When Nikki Collinson-Phenix first suggested to her husband, Ian, that they leave their home on the Isle of Wight, to take their children, Laanii, 12 and Raif, six, out of school and go travelling for two years, he thought she had “gone insane”.

But an assault at work changed his mind. Ian, a trained carpenter and fencer, was working as a prison officer at the time and Nikki, a chiropractor, also had a back injury which had put her out of her work for a year. During that time, Nikki re-evaluated her life and priorities.

“We would drop the kids off at breakfast club first thing, then pick them up after they’d had their tea, so we only ever saw them in the evenings,” she says. “We’d spend our weekends doing laundry and ferrying them back and forth to clubs. By the time Sunday came around, I was already prepping to start it all again as Monday loomed.”

Nikki decided if something didn’t change soon, the children would have grown up and life would end up passing them by. She had always dreamed of globetrotting after getting the travel bug on a backpacking trip around Asia, Africa and Australia in her 20s.  

“I never actually went on holiday when I was a child,” she says. “I wanted to give my kids a different sort of childhood to the one I had, with plenty of freedom and the experience of different cultures.”

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