First post decision adventure 

Blimey!!! Writing a blog is harder than I thought!! I’ve been writing this for almost TWO WEEKS!!! I’m going to blame it on the fact I did most of it by tapping away with just two thumbs… anyway…
We’ve arrived at Birmingham New Street Railway Station after being overcharged by our taxi driver; not being ones for confrontation meant we didn’t say anything to the driver but got really cross about it once he’d driven off…! He was 10 minutes late and the vehicle wasn’t suitable for 6 passengers plus all our luggage and car seats!! But hey ho, we’re here now which means we’ve completed the first leg of our journey to Mazzaron in Spain. We could have caught a taxi the whole way there but like I mentioned before we’re always on a massively tight budget so (before the taxi driver overcharged us by £6) the saving of getting a taxi and the train was about £13. Initially we were going to get the bus to the station (total journey cost £18 so a saving of £18 on just getting a taxi) but once we saw our 4 hand luggage cases plus 3 huge car seats and 3 back packs we knew the “10 minute walk” between the bus stop and the railway station definitely was not going to be 10 minutes with all that stuff and 4 kids stopping to look at every crack in the pavement.

The boys are hungry so we go to get them a sandwich at the station, except on entering a store we see they cost £4.50 each!!! What?! £27 for 6 sandwiches!!! Who even pays that kind of price?! I walk straight back out!! No thank you!! We’ll see if we can get a better deal at the airport!! Either that or starve 😳
We get on the train (which was a train to Euston) it’s only one stop so about 10 minutes. We walk up the platform to see if we can find a quieter carriage, but no, each one is as rammed as the next. We got all the kids sat down only to see a little green display above the seats informing us the seats were reserved… on checking our tickets it would seem we also had reserved seats but they were in coach A… we were sat in coach E… we decided to take our chances (while sweating profusely and continually scanning for the seats potential occupant) and stay where we were for the 10 minutes we were gonna be on the train rather than try and move the whole family and all our stuff up 4 coaches! Luckily we were fine, no-one tried to wrestle us out of our seats!!! I can see the businessmen we’ve sat by are thrilled by our arrival, jeez! It’s only 10 minutes!! I’m sure you can cope fellas! 

We’re at Birmingham International! The airport is a quick monorail ride away (edited to add we don’t think it’s a monorail after all… it has 2 tracks so we think it’s a just train!!) the boys thought that was rather exciting and acted like it was a rollercoaster! 😆
We check-in the car seats and things are a little easier, I feel like for the entire time we’ve been counting bags and counting children making sure none have been lost along the way!! We haven’t! Yay! Well done us! We’re clearly gonna be fabulous at this travel malarky! (I say this in jest, we’re literally always only around 5 minutes from total disaster in most situations, feel like the hashtag #wingingit was thought up with us in mind!) 
The last time we were here was about 12 months ago so this is obviously the first time we’ve been to an airport since we decided our big plan… I expect this will also be the last time now until we eventually set off! It’s almost like I’m looking at it with different eyes. As we don’t come very often, security checks, long walks with the kids and cases through terminals, crowds, high prices are no real biggy as it’s almost a one off but I look around while we’re there thinking, this could become “normal”! Could this ever become tiresome?! 

We head for something to eat, Tom suggests Wetherspoons as they’re known for low prices, they offer a children’s meal with a drink and fruit treat for dessert for £4.25! #bargain We’ll have 4 of those then! 
Once they’re fed and taken to the toilet – Noah is a bit obsessed with “blue ice” and wanted to go to the toilet on the plane instead (note to self: check if blue ice is a real thing {edited again to add it is kind of a real thing in that it happens on accident due to leaking but they don’t just dump raw sewage in the sea as their dad had told them}) we check the departures board to find that our flight to Alicante is on its final call! Oh arse! It’s gate 15 so not too far but also not the nearest… we start running as quickly as we can with our 4-year-old Thom wandering zig zag paths either unaware or uninterested – probably both, that we’re in a bit of a rush. We zoom past the cosmetics store where we said we’d pick up our sun lotion as it was on offer… I shout to Tom “we not getting this?!” “There’s no time!!!!!” he replies… I think there’s time, there’s bound to be a queue at the gate, there always is… “come on!! He shouts… “ok!!!!!!!!!!” 

We get to the gate. There’s a queue. I look at him. He looks at me back. I pull a “I told you there’d be a queue” face.  

