

      Thank you. Never hide who you are and your personal dreams. You have to follow your own path, only you know what is best for you. One of my favourite songs is by Audioslave – “Be Yourself”. It’s powerful and when I need a jolt I crank it up!

      All the best to you!

  24. How cathartic it must have been to write this. I love the line, the only luck is the country you’re born in, so true.
    We all have pasts and that’s what make us who we are.
    Good luck to you and your family. You deserve all the happiness that is coming your way.

  25. While I haven’t lost as much as it sounds like you two have, I feel like the past 5 years of my life have been one crap pile to another. You and Caz have been an inspiration to me throughout this time, reminding me that I can work towards living my life on my own terms and in my own way. I’m still stumbling along stuck in a day job, but looking forwards to being free!

    I’m glad that your hard work has paid off so well for both of you. Congratulations!

    1. Hang in there Vanessa, take it day by day and don’t let the obstacles stop you in your tracks. Keep asking questions, keep moving and you find a way!

      Will we see you at ProBlogger on the Gold Coast in Sept??

      1. I’ve already got my ticket to ProBlogger in September & I’m looking forward to it a lot! Being semi-local I’m half expecting to be a taxi for many people haha.

  26. Wow, that was a long one! This is amazing and this is what I need right now. I “rebooted” my blog completely and started over to “get it right.”

    Being a single mom myself, I can relate to how the schedule comes down as well. Congratulations! This is an awesome post and you have an awesome blog! πŸ˜€

  27. Thanks for sharing, I can imagine that wasn’t an easy post to write! Yes, a bit of luck does help to get started, but in the end it does come down to hard work and the choices we make. But if you are not willing to make those choices and put in that effort, then it’s easy to just call it luck.

  28. This really brought a tear to my eye… I can’t believe how much you two have been through. The feeling of not live up to your responsibilities for the ones you love the most must be the hardest thing ever.
    However, you turned it around! That’s really a task and I have so much (more!) respect for you after reading this. You really deserve every bit of success you’ve gotten. And I hope that you will have many more successes from now on! But with all your hard work, I’m sure you will… πŸ™‚

    I can sometimes feel like a failure and completely lost. Next time I start feeling sorry for myself, I’ll go back and read this! Thank you sooo much for the inspiration.

    Also, I love how you and so many other successful people online keep saying that if you can do it so can everyone else. The first time I read that I thought “that’s easy for you to say!”. But now, after reading it over and over I’ve desided to try it out and make it happen! Thank you for being part of that inspiration to.

    I wish you all the best. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Celia,

      Letting my family down financially has been a tremendous burden to carry. It was a lot of money to us, and it’s hard not to think of what could have been and we shouldn’t have went through all that.

      They say money can’t buy you happiness, but I’ve been well off and I’ve bean broke, ask me which one I prefer?

      All the best to you too – go out and make it happen!

  29. We may not get a chance to be in touch with you guys as often as we’d like (due in large part to the workload you mentioned in your post), but just know that Mary and I are BIG believers in what you and Caz are doing. Nobody in the blogging business has been kinder or more helpful to us than you guys, and I seriously believe that good karma will continue to come your way. If/when you guys get back to the States, we simply HAVE to get together. I’m sure we’d get along swimmingly!

    1. Cheers Bret. Yes, there is only so many hours in the day, and we wish we were more connected as well, but definitely the next time we’re in the US, or, you come down to Oz, we must get together.

      Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. You have a lot more experience than me in writing, and we admire your passion for your own site and your love of travel.

      Talk soon!

  30. Dear Craig and Caz, Thanks for sharing your story. I needed to read it to remind me that I’m not the only one who has made those type of decisions. Our story is remarkably similar, who would have known. Thanks a heap and good luck with your passion.

  31. Great great post.
    I have always thought you were the best Junior I have ever seen in rugby league. Was so proud that i knew you when you cracked the ARL. But I also remember seeing you at Marty Bellas physio while i was getting worked on, it has always stuck with me seeing you working out hard and getting another injury fixed. When your career ended I was sad and could only imagine how it was for you.
    Thanks for sharing this very personal post and again thank you for your help/advice on setting up my Triathlon/weightloss blog. Something I am so happy about but just as a Hobby (the Blog – not my Triathlons/weightloss as its my lifestyle change) as I am fortunate that I truly love my Job as a train driver.
    Would like to wish you and your family good luck but in the tone of this post. Keep at it and you will get everything you guys have sacrificed and worked so hard for.

    1. Wow, Glenn, that’s a big call. But thanks. And wow, that physio brings back memories.

      We are grateful for your support in always commenting and sharing on facebook. Much appreciated. And what you have achieved yourself personally with your lifestyle change and new fitness blog is inspiring to us, even if you call it a hobby now πŸ™‚ Remember what I told you, this blogging thing gets addictive!!

      Thanks again, and we should catch up for beers sometime soon – we live close!

  32. Thank you for sharing your story! It is inspiring to read about the difficulties that turn into triumphs.

    You have inspired me, that is for sure! Keep on gettin it.

  33. I calculated a few days ago, the total of our assets spread over our 16 year marriage, and it was a staggering $942,000! I believe in our time, we may have used about $300,000 to live by and we simply made the choice, to help as many people we could both here in Australia and throughout the world? What is #Success, I think it flounders on what your belief’s are and how you address the daily issues of Life as you see them. Money never mattered all that much to my wife Sylvia or myself, we were able to communicate effectively and this trait was seen by many people within our circle. We had the good fortune in a sense of having media exposure to ‘Our Love Story’, but we made the point, that everyone has a story that has to be told! Yes, we travelled marginally and never strayed from one another’s side. When we married, I was 34 and my bride was a young 85 years of age, but brush age aside, we survived for 16 years until I lost my wife to death. As I look back now, would I have changed anything? (Not on your nelly)! The media abuse, government penalty or just snide remarks, as Sylvia often reminded me, all I had to say was, “Aren’t I Lucky”, and they would drop flat? I had an editorial published in 2011 by @the_west, and even now as I am rebuilding my life, I am happy going without because I too realize, how other people are faring around the Globe? ::: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/9098758/photo-helps-widower-get-back-on-feet/

    1. Hey Frank,

      I agree success means many things to different people. For us right now, it’s that we are both at home working on our own business and following our passion.

      And the only other important thing to do is have a happy life. Sounds like you’ve been very generous with your finances, and I wish all the best!

  34. I am sitting here trying so hard not to cry! Everything you revealed about trying to make money online is almost like what we did….we LOST a lot of money on the stock market, and we tried eBay with little success (it wasn’t for us)
    We had to sell our Home because we couldn’t keep going around in circles trying to work out how to pay the debt we got in.
    And now I am sitting here getting ready to head into Sydney for a blogging event, so yes its all about passion. And having the guts to follow through no matter what.
    Thanking you Craig for sharing your behind the scenes! You and Caz so should never ever say sorry or feel bad for putting everything on the line to achieve your dream of ytravel blog.

    This is something you should be proud of, shouting it from the roof tops – Cheers to your hard work, your personal inner set backs, to your sacrifices – you deserve all the success that is coming your way because your secret is following your heart.

    That makes life so worth it – and you give all of us so much inspiration xxx

    1. Hey Lisa, sorry to hear about your challenges, I totally feel your pain.

      Unfortunately a lot of people are suffering at the moment, and are looking for a new beginning. I admire your commitment and if you keep believing and taking steps in the right direction good things will undoubtedly happen. It’s amazing what you are doing with your BIG family πŸ™‚ Exploring Oz and creating life long memories together, most people would just sit on the comfy couch and let life slip by.

      Where exactly are you guys at the moment. You also heading to ProBlogger in September??

  35. Thank you for such a honest and inspiring post!!! I feel like I can relate. I’ve felt on top of the world in the past when I was long term traveling and was living the life of my dreams ….but then an unplanned pregnancy happened which resulted in health problems and tons of financial debt. I am so thankful for my sweet daughter and for my family trying to help me back on my feet. I’m still struggling to find my way back to a good place and pay off my debt, but your story did inspire me to not be so hard on myself. Sometimes I start feeling so sorry for myself, but a lot of what you said really hits home– I need to forgive myself and keep working towards my goals. So thank you for opening up about your own struggles and how you overcame them! It gives me hope that these times will pass πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Jasmine,

      Glad to hear that this post resonates with you and has given you hope. Sorry to hear about your challenges, but I have no doubt with the support of your family you will rise above them. Never give up on yourself and never lose sight of your goals, you deserve to live your best life and don’t let these tough times define your whole life. These times surely will pass, and you will be stronger for them. You are fortunate to have your daughter, and your daughter to have you. I know we have connected through our facebook fan page, let us know if we can ever do anything?

  36. Thanks so much for sharing this Craig. I’ve just moved back to Aus after my move overseas didn’t turn out as planned. Thanks for reminding me to stay true to myself and that following my passion is the right way to go.

    1. Hey Dannielle, absolutely, keep following your passion. Sometimes we have to take a step backwards in order to go forwards again, I know we did, but make the most of the opportunity to start again and get things right. I know you will.

  37. Passion, determination, committment,level headedness, a willingness to be open and share are just some of the defining traits both you and Caz possess, and they shine through in both your blogs. Perhaps the truth is that only those who are truly ‘hungry’ ever really succeed at anything, and this post shows that you’ve been there and done that in stark reality, and that you are still putting in the hours and making sacrifices no matter how gilded your life looks from the outside. I understand where you’re coming from, and although mine isn’t a financial secret, it’s certainly one that has had big impact on my life. I also so agree with gut decisions. Getting our egos out of the way is the big thing. Well done to you and Caz, you deserve every bit of your blogging success.

