Counting down…

So we know that we’re off and we kinda know where we plan to go… But we have a lot of stuff to do before we leave here. Here’s some of the things we need to get organised:

Our house

We have rented our house out through the super efficient http://www.northwood.com in Exeter who we would recommend highly. From the moment we put the place up for rental, explaining our plans, Michael and his team had people walking through our door wanting to view our place. Within less than 2 weeks, we were ‘Rental Agreed’! Although we said we wanted tennants in as soon as possible, the prospect of packing up 7 years worth of stuff in less than 3 weeks is a pretty daunting prospect… However, we’re always up for a bit of a challenge….!

We’re cleared the loft of 15 years worth of stuff we’ve carried from place to place- sometimes without ever even unpacking! I can tell you that there is nothing like knowing you’re going away for a loooong time to clear the cobwebs away!  We’re putting all our clothes, blankets, bedding etc into vacuum storage packs. We’ve got boxes going in the loft, boxes going to mum and dad’s loft… Furniture going to Aaron’s dad’s house… We’re going to be spreading the love to all our nearest and dearest. And a lot of toys have gone to charity. Ruben and Rosie aren’t the only ones who’ll be benefitting from this trip!

So once all the insanity from the move has calmed down, in the meantime, we’re going to be bunking up with mum and dad. Feeling bloody lucky I have a very patient and reasonable set of parents. They’ve put up with a lot over the last few years and yet they have welcomed us with open arms! I’m looking forward to cooking them a few hot dinners in return for the massive favour they’re doing us…. and enjoying some of dad’s home cooked bread too….

School

Ruben will be headed to high school on our return, so we’re going to stay in Exeter long enough in the new term to secure his high school place before we go. Rosie will hopefully slot back into school where we left off. We’re lucky that our local school is really fab and the kids are doing very well in terms of their expected ability and achievements. We were very pleased (and relieved!) to get a very promising school report from them both this year, which gave us the confidence to know they could cope academically with a year away from formal teaching. We hope to continue to build on their strong foundations with lots of reading, blogging, postcards home, mini projects, helping us with the money- different currencies, budgeting; speaking new languages and lots of swimming, snorkelling, running and other physical activities. We’re going away with a free-school approach- they’re going to learn a lot whilst we’re on the road and although we won’t be having any formal lessons as such, we will be expecting them to be continually busy learning new things and absorbing everything going on around us whilst we travel.

Work

Having worked for the NHS for over ten years I’m taking some time out and having a career break ! On leaving my job for 10 months, I can’t help but wonder what it will be like when I come back. Things move fast nowadays in the NHS and change is almost completely inevitable in my busy department. However, I work with such a fab team and I know they will join me in my excitement for this trip and look forward to hearing all about our travels. I also know the place will hardly miss me- the team will carry our service forward with their usual enthusiasm and excellent skills and abilities. And the best bit is that I’ll be back to join them again next year!  I just can’t wait to come back and have my first meeting- I 100% know first on the agenda will be talking about the phone system…. it’ll be like I never left! 🙂

Aaron says: In an ideal world I would like to still be able to do a small amount of my role on the road (digital/marketing/online world). On paper it can be done anywhere with an internet connection. How realistic that is at this stage, I don’t know. I would love to be able to stay involved in some way or another. I’m planning on taking a laptop to carry out all the usual things we’ll need it for, but also incase I do get the chance to dip into my work. I would really love to return to my job knowing that I’m not about to leave to go travelling, have a baby or go hunting for higher salaried jobs. I enjoy my job hugely and regardless of salary I just want to do it well and inspire the people around me to enjoy their roles too for benefit of everyone.

This break means a clean start and a renewed enthusiasm for our family’s life as the kids move into the middle to stages of their childhoods. I want them to come away from the trip confident about people, places, food and cultures.

Health

Hopefully we’ll have the benefit of my nursing background to manage and deal with the bumps, knocks, scrapes, bites, stings and poorly tummies we meet along the way.

I’m putting together a first-aid kit that would rival any SAS expedition rations.  This includes paracetamol (children’s and adult), plasters, the odd bandage, antiseptic wipes, alcohol hand gel, rehydration powders, anti-diarrhoeals, bug-bite cream, anti-mosquito spray and nets….

We’ve had all of our nhs vaccinations. We are purposefully avoiding countries or areas where we would have to take anti-malarials and taking safe precautions such as trying to avoid being bitten, as much as possible. Once we arrive in Bankok we will be visiting the travel clinic http://www.thaitravelclinic.com recommended by others, and arrange further vaccinations as necessary, for the Asian leg of our trip.

I have also downloaded several travel health bibles onto my Kindle and already read them from cover to cover- particularly Travellers Health: How to stay healthy abroad by Dr Richard Dawood.

Domino the Dog

Domino is our beautiful, gentle, soppy lab-collie cross dog. She doesn’t bark, she loves kids, swimming in the sea and laying in the sun. And her happy face welcomes us home after a long busy day at work or school. Because of all this, Domino is a very popular dog and we have had many requests from people who would be happy to foster her whilst we are away. A bit of a neighbourhood dog really – everyone knows Domino!  She is going to be living with a very lovely family and will be learning to kayak (!), getting totally spoiled and probably picking all sorts of bad habits… But she’ll be loved, appreciated and probably won’t miss us one little bit… I wonder if she’ll send us a postcard or two?!

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