He turns away so I tell him… “see!!! There’s still time!!”

“There’s not time!”

“There is!!”

“Kelly, there’s not! We’ll just get it there!!”

“But it’s a good price here!!”

*silence – he looks at me like I’m the most exasperating person in the world*

“Come on! I can run! It’s not far! I can run a marathon! Non-stop! And faster than you!!”

“Whatever Kel, just do what you want…”

“Great, see you in a mo 😇”

TBH this is how most our convos go.
I run all the way back to the departure lounge pick up the lotion and run to the check out; “boarding card please!” asks the woman behind the checkout… NOOOOO!!!! “I’ve just ran all the way here from my gate! I don’t have my boarding pass!!”

“What’s your flight number?”

“?!?!???!!! I don’t know??!!!!!”

“There’s a board out there for you to check”

*runs outside to check and runs back in*

“FR2061” (or something like that I can’t remember!!)

“Thanks, £36 please”

I pay and run back to the gate. Yes!!!! There’s still a few people in front of us so I just show my husband a smug grin, he rolls his eyes in response.

A flight attendant comes over and tells us our hand luggage is going to have to go into the hold now. I’m not bothered but Tom thinks it will hold us up at the other end. “If you want to keep your hand luggage with you you need to be here nice and early. Only the first 90 people can put their hand luggage in the overhead compartments” says the attendant.
“You don’t need to tell me that!” says Tom shooting me a look…

“You never knew that!!!!!” I respond

“Well, I kinda knew…”

“No you didn’t!!!!!”
We get to the front of the queue and show the boarding cards and passports to the woman and make our way to the plane. The kids are super excited and keep running off we sort of keep a hold on them but they’re a bit like marbles when you drop them, just shooting off in all different directions. We’re sat in one full row, number 18, the arguments ensue about who’s going to sit by the window. Noah and Thom win prompting tears from Joe, we promise they can swap soon. The captain informs us there’s been some technical difficulty and they’re going to switch off all the power to reset the systems. He does it. It doesn’t solve the problem. Would seem that fixing a passenger airliner isn’t the same as fixing your PC 😂. After sitting on the plane for half an hour we’re all asked to get off. There’s a member of staff at the bottom of the stairs looking rather cross that this has happened, she says to us “this plane has been here since 2pm! Why hasn’t anyone checked this before now?!?!!!” 

Errr… I dunno?! 
On getting back into the terminal Tom gets a message saying the next info will be at 6.30pm… what?! That’s 2 hours from now!!!!!!!! Great. 😐


We decide to head down the play area (Sky Zone) down by gate 54, it gives us something to do by walking there. We play the hopscotch games on the floor and also visit WH Smith and buy TEN POUNDS worth of chocolate. Not impressed at having to spend so much but that was their best value offer (I didn’t complain about having to eat it)
Sky zone was actually really good, there was lots of space down at gate 54 and it wasn’t busy either, we spent the next 2 hours here and the boys were really well behaved (well as well behaved as 4 stereo-typical boys can be!!) we split the time up by throwing in a few running races down to the elusive water fountain down at gate 40 and I even have a trip to boots to buy some nail varnish to cover up my zombie toe nails which I had planned to do before we left but didn’t have time! (I currently have toenails not too dissimilar to the living dead after running the London marathon and blackening 3 of my toenails on my left foot. They’re now at the point where they’re starting to lift off, it’s pretty minging). 


At 6.30pm we look at the board “next information at 7pm” it reads. Tom’s not impressed. We spot planes for about half a second then go back to running around.

Ryanair have issued us with some snack vouchers but they can only be used in certain places. We click on the link that comes on the email. They vouchers are worth £3.50 and can be spent in the champagne bar… what?! What we gonna do with those!!! Our kids only like prosecco!!! Ok, so they can also be used at the Meridian Bar and Burger King but half of us are veggies so Burger King is discounted from the start. We’d checked out the Meridian Bar menu and the cheapest thing is £6.50 for a small mac n cheese. Not ideal, we check the board at 7pm. It says “next information at 7.30pm” 😐
We start slowly walking away from Sky Zone and towards the departure lounge to make a decision as whether to eat or wait. It’s pretty late now so the kids do need to eat… gonna wait til 7.30 and see what it says… 
Gets to 7.30 and it says “next information at 7.50”. We have to feed them now because it’s getting too late even though they’re not saying they’re hungry, the excitement of going on holiday seems have kept them going. Order 2 mac n cheese and some nachos but even with the 6 vouchers we will still have to add a couple of pounds to it. Tom comes back from the bar to tell us we had to pay nearer a fiver because one of the vouchers didn’t work! It came up on their system as already had been used which it hadn’t!!! Very annoying!! 
We wait for the food to arrive, while we’re waiting the notice board changes to “boarding” ARGH!!!!! 

