So how did we end up here, our first full day in Buenos Aires at the start of our 1-year (more or less) family gap year?!
The dream of a sabbatical or gap year has been floating around in our family for a few years now. Two years ago it actually was pretty close that we nearly pushed the go-button. But various reasons meant that in the end we started our trip on 1st December 2019. This first, summary blog post outlines our thoughts and decisions over the last few months.
Let’s start with the one decision which we expected to be hard and which was the hardest of all. What to do with Jumper, our cool, crazy family dog? Jumper is a Springer Spaniel which joined our family about 6 years ago as a puppy. Obviously we couldn’t take him with us, so what to do?
We are very lucky to have great friends which offered to look after him for the year or so (Thanks Alex & Peggy, Shawn and Tim!). So we always knew he would be in good hands, no matter what.
But we didn’t really think that this would be fair for our friends, and not for Jumper. A year is a long time and Jumper would love his new family, they would love him – and then we come back and rip it apart again? Not an easy situation.
And then there are the kids. Overall they are very excited about the trip (neither them nor us really know what we are getting into!) BUT the one concern they had was around Jumper. Nothing against SPCA but we wouldn’t know what would happen and where Jumper would end up. Not an option.
Well, in the end we got lucky. I caught up for lunch with an old buddy and he and his family were looking for a second dog to keep their dog Sadie company. A weekend later the kids and I were on our way to visit them and it just felt right! The dogs got along well, they live close to a river and the beach – a paradise for Jumper!
We had a long walk together and when Jannik and Josina came to me to say that Jumper would be really happy here – I knew we had a winner. The other way around worked out well too. Nigel, Disa, Zanthie and Kelby liked our crazy Jumper from the start as well and couldn’t believe the energy this little fella has 😉
He even plays fetch and likes a cuddle! A big thanks from us to Nigel and his family! You will have a great buddy and family member in Jumper.
The kids still talk about him often and always look forward to the next picture Nigel sends on but overall it couldn’t have played out any better.
Not as emotionally challenging but still a bit of a mission: Selling our family home for nearly 6 years in West Melton. Loved it out there and made some great friends on our Best Street of the World, and I know we will stay in touch and catch up when we are back (at the latest, if not somewhere else before…?).
In the end we got a good offer and moved on. Sounds easy but packing up a home and getting everything into storage is not an easy undertaking. Jennifer did the bulk of the work involved and I tried to get the kids out of the house for a few weekends. A week or so before the start it was all gone and we camped for a few days in our house until settlement day. Was actually pretty good fun.
Got everything cleaned and settled to then moved in with friends for our last week in Christchurch for the next year.
This last week was awesome fun actually. For a start, living with Sarah, Matt, Ella and Jack plus us under one roof was great. Kids got along nicely and the whole week went in no time as we had so much fun along the way. A big thanks to our friends for putting up with us, and they even said we could come back and stay with them when we return 😉
I also tried to sell our two cars for the last few months. In the end I sold our Kia but my much loved GTI attracted a lot of interest but didn’t sell in time for our departure. Thanks to Rae and Jason fo trying to keep selling it. Fingers crossed it will sell in the end but if not, I am actually quite happy as it is a great wee car and it would be nice to have it back in a year.
Another question we got asked a lot is: What about school for the kids whilst we are travelling?
We decided not to formally home-school our children for the next year. We think the experience and learnings they will have exploring the world and spending time with us will be enough learning. And yes, we will do regular math, writing (watch out in this blog) and reading exercises with them – just nothing formal.
Well, I am sure there were plenty more things in the mix, e.g. working until the last day with not a lot of slowing down – is there a thing like slowing down? But let’s jump into our actual travel blog from now!
Below a few picture from our last few months and our leaving drinks party as well.