Clocking 15-hour days at work, father-of-two Jimmy Mitchell recalls the rare occasions when he saw his kids awake.

He worked strenuous hours to keep food on the table, pay rent and bills, but as the cost of living increased the dad hit boiling point.

So, he sold everything, packed up and left Australia – indefinitely.

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Along with his wife Pauline and their kids Liam, nine, and Riley, seven, the Western Australian family now live out of a handful of suitcases.

For the past six-months, the family have been country hopping with Jimmy claiming their nomadic lifestyle is cheaper than setting up roots in Australia.

“I was working more and more just to keep the lights on,” Jimmy tells 7Life of how his family suffered by the rise of cost of living.

“I was forever chasing the ‘Australian dream’ but I realised one day that it would never be possible.”

The family spent the last few months of 2023 travelling around South East Asia and have big plans to tackle Hawaii and even Japan next year.

Sharing a travel diary online, the couple say this lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular claiming they have met multiple families who are using travel to escape the growing cost of living Down Under.

Before the family set off they had a combined annual income of around $100,000 — below the median Australian household income.

Jimmy, Pauline, Liam and Riley packed up their home in WA to travel around the world. Credit: Instagram/themothfamily

“We were middle class, we rented in a middle-class suburb, we had middle class problems,” explains Jimmy.

“But I was working so hard, not seeing my kids and it just was not what I pictured parenting to be like at all.

“This Australian dream was getting further and further out of reach and we realised why are we trying to live in a country that we simple can’t afford anymore.”

Jimmy and Pauline sat down and compared their income against bills and spending.

While they had expenses like the occasional takeaway meal or camping site fees for a school holiday getaway, they general spending was relatively frugal.

With rent crawling towards $500 a week, they discussed moving interstate or rurally to save money there.

“I spent time shopping at our local green grocery and Aldi, Woolworths, Coles to make sure we were getting the best prices,” Pauline adds.

But despite bargain hunting, their family food bill totalled $200 a week.

After months of attempting to tighten their wallet both Pauline and Jimmy realised their dream of owning a family home was not realistic.

So, they decided to pack up and go.

Bye Australia

Running a digital marketing company, Jimmy began to shrink the company allowing him to keep earning while they were travelling but work significantly less hours.

They also began the process of selling and donating everything they could.

Liam and Riley have spent the past six months travelling around South East Asia. Credit: Instagram/themothfamily

The purchased a few quality suitcases and backpacks filling them with just seven days worth of clothes, along with some compact toys and books for the kids.

They also notified the boy’s school and received a curriculum they would be able to follow while they were jet setting.

And their first stop — South East Asia.

With the cost of living half the price of that in Australia, it was the obvious destination for the Mitchells.

They looked at the cheapest flights and booked Airbnb or apartment style accommodation allowing them to set up roots for a minimum of two weeks at a time.

They headed to Malaysa first and spent four months exploring the peninsula before jumping on a cheap flight to the Phillipeans.

They spent months island hopping around the crystal blue waters before heading to the capital of Manila and across the Vietnam.

The family claim to have saved thousands after making the move internationally. Credit: Instagram/themothfamily

Next, they spent nearly two months in Thailand before heading back to WA to spend Christmas with family.

“We booked accommodation that was around $50 a night,” Pauline explains.

“One with multiple bedrooms and a kitchen or shared kitchen.”

With no travel plan they frequently visited airline websites and booked the best deals which dictated where they were off too next.

Living abroad

While living abroad the Mitchells aren’t focused on keeping the costs down.

“We still go to theme parks and eat out almost everyday,” Pauline explains.

“But the difference is it costs $150 for the whole family to go to a theme park where in Australia it is per person.”

The Mitchells have travelled to four countries in six months. Credit: Instagram/themothfamily

They dedicate each morning to learning writing and math with Liam and Riley and use the remainder of the day to explore the sights.

The other subjects the tick off using learnt experiences including the boys joining local soccer and basketball teams for their PDHPE class.

Spending every moment together as a family is something that Jimmy says is what parenting should be about.

“I used to think that if I was to die what would be kids say about me? That I was a hard worker,” the dad says.

“Now, I hope their memories would be of us and be full of life.”

When it comes to shopping, the Mitchells don’t.

Or if they boys want a new book or toy the find a local orphanage to donate their second hand one and purchase a small something that fits snuggly in their bags.

“The resilience the kids have built is amazing,” Jimmy says.

“They understand people a lot better and see how others live.

“They used to beg for a Nintendo Switch and now they can walk around a toy shop and not even ask for anything.”

Cost of living

Jimmy says their food budget hasn’t drastically dropped since moving internationally.

While they used to spend $200 a week on groceries and homemade dinners, the family now are spending the equivalent but mainly eating out.

However, Pauline adds if they strictly did homecooked meals it would be a third of the price.

Pauline spends each morning homeschooling the kids before setting out for the day. Credit: Instagram/themothfamily

Adding up flights, accommodation, food, transport and other miscellaneous costs, the Mitchells have spent $27,435 in the past six months.

An amount Jimmy says is considerably less than what six-months of living set them back at home.

“We are living the best lifestyle, having adventures seeing all of these things,” Jimmy says.

“Our quality of life is way better in Asia.”

After spending the festive season cramped into Pauline’s parent’s spare bedroom the family are ready to hit the road again.

Booking a bargain cruise and some flights in between the family have travel plans up until April 2024.

After that, they don’t know where they will end up.

“We plan on doing this for the next few years,” they say

“We are just riding out the cost-of-living crisis.”