Family Gap Year – a year on the road

So here we are 365 days since we took off for our great, big family gap year – was it worth it?

Absolutely, resoundingly, 100% yes.

We missed too much of the important stuff with Jessica. Trying to do it all, be it all and have it all. Juggling the 9-5 and looming deadlines there simply wasn’t enough hours in the day to be the parents we wanted to be.

If having kids has taught us anything, it’s to grab life with both hands, get out there and do stuff together. Having lost my own, beautiful courageous Mum to cancer in her mid 40’s who knows what life has in store for any of us.

All too soon the girls will trundle through the school gates and enter a world from which they will never fully return to be totally ours again. Time together will be juggled around a whirl of school days, term dates, friends, activities and holidays. Much of their journey will be done without us. We will never stand by their side again so fully as we do now. We count our blessings everyday that we’re lucky enough to spend this time together, doing the stuff that makes us happiest and creating brilliant memories.

The rewards of a family gap year are huge; the girls have flourished and grown so much since we boarded that plane a year ago. We marvel at how enthusiastically they embrace new cultures, foods, sights, smells and sounds. Proper little explorers they’re adventurous, curious, funny and brave.

Millie has already spent over half her lifetime travelling. She doesn’t bat an eyelid at bats, spiders and geckos above her bed and has an adventurous and hearty appetite for the strange foods that consistently cross her plate. With paparazzi circles regularly gathering around our little blonde, blue-eyed angel she probably thinks she’s a minor celebrity in Asia. This travelling life is all she’s ever known

Jessica, the little girl who left London scared of having her hair washed, now gamely dons her goggles and dunks herself into the ocean in search of Nemo’s. As she emerges rosy cheeked and bubbling with excitement about her underwater adventures, we could burst with pride.

Beautifully aware of the world, they soak up new languages, and are making friends in every far flung corner. They’re beginning to see that there are many different ways of living and that we are just a tiny piece of a much bigger puzzle. Surely in today’s world, that can only be a good thing.

For all the small sacrifices of our lifestyle, there are also huge wins. We’re happier than we’ve ever been. We’re more relaxed, more resourceful and definitely more open-minded. We worry less and enjoy more.

We’re living our life on our terms and doing what we love, doing what makes us happy. We’ve also learnt that things don’t mean happiness and it is possible to survive with a single pair of shoes.

We’ve visited some of the most flabbergasting beautiful places on this wonderful planet of ours. We live simply, eat locally and are in touch with the nature, people and wildlife around us everyday. Most importantly we do it together.

We live in each other pockets and are learning together that home is not a place but a feeling. We sometimes drive each other bonkers but are closer than we have ever been and are making memories to last a lifetime.

We’re creating our own happy ever after, and the best bit is it feels like we’re only just at the beginning of the story.

2 Responses

  1. Melissa

    How fabulous Cath, it’s lovely to hear about all your adventures. Your children will be wonderful resilient world citizens and in today’s age that’s probably the best gift you can give them. Lots of love from Oz xx

  2. Michele

    Catherine the 12 month review was a marvellous bit of writing and of valuing the most important things.. Good on you all.. For me there were so many young families I wanted to forward your comments to.. Jessica and Milly sound like legends., go girls and well done S and C for following your dream.. Totally brilliant and yes the world is a very big and multi faceted place so go gently and kindly for the rest of the journey
    Michele xx


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