We can’t go on a gap year because…

“We’d love to but the cat ate my passport etc. ” is something we hear quite often. 

OK, travel is not for everyone. It is easy to come up with excuses to stay at home or go back to the same villa you went to last year. But if you are seriously considering some long term family travel here is my opinionated view:

My health. You are going to die somewhere, at least pop your clogs living the dream. Insurance might be trickier but health care abroad can be excellent and much cheaper. 

My job/career. You could be redundant tomorrow, then what? Everyone I know with a proper career has walked back into work. Employers might be jealous but it won’t stop you getting a job. 

House (and the junk it is full of). Rent it, you might even make a profit. Have a garage sale and cleanse your clutter karma.

Money. It is lovely to have the freedom of a full bank account but it doesn’t mean you will have a better time traveling. Too much money means you can exist in tourist mode and miss out on the local experiences. With the right countries and slower travel you can really stretch the pennies a long way. Looking back I’d happily have borrowed the money given the experience.

The kids will miss school (and never catch up). Sorry you prophets of doom, a year or two out is easily caught up. 

We are too old. That is really lame, if my Mum can take a rucksack round the world aged 74 then you can. You will have to do better. 

I don’t like foreign food. Sadly you can get chips, pasta, pizza, bread etc. pretty much anywhere. 

I don’t know any foreign languages. Chances are reading this blog you have a spattering of English or its close cousins American, Australian etc. Congratulations, everyone wants to learn your language or take your money which means knowing much more of your lingo than you do of theirs. If all fails point and talk loudly. 

I’ll miss my favourite TV programme. Stream it using a VPN to pretend you are at home, you didn’t really want to see the Taj Mahal anyway. 

Isn’t it dangerous? Yes it can be but you also put your makeup on and send text messages while driving. Don’t forget it is statistically  more dangerous bingeing on Netflix sitting in front of the TV, eating pizza with a big Coke and tub of cookie icecream every night. 

I’ll get sick drinking the water. Drink beer instead, it’s often cheaper than bottled water, has more nutrients and gives you an escape from that 24/7. 

My friends will forget who I am. Life will be exactly the same when you get back just like those movies with time travel, you might as well have popped to the shops. Chances are no one will notice you had a long holiday. 

I love work or need to work. Being a digital nomad is all the rage. Personally I think it is hard, try and avoid and burn some savings but if you have to you can.

My other half doesn’t want to. Why did you get married? If it was for a hefty divorce settlement then you have a good use for the money. 

Family will miss us. If they loved you they would fly out to visit and bring Marmite. If not there is always Skype. 

Can’t I just watch nature programmes on telly? Yes and you will see loads more of the elusive lesser spotted giant pink whale shark but you won’t have the same bragging rights. Or spend hours vomiting over the side of a motorboat on that must do tour. 

Won’t I be mugged for my Rolex and Louis Vuitton handbag. I hope so, then use a cheap Casio and plastic bag from the supermarket like us travel hobos who don’t care to be mugger magnets. 

24/7 with my significant other, that’s not what I signed up for! I know, you ran out of things to talk about years ago, but FaceBook is a great substitute for conversation. 

24/7 with my kids. Little bundles of joy or sulking tweens, you know they just can’t wait to share cheap hotel rooms with their achingly cool parents for the next year. Neither can you, this is what your dreams are made of. 

The kids don’t want to go. On this one occasion parents know best, just don’t overuse this get out. 

Everyone we know thinks we are crazy. Resist the temptation to remind them that their death bed regrets will likely include spending more time with loved ones, less time working and some travel… 

I can’t read a map, drive with a stick etc. You don’t have to, just enjoy the stares as you stall in the middle of the most dangerous favela in Rio, if you survive it will be a great story.

Good luck!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. janstring
    Nov 02, 2015 @ 08:18:14

    Travelling with my kids long-term has been the most amazing experience of my life. I feel privileged to have spent time out of society – getting to know my family and children as individuals on the road. It was such fun!

    Reply

  2. Katie Coleman
    Nov 04, 2015 @ 20:04:16

    Brilliant post!

    Reply

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