We started planning this more than two years ago. Finn was only just two and Daniel was 5. I say we but I think the conversation went something like this..."Dave do you fancy going to New Zealand for a few months?" To my utmost shock he seemed quite up for the idea and so the planning started.
A couple of years later and I have read zillions of blogs, a small hillock of guide books and have squirrelled away a few quid here and there and managed to buy 4 rtw tickets...we are committed.
It's at this point that the worry sets in. What have I done? How are we going to afford it? What will Dave say when he comes home?
"I've done something rather rash" I say on his return. After 10 years of being shackled to me he knows me rather well. Being British he braces himself with a good strong cup of tea and asks in a resigned but slightly amused voice "booked what?" I was rather relieved when his expression didn't change when I owned up that I had gone ahead and booked our plane tickets. "Well we had better do some serious saving up then" was his only reply.
Money hmm. I had felt quite pleased with my self saving the money for the flights but now there was nothing left. I begin to panic. I have a tendancy to act first then worry about the how later. I feel that if you don't, nothing would ever happen. It is however not great for your blood pressure to live this way.
Money, schooling, long haul flights and scary diseases oh my what had I got myself into?
I had worked out on a scrap of paper somewhere a budget of about £100 a day taken off someone elses blog (It's a small world after all). It was possible to save this quantity of money but as it would rely on the rental of our house during every school holiday it could not be taken for granted. We now have less than 5 months until we go and throughout the lakes rentals are down on last year. In my mind it is like a good film, you know the sort where they build up the story, then there is the bit where everything goes wrong and you can't see how it possibly can pull it out of the bag but then at the end something remarkable happens, yes despite my worrying I am an optomist it will be alright in the end even if we have to send the children up chimneys to make us some money.
School - well that's the one thing I am not really worried about although I think it worries other people. We have a wonderful head who is quite understanding of our strange ways. We are both trained teachers and are particularly into experiential education so we definately see this experience as an opportunity. I have had some worries about the youngest child as he will have only just started school when we pull him out again. Luckily he is a child that enjoys being taught, particularly in an experiential way so I have been and will in the future enjoy teaching him and in fact see it as a priveledge to do so.
Long haul flights - oh i'm so looking forward to that...NOT! I don't even drive as far as the nearest town unless I really have to. It's certainly going to be a far cry from when we got upgraded to first class on BA when we flew to America. That was so good we didn't want to go to sleep incase we missed anything. This time it's definately going to be a case of "are we there yet?"
Deadly diseases - ok this is where I feel like a really bad mother. The one thing I forgot to tell you is that I have managed to squeeze in another couple of countries with the premise of "well it's a shame to fly all that way and not visit somewhere else on the way." And "It will break the journey". Both of which are of course rather tenuous excuses for the satisfaction of my wanderlust. I had conveniently ignored the fact that both of the countries I squeezed in have so rather high health risks. South Africa has several malarial zones which are resistent to the most common types of malarial pill. There has also been a recent rabies outbreak. Northern Thailand is also resistant to many Malaria precautions.
I hate injections and try to hide my fear from my children but now I am breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about all the jabs they will have to have. Will I have to hold them down? Will they cry? Will I faint infront of them and will they have to drag me into the nurses room cooing it's ok mummy you can have a lolly if you're good. Equally I woke up from a nightmare last night where my children are drooling and trying to bite me like crazy small vampires, I should never have watched that rabies film in the 80's.
When you live in a country where dangerous animals and diseases are confined to history lessons, the rest of the world seems rather threatening. Travelling on my own I have taken some calculated risks as well as having the more common vaccinations but it is a whole other ball game with children. Sometimes there is no right answer. When I was 4 months pregnant with my first son I went to South America, I didn't take Malaria tablets because of the pregnancy but I did use DEET and yes I was paranoid about hurting the baby. I still haven't decided what to do this time round, watch this space to find out.
So am I a bad mother should I stay at home,keep my children wrapped in cotton wool, and wiped down every surface with anti bacterial sprays? My gut feeling is no, get out there, experience everything there is out there on offer, take calculated risks. But still I worry, I am doing the right thing, aren't I?