We’re the Fleming family – Mum and Dad (Sarah and Ray), and our two daughters – Charlotte (8) and Emily (4). We all enjoy travel, although we don’t enjoy being confined to 2 weeks summer holiday at a time! Until we decided to take a gap year, we were pretty normal – a career, a car, a house and a mortgage – and we worried about all the same things that other normal families worry about. Now our cars have been sold, our house is rented out, and we live out of rucksacks!
The members of the family are:
Ray (38) I was a marketing manager until we left the UK last year. After 17 years working at an Oxford based IT company, RM , it seemed time for a break. I joined RM in 1984, although I had a 2 year break when we went round the world when I was made redundant in 1992. When I came back to the UK I went back to work at RM – so although it seems like a big step to give up a job to go travelling, at least I know its possible to find work again after a break.
Sarah (21! ) used to work in marketing and publishing, however the last seven years Sarah has been a full time mum. After that long, a change is as good as a rest. Sarah used to live in Africa and Switzerland as a child, and travel is definitely in her blood! During the year away, Sarah was most looking forward to “Seeing the look on Ray’s face when he realises how much work it is looking after 2 children“.
Charlotte (8) was already experienced with travel, through holidays in 15 countries. Before leaving, her excitement was two-fold – seeing other countries, and missing Year 3 at school. She was worried that she’d miss her friends, but we have met others her age while we’ve been away. She’s got her own backpack, and has to carry all her own clothes.
Although Charlotte is missing a year of school, she is continuing her maths studies, using the computer we’re carrying, as well as having a wide range of (often unusual!) reading material picked up as we travel.
Emily (4) knew that she was “going to Australia”, and wanted a backpack like everybody else. When she was asked before we left which animal she is really looking to seeing on the trip, she said “hedgehog”.
We’re equipped with a RM Tablet PC, chosen because it’s light, robust and natural to use (for example, Emily can create drawings to send off to her grandparents, Charlotte uses it with educational software to support her learning, while Mum & Dad use it to keep in touch with friends and family, and keep everyone up to date through this website). We also have 2 digital cameras – which we use for our usual photos as well as photos for the website. Each day we can download photo’s to the Tablet, and send photo’s home, put them on the website, or order prints to be sent to relatives. We also use a digital video camera, editing videos on the Tablet, so that we can create small videos for the website or to email home.