Oh, the horror! If only I had recorded the shocked faces of some of the teachers I spoke to as I let them know why my children won’t be going to school in 2015. It would have made some priceless material!
Rest assured; the decision to overthrow my children’s lives and education was not made overnight. Sometimes life has a way of taking you to all sorts of places, both physically and emotionally, with the result that you come up with some awesome (and sometimes crazy) ideas.
It all came to a head in the middle of this year. I felt so run down and could not shake the feeling that I needed to escape. What did I want to escape from?
Distractions. Monotony. Technology overload, which affected everyone in the house (find out what happened when I banned screens in our house for a week here).
These days, it feels like everything is intently competing for your attention, and the things that really matter the most end up missing out.
I felt fed up running the daily treadmill with an empty tank, which you’re probably very familiar with if you’re a parent:
- Waking up to the rude sound of an alarm (is it that time already?) after a very broken night’s sleep
- The struggle to get the kids — and myself — out of bed
- Hurrying to get everyone off to school and work
- Cleaning the disaster zone the kids created before they piled out the door
Then, after what seems like just a few short hours, the flurry of hyped-up activity returns as they all get home with their mouths wide open looking for food — STAT! Shortly followed by, “Muuuuuum, what’s for dinnnnnnner?”, followed again by all the usual night-time craziness… and then we get to start all over again the next morning.
But that’s life, right? Well, I beg to differ. It’s just one way of life. One way that many families keep slugging away at, because that's what everyone else does and it’s all they know.
Well, not this family! In 2015, We are ditching life for living. What my family will be doing next year will probably seem quite shocking, because not many families, let alone individuals, actually do it. They dream of doing it, but don't do anything about it, because they see the idea as more of a fantasy than an actual possibility. But before I tell you what it is, here’s a rundown of how it all happened.
Last July, feeling exhausted and burnt out, I decided I needed a holiday. The idea lit me up for a moment, until I realised something: taking a few days off for a holiday wouldn’t work. Many of us know this dilemma all too well — you return from your holiday all blissed out, but after a day or two, all bliss is gone and you're back in the same exhausting routine of everyday life. So I knew that doing something short term wasn’t a solution, because very soon it would feel like I'd never had a holiday and I would be back at square one. Scratch that.
Then I decided that WE (as in the whole family) needed a holiday. If you have children, at this point you may be screaming in your head, ‘NO! That’s not a holiday either! It’s just as exhausting as being at home!’ But hear me out.
At first, my line of thought was that it would be pretty cool to spend six months overseas. I was always desperate to travel. In fact, in my early twenties, I had planned on moving to the UK to work for a year, but my firstborn decided to surprise us with plans of her own! So I had postponed any dreams of long term overseas travel, letting the idea sit on the back burner, quietly simmering away.
After I thought about it some more, six months away sounded like a good amount of time. I started to get really excited, but soon enough the doubts came creeping in and I decided it was perhaps all a bit too problematic. We’d need to rent out our home to cover the costs while we were away, and who would want to rent a house for six months, fully furnished? Our real estate agent said it was an insurance nightmare, so they didn’t rent out furnished homes. The idea of my family's personal belongings being used by another family didn't sit well either. Not to mention the interruption 6 months would cause with school and jobs. Scratch that too.
Then it came to me — we’ll just have to spend a whole year travelling the world!
Yes, my partner was a little shell-shocked when I told him. I'm pretty sure he was thinking what you probably are right now: “Sounds nice… but ARE YOU CRAZY, WOMAN?! How on earth are we going to pull this off? It’s going to cost a fortune, surely!”
What can I say? I do wear the optimist — and the opportunist– pants in our house, and this comes with its own set of challenges! From his initial position of uncertainty and disbelief, he slowly came around. I knew I had to show him evidence and proof that an around-the-world trip with three or four kids could be done. Obviously, he did start to get excited at some point (okay, I admit it was only just recently he let himself believe it was actually happening!) but after doing lots of research, even I couldn’t believe how possible it really is. Other families have done it, and some are out there doing it right now! I'm really looking forward to joining them.
Would you like me to tell you how we're going to do it? Do you want to know some secrets and shortcuts to travelling the world with your family? I'll take it as a yes. But stop me if you're not interested… he he.
Want To Follow Our Adventure?
My family will be leaving Australia in January 2015 for twelve months. The exciting part is that I will be writing and blogging my way around the world, so you can share and enjoy my family’s adventure along the way. You can follow us on the Around The World + Kids blog or Facebook page.
I know there will be highs and lows, personal growth, challenges and accomplishments. I’m going to share them all, so you get a taste of what it’s like to travel long term with your children.
I hope that by the time my family returns to Australia, I will have inspired plenty of other families around the world to do the same. Especially with the recent tragic death of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes at only 25 years of age, it just goes to show you that life is far too short. You can’t take your possessions with you, but your memories of time spent with your family will last a lifetime.
But most of all, I cannot wait to give my children the education of a lifetime — an education they could never, ever get in the traditional education system.