This inspiring family of four sold everything to travel the world (PHOTOS)

Feb 27 2019, 3:33 am

Previously living in London, the Hewins family decided to take control of their lives and prioritize family time by travelling the world. Zyleen, Benjamin, and their two kids Emiliana (age six) and Zacharia (age three) are now one year in, in their 21st country. Their message is “if we can do it, so can you.” Check out their adventures at @TheFlipFlopFamily and

This is their story.

In November of 2017 my husband and I came up with a plan that would change our lives forever: sell everything, pack what little belongings we had, and venture out into the big wide world with no return ticket.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on

Adventure, fun, uncertainty, and family time — who wouldn’t want these things, right? Some might argue that the idea was ludicrous or irresponsible, but our take on it was simple: “our lives, our rules.” Why not? Life felt difficult at home in London, always waiting and wanting more time. We were both working long hours, like most people, to give our children everything and expose them to the best opportunities.

Our family time consisted of rushing around, trying desperately to get the kids to an after school club, or sitting in traffic on the way to do some grocery shopping. We craved more and felt that we were not getting that quality bonding time with them.

After a few sudden bereavements in the family, we were triggered into acting on a newfound attitude of “get up and live.” Life is too short to do anything else.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on

So the process started: every day after work, we’d get a knock at our door from someone who was picking up a bargain they had seen on eBay or Gumtree. Every Sunday morning, Benjamin would be off to the local car boot sale to sell our belongings, shoes, tools, lamps, records, pictures, blankets, tables; you name it, we were selling it. Anything else was packed up and taken to our local charity shops.

Soon enough, our home was practically empty. We were sitting on the carpet eating our dinners and borrowing the neighbour’s lawn mower to cut our grass… but it felt liberating, it felt empowering. We had taken a stand against life as we knew it, we had stood up to all those normal conventional family lifestyles and said: “Hey it’s cool, we’ve got it from here.”

We were taking full control of our lives and it was exciting.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on

March 2018 came and it was time to head off. We were all really excited but also a bit anxious. It was time to spread our wings and fly. We had a vague route planned out with our first stop in Canada, and then we would make our way to Mexico, and down to Central America. Armed with our backpacks, our savings and a positive attitude, off we went.

We are currently 12 months and on our 21st country, Cambodia, with no plans to stop anytime soon. The kids are totally in their element, with most days consisting of homeschooling on the beach or some other beautiful location. Their social skills are fantastic, coupled with their constant absorption of local languages and cultures. Their world is currently incredibly colourful with and full of new vibrant experiences. Our life in London seems a lifetime away, and although some days can be challenging, this nomad lifestyle is something we would not change for anything.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on

We have been fortunate to work with various brands, hotels and tour agencies during our travels. So now much of our travels are fuelled by creating social media content, videos and/or blogs in exchange for services. This has been a great way to see and do some things that may have been out of our budget. We love sharing everything we do with friends, family and also our new found social media friends so it’s a win-win!

This world is beautiful and we have been so lucky to have met so many incredible people along our journey. We honestly don’t know what the future holds or where we will be in the next few months or year, but one thing’s for sure, nothing will ever take away this magical time we are having together and the memories we have made so far.

Interested in more of the Flip Flop Family’s story? Here are all the countries they have visited and the highlights and lowlights of each place.


⬆️ Being back on home territory in Vancouver was a great way to start our adventure. Van is an awesome city and we got to celebrate our cousin’s wedding on Vancouver Island, which was gorgeous.
⬇️ Saying goodbye, not knowing when would see family again


⬆️ Swimming with sea lions in La Paz and seeing how confident our daughter was in the water. Seeing Chichen Itza!
⬇️ Being pulled over by a cop on a motorbike in Cancun was scary at first.


⬆️ Living amongst the locals in the hills of Antigua and seeing the beauty of Lake Atitlan every day.
⬇️ We had a terrible bus ride to get to Copan, the border of Honduras. Emiliana was sick and we were bumping around on the back seat for what felt like an eternity!


⬆️ Staying on the West Bay and waking up in paradise every day. Going snorkelling & diving was awesome.
⬇️ The ferry from Copan to West Bay was like being inside a bouncing ball, we were all sick!


⬆️ Visiting the iconic Machu Picchu, it was breathtaking.
⬇️ Feeling cold in Cusco with limited heating in the hotels.


⬆️ Our trip to the Salt Flats was a fantastic experience.
⬇️ Freezing on our coach ride to the border of Argentina. We had to get off the coach at 3 am to find a hotel, which was just as cold! (All part of the adventure I guess.)


⬆️ The Recoleta cemetery was so interesting and the steak is to die for.
⬇️ The people were not as friendly as we had become used to!


⬆️ Walking towards Christ the Redeemer and taking in how huge it was.
⬇️ Having to leave! We loved being in Brazil!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on


⬆️ Walking around hilly Valparaiso and taking their old lifts to get around.
⬇️ Started to miss home.

Easter Islands

⬆️ Just being on this sparsely populated island in the middle of nowhere had such an amazing feel to it. We felt so deserted standing alongside the giant Moai heads.
⬇️ There were none, we were only there for a few days and it was amazing!

French Polynesia

⬆️ Paradise is very nice. There were gorgeous fish and sharks swimming underneath our overwater bungalow every night. We would lay on our tummies on the deck and watch for ages. Then flip onto our backs and stargaze. It was beautiful.
⬇️ FP is an expensive place, we blew a lot of our budget here. But it was worth it.

New Zealand

⬆️ Spending a month together in our camper van has got to be one of our most memorable experiences. NZ has so much beauty everywhere.
⬇️ The rain did not stop for the first few days, which wasn’t a great start to camping.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on


⬆️ The Fijian people have to be some of the nicest people in the world!
⬇️ When it was overcast at Treasure Island (couldn’t really think of any low lights).


⬆️ Seeing the Sydney Opera house.
⬇️ We were in Sydney for a short time and it rained a lot.


⬆️ Swimming with the serene turtle at Gili Air Island.
⬇️ Hearing firsthand about the devastation from the earthquake that affected Sulawesi and surrounding areas was heartbreaking.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on


⬆️ Laying on our backs enjoying the amazing light show called Garden Rhapsody.
⬇️ We weren’t there for long enough.

Thailand – South

⬆️ Snorkelling in Phi Phi Leh Lagoon, it was a piece of paradise.
⬇️ When the cheeky monkeys ransacked our boat and fleeced us for all our edibles!


⬆️ Seeking all the awesome street art in Penang and stopping for snacks of yummy samosas.
⬇️ We happened to be in Langkawi during a fitness event and couldn’t find a moped to hire anywhere.

Sri Lanka

⬆️ Lovely people and surprisingly nice beaches.
⬇️ We didn’t really enjoy the food.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on


⬆️ Our houseboat in Kerala and The Taj Mahal lived up to all expectations.
⬇️ The hygiene levels are poor and the toilets are an experience.

Thailand – Bangkok

⬆️ Bangkok was great as we had a condo and were able to settle for a while. The food is yummy and the markets are epic!
⬇️ The smog at the time was the worst in the world! This means we had to wear face masks all the time.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Team Hewins Travelling Family (@theflipflopfamily) on

Do you have an epic travel story to share here on Mapped? Email [email protected] and tell us what makes your story unique.
Mapped Global CorrespondentMapped Global Correspondent

+ Mapped
+ Bucket List