    1. Thanks Johanna, really appreciate that. A pleasure knowing you personally and we know you will get through your own challenges with determination and spirit. Hope to see you soon!

  38. Awsomely inspiring stuff.
    You’re living proof that you get back what you put in Craig.

    We live in wonderful times, and thanks to the internet anybody can replicate your achievments with a little hard work.

    I read somewhere recently a great phrase, which sums up what you’re about totally. Went something like this;

    Build your dreams, before someone hires you to build theirs.

  39. Hi Craig (and Caz) – well done on such an honest and cathartic post. You story is inspirational and it is so obvious how much you have grown through your struggles. Getting rid of guilt is such a big part of it isn’t it. I had known some of the story from Caz’s site but I hope that publishing it warts and all signals a new chapter for you both. It would be good to meet you if you are coming to Problogger on the Gold Coast in September.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      You’re correct, the guilt thing can eat away at you. It still raises its head every now and then, like writing this post brought back all those memories, but I’ve learnt to control it and publishing this post has been a huge help in moving me beyond those times.

      We plan on being at ProBlogger so will see you in September!

  40. Bravo Craig! This is an AMAZINGLY raw, honest and inspiring post and you deserve every inch of praise coming your way after pressing ‘publish on this one. It’s an honour to have a little more insight into your story after meeting you and Caz and following your travels. You have just invited every one of your readers into your hearts and you into theirs. Well done!!! Also sending this to my dad to read… he could really stand to soak up some of your positivity and outlook on life. Thank you : )

    1. Hi Celeste,

      Thank you greatly for your words and if this posts provides your dad with some much needed positivity, that’s awesome! I’m sure we will be crossing paths again soon, take care of that leg of yours, we have unfinished travel business!! πŸ™‚

  41. Craig, this post is honest, brave and inspiring. Please don’t delete it.
    The last few months have been pretty tough for me and at times I just want to stay in bed and feel sorry for myself, but this was the kick up the butt that I needed – if I want my life to change then I’m the one that has to do something about it.
    This also reaffirmed that I should keep going with my blog. It makes me happy and is definitely a passion. Whilst it might be time consuming and hard work, I love it and am prepared to put in the hard yards to make it work.

    Thanks again for sharing Craig, this really is a beautiful post.

    1. Hi Stephanie, if you love your blog and it makes you happy, keep going. Everything takes work and commitment, but if the passion is there it makes it so much easier.

      We’re thinking of having a casual meet-up in Sydney soon for readers and bloggers, you should come!!

  42. Oh Craig, I look forward to telling you in person tomorrow but seriously, I’m bawling right now. Your story had to be told. There are no shortcuts to life. It has to be lived and it takes hard work, persistence and a determination to run your own race. My life is better with you and Caz in it.

  43. Laney | Crash Test Mummy

    Brilliant post Craig. I’m glad you both had the guts to put it out there so people can see that your success is done to an insane amount of hard work and you two totally deserve it. Thank you for the inspiration to keep going πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Laney,

      Sometimes I think we are all insane for the amount of work we all do as bloggers. You know what I’m talking about. But what else would I do with my life?? πŸ™‚

      Talk soon!

    1. Cheers Jasmin! Absolutely, another thing that kept me going was learning about hugely successful people who had massive failures in their life, but had bounced back to be bigger than ever. There is inspiration everywhere!

  44. Nicole | The Wondernuts

    This is an excellently written post. =) Thank you for sharing, I really enjoyed reading it. It was entertaining and insightful. I’ve always believed that I’ll get what I want if I want it bad enough. So far, that hard work had paid off. =)

  45. Carolyn Russell

    Congratulations Craig what a wonderful post. You have so articulately shared your story, I feel very moved and inspired. I am starting my own internet business and have recently had the pleasure of some email communication with Caz, her willingness to offer advice and recommendations when I know you are both so busy was overwehlming. If you ever would like to go on a home swap instead of my family going (we have alternative accom and the other family can use our home) it would be our pleasure to send you to France or where ever you are dreaming of going. Again congratulations

    1. Hey Carolyn, thanks for the offer, what time should we arrive?? πŸ™‚

      Happy to hear you are on your way with your own business. I wish you well.

  46. Craig, thank you. You have put into words so many things with clarity. I cannot wait to answer with your quote when people ask me the same question about getting ‘lucky’. It starts with a dream and then becomes a reality with action and commitment (and passion). So, so true. First time I have dropped by here via a link that Veggie Mama posted on FB, but will be back to read more πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Christie, dreams will remain just dreams unless we take action and make them a reality. Nice to meet you and I will have to thank Veggie Mama for the shout out πŸ™‚

  47. This is brilliant work Craig! Defining moment I’m sure…what an influential post. Much kudos to you guys! As always, love ya work πŸ™‚

  48. Craig, thanks so much for being so brave and sharing your story. Its ridiculous to think that some people are so lucky, we make our own luck. Its somethings not right, change it. Amazing post, well done you two!

  49. Firstly thank you for sharing such a personal story – so many (myself included) need to read and heed posts like this. We spend too much time peering over the back fence to see if their grass is greener while failing to see ours would flourish if we diverted our energy to cultivating it.

    Thank you for the last quote – I am guilty of not giving myself permission to shine (hello Vanessa Amorosi lyrics!) but your quote has planted a seed.

    1. Thank you Donna. Glad it has helped you.

      Yep, I didn’t display an attitude of gratitude for what I already had, and that’s a huge part of why I lost it all.

  50. Wow Craig. Amazing story!!

    It wasn’t until I got all the way to the end of reading your post until I realised it was you. I remember you from the Central Coast.

    Life really does work in Mysterious ways when you open yourself up to opportunities.

  51. Craig, thank you for this great post. The secret to success is hard work and you and Caz have done that. If you are at Problogger conference in September it would be great to meet you! Looking forward to seeing future posts about your family travels. Very inspiring and can’t wait to be able to do the same with my family.

    1. Hey Rebecca, we have tickets for ProBlogger so will be there! You have an interesting story “plumber by day, stylist by night”, wow, very cool.

      All the best to you and your family!

  52. Really inspiring stuff, Craig. And an impressive story. I don’t think anyone who’s looked at your site for more than a second would say you’ve spun it all out of luck. You guys work hard, man.
    Shame I won’t see you in Qld tomorrow – would’ve been great to catch up. Though I wouldn’t be asking for any advice about realty! πŸ˜‰
    Take care, buddy.
    Jim

    1. Ha ha Jim, no, don’t come to me for real estate advice!!

      Yeah was hoping you were on the trip to Queensland, however we must get down to Sydney and meet up sooner rather than later!

      Cheers mate, appreciate your comments!

  53. WOW. Thank you so much for writing this! I really admire the two of you, Caz and Craig. You serve as inspiration not just to travel bloggers who want to be as successful as you but the way you rose above the situation– this can happen to any tom dick or harry , travel blogger or not. More power to you guys and keep up the positive blaze!

    1. Thank you Jean. You know, you hear of stories like ours all the time but you think that will never happen to me!

      But it did, and it was the worst time in my life, and I’m grateful we were able to claw our way out of it. It all comes back to gratitude and putting the right energy out there!

  54. Oh man – hands down the best blog post I have read in ages! Inspiring, gut-wrenching and powerfully vulnerable.

    I think Caz is an amazing woman, truly exceptional. It’s so nice to learn that she is has an equally kick-ass partner in life.

    1. Appreciate those words Kirri. My wife is amazing, in more ways than one. I wouldn’t have gotten through this without her support, that’s for sure!

  55. Thanks for sharing some of your life Craig, it helps to realise that you are “people” too, not just robots. Life is full of of ups and downs. I am lucky to work in finance when I’m not trying to be a “blogger”, I say lucky because I get to help people who are struggling, I help them get back on their feet and enjoy life again.

    Thanks for putting yourself out! You and Caz are amazing and a real inspiration for myself and many other bloggers who are starting out and who have been going for years!
    thank you!

  56. Authenticity,
    Vulnerability and bare faced honesty will get you everywhere . Congratulations on your dream life x

  57. Great post Craig! I really appreciate and admire your honesty and candor. Everyone has a story. THanks for sharing yours.

    Really hoping to meet you both one day. You’re welcome back in the States anytime!

  58. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must have been to find the *courage* to tell this story.

    But you DO have a simple secret for your well-deserved success: *persistence*.

    None of us ever knows for sure where our actions will lead us, so follow your passion and “the journey is the reward.”

    Great post Craig! Congratulations!!

    1. Absolutely Ted, persistence pays.

      If you just keep knocking, if you keep asking yourself “the right” questions, doors will open and you will figure out your true passion and what you are supposed to be doing with your life!

  59. Thanks for sharing this post, I guess it was pretty tough to write but I think it will help a lot of readers.
    It is so true what you say – you need to focus on your passion, not money, in this life.
    Thanks, I’m glad things are on the up for you all and I wish you and your family all the best. Keep writing great posts πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Emma.

      I remember a Donald Trump interview where he mentioned that friends would come to him all the time asking for business advice, and they would usually have two business choices – one that would make them more money over the other, but the other one they were more passionate about.

