Away with the Steiners: How one Kiwi family ditched the working life to permanently travel the world

  • 29/03/2023

A New Zealand family of four has just celebrated marking four years since they packed up their lives and decided to just start travelling the world.

The Steiners - Sarah (mum), Gavin (dad), Harry (9) and Oscar (7) - haven't looked back and they want to inspire other Kiwi families to follow in their footsteps.

"We've been to maybe over 65 or 70 countries over four years," Sarah told AM. 

"On Sunday we celebrated what we call 'Dream Day'. Every year on March 26 we celebrate, we have our sort of special anniversary marking the day we left New Zealand.

"We have a crazy dessert and we all share our dreams for the year ahead, what we want to achieve and what we dream for that year."

The boys are home-schooled on the road, but the family prefers the term 'world-schooling', because the world is the classroom.

So far, the family's favourite places have been Morocco, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Cook Islands, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Before they embarked on their new nomadic lifestyle, the family lived in Northland where Sarah was teaching and managing an early childhood centre, while Gavin was operations manager at an earthmoving and transport company.

"We were working way too much and I can recall the day that it was pouring with rain. I headed back towards where Sarah was working, called in and we sat there and had lunch together and I said, 'you know what? I think we need to make some pretty drastic changes'," Gavin said.

"Our kids are growing up so fast and you just sort of get stuck in this busy, busy lifestyle that is very hard to change." 

To fund their travels, the family sold nearly everything they owned. They also document their adventures on multiple online platforms as 'Away with the Steiners', and have amassed 67,000 YouTube subscribers.

"We work online. We have the YouTube channel which doesn't honestly bring us in a great deal, but the rest of it was just from pure saving," said Gavin.

"We worked hard to get to where we are. It was purely hard work and saving is what got us to where we are now - we didn't inherit any massive amount of money or win Lotto or anything like that. It's just from purely working hard and saving."

Sarah added: "That's a key factor that we hope to share with others, that it is doable."

This year the family has also launched an business hosting trips for small groups of other Kiwi families who wish to travel off the beaten path, but feel uneasy doing it on their own.

More information can be found on their Away with the Steiners website.