February 9, 2016

Reflecting on our travels: Why it’s not home sweet home



Rimini Beach 14 May 2013 188


It is almost two weeks since we returned from our two month trip.  It feels like a whole lot longer.  The day we left seems like a distant memory already.  Even our final stop seems a lifetime ago.

Before we left we were all a little nervous.  Mike and I were wondering if we had completely lost the plot in carting ten children around Europe in a rusty old minibus.  The children asking how long nine weeks were.  How do you explain that to a five-year-old anyway?

As it happened we needn’t have worried.  The sights, the sounds, the places plunged us all straight into a new world – a different world – where we could see and feel and experience things we never would have done if we had stayed at home.  It hadn’t put us off travelling by any means.  No, not at all.  It made us determined to see more and do more, to make family travel a priority

What we had not banked on was how we would all be infected with itchy feet.  No, I am not talking about a fungal infection but of being hit with the stark realisation that there is more.

More to see.

More to do.

More to experience.

Just more.

The children already expressed their concern at coming home only halfway through the trip.

‘England is going to be so boring after this!’ came the cries from the minibus as we travelled between stops.

We thought things might be different once we arrived back home.  Surely it would be a case of home sweet home, no?

Well, no, actually.

Lists have been written about places they’d like to see.  More lists have been written about things they want to do, and the skills they want to learn.

‘Where are we going next?’ they ask already.

Only yesterday Sid lamented, ‘One week in Italy and France goes so quickly, but in England it goes so slowly!’

And this morning they joined forces to excitedly yet seriously ask, ‘How about we go around the world?!’

We’ve been bitten by the travel bug and boy, were we unprepared for it.

We all feel restless.  We feel unfulfilled.  We feel disheartened.  We feel a yearning to see more of the world and have a deep desire to just keep moving.  That we didn’t miss home only adds to the urge to discover more of the world.  That we now feel smothered by the accumulation of stuff surrounding us only adds to a feeling of wanting to be free of it all.

Whereas before we couldn’t quite understand people who sold everything to up sticks and travel around nomadically, now we do.

It isn’t always fun but it is always an experience.

And surely that’s what life is about, isn’t it?  Experiences?

It’s about discovering and learning and living.

And the itch from the travel bug is one we’re all finding hard to scratch.



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  1. It sounds like you all really had a good time and enjoyed yourselves. Sorry you’ve had to return to blighty earlier than expected. Good Luck arranging your next trip! I am very envious that you are getting to live your dream x

  2. Hi,

    It was interesting to read about your trip as we drove to Italy with our five home ed kids and it was a great holiday. This year we did Greece and drove there for a month through the Balkan countries (which by the way are totally safe and cheap with great roads ) It a good trip for home edders due to the ancient history in the country and it is cheap in comparison to Italy and they adore children there.

    Hope you can travel more as I understand the feeling of getting the travel bug. Next year we are thinking of driving to Georgia and Armenia! Heres hoping:)

    • Lisa, that sounds wonderful! We were looking at aiming for Greece via the Adriatic coast. Would love to hear more about your trip. How long did you go for and where did you visit?

      • We drove through belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia then on the way there through Serbia and Macedonia and way back Albania Montenegro etc . (If you want a cheap and wonderful meal we ate for 7 people in Albania on lake Ohrid for 19 euros total including steak! Made for a cheap travel day!) Lake Bled is worth a 2 hour stop off to hire a boat and drive to the Island. The Lonjeske polje in Croatias north on the way to Serbia is a nice overnighter with cigoc having guesthouses in tradicional timber houses with storks in May nesting on the roof. Cheap food too which is always good when you have a lot of children with huge appetites.

        We stopped off in Croatia and Austria or Germany both there and back but did have 2 days with 16 hour drive to get to Greece quicker. Its a really lovely and scenic drive and the history in the Balkans is an interesting extra that we covered while driving through the countries there. Anbd Albania is a lesson in poverty being in europe too. It is very poor and it is obvious when driving through there.

        Greece is lovely in May , flowers are out and its not too busy but its warm and sunny nearly every day. Oh and the wayside people sell cherries as do the fruit and veg shops and they are much better than the Spanish cherries and so cheap that they make a great daily snack! My kids lived on Greek yoghurt and cherries I think lol

        We arrived in the north in Sidirochori near Kastoria and then drove down to Athens and stayed in an apartment to see Attica ( Limini Voulgliameni which is a natural hot spring swimming lake is great for a half day or day) and then onto the Pelopponese which has the best Archeological sites. Mystras the Byzantine ruins are wonderful to see and were our favourite there. Nafplio is a lovely town and has a swimming bay near the castle where the locals swim in the sea in the evening as it is calm and there are even steps to go into the sea welded onto the rock there. Stemnista and the gorge up in the centre of Peloponnese is lovely and the mountain villages worth seeing. The obvious sites like Myceanae are always good to see and also cheap in comparison to what you willl have experienced in Italy. Even the Acropolis is not very much money and includes other sites in Athens.

        Athens is safe, much much safer than UK cities and a great cities to hang out in for a few days. We stayed in apartment in the Nea Smurni area which was nice .( Bakerys in Athens and all of Greece are great for breakfast or snacks and cheap!)

        Pelopponese is good for all types of things mountains beaches everything and is very slow and easy area to visit. The roadside stalls have home collected honey, home pressed olive oil and they are worth bringing back.

        We then went to Ancient Delphi and then on to the Island Lefkadda which is joined by a causeway to mainland and has the most beautiful beaches.

        Then up to Mount Olympus and up through the mountains back. Montenegro is an nice stop off as is Dubrovnik and Split with Diocletians palace.

        We only had 4 weeks so drove long days on the way there but with 2 months it is possible to really see a lot on your way! I think when it comes to the education side of things Greece was well suited for ancient Greece and Byzantine times they had a wealth of those things and the Byzantine museum in Athens is very good as was the Athens Archeological museum near the Acropolis.

        We had each child follow our travels on a few page map of Europe that they had draw before we went and also one of Greece. It really helped their Geography too lol

        Oh and I have to say that there is almost no fast food in Greece, very few supermarkets and the national fast food version is Gyros and Souvalaki pittas which are tasty and 2 euros Gyros and 3 euros Souvalaki. With the 5 kids we ate a lot of those and fresh fruit for lunch because it is cheap filling and actually not greasy or unhealthy at all. Also Salads are very good in Greece and cheap so in restaurants a salad with the bread is very filling and we would add a couple of mains for the family to share because in Greece this is the norm, to dish share,. So all in all the perfect destination for large families!

  3. Oh and i remember that you blog on holiday so I will mention that Greek internet and 3G is way better than Italy. We had good connections most places and actually better than the UK in many places so you would be able to blog while there!

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