top of page

The day we lost all our money

We left our old life for a life of travel with a plan. A solid plan. We had our finances all figured out to enable long term traveling as a family...or so we thought.

This was our plan -

  1. We had some savings

  2. We sold our car

  3. We sold many of our household goods

  4. We rented our home

  5. We re-financed our mortgage with a re-draw facility

  6. Ross had some long-service leave (this is a payment that is given to Australians when they work for over 10 years for a company, they are given three months paid leave).

It was a great plan, and it totally would have worked if we had not lost all of our money...

If you have followed along on the fun and crazy Europe journey of the Gilbert's, you will know that at this point in our travels we were in the Czech Republic. We had already visited and had many adventures in 7 countries in Europe - Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, France, and the Czech Republic.

We had road tripped our way across countries, faced many challenges and been blessed with many joys. My kids had climbed though ancient castle tunnels, swam in freezing alpine lakes, and slid down a mountain. I had made beautiful new friends and discovered a deep yearning inside myself to make my life rich, interesting and full of purpose.

Sometimes it was hard, oh so hard. Sometimes the crying and the close quarters and the foreign-ness of everything around me became too much. But even with the challenges, Ross and I never second guessed what we were doing. We could feel the change happening inside us, we could feel that we were growing and expanding and that we were barely tipping the edge of how wonderful life could be.

Financially we were doing ok. We had found great accommodation, we were feeding our large gaggle of 5 hungry children, and we had done some really cool activities! There had been that little blip of dirndls and lederhosen for the whole family, but really, you have to wear something in Germany and Austria, right?? And anyway, I had found a sale!!!

I won't go into my (completely justified..??) decision to purchase a cuckoo clock that we did not have the room for, and that I subsequently had to carry on my lap for our car drives through Europe. Not to mention that whole Polish Pottery fiasco...But despite the odd indulgent souvenir, we were making things work according to the plan.

That was...until the day we got the text.

Ross's brother sent him a text one morning when we were preparing for a family day out in Prague. It said, "Hey man, sorry to hear about the company collapse, hope you're ok."


Ross had previously worked for an Australian building company for 12 years. He had quickly taken over a managerial role when the owner split with his wife. The next few years saw the company go through huge financial strain as it paid out a half ownership share. For many years Ross juggled a very difficult financial balance, often on a knife's edge. He was overwhelmed with keeping the company afloat to support the wages of the many employees. He was trying to run a business while essentially having his hands tied, because although he was managing the business, he was not the director or owner, so he often had to deal with sudden large withdrawals of cash or additional side projects that drained the financial reserves.

He was always stressed. Always.

He got stressed if it rained (because construction was halted), he got stressed every Sunday (because the next day was Monday), he got stressed whenever contractors needed to be payed and the cash flow was struggling (pretty much the constant state of things). He was always getting sick - shingles, flu, pneumonia, you name it. Add in the demands of a growing young family and it was not a great situation, but it was all we knew. He worked with the hope and promise that one day the company would be his and he would get to run things the way he dreamed would be successful.

Ross finally realised that that day would never come, and so he made the courageous decision to leave and find a new occupation. Because he had been the face of the company and generally running things for so long, he stayed on for an additional 5 months while the Managing Director took over general management again. During that time, Ross stipulated that his role would change, he would no longer have anything to do with finances, but would instead work with cli