I thought our 2 years of travels went quick but nothing like the last year. Life at home is endlessly busy, kids leave for school at 7.49 (another story) and are back at 6, weekends have other activities and holidays are week after week of something organised. I don’t know how Mo sorts it all, I hope my taxi driving services and cooking help?
We are both back working so food is on the table and no harm done there. Anyway to important matters. Did we ruin our kid’s futures with 2 years out of school (as feared by some friends), are they feral illiterate monsters unable to function in polite society or worse, travel bores?
Amusingly it is like they never left. Welcomed back at the same lovely school with many of the same friends may have helped but they settled quickly, perhaps even welcomed the routine, if not the homework. We primed them to expect a quick ’what was your favourite place question?’ before everyone goes back to their world, which is of course what happens (we know we can talk travel with other travellers and each other but we wouldn’t want to be that travel bore).
Academically they are fine, Mo can be proud of her ’World School’ efforts, teaching Lara to read and enforcing maths app time. Only Ben has had much catch up with essay writing, exam practice and the like. The younger they are the less it matters taking time out, as they get older it may impact on their options and getting back on track. Getting Ben back for Year 7 (age 11) was the right move. Anymore and we would have had to spend so much time schooling we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the travelling properly.
Travel has done their social skills and confidence no harm. They noticeably make friends quickly and easily outside their year group, stemming from so much time with each other and the limited options on the road of kids exactly the same age. Friendships at home are back on track.
Perhaps we are making the break of sending them alone on the bus slightly earlier than we might have but otherwise they are no different to their friends.
With so many memories we do get the occasional ‘do you remember when …?’ often brought on by meeting other long term travelling families again. It will be so interesting to see how their experiences shape their future, will they become travel junkies or have ticked the box and bought the t shirt?
Me, I long for the simple life on the road. It took me 7 months to unpack, I needed my bag to go skiing otherwise it would be sitting there ready for the next adventure. Not that I’m not enjoying work at the moment, I definitely needed a proper break to recharge the batteries it’s just that future adventures will have to be shorter.
We are so, so lucky to have spent this much time with Ben, Zoe and Lara. The travel, food tour and many new friends around the world are the icing on the cake. I really can’t think of a better way to spend 2 years of your life, if you can you should do it…