Think back to a few years before you had kids, and the time between then and now. Does it feel like a blur?
Perhaps you’ve locked into a job, a house, and a daily routine that consists of yelling to get the kids out the door on time for school and yourself on time for work, working all day at a job you may or may not enjoy, struggling the kids to and from piano/practice/whatever, put together some sort of supper and wrangling the kids into bed, only to drop into bed exhausted and frustrated…
When was the last time you had a chance to really consider whether the direction your family is taking is one that is right? Whether your lifestyle is really how you all want to live?
I distinctly remember walking out of my office shortly after returning to work after my first parental leave, looking up at a skyscraper and thinking, “Here we all are, working all day away from our precious babies in order to earn money for things we don’t need, so that our employers can build whole buildings just to sell more things we don’t need. This is messed up.”
Then I went home and put together some sort of supper and wrangled the kid to bed and dropped into bed exhausted and frustrated.
Eighteen months later, Wandering Family Man and I set up a vacation savings account and began our five-year plan to take a family gap year. We didn’t know what we’d do, but we knew that if we didn’t make a change – if we didn’t at least try something different – we’d always regret it.
During our five years of saving we had a second child and the demands of my job steadily increased. Wandering Family Man left his job to look after the kids, freelancing in Drupal and WordPress web development when the kids were at school.
Increasingly, we found ourselves going to bed at the same time as the kids each night, without having even taken the supper dishes off the table. We felt at the constant mercy of whatever was scheduled (not by us) for the next day.
We were living to work, not working to live. It sucked. But we kept socking our “Big Trip” savings away, and we’re ecstatic to say…
Our family gap year starts in June, 2019!
Our five years of saving is finished! Our house will soon have tenants living in it. We bought a small, old RV, named it Harvey, and bought it a boat ticket to Europe. I will soon be handing in my notice at work. Wandering Family boy is seven, and Wandering Family Girl is just about to turn two.
We’re not crazy adventurers with an unconventional life. Wandering Family Man has lived in our city of residence for the last 20 years and had only gone on three international trips in his life. I have a dry corporate job with a large retail company. We own a small house with a perpetually under-maintained yard and a slightly better-maintained mortgage.
Excitement in our lives means things like finding a good kids-eat-free restaurant or having the water main under our house burst.
We have no trust fund either. We’ve saved for five years to make this happen.
About this blog
We’re writing this blog for two reasons: the first is to help others by adding to the scant online resources available that a) explain how North Americans can take an RV to travel around Europe and b) describe family-friendly destinations in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
The second is to make sure that we chronicle our experience so that we can read it and re-read it when we’re old and the kids have moved out.
Without public accountability, I’m an inconsistent journal-keeper at best, and Wandering Family Man’s main form of writing is html.
I hope you find one of our posts to be helpful or inspiring, and that if so, you’ll subscribe to our monthly update email newsletter, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, and/or reach out and get in touch.
We are really looking forward to meeting new people through this family gap year experience, both in-person and online!
Wandering Family Man is a career web developer with extensive experience with Drupal, WordPress and PhP, among others. His approach to development is enhanced by his formal education in graphic design.
If you are interested in retaining Wandering Family Man for remote web development work, please contact him using the Contact Us form below.