I recently posted out our Christmas cards mentioning our blogs on them, but haven't actually got around to putting brain in gear to spell out what we're up to, not the least why we haven't our own address for long!
Short version- we're going travelling around the UK for 6 months in 2011.
We started discussing travelling around the UK about a year ago, and at some point on the One Show WWOOFing was mentioned. This is World wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, the detail in on their website but basically it means for doing some work on a farm, with no prior knowledge required, and you have somewhere to sleep and food to eat. There are many different permutations, varying from living with a family to having a tent and raw ingredients to cook yourself, and finally on to our variation where we hope for somewhere to stay and the odd shared meal- as our two are so young we can't both do full work hours. We both realise there is so much of this country we haven't seen, and with our young family weekend trips are just exhausting to fit in with a working week as well. We've vaguely discussed emigrating, but feel we really will find somewhere to suit us in this country without going to the other side of the world.
We do know we don't want to stay in our mid-terrace house in Halifax -though no one else seems to want to buy it, so we're working on getting tenants in it instead. Between us we have a dream of land to grow veg, trees for Alex and space for the children to grow up and play. Housing isn't a huge priority, though a vomiting bug earlier in the year has made somewhere to wash and dry lots of bedding more important. We'd like to have space to invite friends to- the limits of our little rented house has made it evident that we need some space for families to come and play.
We're about to become official in home-educating as Big One is 'school age' after Christmas. Home educating gradually crept in for us. It started out realising that DH worked in a school that wanted him to only take time off in school holidays, and I work in a department where school holidays are booked about a year in advance, if not longer, and my chances of getting when would suit me was quite limited. Then the realisation of the costs of peak time holidays, plus the cost of childcare for the other weeks...when we'd rather be with our children- home educating started to sound nice. We also happen to feel formal education starts too young at age 4 , when many places don't start until aged 7.
Meeting other home ed families in real life has been a wonderful experience. Just about everyone has a completely different reason for getting into it, but the main aim of doing what is best for their child is the common thread.
So DH quit his job last month, from next month he'll have Big One at home full time, and come April we're going on a grand tour of mainland UK on the cheap for 6 months. I haven't jacked in my job -yet-so have 6 months leave for our adventures. We hope to see places we've missed before, learn new skills, find out what aspects of a small holding really appeal -or we really detest, and hopefully come up with a plan for what and where our next, more permanent home will be.
We've been raising anxiety levels with my parents at least, discussing a yurt in a field (English planning laws alas are not helpful in this respect).
Our immediate family seem to hide their anxieties about our plans well- so far, anyway.
My current dream home would be a short commute to a hospital or clinic so I can earn a conventional wage a day or two a week as needed, but have woods for DH, a stream for hydro power, a big garden for the girls, lots of growing space for the veggies and polytunnel, a small house we can adapt to our needs with lots of verandas, insulation, something like a ceramic stove,a composting loo or two, solar panels and a wind turbine, and a busy home ed community nearby.
I think we'll need to win the lottery and compromise!