A couple who grew tired of the rat race have revealed how they quit their jobs and sold their £350,000 family home to travel the world with their young kids.
Former stock market trader Andre Baldeo, 45, originally from Enfield, north London, says he thought he was 'happy and healthy' with his financially rewarding but high-octane career but says a friend's terminal cancer diagnosis made him realise he was simply 'going through the motions' rather than living life to the full.
Andre, who now lives in Cape Town, South Africa, said he decided it was time to show his children, Rico, 12, and Tiana-Mae, ten, there was 'more to life than suburbia', and convinced wife Becky, 44, to uproot the entire family and satisfy his wanderlust.
The couple both quit their jobs, sold their belongings and bought a one-way ticket for an 18-month trip of a lifetime.
They've since travelled 51,000 miles across 13 countries in South America and Asia, visiting 48 cities, staying in hotels, youth hostels and jungle lodges.
The family spent Christmas in Tokyo, hiked the Andes, walked up volcanoes, and explored the Amazon forest.
They swapped days at school and work for stints conserving turtles, working on farms and even football coaching, 'home-schooling' the kids along the way.
Now back home they are unemployed and living in rented accommodation - but said the £65,000 trip was worth every penny.
Andre said: 'It was time for a change and I rehashed one of my life long dreams to Becky - to travel the world and experience as much as we could as a family of four.
'It really hit home how we have to make the most of our lives. Working long hours stuck in front of six monitor screens, studying graphs and looking at news can become very lonely and extremely depressing.
He adds: 'It became suffocating. We needed a change and needed to do something different. I wanted to show our children there is more to life outside of suburbia.
'It was completely life-changing and incredibly inspiring but it was the scariest thing I've ever had to do.'
Speaking about the life-changing decision, he explains: 'We broke down all the security we had at home and literally gave up everything. I do feel proud to have done it and it is the best £65,000 I have ever spent. We now have the most amazing memories to keep forever and nothing will change that. I gave up our family home and I don't regret it for a second.'
'It was the trip of a lifetime and coming back home has been very strange. It's going to take a while for us to get used to normal life again. I know when on my deathbed, I'll have a head full of amazing experiences and memories and won't have any regrets to what we sacrificed to make them happen.'
Andre lived and worked in London as a trader for nine years, where he met South African native, Becky, a PA.
They moved to Cape Town together in 2007, had Rico and Tiana-Mae, and lived a comfortable life, with Andre earning around £35,000 a year.
However, in September 2016, Andre said he realised he was getting tired of 'going through the motions'.
He felt as though his family were in a '9-5 working life rut' and wanted to find a way of 'broadening horizons' for his kids so they could 'learn from the world around them'.
THe family finally made a decision to change their lives when Andre heard a close friend in the UK who had a brain tumour had been given a matter of weeks to live.
During 18 months of planning they sold their Cape Town home and put all their belongings into storage.
Andre said they had no idea how long the trip would last for but boarded a one-way flight to Sarawak, in Borneo, in April 2018.
The family stayed in jungle lodges and bamboo lodges as they set their sights towards Malaysia and the Philippines - climbing the 4,100m tall Mount Kinabalu along the way.
They did turtle conservation work and volunteered in animal sanctuaries.
Andre said they planned their route as they went along, and next up was Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.
'Another volunteering opportunity arose in Japan, this time for me to dust of my boots and help coaching football at an academy', said Andre.
'We lived with a Japanese family who had three small children.
'Food and board was provided in exchange for our help - me coaching football, and Becky helping around the house.
'Christmas was spent in Tokyo with an old friend of mine and his family, from my home town Enfield, North London.'
In February the family flew to Colombia and spent five weeks working at a foundation with local children.
After two months they flew to Ecuador for three weeks walking up volcanoes, exploring the Amazon and hiking in the Andes.
The last leg of the journey took the Baldeo's down the eastern side of South America with visits to Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
Andre said the highlights of South America were a three day, 40km hike in the Andes mountains to Lake Quilotoa, in Ecuador, and visiting Machu Picchu.
Their last calling point was San Jose, in Costa Rica, where they boarded a plane back home, arriving back in Cape Town on October 29.
He said it was the best experience of his life - but admits it wasn't always easy.
He said: 'A lot of people think that this way of life is glamorous and essentially a glorified holiday.
'It is very difficult being together, just the four of us 24/7. No one gets any personal space at all.
'My guilty pleasure when we packed our rucksacks to come away was my running shoes, so thankfully I got away for some time alone a few times a week.
'Becky's guilty pleasure was her hair straighteners - but she has only used them once. To be honest living out of bags, having cold showers, long bus journeys and constantly moving and not having familiar surroundings got draining.
'But the amazing experiences that we had cancel out the negatives.
'We realised we were coming towards the end after about a year and four months. We were getting very tired and planned out way back home.'
The family are now renting a fully-furnished family home while they get back on their feet. Rico and Tiana-Mae will start back at school in a few weeks time.
'It already feels like a distant dream but we have a different outlook on life now and we are all better people for it', said Andre.
'We met some incredibly poor people and we have taken so many life lessons out of it.'