It has occurred to me that, while I may be well enough equipped with professional qualifications for a life in the UK, I am woefully prepared in terms of any real practical skills that might come in useful for a life on the road.
Just to be clear how poorly equipped I am for real travelling, here are a few examples:
- I am entirely unable to fix anything mechanical – not a huge problem in Bristol, as I can simply take my car to the garage at the end of our road if anything stops working. But what do I do if we breakdown in the Canadian Rockies with only grizzly bears for company (added exaggeration for effect)?
- My foreign language skills extend about as far as ordering croissants in French and a few beers in Spanish – we are planning to spend a lot of time in English-speaking countries, but even so it would be nice to have some competence with another language.
- My response to any medical incidents is simple, which is to call Anja if it looks serious and then rely on her nursing skills to absolve me of all responsibility. This works fine at home with the support of our fine national health service, but it might be helpful to learn some basic first aid before we go.
- It would be great to return from our trip with some amazing photos, whereas my enthusiastic amateur status is more likely to lead to lots of “family holiday” snaps
- Not so essential, but I am also hoping to develop this blog while we travel, armed with all the technical skills of your average 6-year old.
- Finally, to top it all off, my eldest daughter is quickly over taking me in terms of swimming ability. I don’t really like getting my face wet while swimming, which I understand limits my potential, but isn’t really a problem at home because the sea is normally too cold to go beyond knee depth. But I do wonder if I should improve my ability before we reach some warmer waters that deserve exploring.
I could go on, but let’s stop here for now.
You might say that I should focus on my strengths, but I’m not sure there is going to be much demand for Excel modelling while we’re away (anybody?).
So, one of my many aims before we leave next year is to work on improving some of these skills that might be useful on our trip.
I would definitely recommend learning the basics ( please, thank you, yes, no, excuse me, 1, 2, 3, etc) in as many languages as you can from the countries you are visiting. Your kids will enjoy the challenge. Just do it for each country a day or so before you arrive so there is no confusion.