With the exception of Christmas, we go away every school holiday & try to take at least one weekend jaunt at 1/4 term intervals. We certainly have wanderlust…in fact I’ve been infected with the travel bug for 30+ years!
Most full time teachers are contracted for 195 teaching & INSET days per year. That usually includes 100 days of holidays & bank holidays, with another 70 days of weekends to play with. As a family, we work hard to ensure we can play away as often as possible.
I started my travels at the end of my first year as a teacher in 1987, with a month backpacking around Thailand. I bought a @lonelyplanet guide & travelled on local transport, ate street food & stopped in cheap backpacker hostels & beach huts. 31 years later & I travel in much the same way with my family, with the occasional bit of ‘flashpacking’ thrown in.
I soon adapted the philosophy that ‘the journey is more important than the destination’ & fell in love with the adventure & romance of exploring new places. I love to wander & explore new places. I don’t visit places to tick them off a list, but at the time of writing this blog have visited 89 countries.
As a younger traveller I often volunteered whilst away & gained a valuable insight into the life & culture of countries. Amongst others, I’ve taught in the hill tribe schools of Chang Rai, Thailand; Supported CSE projects in Delhi, India; and supported leadership development in schools for hearing impaired children in The Gambia, Malaysia & Indonesia
Family brings a whole new dimension to travelling…fortunately @mottleyoconnor & our boys share my love of travel. Holidays are a great time to connect as a family & it is a totally different experience seeing the world through the lens of your own children.
Travel has provided a wonderful education for our children! Lessons have included:
- Remaining calm when things don’t go to plan
- Learning to haggle to secure the best prices for rooms & goods
- Learning to budget for food, accommodation
- Learning about the history, geography, languages, religions & cultures of our world
- Learning to communicate & build relationships with others. Play provided an international language for our toddlers to interact with local kids…sport soon became the next stage in that language as the boys got older
- We’re all PADI Advanced scuba-divers which provides a wonderful dimension to our travels. Dolphins, sharks, sea snakes & a multitude of fish on a coral reef provides a wonderful playground to explore together
- All of our sons have become happy independent travellers who appear to be facing the challenges of life with gusto & confidence!
With only four years until our planned retirement, the phrase, ‘The journey is more important than the destination’, has taken on new meaning. Although we have great plans for those years, we also use the phrase ‘Living our happily ever after’ to explain that we are not waiting for a pot of gold at the end of the teaching rainbow, instead we continue to embrace our wanderlust, taking advantage of the time now as well as planning for the years of adventure stretching ahead!
Continually pursuing the holy grail of ‘balance’, I like to have the problem of squeezing work into the rest of my life. I’ve never regretted prioritising holidays & time with family &/or friends. I work hard to make it work.
@mottleyoconnor is a genius at securing great holiday deals. Here are a few of her top tips to bag a bargain:
- Register with the budget airlines for flight release dates – often the cheapest
- Untick all the additional charges that often appear on budget airline bookings – take a packed lunch, buy cheaper annual insurance etc
- Monitor accommodation bookings. If a price goes down, take advantage of free cancellation & then book again at the cheaper price
- Research your destination to find the free & cheap activities to give you more bang for your buck
- Don’t waste money on expensive transfers, make it part of the adventure. On this weekend break to Jersey, we included a £2 top deck bus ride with panoramic views as we transited from the airport to St Helier. Use GoogleMaps…it has bus stops on it.
My top 2 tips are:
- Prioritise your holiday & weekend plans as you do with your school work. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!
- Book early to avoid disappointment!
- Why not build your holiday plans around the wellbeing @teacher5aday principles? By focusing on #learn #connect #exercise #volunteer #notice you are more likely to support your own mental health & wellbeing
Remember: most people on their death bed don’t say that they regretted going on all of those holidays & enjoying all of that time with family & friends!
So whatever excites you, makes you happy or slows you down to recharge & refresh…make it happen!
In short, own your own wellbeing, prioritise what important to you & make it a reality #HappyHolidays
We have thousands of stories from our adventures. Here a few snippets to provide a flavour of our travels:
- Being circled by swooping buzzards as we completed a gruelling 8 hour hill climb on a cycle tour of Croatia
- Camping & surfing/boogie boarding in the South of France
- A broken ankle in the jungle of Tikal, Guatemala, before being bitten on the same foot through the cast by a shark in Belize
- Trekking through the jungle rainforests of Thailand, Cambodia, Honduras & Borneo
- Camel trekking & sleeping under the stars in the Moroccan Sahara desert
- Watching a meteor shower from beach of one of the Philippines 7000 islands
- Swimming with what I believe is collectively known as a constellation of 12 whale sharks
- Attending cooking school in Hoi An, Vietnam
- Being the play thing for a pod of dolphins on a scuba-diving safety stop in Malaysia