“See if we can get it on paper plates!” I say to Tom as I start packing everything up. “I’ll start walking down with the kids and you sort the food…”
We all meet back up at gate 15, Tom has 2 paper cups of pasta and a porcelain plate of nachos, determined not to waste the nachos as they’d cost almost a tenner we shovel (ok, so *I* shovel) as many as we can into our mouths… glamour isn’t something that comes easy when budget travelling with kids I tell ya! 
By the time we get on the plane there’s been an overall delay of around 4.5 hours. Overall I think they’ve managed quite well.
The 2 hour 15 minute flight is uneventful, just the usual seat hopping, toilet trips, telling offs for kicking the seat in front. We land safely at about 11.45pm local time. 


We pick up our cases off the carousel while repeatedly explaining to the boys that they can’t go on it… they want to know the full details and intricacies as to why they can’t because our explanation of “it’s really dangerous!!” is not sufficient. 

A mini-bus takes us to the hire car centre, we’re there for what seems like forever. Considering it’s 1am and we’ve been travelling for over 12 hours the kids are showing no signs being sleepy unlike me who is feeling on the verge of collapsing into some kind of coma. They make friends with a little boy called Geoffrey (who speaks Spanish – mine only speak English!) and spent the entire time running in circles… which would have been fantastic had this circle not had a perimeter of about 2 metres so after about 10 minutes *I’m* starting to feel dizzy 😐

I have no idea what the time is now, I think it’s about 1.30am. We load everything into the car, little Thom instantly starts a rendition of “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” like, seriously?!?! Only Tom is insured to drive so he now has a 1.5 hour journey in the dark on unfamiliar roads while being exhausted. It’s actually really dangerous tbh, I fully intend to stay awake to talk to him but I fall asleep in under 30 seconds only stirring when we go round particulary sharp bends. Sorry about that bab x (luckily little Tom also fell asleep super quick so we only had to listen to a couple of verses) 

Eventually we arrive at the villa about 14 hours after leaving our home. We carry the smaller kids to their beds and climb into our own looking forward to our Spanish adventure starting tomorrow x 

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Car Genie

Look what I’ve found out about today!! The Car Genie plugs into your car and is able to scan for faults, check your battery level, knows where your car is parked (so you can see if it’s been moved) and can detect a crash which triggers a call from The AA.  It costs £29 a year for AA members.  It looks really useful and something I think we’ll invest in before we leave on our travels!  Find out more on the link below x

https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/connected-car

Hunt for car insurance….

Friday 23rd 3.01pm So, car insurance, yeah… where do I start?!  Quick google search seemed to bring up worldwide car HIRE insurance so I figured that wasn’t right.  I decided to give an insurer a ring. I decided on Axa as I’d spoken to them in the past and as they were big I thought there’d be a good chance of them selling it.  Unfortunately no, they said they can provide European cover for 90 days but that was it.  They also mentioned Green cards (what?!?!  Note to self – research green cards!!)  Then they told me to google it… Great, thanks for that lol!!

Saturday 11pm  On my second google I came across this article  http://www.wikihow.com/Travel-the-World-by-Car which although didn’t answer my question it did throw up some questions I hadn’t thought of so will now add to my list of things to research and do.  So the newly added items are

1)     First aid training

2)     Get an international driving licence

3)     Find out about car registration for countries outside of Europe

4)     Get carnet de passage (if you’re applying for one from the UK you need to go here http://www.carseurope.net/carnet-de-passage-en-douanes-cpd/ 

11.15pm   So I’m googling, googling, googling and I’m not sure this is the best way of getting round the world… most people seem to recommend local transport…some bloggers were convinced they were going to die driving in some international destinations…that definitely isn’t in my plan!!!  Still can’t easily find out how we’re going to insure the car!  Argh!!  Can anyone help??  Tell me where to look???  Will keep looking…

11.21pm – Have just discovered if we want to drive in China we’ll need a Chinese drivers license!!

