We’re going on a gap year

We have decided to take a family gap year. One year of no work, home schooled, backpacks on the back, travelling the world. We’re working out just how to pull off a round the world trip in a year, with a 6 year old in tow and a lifetime of dreams to realise.

Trip planning is the fun bit, but we’re starting with the practicalities first, and doing the dreaming alongside it. We mostly know where we want to go, and are researching the variety of planes, trains, boats and automobiles that will get us there.

We hatched our plan to travel one Sunday afternoon at our local pub in London. It was freezing outside, but we were sat near the fireplace, our rambunctious little boy (always warmly welcomed at the lovely Queen Adelaide) safely plugged in to the iPad watching episodes of Scooby Doo. We were in our comfortable space where we love to spend our Sunday afternoons.
We decided that if we were going to undertake an epic round the world journey, we’d go places we weren’t likely to return to on future holidays, and to deliberately avoid any possible “self-contained” holidays like a South African safari that we might want to do at some point in the future.

We set out to make our list.  Iconic locations like Nepal and Maccu Piccu made the list, as did places that have made us happy in the past, like Norway. From there, we plotted a path from one region to another, keeping us reasonably in touch with summertime around the world.

How to budget for a trip like this seemed an obvious and practical place to start.  We agreed to sue some savings to finance our trip, and set an amount we want to spend.  Then we started on the heavy research into whether that’s reasonable against our itinerary and expectations for the trip.

Apart from the travel itself, a big question is how we separate ourselves from our lives in London in a way that makes our return go as smoothly as possible.

I’ll take a career break from work. Planning the right time to have the discussion, and the promises we both make about my return won’t be easy. But its a well trodden path, and I’m fortunate to work for a firm that believes in the human side of its people, and recognises the need to sometimes just take some time out.

The prospect of educating our son on the road is probably the most daunting. What do we need to do to take him out of formal schooling? How do we keep up his education on the road? We can easily see how we’ll create real world lessons in geology, geography, sociology, maths, writing and reading into our journey, but how do we do it in a way that is consistent and helps our son learn through discovery?

Helpfully, this is a road more and more frequently travelled, and I’ve been encouraged by the abundance of resources and advice we’ve been able to find, and stories of others who have done it (and lived to tell the tale!)

Importantly, we’ve asked ourselves “What do we want to get out of a trip like this? What do we want to learn about each place we visit? What do we want to achieve? What do we want to learn about ourselves? What do we want our son to get out of it? How do we give back to the communities where we’ll call home? All important questions, and we’re still discovering what that means for each of us.

We look forward to embarking on this journey, and we hope you’ll join us along the way.  Any and all recommendations welcome!

Mark, Shalena & Austin


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  1. Annette - August 29, 2017 at 12:10 am

    looking forward to following your travelings and photo’s , what exciting times ahead for you all


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