Donna and Tim Curtis, along with their three children from Shotton Colliery, have jetted off to Greece where they intend to ‘island hop’ across the globe after plans to move to Australia were paused following the pandemic.
The family-of-five planned to move to Australia in February 2020 after obtaining visas and selling their home in the North East, but their plans were soon put on hold after Australia shut their borders.
Donna, 33, who is mum to Tyler, 15, Cody, nine, and Poppie, six, placed all of their belongings into storage until they were able to enter Australia and moved to Crimdom Dene Caravan Park near Hartlepool.
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She said: “We had already sold our house so we moved to a lodge in the caravan park for six months and then to Tim’s parents when the summer holidays came along.
"It was nightmare because rules were changing all the time so everything was continually delayed.”
Australia set up a ‘priority skills list’ during the pandemic, similar to the UK’s key worker list, where people planning to move to the country needed a particular skill set to enter.
In February this year, the family hit another blow when all their stored belongings were accidentally shipped to Australia by mistake.
Donna, who is a hairdresser said: “Everything we owned was in that container and they told us it would take three months just to get over there – I couldn’t believe it, there was just one problem after another!
The 33-year-old and her husband Tim said: "We then made the decision to set off on a trip across Europe until we can get over to Australia – It’s always been a dream to travel with the kids so we thought why not.”
Last month the Curtis family jetted off to Zante in Greece and now plan to visit Athens and Croatia as they ‘island hop’ around the globe.
Donna said: “We want our children to see the world and to educate them in different ways through learning about cultures – we love being outdoors and do different activities each day so it’s like living our dream.”
The family has also set up an Instagram, @the_curtis_life to share their journey and inspire other families thinking of travelling on a budget.
She added: “If you’ve got a dream then you should just go for it, anything is possible and we’re proof of it – time is something you won’t ever get back.
"We do everything on a budget and do a lot of cooking ourselves so try we keep the cost down.”
The parents have planned to continue online learning for their children so they can still sit their educational qualifications when they’re ready.
Tim, 33 said: “We’ve found institutions where Tyler can sit his GCSEs and after the school holidays have finished we will continue with home learning so that taking their exams is still an option as they get older.”
The family say they have no intentions of returning to live in the UK: “This is our life now and we’re just enjoying it with our children, and we love it.”