      He would advise them to go with the one they were passionate about as they would end up way more successful in the long run!

    1. Not sure why I’m having problems leaving a comment. Sorry! Here’s the rest:

      I am a persistent person too. Never giving up is the secret and I’m so glad you haven’t.

      I’d say they were lucky to have you along for the ride to Dubai.

      No need to reply – have a break – you deserve it πŸ™‚

  60. Hard knocks can make us bitter or better people. Even when life kicks us in the guts, even if it is completely out of our control, no matter what happens, as long as we have a mind, we can make choices. That’s what you did and (I think) that’s what the secret is. If you hadn’t lost your arse, do you think you’d be the person you are today? You two have more bounce than a roo and to answer your other question, I think your noses are perfectly matched. Fair play, as they say – a top-notch read.

    1. Hi Tracey,

      Exactly. I had 2 choices, I could either keep feeling sorry for myself and blaming the world, or I could take responsibility for my actions and make things right. I’m glad I made that choice.

  61. Kudos to you both. This was such an inspiring read. So often we judge other people for their success without really understand the struggles they have faced to reach the cloud they now sit upon. Turns out sometimes it’s pretty hard work up there on the cloud!!

    Thank you for sharing your journey so openly. I hope it serves to remind us all of just how much we must put into our lives to make them the success we desire.

    I wish you both all the best for the future of both the blog and your family adventures. May there be many more years yet to come.

    1. Hi Charli,

      What’s that saying: “the only place you will find that success comes before work is in the dictionary”.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. All the best to you too.

    2. Hi Charli,

      As they say, the only place you will find that success comes before work is in the dictionary.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. All the best to you too.

  62. Wow, what an inspirational post filled with many ups and downs. I’ve been blogging for a year and a half, but have just decided to get really serious about it, which meant signing up for all the social media sites and attempting to put in as many hours as it takes – but it’s daunting. Thanks for giving me a glimpse into the light at the end of the tunnel. You are awesome.

    P.S. I think your nose is bigger πŸ˜‰

    1. Hey Jessica,

      Yeah, I think you’re right about my nose, ha ha.

      Thanks for reading, and I’m glad I provided you with some inspiration and perspective. Keep at it.

  63. Jeremy Branham

    Holy crap what a story! That’s as personal as they come. Thanks for sharing this Craig. Some of this I knew, most of it I didn’t. You’ve overcome a lot and been through a lot of pain – physically, emotionally, relationships. You’ve sacrificed a lot to get where you are today. The great thing about all of this is that you will never take for granted where you are today. Thanks for sharing your story. Probably one of the best posts you’ve ever written on the blog.

    1. G’day Jeremy,

      Have appreciated your support over the years – one day we’ll meet in person!

      It’s true, gone are the days of not having gratitude. I appreciate everything little thing that comes my way now. Always an attitude of gratitude.

      Onwards and upwards.

  64. Wow. I read this yesterday and I’m still thinking about it.

    Thank you so much for being willing to show a little of what’s behind the curtain for the Wizards of Oz!!!

    You guys have been my heroes since I discovered your blog last spring.

    I guess anything you do that’s just a lark or a hobby changes face quite a bit when you saddle it with responsibility and obligation. So too with travel, writing, photography, blogging, etc.

    We’re lucky to be traveling just for fun and blogging and publishing magazine articles because it’s a cool challenge. The money so far has been just supplemental income.

    You guys are ultra brave and impressive and amazing that you are making this your prime source of income. G’donya!!! (I have no idea how to spell that!).

    Even without trying to make our full-time traveling lifestyle self-supporting, we have still discovered that when you start to live your dream, you suddenly have to redefine that dream… what you dreamed at the outset gets honed and perfected and modified as the dream becomes reality and you realize that your dream lifestyle wasn’t exactly what you wanted…

    It’s an amazing process, but only by taking that huge leap of faith into the unknown can you begin to live your dream — and then peel the layers away and begin to figure out what your dream REALLY is…

    I wish you every bit of happiness and success. Your enthusiasm, creativity with the things you do on your blog, and your unbelievably buoyant attitude are a true inspiration. THANK YOU!!!

    I would be so thrilled to meet you someday… thanks for sharing everything.

    1. Hello Emily,

      Amazing comment. Much appreciated. Yes it begins with a dream, but as you say you need to take that leap of faith and go after it.

      From one traveller to another, it would be our pleasure to someday meet you as well.

      Cheers!

  65. Been a sporadic reader of yours over the last few years since I’ve been in the “blog world”, and I have to say you are a real inspiration, now more so after reading this, man.

  66. Amazing. There’s so much I could identify with in this post from my own experiences, even the back pain which makes sitting in a chair for hours at a computer a lot more challenging!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences so candidly.

    1. Thanks Dave. And thanks for all the “behind the scenes” guidance you have provided Caroline and myself. Very grateful.

      Sorry you’ve had the back pain issue. It’s a real bugger. Have you heard of Bowen Therapy? It really helped my healing process.

  67. Oh wow! What a journey you guys have had! I’m glad I read this because lately I’ve been debating a lot about the near future of my trip and my travel blogging.

    I still remember the early days of your blog, because I started mine just a few weeks after, and wow, you have grown your brand exponentially! But, I know you deserve it because K now you guys have worked hard for it and really have the drive and passion to do it!

    I wish you many more years of success!

    1. Hey Norbert,

      We’ve come a long way together on this blogging journey haven’t we? I remember those early days, starting our blogs at similar times.

      Thanks for dropping by man. Best wishes to you too!

  68. Wow heavy story Craig… thanks for sharing. Some parallels in there with my life, especially the real estate stuff. Never played for the North Sydney Bears though, that was a surprise! You have lived a full life already- that’s gotta count for something!!!

    1. Hi Matthew,

      Great comment. Yes, I need to remind myself that I have been fortunate to experience many wonderful things that most people may never experience in a lifetime. Forever grateful.

  69. Kiera (@EasyTravelMom)

    So inspirational, truly. The thing about travel blogging is that as much as we tell our stories about the great places we visit, it doesn’t always get to the heart of the matter because it’s hard to know the person behind the post. We’ve never met as I’m new to the scene – been travel blogging just over a year but only recently decided to get more serious about it; and it’s so wonderful hearing your real-life up-and-down story. I’ve had my own ups-and-downs over the last year, but I try to stay positive and it’s a post like this that helps – thank you SO so so much for sharing your story. I look forward to reading more of your travels and stories and am glad there are so many of us working hard to live our dream (and not sleeping between work and the kids as you said ha ha!).

    1. Hi Kiera,

      Nice to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Keep up the positive attitude, and if you ever need help with anything, please reach out.

      Cheers!

  70. I haven’t read such a long blog post in a very long time. Wow. Incredibly inspiring. I really need to work on my blog, videos, and getting my own travel show then, eh?! πŸ˜‰

    This bilateral carpal tunnel won’t stop me. This recently-crushed dream won’t stop me.

    Heck, I’m “typing” this comment with voice recognition software! When there’s will, there’s a way.

    Thanks for reminding me that I have to keep making sacrifices, feed my determination, and most importantly, NEVER STOP BELIEVING.

    – Maria Alexandra

  71. Can I tell you how much I love your honesty? I think there is a lot of smoke and mirrors in this (and any) business or industry, and to know your back story makes it all the more inspiring! Good on you and I’m looking forward to seeing what the summer and future holds for you guys!

  72. I find it particurly remarkable how you got to travel blogging AFTER all the bad decesions, misery and downfalls you went through.
    It’s not the first time I hear of someone starting anew after something ‘bad’ happened to them.
    It makes me think of the idea that ‘When there’s nothing more to loose, why not go for it’.
    Respect.
    I don’t know if I could do that. i think that a lot of people would choose for something more ‘secure’ like a steady job.
    Something they know that works financially, although it may not make them happy.
    Which brings us back to your bad real estate decision: following your gut is the way to go, but I think it’s really hard not to follow the dollar or euro signs. And I’m not just speaking about people who want to get rich. It’s just a fact that money ALWAYS plays a role. We’re not living in a world where you can just trade all goods and services.
    But money should stay a means, and not become a goal.
    It’s hard, but important to remember that, I think.

    1. Sofie,

      Of course money is vital for many reasons, but I created the wrong energy and focus around money and therefore I made it a habit of pushing money away.

      Now I believe that if you follow your passion and put in the hours and provide value, the money will flow naturally.

      Sure I could have stuck with a traditional job, and I did for many years, but I’m now at a point where I can pursue my true passion and create a lifestyle around travel, not just for me but my entire family.

  73. So many lessons here. Craig man, I wish I knew half of this shit when I met you, I would have bought you a couple of extra beers!

    You guys have always been a big inspiration to me, if I can, in any way, ever help you with anything please, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

    Hopefully I’ll see you out on the road again soon.

    1. G’day Will,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, and for your offer. Was fun hanging out with you for that brief time in Bangkok.

      P.S. beers never go astray. Let’s do that meet up again, somewhere, somehow.

      Cheers buddy!

  74. You guys are legends. It’s amazing what you’ve accomplished and thanks for sharing your struggles and triumphs. Luck only plays so much in life I think. Most of it is hard work, which you can see all the hard work you put in to getting where you are now in this post. I think one of the most amazing things you two have going is what a fabulous partnership you seem to have. As someone in a relationship, it really is inspiring and gives me the greatest hope in life.

