I’m fresh off the plane from a five week travelling holiday; I can honestly say I’ve had the time of my life doing exactly what makes me happy: hiking mountains and being in nature. All in all, I visited thirteen different places. My average step count per day for the past five weeks has been around 30,000 steps. I’ve hiked over sixteen mountain or lake trails. It’s fair to say I’m quite tired, especially with the jet lag looming. So, to be writing a blog when I’ve been home for just twelve hours seems somewhat bonkers. However, I agreed to write ahead of a slow chat on Twitter organised by @MartynReah some time ago and it’s illusively crept up on me.
Martyn and I spoke recently as I pondered what to include in the blog and we came up with the idea of using my travels to explore wellbeing.
Since 2014, I have spent my summers out of the country; I’ve trekked across the southern states of America from New York to Los Angeles; travelled to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro and volunteered in the community; train hopped around Europe on a shoestring budget; taught in Zimbabwe whilst living with a host family; and this year I toured California and Canada. Travel to me is an absolute must during the summer holidays. I get to experience some truly incredible things (this year I saw black bears and humpback whales).
It also prepares me for the next academic year in many ways:
- I don’t think about work. If I were at home, I know I would. I am able to completely detach myself. If you’re wondering how I manage to go away for so long during the summer and not do any school work, the answer is planning. The new DfE resource ‘Ways to reduce workload in your schools(s)’ states that ‘time investment in planning is key.’ I’m lucky enough to work with a fantastic team of individuals and we were able to plan effectively before the end of the summer term.
- Exploring new places and meeting new people makes me a better person and therefore a better teacher, team member and leader. Adapting to new cultures promotes understanding and patience, as well as improving your social skills.
- It enhances my tolerance for uncertainty. It’s been wonderful to go from place to place not knowing what to expect. There is always so much change going on in education. Travelling to different places each year allows me to deal with those changes.
- It decreases my stress levels. After the build up of hard work throughout the academic year, a good stretch of holiday does wonders for me. I go back to school in September ready to get cracking on a new term.
- It makes me insanely happy! I love my job, I really do. It’s the best job in the world and I can’t wait to get started again. But I also love switching off and taking time for my favourite things: hiking, running and mountains.
I could say plenty more and I intend to blog more about my travels in due course but for now my eyelids are heavy and my bed is calling, so I’ll leave you all with some questions to mull over in preparation for my slow chat on Tuesday 28th August.
- Do you travel in the summer holidays?
- What are the benefits of travel for your personal wellbeing?
- Does travel benefit your role/teaching in any way?
- If you don’t travel, what do you do to switch off in the summer holidays?
- How does it contribute to your personal wellbeing?
- Does it contribute to your role/teaching in any way?
Enjoy the rest of your summer break and I hope you can join me for some slow chat on Tuesday.