We are splitting up

Mo and I have split up. After 6 months of travel where we have lived in each others pockets, usually shared a room and been 24/7/180 it has come time to go our separate ways. More

Galapagos Volunteering – Part Two

Monday we have a reprieve, we will start on Tuesday at the school and Willy sits us down and talks to us about the kids and what to expect. San Cristobal has a population of 6000 of which just under half are of school age!?! This not so much a demographic problem (young people are good news as they will soon be workers) but a contraception problem. We are told that 13 year old Mums are common place and many teenagers struggle, unsurprisingly with parenting. Some quick maths tells me that I could already be a great grandfather and not just plain old dad if I started so young and my offspring followed in my footsteps. I start to wonder about Ben being 13 years old quite soon but don’t want to go there.

San Cristobal School Sign

Our skool

Willy lays it on and tells us if it is ‘different’ here and not to expect the standard of discipline we might expect. Classes will be noisy and kids often get up and run around. With no streaming the mixed abilities mean it is difficult to target lessons to the brightest and slowest and the large class sizes make much of the lesson about crowd control. Some kids get hit at home or don’t come from loving homes so expect some emotional issues. To be a teacher you now need to have a teaching degree but they have a transition period so some don’t which is apparently a problem. We don’t admit to our shameful degreeless status. But they need help and we can make a difference. I remind myself that if it was easy it would be boring. More

Get Jealous

I happened upon the blog of another family gap year on the travel blogging site Get Jealous today. The Bremners have an 8 and a 9 year old, are starting in Africa and will be heading to South America as well. Very impressed with their morning PE, looks a lot more strenuous than our aqua-gymnastics earlier today.

I have been wowed with Mo keeping up her running, barefoot on the beach most of the time. I am thinking I need to use or lose my running shoes (luxury item!). That said I beat Mo in our Heart Olympics on the beach this afternoon much to Mo’s surprise, I’ll probably need a week to recover. Our running track was pretty cool with MMBZL branding even if the construction was accidental.

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Get Jealous, what a great name for a web site! I may have to read to get some ideas?!?

Drowned Rats – Boipeba to Morro de Sao Paulo

We expected our gap year to feature some excitement but as so often with these things it can come at unexpected times. Super relaxed after a week on peaceful Boipeba staying at what could easily be the best pousada in Brazil and looking forward to our next stop in Morro de Sao Paulo we boarded our speedboat and waved goodbye.

Waving goodbye to Boipeba

Bye Bye Boipeba

The weather was overcast but this often clears quickly and we were impressed with the speedboat. Bigger than the normal motor launches it looked the business and we were sure Charles was right and it was the most comfortable boat around and at R$200 a bargain as they were picking up more guests in Morro!

On the way down to Boipeba we took the route through the mangroves from Valenca and expected to go this way again as most boats arrive this way. It is lovely and calm but about twice as long as the sea route if you look at the map. As often is the case ‘assume’ makes an ass out of you and me and our skipper headed straight out to sea. More

First Casualty

And the winner is…


A few weeks into our family gap year she has managed to break:

  • A shelf climbing on it
  • A toilet seat by jumping off it
  • An iPad by dropping it off the bed – luckily just a small crack on the edge of the screen and still usable

Dad managed to fix everything apart from the iPad with a spoon and swiss army knife.

Lara swinging on lamp post

Metal Tree Climbing

She has also had a few scrapes: More

The Adventure Begins

Ready at Heathrow, we think…

We made it. The last 3 weeks have been truly manic but I’m sitting on flight BA249 to Rio with everything we need for a family gap year:

  • My family
  • Passports
  • Several credit and cash cards
  • A pin cushion of vaccinations
  • A sense of adventure

Rest assured we have a few other bits and pieces in our rucksacks but these are conveniences as you don’t want to buy new socks or toothbrushes each day, you wouldn’t get much else done.

4 hours to we land and More

Naked Walls

With only 6 nights before we have to be completely out of our house we actually started packing in anger yesterday. The first thing to come down were our paintings and the naked walls make the house feel very different and not ‘lived in’.

We were concerned about Ben, Zoe and Lara’s reaction when they returned from school but they dashed excitedly from room to room savouring the spaces and showing no sign of distress that their beds and many toys had ‘gone’. Only Lara asked about the missing TV! I think many kids would have a bouncy castle in the lounge rather than furniture?

Oma on Trampoline in Lounge

Something to keep the grown ups happy


Rock ‘n’ Roll Moai

As we are just about to buy our tickets to fly out of South America via Easter Island this is pretty topical. There are a 1000 of these ‘moai’ on Easter Island, up to 30ft tall and weighing more than a few tonnes. Scientists now think they, as the Easter islanders believed, actually walked into position.

Moai being moved on Easter Island

So that’s how it’s done?

There is more info and photos on the Daily Mail and National Geographic. We might take a couple of pics when we are there as well if we can avoid the 50,000 other tourists that visit each year!

The kitchen sink

Another popular question about our family gap year is how are we going to carry all our stuff? Are we taking a lorry or four wheel drive overland? I am guessing that this is the sort of thing that people have in mind:

Go anywhere transport (Credit kumaka.com)

Perfect for the wilds of Africa where anything else just won’t cut it. More

Budget for our Gap Year?

George Osbourne with Budget Box

in happier times

I thought I would try and answer some of the top questions we are asked about our family gap year starting with our budget.

When I was younger the budget for travelling consisted of More

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