    1. Hello Bobbi,

      Yes, I’m very grateful to have a best friend as my wife and mother of my children. I know many couples could not live in each others pocket like we do. Fortunately, we stuck together through the shit and have come out stronger for the experience.

      Thanks, and all the best!

  75. Stunning post. It’s soul shaking to feel catharsis through somebody else’s story. Thank you.

    This was my introduction to your blog and it couldn’t have been better.

    I’ll come back, but only if you promise you won’t waste time answering to this comment. Enjoy the extra 1 minute!

  76. That was an absolutely incredible post to ready, thank you for sharing! Im up at 3am trying to set up a new blog, in the middle of trying to do exactly what you guys have done, chasing my freedom and passion. This post has really inspired me to keep going. Thanks so very very much πŸ™‚

  77. Beautiful serendipity brought me here today to read this.
    Your authenticity and tenacity shine.
    “Never give up on yourself”
    Needed to read those words.
    I love watching people come into their success. Seeing their hardwork and commitment and passion pay off. Well done to both of you.
    So gladi listen to my gut and brought that problogger ticket in September. I have a feeling that I am going to a lot out of the experience.

    1. Hi Vicky,

      They’re powerful words. I look forward to seeing you at ProBlogger in September. Just found out I will be speaking on a panel πŸ™‚

  78. Wow – what an amazingly honest and beautiful post.
    You talk about the problems and the challenges you had to face, but all I read the whole way through was your bravery and strength. I don’t think there are a lot of people who could have gone through those kinds of things and come out so well at the other end. Whatever you guys had decided to put your mind to would have been a big success – we’re just lucky that it was travel blogging and that we can be a part of it.
    I’m sure it will only get even better from here. That’s what happens to wonderful people like you!

    1. Thank you Michael! We so appreciate your support. I think I may have accidentally sent my tweet the other day to the wrong turtle, but CONGRATULATIONS on making the Australian Writers Best Blog List. Totally deserved. I was really excited to see your name on it.

    2. Hey Michael,

      Sorry for the delayed response. And thank you for your thoughtful comments. Means a lot coming from you. Talk soon – Craig!

  79. Love this: “By the time we’ve taken photos of our lunch, updated facebook, tweeted, pinned and instagrammed the kids are running loose and our food is cold.”

    I can totally relate! And now that we have our first kid (newborn!) I can only imagine how much more difficult (and rewarding) the travel and work will become. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hi Laura,

      Let the fun begin with your newborn. It’s never a dull moment, but YES, very rewarding to travel with your kids.

      Safe travels.

  80. Awesome post, Craig, I love reading about people’s stories and always find the challenges they face the most interesting. Thanks for sharing yours, I’m sure you’ve helped a lot of people see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  81. Thank you for posting this guys.

    We’re in the dumps right now. The lowest of the low. I’m looking at this spiral and I’m trying to figure out how to get out of it. Who knew a blog could get me there.

    We have to pick up the pieces and regroup. This post has given me the courage to put it out there. I’m ashamed that it has gotten this bad and I think I need to write a more personal post about what is going on.

    It isn’t all unicorns and ponies. I’ve enjoyed the moments we have had, the travel we have done, the crazy experiences…

    Again, thank you. I feel solidarity when I hear we are all working so hard to accomplish our dreams.

    1. Hey Erica,

      Whatever you are going through, if you guys stick together and keep walking forward, you can achieve anything. I know it’s not easy, but nothing worth pursuing usually is.

      Please reach out if there is anything in particular we can assist with.

      Would love to meet you guys. How about in your town of Austin?? πŸ™‚

  82. I can only imagine how challenging and scary it must have been to re-live these experiences and then share them here, and I hope it’s freeing as well. Love your courage and Caz’s courage. I read this post a few days ago, and in the days that passed I had the opportunity to share some personal stuff (granted, on a more personal platform), and this post gave me the extra courage, as this was stuff I didn’t use to share. It’s also a great reminder for me to keep going, because hard work CAN lead to realizing dreams.

    You guys have earned every bit of your success, and I hope you’re keeping track of all the amazing steps you’re doing. You don’t fall if you don’t risk, and you risked for your future – so you got to learn lessons and become the people and bloggers and parents you are today. You could have given up so many times, yet you kept going and kept reinventing – and I think that’s incredibly powerful.

    Looking forward to seeing your business grow even more. You have a lot to be proud of. Wishing you lots and lots of health and happiness!

    1. Hi Ayelet,

      It has really helped to get all this down in writing and share my story. Very liberating. And I’m glad it has also helped you to share your personal challenges.

      All the best to you too for health and happiness!

  83. Craig I just wanted to say “she’ll be right mate”. You and Caz are good people, and in the end, good things always happen to good people.

  84. You just gave me a fresh dose of inspiration and filled up the confidence levels.Life is all about how you take the things that comes your way ! Thanks for sharing !!!

  85. This is one of the the best blogs i have ever read . Truly inspirational . Love the way you have summed up all the struggle and hardships you crossed to be where you are today. I have meet people who be little every thing others do by linking it to luck . Surely they can learn from this .

    Love to see you travel more and inspire more …

    you guys are awesome πŸ™‚

  86. Craig, you have been so upfront and honest in this post and it takes a lot to tell the world what you have felt over the years.

    You are both the nicest people in the blogging world Elise and Iknow and it is through your transparency and honestly that you have become so successful.

    You inspire us to continue plugging away at our blog, but for the time being we have to return back to work to also pay off debt.

    We looking forward to continually working on our blog part-time and gaining the much needed inspiration from yours.

    One last note: it is not often that men get emotional and I commend you for sharing your experience as I believe many men can relate to bearing the burden of providing for there family. Recently I have felt the weight of planning for a family and becoming financially secure, but I am working through the new phase of our life.

    You have reignited my passion and squashed some self doubts I have had in my head over the past couple of months.

    You and your family deserve all the success that comes your way. Well done for perusing your dream life.

    Ant

    1. Thanks mate. Appreciate your words and thoughts.

      Yeah, the emotional thing was difficult to write about. With my background in professional sport, I’ve grown up with the image that you never let them see you sweat, never let them see fear in your eyes. So for me to admit to crying a lot and struggling with the burden of supporting my family was hard to admit.

      I’m supposed to portray the tough guy image, but I have feelings and emotions and they need to come out.

      I know you guys will find your feet again. You have the talent and desire. Keep the dream alive and i know the future is bright, especially with your multi-media and video skills.

  87. This is probably the most real and one of the best travel blog posts I have had the good fortune to read. Your story and the honesty with which you convey it are inspiring to me. Hanging in Chiang Mai the last two months recuperating from injuries has given me lots of time to contemplate present and future directions with my blog. Your timing could not be more perfect. Congratulations to where your family’s journey has taken you so far. Cheers!

  88. Thank you for sharing your story! I can relate on so many levels about past and present challenges. Right you are that a big part of meet those challenges is — “Never give up on yourself.” It’s been wonderful getting to know you and Caz in the blogosphere & I look forward to hearing that life just keeps getting brighter and your successes grow. I’m going to abstain from judging the nose sizes. πŸ™‚

  89. I loved every word of this. We too are a family that found our way to travel blogging via Raleigh, NC (actually Apex). We are in the newbie stage, just over 8 months. In time we will figure out how to continue living our dream international life. For now we too will just continue to follow our passion for travel, show the world to our kids, work hard and go with the flow. I am also not a big believer of “luck”, for me it has always been work hard, network and have passion. Thanks for sharing. I am sure that was painful yet good for the soul to lift any heavy weight that was upon you.

    1. Hello Heidi,

      Wow, Apex huh. That’s crazy. Small world. Just read up a bit about you guys, lots of great memories you have already. Keep going and maybe we’ll run into each other somewhere in this big wide world. Thanks for reading!

  90. Damn you Craig for making me cry. First time I’m coming across your blog. Just Freakin’ Amazing. As an entrepreneur who’s just beginning her journey I need to read this over and over again. There is no over night success. Success will mean A LOT of challenges, persistence and it’s not EASY. Thank you again for reminding me that I’m on the right path and there are no quick fixes. I believe I am finally following my passion and Love for Fitness and Health but I know it will take time and I just need to appreciate the journey. Thanks again. You rock!

    1. Hi Joane,

      Your passion is definitely an important one to follow, glad you are diving straight into it. Yep, keep persisting and I’m sure you can meet any challenges head on!

  91. Amanda @Adventures All Around

    Wow… What an incredible post. Thank you for opening up and sharing… It must feel incredible to look back on your journey and see what you’ve accomplished and overcome.

    Congratulations on the life you’ve created (and I also love that Churchill quote… It was one I drew from in my darkest time).

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Totally. Yes I often need to look back over the years to remind myself of what I have achieved and be very grateful of the outcomes. Definitely not all doom and gloom and I do have some wonderful memories and friendships as a result. Thanks you for reading.

  92. What an amazing and truely inspirational story, thanks so muchfor sharing. Its like what they say – what you put in you get out. Theres no such thing as luck.

  93. The truth is truly inspiring, Thank You for sharing! For a long time I’ve been living in “limbo” not really putting my business or my brand out in to the world. All because I fear what might happen. Fear that I might succeed and fear that I might fail. Fear that my life would change.

    You have showed me that anything can be dealt with. Even rock bottom.

    I’m so Happy that your business & family life is blooming, keep up the amazing work you do!

