Before I had the children, I was always travelling. Every year, I’d go somewhere new. I was never one for package holidays but preferred to go it alone. New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Venezuela and Thailand are just a few of the places I’ve explored.
Since having the girls, things have changed completely. I’d love to be one of these parents that just carries on travelling but the truth is, life just hasn’t worked out like that. So instead, we are making the most of the fabulous UK holidays that are available at the moment. In the future though, things will be different.
It has always been our plan that when the girls are old enough to benefit from it, we will pack up all our belongings (including the dog) and take off. The girls will have an education on the road, my husband will take a year off work and I will only do work that is destination neutral such as my freelance writing and blogging.
In my opinion, learning is all about being hands on. Schools do an amazing job using text books and online resources to tell children about the world, but I want my girls to actually see it. So, when they are around 7 and 9 years old, we’ll hit the road in a camper van.
I’m not one for planning, I’m all about spontaneity. That said, I do have a few ideas in my head as to what I want to do.
The majority of our time will be spent in Europe. I want them to visit historically important places such as the war graves in Normandy and the Berlin wall. I also want them to see the way people live in Eastern Europe and in the Nordic countries, both of which will be so different to the way of life they’re used to.
My dad’s side of the family come from a little village on the outskirts of the Black Forest in Germany. Whilst we no longer have family there that we know of, I believe descendants of our ancestors still live in the area so we will definitely be heading there.
As well as learning about history, geography and language, I want the girls to open their eyes to the possibilities that sport and activities bring. We have already taken them to watch rugby and an Ironman and Libby went to the Olympics as a baby. But during our travels, I want them to see even more great sporting events.
I also want them to participate in exciting things. We will all learn to surf properly – not the couple of seconds that hubby and I can muster before we topple unceremoniously into the sea where board and nose collide. We’ll climb rocks and mountains and cycle some of the Tour de France route. Okay, when I say some, I mean the flat bits. Oh, and the girls and I will learn to ski.
We will still keep up with the national curriculum for both children and we’ll speak to the locals and pick up little bits of French, German, Spanish and a plethora of other languages. And then we’ll come home and the girls will carry on with their education.
But I hope that the time we spend away will foster a love of travel, an understanding of other cultures and an ability to pick up languages with ease. But most of all, I hope it will give them the confidence to realise that little things like friendships breaking up and failing exams are not important.
There is a big wide world out there just waiting for them.