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Family Gap Year vs Finding The Magic at home

Family gap year
Family gap year
Family travelling the world in a motorhome

With the big hairy northern one being made redundant, we’ve been talking about taking a year out as a family gap year; maybe 6 months in the states, home for my brothers wedding and 5 months in Australia and New Zealand.

Curly headed boy is 6yrs old, and having been to a private school is a bit ahead of our local state schools, so if we home school as we go, it will definitely not affect his education and he’ll be fine to return to a state school.  Plus I think he could do with some time out.  Little Dimples is nearly 2, so she would come back to a years pre-school before reception.


What I don’t want to do though is run away thinking that we can get something from the year away that we can’t get from staying and ignore the potential downsides.

So the question is what do I think I’ll get from it?

  1. Adventure and magic
  2. Self discovery for me and the big hairy one
  3. Time for the family to come back together and strengthen
  4. Time for us to think through what the big hairy one would like to do career wise in future
  5. Time out for Curly Headed Boy from 2yrs at a hard core school to rejuvenate
  6. Teach the kids how exciting and fun it can be to learn
  7. Expand the kids horizons, show them what else there is in the world
  8. Reduce the kids reliance on stuff and show them how lucky we are and what a ‘rich’ life really is
  9. Create stronger and more consistent rules and boundaries for the family
  10. See things I’ve never seen before

At the end of the day I’ve realised I want my children to have a ‘rich’ life, so if this will help them start on the road towards that, then great.

Realistically written down like that, there is no reason why we can’t do those things in ‘normal’ life.  But it will take a lot more focus, because it won’t be happening automatically from our environment.

The potential downsides are that we could nearly kill each other in the process of ‘self-discovery’, Little Dimples might not get important socialisation time, we could get sick or have an accident, if mis-managed it could end up costing us too much money and it could make it even more difficult for the hairy one to get a job on his return.

If we don’t go, the downsides are that we might not stay focussed on the changes that are needed, although there will definitely be a change, because we are going to change Curly Headed Boy’s school.  There’s no real way to replace experience though, because you just can’t be sure of what you would get, so it’s difficult to try and replace it.

But if we can managed to stay, plus achieve all of that list, that would be a really amazing achievement though.

It’s a bit of a conundrum and at the moment there are a lot of opportunities out there, I think that we need to do more research and follow a few of the options along to see if they give us a clue.  After all, if someone offered the big hairy one a fantastic job tomorrow, that might be a big hint to stay and just plan a great adventure for a holiday.


11 thoughts on “Family Gap Year vs Finding The Magic at home

  1. Wow Lisa, big decisions. This is such a personal journey that I think it is the sort of thing you have to find your own answer to as everyone’s opinions are based on their own filters, beliefs, fears, attitudes etc. However, as I read your post two things popped in to my head which I have found useful in times of transition, so thought I would share them with you:


    To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
    To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
    To reach out for another is to risk involvement
    To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
    To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss
    To love is to risk not being loved in return
    To live is to risk dying
    To hope is to risk despair
    To try is to risk failure
    But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing
    The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing
    They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live
    Chained by their certitude’s, they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom
    Only a person who risks is free.


    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

    Whatever options you go with. you can make any of them into a great adventure and rich life.

  2. Personally I think people miss out with how rich the United Kingdom is with culture and history. My parents like to visit as many places as possible when I was young, and I appreciate my country more because of it, I feel. America and Australia, for me, would drive me mad with all the travelling. Would the children enjoy that aspect?

  3. I think it would be a huge adventure and so rewarding, but it’s a very long time and your family might miss you. Why don’t you just try it for a month or two at first?

  4. I think travel will enrich your lives. Yes, there are sacrifices, but any longer term travelling family I’ve met or read their blogs have become a stronger unit as a result. If you choose a certain mode of travel- bike, boat, campervan- you are likely to meet up with fellow travellers along the way with whom your paths continue for a short while before you part. This will help Little Dimples’ socialisation and Curly Boy will surely gain more than he looses out on by missing a year.
    My motto is the Mark Twain quote above.
    I would go if you have the chance. Maybe go for a bit more exotic places too…South America, SE Asia. Both places love kids and you should feel pretty welcome.

    1. Thanks Monica, that’s a definite plus side for the travel for the family to come out stronger. Really good point that we should meet others as we go – thank you!

  5. I don’t think a year away is actually that long. It sounds like a marvelous adventure and it only gets more difficult over time as the kids grow to move abroad with them. I’d love to read about your adventures.

  6. I’ve come full circle and I’m thinking now that you could probably have a rich life at home in the UK without the added stress of travelling about with two little ones. At this age I think kids like their stability and I dont think they will really know what is going on, yes when they are a bit older but not now I think they are probably a bit too small to appreciate it and it might be a bit too unsettling for them to keep moving around. What about actually going and living in a different country like Morocco for a whole year instead?

    And yes, I can be a stick in the mud! x

  7. I agree – we have also been talking about David getting a job abroad too, and there are a couple he’s been looking at. It would be a hell of a lot easier and I think we would get a lot of the benefits from it.

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