    1. Hi Lina,

      I’m happy I’ve provided you with some inspiration. I understand your fears, and it can be about being a success and your life changing. It’s sometimes easier to stay within our comfort zones – be better the devil you know as they say. I encourage you move forward, I mean, what’s the worst thing that can happen? If you can live with that then go for it.

  94. Wow, Craig. Fantastic, epic post! I’ve finally had time to read the whole post as I only got through part of it last time.

    How easy it is to look at someone and think how successful they are without knowing their story. Excellent lessons for us starting out travel blogging.

    You guys are amazing, I particularly like the following quote and cannot imagine doing this with two kids at a mealtime!!

    “Shit. By the time we’ve taken photos of our lunch, updated facebook, tweeted, pinned and instagrammed the kids are running loose and our food is cold.”

    1. Thanks Kylah,

      And I must admit, I have been guilty sometimes of looking at other peoples lives from the outside and judging, it’s easier to do that than try and understand, but I know now.

      Yeah, meal time is craziness πŸ™‚

  95. What a post, Craig!
    i am now doing what i dream in my life, work and travel in Thailand. at first i was really excited to do this, until i got hit by a problem for not following my gut and i spent all my money for nothing.
    i’m in Hat yai now to start everything from zero.
    before i read your blog I feel bad everytime i remembered my family said i should have not gone or follow my dream, but i was too stubborn and i still did it. and when it all happen, i just wanna give up, i blame myself, blame myself for not listening to my family. yes, i almost give up.

    but when i read your blog, it just gives me strength for forgiving myself and trusting myself to start everything from zero again.
    yes, it’s true i need to follow my gut,
    and i shouldn’t blame myself for all the stupid things i did before, but instead, learn from it because it all happened for reasons and made me get to know of who i am better than before i made mistakes.
    and yes, no matter how deep i fall down, i will never think to give up. This too will pass!
    thanks Craig.

    1. Hey Danya,

      I know exactly what you are feeling. I know the blame game, and it’s so important to stop beating yourself up. You went for it which is more than most people do. It’s better to try and fail, than not to try at all.

      Don’t worry, every successful person has failed, has their horror stories. You are not alone. So just take ownership of your actions and then forgive yourself and I’m sure you will move forward and use this experience as a springboard to much greater things in life. All the best.

  96. rhoda francisco

    Grateful to have ‘stumbled’ on your blog. Thank you for sharing your journey of ‘following your bliss’, as joseph campbell would say.

    Your family is inspiring and your words have confirmed my own decision to follow my passion.

    Kudos to you and your family!

  97. Hi Craig,

    Wow! I have been meaning to stop by this blog for a long time and what a great introduction to “meeting” you and Caz. This is the first post from your blog I have read.

    This post could not have come at a better time. I’m at home, missing my partner incredibly as he works his seventh day, as he has been working for the past eight months. I’m also working during the week in the evenings whilst he looks after our two children. Aged two and eight months.

    We’re both working away to get ahead and waiting to hear a response for the new chapter of our lives, our own business – if it happens then our whole lives will change and we will most likely work the same ridiculous hours but it will be for our own business our passion.

    It’s interesting, reading this article I can almost sense the my partner goes through some of these emotions. However you rarely hear men talk of these things – and so I’ve emailed him this article and hope he finds some sort of comfort in knowing that succeeding is possible – it’s just a gradual process. Almost removing him from the isolation that comes with being in our position.

    We have a long way to go I am only 26 years of age and my partner is 29 years old. We have our whole lives ahead of us and working from the bottom {which is not so bad in comparison to what others go through} and I look forward to what lies ahead.

    I too blog, but I treat my blog as a journal where I would of previously put pen to paper.

    Thank you for writing this. It was truly inspiring.

    Your newest reader,

    Luisa

    1. Hi Luisa,

      I don’t always write 6,000 word blog posts, sorry for the long introduction haha. Thanks for dropping by and I wish you and your partner all the best in chasing your dream of running your own business. And I hope your partner gets something out of this post when he reads it also. Welcome to yTravel Blog πŸ™‚

  98. I love your perspective on ‘luck’. I’ve been very fortunate to have travelled to some beautiful places in the world because of opportunities that I refused to let pass me by. I often get “You’re so lucky. Everything just seems to fall in your lap!” I almost get almost offended at this comment. I work my butt off for the life I want for myself and don’t stop until I get it. I’m happy to learn that you have the same view on creating this. Since you’re a quote guy, I’ll share my favourite with you:

    LOVE THE LIFE YOU LIVE … LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE!

    and I LOVE your blog!

  99. “We see what people have and we label them as lucky because it’s easier that way to explain why we don’t have it ourselves” – I seriously couldn’t have put it better myself.

    When I told people I was going travelling, so many people said “aren’t you lucky?” but I didn’t consider selling my house, all of my possessions and my car and re-homing my dogs as “lucky”. I considered it dedication to something I wanted to do.

    Oh, and as for the noses, I’d say they’re about even πŸ˜‰

    1. Hey Julia,

      Yeah, nothing lucky about making sacrifices and having the dedication to go after a dream. Well said. And thank you for reading and sharing. Safe travels!

  100. Craig, this is my first comment! I am truely, deeply amazed by your sincerity towards life and yourself! I am so proud of you and your family! This is one of the best inspirational true story I’ve ever read so far!

    I’ve been questioning the quote or the saying ” when it pours, it rains”….I’ve finally come to a conclusion that they happen to help you to reach a better version of yourself by tearing apart your heart or cry yourself into sleep many many nights just to make you think deeply, dig your possibilities and to make you understand that you need to take your heart with you not only your brain….Counting the rainbows instead of storms is the best thing as you are doing! I am sharing your post with all my friends, I know that you will be someone’s light! I hope to meet you two or four in person someday!

    1. Hello Evrim,

      Welcome to our blog! And thank you for your amazing comment. Really appreciate that. Who knows, we may cross paths some day. Keep traveling and enjoying life!

  101. Long time follower, first time commenter.

    I don’t have much to say other than: Wow.

    How brutally raw that felt to read. Kudos to the positive side of life but also the strength to be able to write something so gripping, something so raw, and so very personal.

    Thank you.

    Its comforting to see that even the success stories had a rough start.

  102. I tend to stay away from message boards so today was the first time I was able to read your entire story. Our paths are similar and we share the belief that success is determined by shear willpower. I’m glad to know there are people like you in the blogosphere who consistently give out positive energy and have an unyielding work ethic. I look forward to meeting you and your family in person someday.

    1. Hey Mary,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment and for your support over the years. Yeah, being great knowing you guys online, hopefully we can get together offline in the near future.

      Cheers!

  103. I’m sorry for language mistakes.
    I’m graduated technical univeristy, and have to face reality. My girfriend left me, I can’t find job so I have move back to my parent’s. I’m starting think that, my life don’t have any sense, even job I can’t find! I’m loser. Our family never had a lot of money, my childhood wasn’t easy.
    I found your webpage by accident, just preparing for another job interview, very inspiring. Actually I don’t know yet what to do, but I will change my life.

    1. Hi Andrzej,

      Thank you for stepping out and commenting. Glad you stumbled upon our site and we hope it provides you with the inspiration and determination to keep going and live your own best life!

      If you never give up, then you never lose!

  104. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your success. One’s success is not about how famous or rich he has become but able to live his dreams πŸ™‚ On the issue who has the bigger nose..hmmmm..does it matter ?:-D

  105. I hate to break it to you but I think your noses could possibly be the same size πŸ˜‰

    I think these types of posts really show how the two of you are as actual people to your readers. I love how open and honest you both are and you deserve all of the success you have. I couldn’t imagine getting in that much debt (I’m too scared to get a credit card) but its great how you’ve turned it all around.

    1. Ahh no!! Craig was out in front there with the biggest nose and now I think your vote has brought us even πŸ™‚ Thanks so much Ally, we really appreciate it! I might get my nose file out tonight LOL

  106. Thank You so much for this post! There was one quote that kept coming back to me while reading this.

    “I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I have ended up where I needed to be” – Douglas Adams

    I’ve too have had quite a roller coaster but what’s the point of appreciating the sunny days if there aren’t any rainy days?!

    Ya’ll are definitely an inspiration to continue pursuing what I what to do with my life and not concerning myself with other people’s views. Keep doing what you love!!

    1. Thanks Bethaney,

      Glad to hear we offer inspiration. And we totally respect what you do and that you’re chasing your own dreams with your family.

      Safe travels!

  107. We appreciate the post! We read your blog and others blogs and don’t understand how you can do all of these things. It’s nice to see how this is really done. I look forward to more adventures.

  108. What’s it’s really all about. I never wanted to blog for anyone but me, and now that it’s turning into something more, it’s all about me AND my readers. I’m passionate about Southern Spain, and my blog is the verbal manifestation of that. Great read and great inspiration.

  109. Hi Craig,

    As a fellow Aussie and also having lived on the Central Coast for 16 years I can relate to your story. Thanks for sharing. I only stumbled onto your blog via Twitter this morning and your passion for travel reflects my family. We’re further down the track than you two with twin 15 year old boys. We’re 43 & 44. The power of positive thinking is awesome recently promoted as ‘The Secret’. When we want to travel somewhere exotic we just speak to the universe then follow the signs literally. Since 2007 we’ve travelled to Europe three times and the USA once. We also did on an average income.

    I look forward to following your blog religiously to see your progress. Best of luck to the two of you.

