When I originally set up this blog I used the “Who, What, When, Where, Why?” headings as the main menu but I thought it might be time now to say something about the “How?” How did we go from being a conventional nine to five kind of a family to one that has decided to try something a bit different, instead of just dreaming about it?
I can trace the light bulb moment back to that original conversation Teddy and I had in 2013 (which is described in the opening entry to this blog) but there were at least 3 outside influences that, with hindsight, I can now see were key in taking that conversation from a dream to a reality, and I share them with you now:
Anne and Tom Andrus may not have been the first couple to travel the world with their children but, for many people, theirs is the original family year out blog. The Andrus family took their daughter and three sons travelling in August 2006 and their blog chronicles their preparation, adventures and post trip thoughts and experiences. They shared their goals for the trip, how they went about educating 4 kids all at different ages and how the trip changed them all and tightened their bonds as a family. When they returned they continued to grow and share the lessons they learned through travel and then, tragically, in 2010 Anne was diagnosed with cancer and very sadly passed away in 2012. Naturally her family were bereft and, understandably kept their grief private for the most part, but what they did share was how enormously thankful they were for making the most of the time they had with Anne – for taking that trip of a lifetime and seizing every possible opportunity whilst they could. Tom also noted how comforting it was to have her blog to look back at; to be able to read Anne’s story through her own words. For me, although sad, their story is uplifting – none of us knows how long we have got, so let’s live whilst we have the chance.
Next, the Sullivan family – I have known Tania since I was pregnant with John and watched as she and her husband Mike have raised their children, grown their business and made the most of the opportunities that life has presented. In April 2013 Tania and Mike set off, with ten of their children, on a nine week tour of Europe. What I love about Tania’s blog is that it doesn’t present a rose tinted version of family life; there were times when things did not go as anticipated and when it seemed that disaster was around the corner, but that didn’t stop them! Real life is like that – things don’t always go to plan, no matter how carefully we prepare and being able to overcome those unexpected challenges brings enormous rewards. You can read about their adventures here.
Finally, Vashti Whitfield, the widow of the great Spartacus actor Andy Whitfield, is another inspirational writer. Her blog, Maybe McQueen, began as an homage to her husband as she learned to live with her grief and find her way in the world again. At times, her posts are heartbreakingly honest and yet her willingness to be so open about her experience has led to the creation of an amazing worldwide community of people looking to make the most of the opportunities before them. Vashti is a life coach and has a gift for helping others to really look at what they want from life and find ways to make those dreams a reality. Her website is offline while being upgraded at the time of writing but is well worth a visit once the upgrade is complete. Eventually you will find her at http://www.maybemcqueen.com
There are inspirational people everywhere; people who seem to be able to connect with us in a way that helps us see what we want for our own journeys. Those quoted above are not celebrities or millionaires – they are ordinary people like you or I; ordinary people who have decided to live life fully and in doing so they have inspired my family to do the same. If you have time to read their blogs, maybe they will do the same for you!