Village Life

Preparing for our Family Gap Year

In preparation for taking a year away to travel round the world, we have sold our house in Bristol and downsized to a cottage in the country. We sold our house before Christmas and have now finally moved home into our new village.

We had to sell our old house to help fund our year away, but we have been lucky to find a new house to which we can return after our travels. Our new house is a bit smaller on the inside, but this was part of the plan. We didn’t need all the space that we had before, and much of that space was filled with things that we also didn’t really need.

Part of my ambition for taking a year away is to get back to basics. Reducing the volume of our possessions feels like a good step in the right direction. But there was still a moment on moving day when I literally didn’t think that we would fit everything into our new home. After some frantic unpacking of boxes, we finally managed to squeeze everything in, but this involved using every square inch of available space and leaving various items in the shed.

The kids have adapted extremely well to the house move. We have moved to a rural location, so there is more outside space than we had before. From the kids’ perspective this means they have actually gained some more freedome to roam about outdoors.

A change of location also means a change of school. We decided to wait until after the impending summer holidays to make this switch, so the kids will start at the local village school from September.

Adapting to a rural, village location, has been an interesting experience for us all. Even though we are still only 30 minutes from Bristol, the change of outlook (and broadband speed) has been noticeable:

  • It is very quiet at night…and dark
  • We wake to the sound of the nearby farm cockerel, rather than the background hum of traffic
  • Electricity supply can not be taken for granted, with the occasional mini-blackout a “feature” of the new house that we hadn’t anticipated
  • We have wildlife all around us, with a whole variety of garden birds, farmyard animals, insects and pond life on our doorstep
  • Buying a pint of milk takes more planning than before, needing to fit in with the opening times of our community-owned village store
  • The only real source of traffic jams is being stuck behind a tractor
  • Modern technology has been overtaken by the radio as our most reliable source of regular entertainment
  • Gardening is higher up on my list of weekend activities

This transition to a new life is only a temporary interlude while we wait to be able to rent out our new house. But at some point we will need to return from our gap-year and get back to normal life, so it’s nice to know that we have a family home to which we can return.

family travel blog

I am now turning my attention back to our trip. The first order of business is to re-plan our itinerary to take account of a new departure date in March 2017. My aim is to plan a route that combines spending quality time in a few locations, alongside some interesting road trips. I am not intending to plan the route down to a daily schedule, because we want the freedom to be able to changes plans as we go. But I would like to have an outline direction of travel to start booking flights.

Author: Daniel Keating

I have just convinved my family to take a year away to travel the world...might have been a bit hasty with this one and currently somewhere between incredibly excited and massively afraid!

6 thoughts

  1. Sounds like a good move. We are in Australia now staying with family till Friday. We’ve done quite well from the house sits. Saved on costs in the US and Canada. I’d recommend Vancouver Island and I wished we’d taken more time in California. Not a big fan of Australia if I’m honest. Very similar to the UK. Probably that’s why it’s such a popular destination. I’ve been tight with the planning until now but after the 5th of Sept we land in Bangkok. No fixed plans other than the flight home in January. Saying that, we might not stay home!

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    1. Hi – are you still going with your blog, or has it been hard to keep this alive while travelling? I was enjoying following your trip and trying to get some tips. Vancouver Island is definitely on my wish list, along with some more time in Vancouver city. I’m just re-working our itinerary and we do have 5-6 weeks in Australia, but mostly in Perth and Tasmania, which are two places we fancy checking out – do you think this might be too long?

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      1. I moved the blog to http://www.freespiritsfamily.com – I don’t update it a lot. Well not since being in Australia. We haven’t done much during the past few weeks. 5 weeks in Sydney – Northern Beaches / Home and Away (house sit – organised through a friend) 3 weeks now in Armidale with family. 1 week in Melbourne. I preferred Canada and the US. It will cost quite a bit to stay for 5-6 weeks in Australia.

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      2. Maybe you could add a few more areas in Australia if you have 5/6 weeks. Or more time in NZ. We will be NZ in winter! I think if you don’t have house sits/family etc it might be expensive. We’ve finished with the house sits for now but they were great in the US and Canada.

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  2. We do some school work in the morning then have a wander in the afternoon. We didn’t do any work in Hawaii! Nothing against Australia but it just feels just like the UK. I guess because we’ve been living in the suburbs it doesn’t feel like an adventure here. If feels like real life. Vancouver city was ok, similar to Sydney but SF was better. I loved Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara. The views in Vancouver Island were better than the views on the California coast highway. We haven’t been roughing it at all really but the boys need new shoes. Looking forward to see the snow again – NZ and then the heat of the Far East.

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