    1. Hey Steve, not often we run into fellow Coasties via our blog. That’s cool.

      I hear ya on the positive thinking side of things, getting the head right is so important.

      All the best.

  110. G’day Champ, Champess & Champettes,

    Nice work and opening up my friend. Definitely takes guts to do this and share your innermost with the world. Hope everything keeps going on the up and up for you. Will hopefully catch up with you guys ‘real’ time soon!

    Mick – your Raleigh ‘weaponhead!’

  111. What a great post. You might have lost a lot of money, but you have a wonderful family and you are following your dreams. In my eyes you are richer than successful business people. Keep doing what you are doing-I love your blog!

  112. I get asked this a lot, too. People think that I have this dream job, jetting off to different corners of the world with my family, and in many ways I suppose I do.

    However, what people often don’t realise, I feel, is how much work has gone into ‘getting there’. Everyone wants this kind of “work”, so you really have to put in the hours and effort to stand out from the crowd, to the point that it can be a job, rather than just a hobby/dream.

    I haven’t got my blog to where it is without a lot of late nights and hard graft, and I’m sure that’s true of your both also. So yes… you make your own ‘luck’ to a large extent.

    Anyway, congratulations on a great blog, and good luck with its continued success…

    1. Thanks Paul.

      I’d much rather be following my passion and working double the hours than in my old career. But yeah, it’s like any business it takes time and commitment.

      Keep going with your blog and safe travels.

  113. There really is no words for this kind of post.
    But take my following words and multiply it by a million.
    You are the most inspirational blog I have ever read, you both, your kids, your passions and your outlook to life. You are the heart of it all and everything is so vibrant. I cannot explain how deeply you’ve changed my thoughts and mindset. Thank you so much for sacrificing everything you’ve considered a substitute for this website. I wish you all the best, angels have always and will always be with you. View your life as a wobbly line. But imagine you’ve been on the lowest. Up is the only way. Thank you xxx

    1. Thank you so much Tash. Really appreciate you taking the time to read and leave such a nice comment. So glad we offer you inspiration.

      Yep, onwards and upwards. All you need is passion and enthusiasm to get started and keep going!

  114. This brought tears to my eyes. What a story! But with a beautiful message–despite it all, you really are so blessed. So incredible that you’re about to start out traveling again full time. I wish you joy, plenty of time with your family, an ebook business that takes off like crazy, AND a full night’s sleep! Cheers.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Kalli. It’s been a journey that’s for sure. So great to meet you and your family on the weekend in Sydney. See you again – Cheers πŸ™‚

  115. Phoebe (Short Road To Happy)

    Thank you for such an honest account of your trials and tribulations. What an absolutely inspiring piece! I am so very happy for you both and look forward to reading about more of your adventures.

    xo Phoebe

  116. Pete Macfarlane

    Reading this today has really helped. Thank you. I can see some similarities here and what you’ve managed to do is truly fantastic.

  117. Thank you for sharing your story! It gives hope and encouragement that we can overcome obstacles in life by shifting our attitudes.

  118. I salute you and your family for being able to surpass these trials. I can’t imagine how tough it must be to experience such a roller coaster in life, but I agree wit what you said, it takes passion to achieve what you desire most. Family is family after all. Thank you for the inspiring post.

  119. Craig,

    Your honesty and passion make the words jump off the page. I am so impressed by what you have done, and what you will undoubtedly continue to do.

    Thank you for sharing!

  120. What a refreshingly open and honest post guys, stoked to see you had the determination and drive to chase the dream life.

    Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom to appreciate the highs hey?

    And totally agree with the underlying secret – nothing gets handed to you on a silver platter in life…you need to earn it.

    Keep living the dream!

  121. Thank you so much Craig for sharing this very inspirational post. Thanks for bravely sharing your experiences, screw ups, and how you two overcame it all.

    I am happy that it all turned out well for both of you.

    Thanks!

  122. Thanks for the great post. I too come from an athletic background, love travel, look to quotes for inspiration and am looking for that passion you spoke of. Interestingly this post was written on my birthday; my husband shared it today. I appreciate your honesty and the motivation to believe in success.

  123. WOW! You guys are an inspiration. We have recently become digital nomads and it’s amazingly good fun but also difficult at times. Many think we’re living the dream (which we are!) but a lot of people don’t realise how hard we work too, and all the effort we put into our blog.
    Thank you SO much for inspiring us to travel the world πŸ™‚

  124. After reading your post, I strongly feel like leaving a comment, stretch my hand out to reach you both, as your writting (not only this post, but many of the other stuff you share with us on your blog) has reached me sonmany times… But I dont really know what to say! I am overwhelmed by your story and the reflection of my own story on yours…
    I am an Argentinian woman on her mid 30s who has moved to BogotΓ‘, Colombia, 4 years ago, where I’ve married the sweetest man I ever met, and after a whole life of working on the corporative world, resigned to my job as a ship broker. I am now a Yoga Teacher, which was my dream for many years. Despite the fact I am suppodesly living my dream, I feel so lost!!! I still tend to put my dreams on someone else’s hands, with the constant feeling that I wont be able to support myself finantially with my Yoga teaching or any of the activities I am really passioned about (and which, “other people” think I am good at, like writting ) therefore, I ended up working on someone else’s project, to guarantee myself a 2nd income. This secondary activity, now actually prevents me from dedicating time to the activity I really want to commit too. I stopped travelling and styding, to work on something I dont feel passioned about, just for the (little) money. So, after taking so many risks changing my formal, well-payed, socially approved job, for being a Yoga Teacher and Thai Massage therapist, I am at a similar place where I was before ditching my high hills and bussines woman life, but without the juicy paycheck at the end of the month! So I ask myself: how did I manage to end up here again???

    Travelling seems now more impossible than ever. Still, something inside me knows THIS is not how it is supposed to be. I picture myself in such a different situation, but cannot find my way to it.

    I’ve learnt from your post, to follow my gut. It seems so simple, but can be so difficult with all the disturbing noices and voices around. Still, someone sitting at the other side of the world, seems to agree on this, and seems to be working it out. That gives me strenght and self confidence.

    I said I did not know what to write, but after all this blabbing, I realized I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!! For having the courage of sharing your story in such a personal way, for your generosity.

    Reading your post today (sooo many months after receiving the email anouncing the new post, and leaving it on the “to read” folder) has activate me towards finding my way out from this present situation. You have made an impact on my life today.

    I hope all this goes back to you someday πŸ™‚

  125. Emily - emilymeetsworld.com

    Hi Craig, first of all wow! Thank you so much for sharing this – I can’t even imagine how it feels to write this, let alone live through it. I too have tears in my eyes – both happy and sad knowing what you have survived and created anew.

    For myself, I finally came through my own shit – it was pretty deep and lonely at times I have to say but very different to your experiences – and have finally begun attempting the ‘live the dream’ after I, too, realised there was actually no secret, just hard work, sacrifice and passion. My blog is only a little fledgling but I’m putting my heart and soul into it and have found other ways to pay my way as I travel UNTIL it is finally a success. I believe it will happen thanks to people like you – so thank you so much for inspiring, motivating and educating me. That is my secret πŸ˜‰

  126. Wow Caz and Craig…wow. I haven’t ever read your blog much in the past and have just come upon it today while browsing the interwebs. What an insanely inspirational story your family has now. What resilience it takes to be free falling through the abyss and come clawing out again with the glory of your new found dream life. Things happen for a reason, sometimes dirty-stinking-shitty things, but if you keep your chin up like a champion and fight on, the lessons can be powerful.

    I can relate to your situation in more ways than one. Though I’ve never had a successful career, I know what it feels like in that dark place when you feel defeated, worthless, and overall disappointed. It can get easy to wallow in the pity after everything comes crashing down, because to come back out of that takes a lion-heart.

    After both of my parents died at a young age, I was content to follow their path down a road of alcohol and “horrible job” induced misery because that was all I was raised to believe existed for somebody like myself. I hated having $100K in my pocket of death money, and withen a year I had blown it on moving to LA and partying like a rockstar in an endless-flowing amount of hangovers. Bought a 1948 Ford, had an apartment in Santa Monica, went to bondage clubs, etc. Oh the things money makes you do when you are already in a dark place with nothing to live for…

    I did dabble successfully in the stock market when I was in the right mindset, never making less than 25% return and doing research for 7 hrs a day, but I only invested 10K instead of the other 90K I blew.

    When I had nothing left except more misery than I ran away from home with, I returned to DC broke and depressed. I worked at a job I hated, I hated my life so I blamed other people for it. And then I somehow stumbled onto the travel scene online.

    I started reading travel blogs all hours of the day, and for the first time since I was 18, I felt a pang in my heart of passion, of hope. And that is when I decided to leave to New Zealand for a year. I was the first person to ever own a passport in my family, my brother disowned me (my only family left) because he couldn’t fathom an idea so radical, sold everything, and took off.

    And I believe it saved my life. Travel gave me something tangible to love again, something I never imagined outside of the movies. I felt this is worth living for. I could smile again.

    Even though I have returned home since New Zealand and I am sleeping on a couch, I now have a purpose in life. Everything I make goes towards my next trip, Thailand in November to teach English, and it feels great.

    Thank you so much for sharing your incredibly difficult journey you and your family has faced, and I am so happy the sun is shining bright on you now.

    Keep traveling, inspiring, and live gnarly!

