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to want to go on a family gap year?

(77 Posts)
LittleFrieda Thu 18-Oct-12 17:07:37

I have 4 chldren. DS1 is at university, his course finishes in 2016. DS2 is in lower sixth and plans to go off to university in Sept 2014. My two youngest children are 6 and 5 (a big age gap). In Sept 2014 they will be 8 and 7.

I would like for us to rent out our house in Sept 2014 -- we would get a substantial sum of money for its rental -- then set off on a carefully planned adventure traversing the globe, DH, me and our two small children (who will be 7 and 8), once DS2 heads off for university.

I have costed it out and planned for flights for the older two to join us three times a year and stay/travel with us for the duration of their holidays. And I would of course be here to help DS2 with his application and move from home to wherever it is he may go for uni.

Are there pitfalls involved with taking children out of school for a year? We would obviously try and make sure they keep up to date with whichever level (tut) it is they are supposed to be working at.

Obviously we would sacrifice our jobs to go.

What are the pitfalls to this scenario?

I'm desperate to do it.

NatashaBee Thu 18-Oct-12 17:15:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Loveweekends10 Thu 18-Oct-12 17:16:33

Do it. Definitely. We went to Samoa, tonga and New Zealand for 2 months with 7 month old baby and we still talk about it all the time.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Thu 18-Oct-12 17:21:28

You are NBU I think it's very exciting.

Have you thought through the costs yet though? We are renting out a house while we live in another country and TBH I thought we would have a lot more money than we actually have. Once mortgage (you may have to convert to a buy to rent mortgage depending on your mortgage company) loan, pension, house insurance and lettings agent fees there really is very little left.

I'm reluctant to rain on your parade as I'd love to do this myself but I'd worry about giving up jobs, any possibility of getting a sabbatical?

LittleFrieda Thu 18-Oct-12 17:49:33

Oh, thank you, fellow Mumsnetters, for your support. I was expecting people to say: "Get over it you silly cah" grin <relief>

Loss of school place is obviously a pitfall. We do need to discuss what we might do in the scenario that we return to no school place.

We aren't worried about our jobs. grin

VerySmallSqueak Thu 18-Oct-12 17:52:40

I have absolutely no idea of the practicalities,but just want to say I think you should follow your heart.
Life is for living,and all that jazz....

longjane Thu 18-Oct-12 18:20:25

the kids might not get back in same state school
that is only down side i can think of
and have a lovely time

spondulix Thu 18-Oct-12 19:30:50

We're planning on doing this in a few years' time, I can't wait. You'll have an amazing time and the children will benefit hugely.

LittleFrieda Thu 18-Oct-12 19:43:09

I feel quite tearful about how supportive and encouraging everyone is being.

I am worried about the schooling when we get back. But actually we live in a town where all the schools are excellent. I don't suppose my children would be able to slide back into their friendship groups in any case: things will have moverd on. So perhaps a forced change on return would not be entirely negative. Though it would be hard for them to be the new boy/girl in an entirely new environment.

Then there is the elderly parents thing. <<wibble>>

Softlysoftly Thu 18-Oct-12 19:54:18

Do it do it do it!

Once we have the money (this time next year Rodney) I want to take the DDs on a 2-3month trip away, possibly Oz and NZ to see friends then maybe India (me) or America (DH) skipping some of DD1s first year at school (they would be 5&3) blush but its a pipe dream until we have the money.

So yes if you can then go! A year around the globe is education in itself.

GirlWithALlamaTattoo Thu 18-Oct-12 19:55:48

It sounds amazing, and I'd love to do it. How do the older two feel about missing out, though?

honeytea Thu 18-Oct-12 19:56:02

What a fab idea smile

My mum did this with my little sister when she was 6/7, her school place was held for her and the school was very happy for her to go. They had the most amazing time, I was living in Australia at the time so they came to stay with me for 3 months then traveled around south east Asia and India.

The only thing that might be something to consider would be do you have any close relatives that your DC2 could go and stay with if uni is too much and he needs a weekend break and some support?

My sister is still doing well at school dispite the missed time, she really has an amazing attitude to life, I think in part due to her travels.

