Our No-mad family made it to the news! – Tightening our belt to cut loose abroad

Yesterday we were in the news.

It all came about in a funny roundabout way and without really knowing what I was getting myself into. I blame myself for always meddling into all sorts of things without really fully grasping the consequences.  Anyway, I see a call from a journalist on Twitter who needs a family that prefers to save money to go travelling rather than to invest in property or to buy objects, and I think ¨that´s us , I talk to the lovely journalist, I talk to the members of the family, they refuse to appear in the paper or to be interviewed, I go back to the lovely journalist and say we cannot do this, many apologies for having wasted her time, she says it´s ok, she´s happy to just interview the members of the family who are keen, an ever lovelier photographer rocks up in our home, and then I think, I´d probably best ask where this is going to be published, and then he says, the Sunday Herald, this week. The Sunday Herald, OMG, you´ve done it again, you are such troublemaker.

But I guess the embarrassment of being exposed to national audiences is worth it if at least our passion for this planet and our minimalist tendencies help others see the value of enjoying their lives through experiencing rather than through consuming.

So, in the end, this is what transpired and you can find the original in the Sydney Morning Herald. The article was written by the very talented Nina Karnikowsky:

22yo Ariadna Lee with her mum Teresa Rodriguez at their home in East Lindfield. Thursday 14th February 2013. Photograph by James Brickwood. SHD NEWS 130214Ari Lee with her mother Teresa Rodriguez at their home in East Lindfield. Photo: James Brickwood

Teresa Rodriguez does not spend money on morning lattes. New clothes, meals out and a fancy new car have also been struck off her budget.

But the 46-year-old mother of two is not saving to boost her retirement fund. She’s saving so her family can travel around the world.

“Travel is everything for us,” she said. “We refuse to pay millions for a mortgage and expensive possessions, we’d much prefer to invest that money in learning about other people and cultures in foreign countries.”

Travel photos supplied by Teresa Rodriguez.Mother and daughter in Shanghai, China. Photo: Supplied

The Rodriguez family’s ”work hard, holiday harder” attitude is becoming increasingly popular in Australia.

Research from the St George-Melbourne Institute shows that almost two-thirds of Australians cited holidays and travel as a key motivation for saving money over any other, including saving for a home deposit, repaying debts and saving for retirement. That is a 6 per cent rise from the previous year, and a 26 per cent rise over the past five years.

Squirrelling money away for overseas jaunts has meant sacrifices for the Rodriguez family, including owning a home and private education.

But Mrs Rodriguez and her husband, Elias, see travel as a more valuable investment in their 14-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter’s education. They have also prioritised saving approximately $10,000 a year for travel over feathering their retirement fund nest.

“We don’t put any money aside for retirement and we know we’re probably not going to have enough but we’d rather just enjoy our life right now,” she said.

Over the past 10 years, they have travelled to Barcelona – where Mrs Rodriguez grew up – almost every year, as well as to China, Japan, France, Italy, Bali and more. As a result of all the travelling they’ve done together, the family has become closer.

Mrs Rodriguez’s daughter, Ari, said she never felt deprived of anything when her parents were popping every spare penny into the piggy bank for travel. And now that she’s started full-time work, she realises just how much “you really need something to look forward to make all the hard work worth it”.

“An experience that’s the complete opposite of work … is more rewarding than any material object, and that’s from someone who actually loves shopping,” she said.

“It’s so important to have seen what’s out there and witnessed differences in culture and places. That opens you up back home to different people, opinions and ways of life.”