  127. Nice write up Craig
    As a British Expat who travelled to many countries I can say that there were good times and bad times
    I found befriending the locals where ever I was and showing respect to their culture,customs and religious beliefs took me far
    Did I make money? NO but I would not trade my memories for any amount of cash.It is priceless
    I started with Β£70 in my pocket in 1988 and on a boat to Sweden
    Today I live in Finland,Russia and Sweden and married a Finn as well
    As Monty Python said -“Allways look on the bright side of life”

  128. I know you published this in April but i just happened upon it. Wow! I’m sitting here with a fractured tibia plateau and in a wheelchair for 3 months – skiing- and started this massive learning curve of travel blogging. The more i learn, the less i know, BUT i am loving it. It irks me that people see this as a “hobby” – something to keep me busy. Like hell. Come hell or high water i will make something of our passions, travel and writing. So, thank you so much. Very inspirational and brave of you.

  129. It’s all been said, but I can’t just read this post and not comment…

    This is so genuine and open it blows me away. Thank you for sharing these experiences, you are truly an inspiration to me.

    -Annie

  130. Bec & John Barrett

    Hi Craig
    Thanks so much for sharing your story – wow! It’s so raw and brought tears to our eyes – we truly had no idea that you guys went through so much grief. At the same time your story is inspirational and will help so very many people. Good on you for opening up Craig – even though it must’ve scared the shit out of you to be so open with your personal life. I totally understand that, as I’m a very private person too (which sometimes sadly comes across to some as snooty or even impertinent by those who don’t know me well enough).
    John and I had the pleasure of getting to know you and Caz a few years ago (with me first meeting Caz through property investing seminars with WWW and then later meeting you and beautiful Kalyra when we all stepped into the personal development biz). We too have taken losses in both these areas and fully understand the excitement, anticipation and later heart ache when things don’t turn out like you expected. And even worse when you’ve brought friends into something you thought would be a winner for them too. Ho hum.
    I remember Caz always talking about your previous travels and us sharing adventure stories. As you know, John and I have spent many years wandering the globe too. However, we’ve found ourselves stuck somehow – albeit in a lovely corner of the world, Queensland Australia – after migrating nearly 20 years ago. For some reason we just can’t seem to break free of the place, even though we desperately need to. Why can’t we? Probably cause it’s so beautiful and also we’re on the comfy couch and the fear sets in about leaving such a great spot behind. So why do we want to? Cause travel and exploration is in our blood – like yours – and this bloody itch keeps getting worse!!
    So we just wanted to let you know that coming to your blog spot Craig and finally reading it (cause we’ve known about it for ages but just somehow haven’t had the time to go through it properly!) has injected the much needed inspiration into us again to get planning so that we can be on the move again. So thanks hugely for that.
    And hopefully we’ll be able to catch up with you guys again in the not too distant future to trade many more travel adventures over a few beers/wine!
    Hugs xxx

  131. A very inspirational story! It is inspiring to read about everything that you have overcome. I am sure this will help many readers who follow your blogs, and or just run across this information. Good luck with everything!

  132. Craig, I just love this post. You have hit the nail on the head. There is a secret and the secret is YOU! You have to have the vision, the passion and the desire. with loads of hard work and you can make dreams a reality every day. Thanks!

  133. I really like the openness and the commitment you’ve shown to this blog and your background. It gives better on context on whom I’m reading better. I’ve now subscribed with my email address for updates πŸ™‚

  134. I haven’t read a more inspiring travel blog. A triumph of the human spirit is what your life has been. And you and your family have earned every laurel, every joy, each happy moment! The world often sees not the ordeals behind those glistening moments of triumph!

  135. Such a brave and honest post Craig. Just goes to show – we all make mistakes but its the way you deal with them that determines whether they become a life lesson as opposed to a ball and chain we drag around with us. Happy travels in 2014 – I look forward to reading all about them πŸ™‚

  136. Interesting read. I realize that although someone’s life may look wonderful on the outside we never know what they have gone through or are going through on the inside. You have both bounced back really well and as you said if you can do it so can we. Have a great year in Ozzieland.

  137. You’re amazing! I love your blog, I love your passion, and I love your depth.

    I wish you continued success, and if you ever want to visit Charlotte, NC, you’re entire family is welcome here. I’d be honored to introduce my husband and daughter to other driven, well-rounded people. We have an extra two bedrooms that are always open.

    May the world be at your doorstep,

    Lesley
    Bucket List Publications
    http://bucketlistpublications.org/

  138. Wow–what a story! I admire you for writing/sharing it and must say that I’m really blown away by how you overcame such serious obstacles. Over the past year, I’ve struggled with a few things (eg, working too much on various projects, feeling burnt out and wanting to give up at times), but I’m sticking with it. And now that I’ve read this, I’m 100% sure I am. Your words have inspired me to keep going.

    Thank you.

  139. I’m new to your website, and I love it! I really appreciated your honesty in this post. I’m new to blogging this year, and your dedication and perseverance is really inspiring. We just took our first trip blogging from the road and it was way harder than I thought it was going to be! Keep up the amazing work, I love following you guys! πŸ™‚

  140. Guys – I’ve been following you for a while and only come upon this post now – when I really, REALLY needed it. I’ve been through hell over the past 6 years – I used to be a model in Brisbane with everything I wanted – now I am a destitute, sick, injured single mum – completely defeated and lost. (In a similar period to your lost year after sport? And can I recommend Robin McKenzie’s “Heal Your Own Back” for ruptured disc? My injury also)
    I’ve been planning a family bicycle tour for 2015, but there’s an uneasiness about something in the plans – anyway you have probably just turned my life around today – your honesty and humility in sharing your broken times filled me with hope – you’ve been down here in this dark cold place too, and risen to something better. Warriors! I’ve just turned 40 too, anyway so much is similar that I KNOW I’m supposed to pay attention to your story. Thank you, a thousand times thank you! I’m gonna be ok! My kids are gonna be ok. Thanks.

  141. Wow. This is an amazing story about successes and failures. I am still with my mouth open, a few things like that have happened to me as well and completely understand where that comes from. Congrats on coming back and going forward!!

  142. Thank you for writing this – as a woman in her late forties, who has decided her own happiness is as much a necessity as the happiness she has placed in the centre of her children’s lives, I attempt to change and build a different career. Our family has had to make a lot of changes to do so and I find it important to keep my struggles included as I attempt to succeed as part of my writing – which at times I find a little tough!
    What you have been through seems to show your tenacity and strength with the acknowledgment that you and your wife are human and that living life can hurt at times. Thanks for that and keep the great posts coming!

  143. Thanks for sharing. This is definitely one of the most inspiring posts I have read so far and I wish you guys all the best of luck.

  144. Hello Craig,

    What a tremendous story you have! It’s a great inspiration my fiancΓ© and I and how we want for our lives. We started our blog a year and a half ago and just like your blog, it shows the best parts of our lives and hides much of the daily hardships and struggles that go into it all. We have a great vision as to where our site can go and always feel inspired by stories like yours.

    It’s a powerful image you wrote about describing those who have much much less than us. Thanks for reminding me of how we always need to be grateful for our health and that we have so much going for us. We even have the privilege/wealth to use a computer, something that so many people out there don’t have access too.

    Cheers and keep up the great blog!

  145. Wow! I just got caught in a facebook > post > post vortex and think I was meant to be here, and it has made me appreciate you guys even more…. and also increase the excitedness I have about how well you are doing now, knowing where you have come from! Some of this is all too familiar and some not so familiar (secret meetings with police and evening stake-outs sounds very scary!!!), but so glad to hear that it has all been worth it. I also heard a great quote recently (not sure who said it): “Nothing that is meant for you will pass by you” which I think is so true. Thank you so much for sharing Craig!

  146. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to find this post — and I love your lunch run-down (so true that when you’re passionate about something, things like a hot lunch move down on the priority list πŸ™‚

    Wow! What a story and good for you for constantly moving forward. The good news is that going into your 40’s with experience, knowledge and a better idea of what you really want in life will make it a great decade!

    Best to you & the family!

  147. Thanks for writing this post. I can tell it was a very emotional experience writing it, but I think it’s important that you did because it’s relevant and encouraging to so many people. You guys are such an inspiration, thank you so much. I have a little bit of credit card debt that I’m trying to throw off while preparing to be location independent and I have often doubted my ability to get through this. But posts like this make me know that I can do it.

  148. Great post. It’s easy to share the good stuff but hard to share the bad. Really helps you to think about things and to try to avoid falling into the life 99% of people are lead into thinking they should lead in the western world.

    Thanks!

  149. Love this post. So many people make it look so easy and I wonder why I’m struggling so much. I was raised in the Raleigh area and confirm that it is truly a wonderful place. And it get’s more wonderful/expensive by the day!

  150. Hi Craig, this was truly inspiring and such a pleasure to read. I’ve been browsing a number of travel blogs in a bid to get started myself and this is definitely the best post I’ve come across. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

  151. What an incredible journey! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ My husband and I are also real estate investors and we’ll be leaving in 2015 to travel the world for a year, so it’s awesome to read about someone else who has successfully earned a lifestyle of freedom after facing many challenges. Thanks again!

