Oh! The places we will go

Dr Seuss fans all over, finally, a really genuine reason to use the title of my favourite book 🙂

Thanks to an awesome friend babysitting for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon Nick and I managed to escape the packing, selling mayhem and went for a coffee… without children… together! Can you imagine!

Once we got over the fact that we could actually finish a sentence we settled into a bit of a planning session.

Nick is so amenable, flexible, understanding, supportive… that he very much comes along for the ride on some of my crazier ideas, so it was really important that we actually had a chat about what he wants from the next year, what he doesn’t want and where he gets excited about going.

To start with it was easier to talk about what he didn’t want to do, what he didn’t want the year to be and where he didn’t see us going. Which in itself was interesting.

NOT:

  • materialistic
  • artificial
  • indoorsy
  • transitional
  • shallow
  • money orientated

This then led onto amore positive chat about what he would like it to be:

  • outside
  • nature
  • working towards having a ‘base’ eventually
  • ability to travel home to visit friends and family regularly (this is a priority)
  • freedom – in that we can decide how we earn a living, how costly life is, how we spend our money
  • independence – financially, the hours we work, how we prioritize our lives

The chat about being able to go home to visit friends and family was really interesting. Since we moved abroad we have always, theoretically, been in a position to be able to afford to fly home if we wanted. Now that we will not easily be able to afford this, it is a real priority.

International living can be really lonely and isolated. You may spend your day surrounded with people, but they are not always the people you would choose to be surrounded by. When you are the husband of the Principal people may have ulterior motives and so making friends can be tricky.

Nick really enjoyed having a visit from his brother recently. They went to watch the cricket and thoroughly enjoyed an immersive short lived but intense mini-break together. This has sewn the seed for more short, independent trips home to visit friends and family. We realised that we don’t all have to go together, we can go individually… and that some time ‘away’ may be really healthy!

This led to a new list – a list of AIMS / VALUES:

  • Be able to visit friends and family regularly
  • Spend time alone, guilt free
  • Plan to settle down eventually
  • Do good wherever we go; volunteering, charity work, litter picking etc.
  • Have a schedule to work to for feelings of ‘safety’

The volunteering discussion came off the back of a documentary we have been watching on Netflix; Painting with light… we saw an episode about a Unicef photographer who was working with Orlando Bloom as a Good Will Ambassador. The episode focused on child poverty, child labour and Unicef projects that aim to ensure children have access to food, water, shelter and an education. It was so inspiring, harrowing and eye opening… it made us feel that we could aim to contribute in some way to every community that we visit on our travels.

The schedule was also really interesting. Both of us have now had some time ‘unscheduled’ and it is quite unsettling. After working for the past 25 years, suddenly not having a time to be somewhere, with a calendar of meetings / timetable to adhere to is really strange – I mentioned in an earlier post how I have managed my mornings so that I have a reason to get up and leave the house. This now has also had some more broad strokes added that we want to aim towards on the trip(s) ahead.

Nick’s non-negotiables:

  • time to exercise
  • time to write
  • meditation time
  • work time
  • professional reading time
  • yoga time

Kate’s non-negotiables:

  • time outside
  • time to walk /listen to audio books
  • time alone to think
  • meditation time
  • yoga time
  • blog writing

Things we want the kids to do every day:

  • exercise / yoga
  • read
  • walk somewhere outside
  • complete a video / written diary

We went on to discuss our hopes for the future ‘settling down’ part.

Having both fallen out of love with our careers and become disillusioned with working to make other people ‘richer’ when we just want to make the world ‘better’ we are perplexed as to what the future might hold.

One option we are seriously considering is setting up our own school some how. We started talking about what that could mean, how it could look and what we would need to be able to make this a reality.

The initial upshot was, we want to visit as many amazing schools as we can on our trip. So, we need your help….

The kind of school we would want to set up would have:

  • child led projects
  • outdoor learning
  • real-life authentic purposes for learning
  • balance between soft skills and academic skills
  • create brilliant citizens as well as marvelous mathematicians and awesome authors
  • charitable contributions as part of the curriculum

If you can recommend schools where we can learn about how teachers and administrators are successfully putting these jigsaw puzzle pieces together we would love to go and visit them – PLEASE LET US KNOW

Places we want to go that are already on our list:

  • Reggio Emilia (Italy)
  • Rome (Montessori)
  • High Tech High (San Diego)
  • Forest schools in Sweden
  • The National Centre for Outdoor Learning Sweden
  • Finland
  • Japan
  • Shanghai
  • THINK Global School

We thought that was enough for one think tank and headed home to save our wonderful friend from our children, and our house from our children!

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions.

3 thoughts on “Oh! The places we will go

  1. No suggestions but I do love this. I wish I was young enough to attend a school run by you and Nick, what a treat that would be!

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  2. Hi Both….there is a Forest School movement here in the UK. I don’t know whether it is full time education or an offer made for kids at the weekend and school holidays. Can see you all doing this on the IOW or Lake District!! Might be worth a search. I think that Surrey Wildlife organises sessions for those wanting to be part of the scheme. X

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