A family gap year. Is it possible?

lifestyle work Nov 12, 2017

Written By One Of Our Clients

It all started with the realisation that we weren't quite so young anymore, seemed to have missed the homeowner's boat and that “catching up” would require most of our days spent apart and our daughter being cared for by someone else. Even then it was unlikely we would “catch up”.

So discussions were had, plans were made and teary goodbyes said. Then 12 months ago we (two 35-year-olds and a toddler) set off on our version of a gap year. A year into our adventure I am taking a moment to ask was it worth it? Did we get the break we were looking for?

Now to be fair it's not so much a gap year as it's been moving to Cambodia. My husband and I both work but less than we used to. The daily commute has dropped from 60 to 5 minutes. My daughter does go to childcare but instead of being in a centre with 30 plus kids she spends her mornings playing with nine others in the most amazing space and then heads home for a nap in her own bed. We aren’t hopping from one exotic location to another but we have managed a few beach holidays and found an amazing place by the river to escape to on weekends.

Do we miss the comforts of home? Not so much. Do we miss our families? Of course. But Skype, FaceTime, Viber and the odd cheap flight keep us all connected. Our family gap year will definitely stretch into two years. We have gained so much from this experience. We spend more time together, are taking on new challenges, changing our mindset, being brave enough to change our opinions and most of all slowing down. I would like to say slowing down to smell the roses but Phnom Penh doesn’t often smell of roses or anything similar. It is probably also worth noting that having a toddler who can say no in three languages just adds an extra layer of pain when it comes to tantrums but we wouldn’t change anything.

Constant traveling has never appealed to us but spending time in new places does. So for us, the family gap year is the perfect solution. You just need to set yourself up so it can work for you.

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