    Shazia

  152. Tessa / Viajera Filipina

    Dear Craig,
    I am in tears in the middle of Einstein Bros Bagels here in our little suburb of Atlanta. I just finished reading this post with my husband over breakfast. I kept pointing to lines and sections, nodding in agreement like a crazed woodpecker one second, then shaking my head in disbelief like a tipsy bobblehead the next. It is exceptionally poignant for me to read about your journey today, on the eve of your trip to the White House and return to North Carolina. Wow, just wow. I want to hug you and Caz right now. (PS If you ever have a crazy little Filipina run up to you guys for a hug, that would most likely be me. You have been warned.)
    You brought up many points and values that lit a fire under me, as I begin my own foray into travel blogging. I don’t have the same struggles as you had, but your perseverance to rebuild from scratch while putting such a high premium on serving others through giving travel advice is truly inspirational. Maraming salamat (Thank you) for such a genuine and generous sharing of yourself. Know that it has helped me more than I can ever express and thank you for.
    My goal and hope: one day, I will return to this post to comment about how far I’ve come along in my journey as a travel blogger. And I will thank you and Caz again. Okay, I got to go before I start bawling again.

  153. I have been reading the blog for the last two month, and after this post… I couldn’t keep my tears in my eyes and my words inside of me.
    I am very surprise with the strength you have had to strip your story, your hard and no lucky story I would say.
    Thank you very much to share in public your successes and failures, your achievements and disasters. The story of your family it’s an example for the human being, an example of overcoming.
    Keep going, keep writing, keep shooting, keep being the best inspiration for us.

  154. Thank you for writing this post! Several of my favorite bloggers lately seem to have been coming out into the open with their struggles, hurdles, and personal posts that they all say they were worried to share, and honestly these are the posts that resonate the most with a lot of readers (myself included!) It’s easy to see someone’s successes and not know how much behind-the-scenes work it took to get there, and to then feel like it’s impossible to achieve that yourself. Thank you for opening up about what it has taken to get to where you are…and congratulations on getting there!

  155. What a story! It must not have been easy to share this with your followers. Everybody only sees the success but not what happens behind the scenes and how much struggle there is to get there. It’s good to have written it down, it will be inspiring for many people, it definitely is for me. It’s something to chew on, rethink the things we are doing, with the blog, what we want to achieve with it, how we got to that, … Thanks for sharing!!

  156. Awesome post Craig! Thanks for being so honest and open about your experience. I had a few tear up moments reading this and its nice to be reminded that it does take hard work, its not just luck because sometimes you forget that.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read the post Larissa. It was a hard one to write, and yes there is usually no substitute for hard work and a plan of action πŸ™‚

  157. Hey Craig! I’ve just read this post and let me tell you it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever read. It should have been hard to write, so thank you for sharing it with us, that’s a lot of courage. And as the saying, life is like a rollercoaster, has its ups and downs, but it’s on us to sream or enjoy the ride πŸ™‚ thank you for sharing! And have a good day πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read it Densy, I know it was a long read. Correct, it was hard to write at the time and I almost didn’t publish it, but looking back now I’m glad I did. All the best!

  158. Thank you for sharing Craig,
    It is rare to learn about the struggles people go through. All we ever see is the successes of others.
    Its a good reminder that nothing is easy and it take a lot of hard work to succeed.

  159. Hi Craig and Caz,
    Thanks for sharing your story (I know this was written a while back now and I trust you’re past these hardships and wish you the best! ). Can only attest to the sacrifices and hard work it takes to get anywhere, especially with online content creation. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody, but always a useful reminder as the envy of other people’s success often breeds taking-for-grantedness.
    And the more props to you for managing this with kids! Don’t worry about replying enjoy your meal while it’s warm πŸ™‚
    If you’re interested in quality photos, videos and storytelling on top of traditional travel tips:
    http://www.ooaworld.com

  160. Thank you so much for this post! My partner and I are about to embark on a nine-week adventure to South America. Although we won’t be living overseas (fingers crossed one day we will) I know that it’s still going to be really tough getting back in to the daily grind after being away from reality for so long. Nothing is ever as good when you return from travelling but I think this information will help us to adjust and prepare when we come back. Thank you!

  161. I have always being an avid reader of your blog but today I couldn’t stop myself to comment … Your hard work and passion is inspirational …hats off to both of you for doing what you like and raising your two lovely daughters.

    And completely agree to this line :
    “we label them as lucky because it’s easier that way to explain why we don’t have it ourselves”

    Every other person just want us to label as “lucky” for contest wins or sponsored trips but they can never see the hard work and sleepless nights that goes while running a travel blog …Keep rocking and happy 40th birthday πŸ™‚

    http://thetalesofatraveler.com/2015/09/28/squid-jigging-festival-2015-terengganu/

  162. The emotions I had reading your insights are the proof I need to know that this truely is what I want. We’ve been travelling since nearly two years now, and it taught me so much. I know, if you guys did it, I should be able, too, but I’ve got one more question: Where do you get the power from? How do you not procrastinate? Lay back and relax instead of working, not sleeping enough etc.? I’m happy it worked out for you and hope it stays like this.

  163. You have truly been through a lot. But you should know that we are many who enjoy reading your blog. ItΒ΄s full of great advices for an travel junkie like me. Keep up the good work.

  164. Craig – Wow that is such an intense and heart warming story – and why it hits home is because its not a whipped up story – its real live events. Thanks for sharing this coz I know how hard it is to write about stuff like this. Kudos!

    We all make mistakes in life but if learn from them – that’s what counts. Everyone fails but we need to brush & pick ourselves up – thats what you both did AND thats what counts πŸ™‚

    Oh and on another note , Caz def has the bigger nose – she wins!? πŸ™‚

    Keep writing guys – I know life is not a bed of roses and no one is born lucky – you make your luck!

  165. Thank you, thank you very much for sharing your amazing and passionate story. I want to let you know that you guys are really an inspiration for many other people around the world, even here, in Latin America. I am really impressed by all the obstacles you have had to overcome. Your perseverance is admirable. Thank you again and keep doing your beautiful job!

  166. Hi Craig, what a fantastic post. I really enjoyed reading it and can relate so much to all the things you have been through. I love the Winston Churchill quote – If you are going through hell – keep going! It’s one of my favourties πŸ™‚

  167. 4 years ago, when I started blogging, it was your “Tips for New Travel Bloggers” that gave me a boost. Now, 4 years in, we’re on the threshold of the blog fully supporting us and I REALLY want to make it work. I’ve been searching around, trying to find tips and help, seeing how the successful bloggers do it and I ended up back here. I’ve subscribed to your blog for 4 years and never read this post. Inspiring stuff, A very big well done to both of you. I don’t believe in luck either, just hard graft. Cheers! Onward and upward. ( you both have small noses)

  168. Fair play guys!! You’ve really been through some testing times! It’s so great that you opened up with such an honest account of the challenges you’ve been through, and pursued your passions, it really goes to show dreams can be achieved when we stick at it with hard work and a vision! So inspiring! thank you!

  169. Hi Craig
    This is the first time I’ve come across your blog. Wow! Very inspirational. I’m having a little cry while responding, as your story ripped at my heart.

    My husband and I are in our fifties and did have some financial issues because of head decisions rather than gut, so can relate.

    I am now following my heart and passion for travel and have started my blog only 2 months ago. It fills me with love! I’m not sure what it will become; I only know where it’s taking me now!
    Thanks for sharing your story and your life with your gorgeous girls.?

  170. I have always been an avid reader of your blog, read thru mail subscription. Somehow I missed this post and happened to stumble today! I couldn’t stop myself from commenting.
    This is such an inspirational, and heartwarming story. We all make mistakes in life but if learn from them. Your hard work and passion has paid off. Hats off to you both for doing what you like and raising your two lovely daughters. I am fond of reading Caz and she is a wonderful woman. You are lucky!
    Keep writing guys and inspiring.

  171. Hey mate, congratz for your beautiful family and great adventure. Life can be a bitch sometimes and it’s really important to learn by the mistakes.

    Enjoy the rest of your life !

  172. Congratulations on all the things you have achieved – it looks super easy but if you are honest, it definitely takes a while and you did an amazing job! Keep up your passion!

  173. Very inspiring post. I appreciate your honesty and wisdom/ experience. I am at that place where I am making big changes to live the life I dream. I can only hope I have the courage you do.

  174. Thank you, Craig for sharing where you were and where you are now, and all in between. Too often we see the end result thinking those people were touched by magic without seeing the struggles that made them that way. I have been reading caz for some time and was happy to have you check in. Love you caz and your two adorable girls.
    wishing you all good,
    Joyce

  175. I often return to this post for inspiration when I’m struggling with continuing my blog or trying something new. You, and your family, are an inspiration. I love following your journey.

    Lesley

  176. What a wonderful and inspirational blog post . Thanks for sharing your personal story ,this indeed is really motivating for we new bloggers to get started with our goals and dreams.thanks for sharing!!

  177. A beautiful piece of writing, Craig. I’ve been coming here for ages for travel tips for my own kiddo, and inspiration for building our own family travel blog but hadn’t come across this post until today. It sucked me right in (and I’m glad it did!) Mad respect for you guys and what you’re doing here. Thanks for the transparency and authenticity. Very welcome these days!

  178. PRADEEP KUMAR MEENA

    i am not good at expressing myself…..but believe me it is something that break down most of us……when someone says u r lucky…it must be painful sometimes……….. with no doubt it is…
    0% luck
    100% hard work…
    YOU DESERVE IT………………………………………here u got your new….follower….

    GOOD LUCK

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