Young family sets off on world trip

22:41, Oct 03 2012
David Monk
Ready to go: The Monk family, from top, David, Rachel, Dylan, 5 and Lewis, 4, wave goodbye as they prepare to head off travelling the world for two years

They've sold the house, quit their jobs and the Monk family are off for two years travelling the world.

Rachel Monk left her job as a Wairau Hospital after-hours registered nurse a few weeks ago, and her husband, David Monk, finishes up as duty nurse manager at the hospital tomorrow. Next week they and their children Dylan, 5, and Lewis, 4, will start a journey around New Zealand in their campervan.

Then in May they leave New Zealand booked on a one-way ticket to Britain where they plan to buy another campervan and spend about a year travelling Europe.

They came up with the idea three years ago while on a family trip cycling from Bluff to Blenheim.

Living with just a tent and their bikes on that trip made them realise what they could do without and when they returned they put their house on the market, sold the car and began saving, Mrs Monk said.

Travelling and spending time in the outdoors has always been a big part of their lives. Mrs Monk who is from England was travelling when the couple met while working at Middlemore Hospital in 2001.


"I arrived with my backpack and never left. I've still got the backpack, but now I've got two kids and a campervan as well."

They always planned to keep travelling after they had children and Dylan was just six weeks old when he spent his first night in a tent, she said.

Much of their time in Blenheim has been spent outdoors: cycling, tramping and kayaking and fishing. The family were well used to living in the van, which they used as a mobile bach, and the journey was another chance for the adults to pass on their love of the outdoors and simple living.

"We're just popping the invisible bubble that you get consumed with in life. It's giving the kids a free-range childhood, not cooped up indoors on a Playstation. We've got a lot out of travelling and we wanted to impart more to the kids and see the world through their eyes," Mr Monk said.

While they are open to ending up somewhere new the family enjoy Blenheim and were planning at this stage to return.

Saving had not been tough once they sold the house and car they said and it was easier knowing it was going towards their dream.

"We were at the stage where it was ‘do we sell the house or the campervan?' and I was happier to sell the house," Mrs Monk said.

During their travels the children will have school through the Correspondence School, which will send them packages wherever they are, while the adults plan to do some volunteer work. They will also visit family in New Zealand and Britain.

The children were very quick to make friends wherever they went and were excited to be off, Mrs Monk said.

Mr Monk admitted a mix of apprehension and excitement, but Mrs Monk said she could not wait to get going. "I've been wandering round with this big grin on my face for so long I've got jaw ache. No housework."

The Marlborough Express