11.23pm – Think we’re going to need to get a portable breathalyser… and reflective jacket, a hazard triangle, headlamp converters, a first aid kit – and to we’ll need display a GB sticker… getting all this info from https://www.moneysupermarket.com/car-insurance/articles/car-insurance-around-the-world/

11.31pm You can’t drive a dirty car in Moscow?!!?  Random!  Yeah, that’s something that might get us in trouble, we’re not really known for having an immaculate car!!!

11.35pm ooooh!  Found a useful article!  https://www.confused.com/on-the-road/driving-abroad/guide-to-driving-abroad tells me that to get an international drivers licence it will cost £5.50 from the Post Office, AA or RAC…wonder how long they last???

11.37pm Found a website that explains Green Cards!!  https://www.mib.org.uk/making-a-claim/accidents-in-the-uk-involving-a-foreign-registered-vehicle/green-card-system-explained/

11.39pm  Too tired to keep looking but will carry on as soon as I can!!

 

 

Questions?!?!?

So apart from car insurance (lol!) we just have lots and lots of questions…what route should we take? How will we travel? What do we do about the children’s’ education?  How do we manage our youngests condition without easy access to the NHS?  How are we going to fund it?  What happens to the house?  What will we do when we come back?  What would we do if we broke down in the middle of nowhere?  There will be more and more questions that come up along the way which we will share with you as we tackle them and just hope that none of them are going to be things that stop us from achieving this!! 

So!  So far we’re just scouring blogs, trying to find out what other people are doing and whether we can re-create it in our own kinda way x  Tbh lots of them that we have found are either solo travellers or rich families.  Of which we’re neither so we’re still searching!!  Let us know in the comments if you know of a blog we should be keeping an eye on!

We did find on one blog about WWOOF (wwoof.org.uk) Worldwide Opportunities On Organic Farms.  This can be a way of getting round the globe and keeping your costs down.  I signed up to this on Monday.  I’m going to see if me and the boys can volunteer relatively close to home at some point over the summer holidays so that we can get a feel as to what we would be doing if we volunteered abroad.  You pay either £20 for a single membership or £30 for a joint.  We’ve gone for a joint membership so that we can both volunteer at some point.  There does seem to be other volunteering opportunities available too so I need to look into those but for now I’ll concentrate on this.  I’ve now contacted 11 farms within a 2 hour drive to see if any of them are prepared to let one adult with 4 children volunteer on their farm…I’ve already had 2 no’s!!  To be honest I can see why we wouldn’t be an appealing prospect, just got to find someone who’s willing to take a chance!!  Maybe later on in the year my husband can volunteer too and then we might seem like a better option! 

 Oh my life!!  Can you believe it!!  As I’ve been typing this and searching for motor maintenance courses I’ve had a reply from a farm and she thinks we may be able to help her!!  EEK!!!  How exciting!!  Will keep you posted!

 At the moment, we think we’re going to drive ourselves round as opposed to hiring a car or getting local transport but again, this may change.  As I briefly mentioned above I’m going to see if I can sort some kind of vehicle maintenance course so that I can at the very least change a tyre!!  A man has replied to say he could show me the basics of classic maintenance which would be fantastic as we have a beat up old MGB, she’s 45 years old and has no interior but I love her!!  Will see how this progresses!

 I have also had a brief chat with our sons Teacher of the Deaf, she thinks we could possibly be issued with a spare set of hearing aids and a years supply of batteries for our adventures.  We obviously will look into this properly but at least the seed has been planted!

 Today I have also started to look at home-schooling groups to see if I can get any information on these and the best way to tend to the children’s educational needs.  Now I’ll have a look at that car insurance….

 Blimey!  It’s good job we have about 1124 days to plan all this!

Planning meetings!

We’ve decided that to stay focused we should have at least a weekly “planning meeting” where we pick a topic research it then come back to each other with what we found… I said to my husband “why don’t you go first! What shall we research…?”  You know what he said?? Car insurance. Yep. We’re planning an exciting round the world trip and he wants the finer details on car insurance 😂  Well why not I suppose! Will keep you posted with our findings!!x 

This is it…


I have loads of stuff I need to do today but I’m doing this, because if I want this to work then I’m going to have to spend some real time planning to make sure it actually happens.  When I say “it”, I mean me and my family upping and travelling the world.  Leaving all this behind and almost becoming nomads I suppose.  Follow us on our journey to see if we can bring this idea to fruition.
I have no idea if it will work, we’ll just have to see, and if it doesn’t then maybe this blog can help other families see where we went wrong and learn from our mistakes.

