Well I kept coming up with these ideas about what we could do and how I could try something different and my mum is living in a community at the moment http://www.braziers.org.uk so the idea began that we could sell our house and spend 6 months living and working there (dh also kept his job) while we found out how we liked community living and also while we saved money for going away travelling. We found our time at the community extremely challenging…...there were a number of reasons, not least because as I had to work 20 hours within the community the older boys were very much left to their own devices. This would havete been fine if they were as i had imagined off playing in the 50 acres of fields and woods but sadly they spent way too much unsupervised time on the computers and watching films as I couldnt keep an eye on them. They were very bored a lot of the time and felt like they didnt have enough of my attention (should say they are home educated so not at school)
Also unlike the youngest who probably benefited most from our time there, they found it very hard to integrate with the other members of the community (forgot to mention we were the only family there!) and the other adults were not great at talking to them except to tell them off. We did have good times there and i’m sure we all learned things and gained from our experiences but it was not without challenges!
We originally planned to travel round Europe but time wise we stayed longer at the community as our house sale took longer to go through than we thought and so we stayed longer to save more money. So when we left it was not the right time (winter) to travel in Euorope, I had ruled out some places I would rather go due to vaccinations. We decided to go to NewZealand and spend three months travelling round both islands.
We financed it from our savings (made while living in the community as outgoings were low) and also some of the money from our house sale although we mainly wanted to keep this to enable us to buy a house again. The trip was amazing, we saw snow capped mountains, sandboarded down giant sand dunes! watched dolphins and seals from beautiful deserted beaches, met some lovely people…we enjoyed lots of new experiences. It was a mix of amazing times and awful, ridiculous times when you cant remember what on earth you are doing it all for! Our final month was spent in a very small camper van and tested dh and my relationship so nearly to breaking point…..but the good times balanced it out and the hours and days spent swimming in turquoise sea and playing in the sand without a person in sight made it worthwhile! Both dh and I found that we quite enjoyed packing up and moving on all the time, we have all learned to be more adaptable. The flights were an issue as they were a real struggle but we didnt break them up with stopovers and should have done, one of our children has significant behavioural ‘issues’! and this was my biggest worry before we went as he was in a really bad patch but overall he was a bit better while away what with everything changing all the time it seemed to help a little.
Sorry if that was a bit of a rushed and disjointed account! I am very happy to answer any specific questions people had so ask away