Before I get started on this post, I want to pre-empt the fact that it is firmly in the “first world problem” category, so far as dilemmas go. My children aren’t starving, we have all the privileges of living in the UK, safety, warmth and means. And yet. Here are my husband and me….feeling like our little family is stifled and stuck.
I commute for hours each day, a sacrifice I’m prepared to make, to live in a lovely place, and give the kids a great start in life. In reality though, this means less and less time spent with the family I wanted for so long, and whom I adore.
So, we are, at the moment, imagining the unimaginable, daring to dream the undreamable, for our fairly conservative (with a small c), play-by-the-rules family.
Most of our friends and family know how much we love to travel, showing the kids as much as we can – different cultures, ways of living, and ways of learning. We have saved hard for our big trips, Iceland, Australia – to spend proper time with the kids’ Aunty, and to meet cousins they knew only by name. And our amazing, awe-inspiring trip to Japan.
Our kids have surfed and skated in various remote places, but none as remote as the ones we are currently dreaming of. Nudged along by our inner explorers and inspired by other bloggers such as Courtney Adamo, we are giving serious attention to our dreams of a family gap year.
Can we do it? Should we do it? So many questions and self challenging going on right now. Even if we can fund it, what about the kids’ education? Are we throwing a massive grenade into their formal learning, or enhancing it (which surely it could)? How does home schooling work during a gap year, so they don’t fall behind, and for us – as Kent dwellers, what about the dreaded Kent Test (11+) – the outcome of which predicates what education they receive for their entire secondary education.
With both kids pretty academically capable, are we doing them a massive disservice in the long term by following our dreams of a bare foot, broadening-our-horizons year on the road? Could we inadvertently jeopardise their next steps?
So, here we are, in the midsts of a potentially life-changing decision. Heart over head or vice versa? Which path (literally and figuratively) do we follow next?
We can’t get past how quickly our kids are growing up…and that soon, a year away with their ma and pa will most definitely be their idea of a nightmare, not a dream.
There’s also an elephant in the room. A much beloved Border Terrier called Woody to be precise. He’s a true consideration and one we won’t take lightly. If he goes anywhere, it’ll be to my parents, who treat him like the fourth grandchild, so he’ll have his own trip of a lifetime. But I know we’ll sob buckets if we have to say goodbye, however temporary the arrangement. But wherever we end up ultimately, he’ll end up with us, that’s for sure.
So, as we play with, and mould and challenge our Big Idea, we know it may change shape, and form several times over. But I reckon whatever the outcome, we’ll learn a hell of a lot about ourselves, as well as our kids.
I’ll keep you posted.