There’s lots and lots of reasons why this won’t work.  The first one being money.  We have none.  No savings, no equity in the house and we’re a one income family.  To four boys… so yeah, seems impossible right?  I’m hoping not but we will see.

So here is a whistle-stop tour of my life and how has all this come about.

I was always fairly certain from around the age of about 9 that this was something I wanted to do.  Different experiences compounded that belief for me but I had the same issue back then as I do now; lack of money.  As a young adult I thought that a great way of trying to do this would be to join the military.  It wasn’t a good idea and even though I had some really great times and made some life-long friends I spent the majority of the 7.5 years I was in trying to find a way to get the hell out!!!  Even still it is something I would recommend for a short period of time, maybe 3 or 4 years, but I digress.

I still vividly remember sitting in front of a world map with my cousin and planning my route around the world.  We were going to do it together, except then I had my crazy military idea and she got herself a boyfriend, who she subsequently married and had a child with and has also now divorced.

Plan was going well and I managed to visit many places while I was in the military.  These were short holidays though rather than actual travelling as such.  I visited Cyprus, Spain, Tunisia, Andorra, Thailand, Paris and many parts of the UK.  Then I got pregnant…. unplanned but much wanted, I was 22.   Things didn’t work out with the father of my eldest and became a single parent.  He was a good man but we weren’t right for each other.  By the time my eldest was 4 I had met and was engaged to the man I married… and had a further THREE children with… yeah… in for a penny, in for a pound and all that.  Life was, and still is, tough.  We have 4 boys, all typical in nature and behaviour so I’m sure you can appreciate what day to day life is about.  On the whole we find imposing our chaos onto normal society doesn’t have the best results for anyone really so we try and keep ourselves to ourselves.  We’ve kind of blindly gotten through the last 9 years in a foggy blur of sleepless nights, nappies, playgroups and nursery rhymes.  My dreams were put aside for now as I tried to keep a grasp of my sanity.  Tried to embrace the life I now had.

So anyway, we’re tootling along down the path we think is best suited to us.  We consider a Steiner education for our middle 2 boys as we think it’s the best way for them.  We attended the playgroup from when they were very small and they had a place to start in September 2014.  Great!  Everything is going as planned and we’re all happy 🙂  Except then on 13th August 2014 our youngest dramatically fails a hearing test.  He is diagnosed as being deaf.  My whole world crumbled there and then in that room.  I was devastated, broken, everything had been torn apart.  I’d entered the room with a healthy baby and left with a disabled one.  We found out he had been born deaf but the diagnosis didn’t come until he was 15 months old.

All our focus now had to change on how we managed with a deaf child, who also happened to be the first deaf person we’d ever met.  I threw myself into it, tried to find out as much as we could about the culture, started to learn sign language (we’re still having those lessons).  2 years in and things started to settle. We tried to find our way back to Steiner education but finances no longer meant we could access it and the bursary they offered us wasn’t enough.  My boys were stuck in an inner city mainstream school which was something I’d never intended for and never felt settled within.

In the half term school holidays of May 2017 I went on a holiday to Cornwall and came back literally questioning my entire life.  I could barely talk for 2 days.  Seriously, I felt that bad.  I’d returned home on the Friday then on the evening of the Sunday I sat down with my husband and told him I just couldn’t do this any more.  I feel like I’m just dying on the inside.  This wasn’t how it was meant to be.  What the hell were we doing?  It feels like we’re running on a hamster wheel, going nowhere and not even enjoying or believing in what we were doing.  The life we have really suits some people but it really isn’t for me.  For us.  For our family.  I’ve had this conversation many times with my husband but he’s never been sure except this time he agreed!  He could see what was happening, how we were both feeling and he finally agreed to make this work.  So now we’ve got to make it work.  We’re not sure how.  Not a clue.  What we’ve done so far is decided on a date.  July 2020.  Around 3 years from now.  It should give us enough time to plan properly and save.  We’re just not in a position to get up and go.  So please do follow us, send us your tips, wish us luck in our adventure, maybe try it yourself!  Looking forward to sharing this journey with you.

x