Camping in the bedroom

Filling post travel blues with to do lists…

I don’t really talk about our trip anymore, I fill the post travel blues void with to do lists

One of the main differences in settling down in Glasgow after a year of travel is going from having no really important plans or priorities to having an ever-growing list of things to do with deadlines that relate to the kids, school, house, family, jobs etc… The long list of actions and activities is slowly filling the void left by the adventure of our travels and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet. What I do know is that I don’t talk about our travels much anymore except with Paul and the kids.

Post travel to do list
To do list that keeps on growing

I’m afraid to talk about our trip much as I don’t want to bore people or sound smug as I talk about the wonders we experienced in the Atacama desert or the awesome surfing in Nicaragua, rock climbing in Vietnam or our dangerous hikes in China

Cycling in the Atacama desert
Hiking in Peru
Poetry festival In Granada Nicaragua
Sunrise in Akor Wat, Cambodia
Dawn at the monastery in Chiang Dao Thailand
Walking the great wall of China

If people ask I am happy to share some stories or memories but in doing so I somehow find that I exaggerate the hardships and negatives and often leave out the best bits. I just don’t want to boast or brag or come across as snob or insensitive to other people’s lives….

Its more difficult to talk about our trip then I ever imagined and I’m afraid the memories will all fade away all too quickly. I feel sad that the emotions, experiences of it all and the feelings are so hard to explain and share with anyone else…..A  simple picture says it better than I could ever do with words.

When I’m on my own, I look through the photos and the videos from our adventures and smile and I think, we actually did that and that is pretty awesome!

In Glasgow, with all the space & things in the world, we still love just being together the most

Getting out of our travel habits took a bit of time. We spent the first week in our new house all 4 camping out in 1 room while the other bedrooms got painted and we all quite liked it.

Camping in the bedroom
Kids slept in the tent in the bedroom for 1 week

A week later when we had started to unpack the first sleep in my own bed with my own pillow simply felt amazing after a year of rock hard pillows and thin itchy mattresses with lumpy blankets! It also felt great knowing I could have a reliable hot shower and a cup of tea in one of our own mugs and some thick white toast with butter & jam to go with it!

I am starting to feel a bit more relaxed as we unpack and get organised but just getting the house we are now in and school for the kids was not an easy thing to do and tested my new no stress resolve to the max!

Slowly getting settled in our new house

Find a house, school and maybe a job – 2 weeks to sort our new life out!!

While me and the children were enjoying 2 weeks of holiday in Sweden at the very end of our round the world trip, Paul flew to Glasgow to find a house we could rent and move into before the end of July. All in all he had 2 weeks to get it sorted and I was starting to doubt it would actually happen as we had been browsing for Glasgow rentals online for the past 2 months without finding anything in our budget that we liked in the area with our preferred schools. Deep down I knew it would all work itself out somehow, we would just have to compromise on the house or/and the school. I tried very hard not to stress and worry about it but when it comes to the happiness of my kids and school, its difficult not to do.

Rowing the boat and relaxing in Sweden

A year on the road has definitely helped make me more relaxed about the unknown, and so before our travels this kind of situation would have made me feel extremely anxious…but Im happy realise that I’m not quite as easily stressed these days. The worry and stress come from my subconscious ideas and expectation on what a good school and a nice house is and what makes the kids happy and not. What I have discovered over the past year and what I had to remind myself of is that if you don’t put the expectations out there in the first place things, more often than not, end up surprising you in a good way.

School in Bolivia
Flor de Montana schoolBolivia

For example, Ingrid and Scotts unexpected love for the rural school, Flor de Montana, in Bolivia where did not understand anything and still had a great time, or the surprising love the kids had for strange asian food such as duck tongues and fried frogs that they ordered despite my recommendation not to, or the very rustic but lovely village we all fell in love with in Peru Ollantaytambo,  So, I told myself that our life in Glasgow might turn out different to what I expect but it might still turn out just as great or even better!!

First family hike in Scotland up The Whangie, blueberry picking and a picnic of course

By luck, we found a house in a week

Many people have asked me if its hard to come back and settle into our old way life and the answer so far is no. Glasgow is a new place for us and so far we have been too busy organising all the practical things that come with moving to think about it much.

Moving our remaining belongings from our house in London

First priority was finding a good school for the kids. However, to apply for a school in the UK & Scotland, where all schools are pretty much over subscribed, you have to prove with a number of documents that you live in the catchment are for the particular school in question. So therefore, finding a house in the right area quickly became our No 1 priority instead. However, in order to rent a house you need to have an income, a job…something Paul and I did/do not yet have…….

In the area we had drawn up, close to Paul Mum and dad were only two 3 bed houses within our budget. One was way small and the other got snapped up by someone else so things were looking increasingly dire and time till school start quickly ticking away. However, a few days later Paul called me in Sweden to say he put money down on a non advertised 3 bed house he had come across in an area we had not considered before. Moving in date July 31st, 2 weeks before schools start which in theory would give us just enough time to apply and get the kids into the local school.

Seeing our new house for the first time after paying a years rent up front!

Without jobs, we had to pay a years rent in advance to get the contract we needed to apply for the school! So we parted with the money and signed on the dotted line without me even having seen the house!

Getting a school place is an admin nightmare

The day we finally got the rental contract we were allowed to make an appointment with the council to apply for school spaces for Ingrid and Scott. However, the full year rental agreement with 12 month rent paid in advance was not enough to apply! I know people do crazy things to get their kids into the school they want but paying a years worth of rent in advance for a false application seem a bit far-fetched…. the council did not think so. Needless to say I was very upset and stressed when they declined our school application.

Paul spent the next 2 days on the phone to banks, DVLA, council etc and we were super excited to see all the paperwork arrive through the post in our new house only a few days later and excitedly handed the bundle of papers straight over to the council. At this point we were told that processing takes up to 8 weeks so it was unlikely that Ingrid and Scott could start school next week with the other kids! All excitement of the application submission just melted away. I took a deep breath before heading out to the car to the kids and said, it’s all good I’m pretty sure you’ll get a space in the school at the end of the road. No point in getting them worried as well……

The most amazing thing happened the following Tuesday, only 4 days later when the council called to confirm Ingrid and Scotts places in Netherlee primary! Hurrah, a walk down to look at the school and ice-cream to celebrate at the famous Derby cafe! Next stop, the school uniform shop!

New school new uniform

Exploring is a mindset and our new way of life

So with most of the practical things of moving out-of-the-way, it still feels as though we are travelling the world. After a month here (less time then we spent in Samaipata, Bolivia, in Peru, Australia and Nicaragua to mention a few), Glasgow feels like just another place on our travels.

Pollok park

It’s all new to me and the kids and so much has changed since Paul grew up and lived here 25 years ago. There is family to see, lots to do and many things to discover in Glasgow and all around Scotland, the list of places to go just keeps on growing. I expect the travel feeling will wear off as we get into the proper school routine, but for now we will try to keep it alive for as long as we can and continue exploring and doing things we enjoy.

Enjoying camping out in our new house


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