Rather than renovating their house and buying a new car, Lisa and Steve Cole decided to take their four daughters travelling around the world for a year.
They rented out their Riddells Creek home in December 2016, took their girls – aged 12, 13, 15 and 16 – out of school and flew to Malaysia.
The family of six spent the next 13 months exploring Asia, Europe and Africa, holidaying, volunteering and learning in depth about alternative cultures.
They spent nine weeks shadowing an Indian doctor on his visits to villages in rural India, helping him deliver basic healthcare and check-ups.
In Morocco, the Coles helped teach English to adults in classrooms in return for their board.
In Hoi An, Vietnam, they rented a traditional house for three months and lived like a Vietnamese family. They rode bikes and shopped at markets.
Mrs Cole said the Vietnamese locals considered her family to be ‘one of their own’ once they passed the two-month mark in their stay, and were charged a lower price for their groceries.
The girls stayed up-to-date with their schoolwork during the year via the distance education program, communicating with teachers through email and video chat.
Since returning, they have rented a house in Sunbury to be closer to public transport, allowing the girls to be more independent and be able to take on jobs.