I hope you report back to us mumsnetters on your adventures smile

Bluestocking Thu 18-Oct-12 20:07:52

I think it sounds like a great idea! My only caveat would be your university age DSs. They may be thrilled to be able to join you for their university vacations that year, but they may also have other plans - work, summer courses related to their degree programmes, internships, sports training, performing at the Edinburgh Festival, you name it - which might not fit in with spending the entirety of all three vacations with you. They might also, heavens forfend, have acquired partners who they either love far too much to leave, or want to bring with them! These are not reasons to not spend your gap year the way you have planned, which sounds wonderful, but I would try and stay flexible about what your two big boys do, and not put any pressure on them to join you if that's not what they want. It would also be humane, as honeytea says, to identify somewhere they can go if/when they need a break from university - a close family friend or sympathetic relative.
Keep us posted!

Bogeyface Thu 18-Oct-12 20:10:50

The only thing that would bother me is the getting a job (or not) when I got back.

The rest of it is a great idea, but I wouldnt want to resign to do it. As has been suggested above, perhaps ask for a sabbatical.

RillaBlythe Thu 18-Oct-12 20:12:33

Sounds great to me. We are thinking of a year abroad next year & my only concern is about getting dd a school place when we get back & how she would feel going to a different school.

Grockle Thu 18-Oct-12 20:17:19

There was an MNer who did this years ago and I think she blogged about it. I can't remember her name.

Do it. It's a once in a life-time thing and no amount of schooling can teach anyone what you'd learn by travelling like this.Totally worth it. Don't worry about school places - if there are places when you come back, then fine. If not, you are in a good position if all local schools are good.

If you go, you must keep posting on MN to tell us all about it.

RillaBlythe Thu 18-Oct-12 20:19:31

Forgot to post link to this blog.

EnglishGirlApproximately Thu 18-Oct-12 20:28:07

Do it! Me & Dp had 2 years away 2009 - 2011 in our mid 30's and it was fab! Ds is 7 months and we are planning to take him away for a year as soon as he's old enough to appreciate it. Travel is really important to us and I think kids can only
benefit from it. I'm very envy

JoInScotland Thu 18-Oct-12 20:42:10

I would like to do something similar, but instead of world travels, I would like to introduce DS to his American family who are scattered in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and now Canada. It would take more than a week or two's holiday to see everyone and get to know them. Yet I don't want to ruin his schooling or lose his place at the local school.... he doesn't go for 3 years, but we're skint so it will take years of saving before we go.

I will be following your travels and what information you pick up LittleFrieda!

PeppermintLatte Thu 18-Oct-12 21:48:28

No advice, but just wanted to say... You are amazing! Go for it. It's something i'd love to do in the future. You only get one life, enjoy it.

Hanikam Thu 18-Oct-12 23:01:45

This sounds wonderful. What a fantastic idea. Mind you, I am contemplating doing something similar minus dh. If you don't at least try you will regret it later on. Have a great time!

otisthe Fri 19-Oct-12 17:18:31

If you'll excuse a prod towards a book, you could do a lot worse than read 'The Long and Whining Road' by Simeon Courtie. A search on Amazon will show reviews and synopsis - family gap year, 3 young kids, rented house etc. VERY funny and real-life story. Their website is
The over-riding message is...DO IT!!

LittleFrieda Sat 20-Oct-12 12:50:47

Thanks all, you have been brilliant. I'll have a good look at the blog and I'll get that book, it looks amazing.

We had another chat about it yesterday and DS3 can't wait to go but DD says her school friends will miss her. I'm still a bit worried about my big sons who will by then both be at university. And of course it is a concern that we never did that for them, but it just wasn't possible at that time. And I am a bit worried that they will feel rootless and unable to come home with their washing at the drop of a hat. I'm giving that lots of thought.

What do people think about leaving ageing relatives behind? Is it incredibly selfish to go and leave them?

flow4 Sat 20-Oct-12 12:55:50

Can I come too please?! grin wink

honeytea Sat 20-Oct-12 13:05:22

Could you suggest to your dd that she makes a blog for her school friends to follow, also play around with Skype now so she can see that she can see how easy it is to chat to friends in other countries.

As for the big ones being envious it just wasn't an issue in our family, the older kids (well not kids but offspring) adore my little sister so we'd never resent an adventure that she was having.

Will yiu have tge funds to all fly home in tge event of a family emergency? I think if you do then the aging relative situation wouldn't worry me if it was my trip.

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