Need tips for preparing children for long term travel, adventure and even relocating? Cassie Pearse who relocated from London to Mexico talks us through her move and her new service.
Everyone has woken up in the morning faced with stroppy kids and the prospect of a long hard slog at the office, right? And everyone has thought, 'why am I doing this?, right?
Well, in 2016, my husband and I took that thought and ran with it. We ran with it so hard and fast that I'm writing this article sitting in an empty house in Mexico. This house is going to be our new home but let me backtrack.
In early 2016, I was miserable at work, my husband was working harder than he wanted to and the kids were still tiny, just two and almost four. We were aimlessly throwing around places we could go for a few months to escape the stress of modern family life in central London but we had no set plan, no real idea what we wanted. We just knew we weren't enjoying the daily grind of getting up, rushing the kids to nursery, working flat out, picking up the kids whilst always feeling stressed.
Then I suggested Mexico.
Suddenly things began to fall in to place. Yes! We had our honeymoon in Mexico and always said we'd return one day, why not now?
Now, you might be reading this thinking that we're clearly insane, but I assure you, we're not. We met when I was working in Rwanda and my husband was visiting his sister who was also working there. We are both natural explorers, both feeling that there is so much world to see that we can't just sit at home and let life happen around us.
We also spent a year living in Ethiopia after leaving Rwanda, returned to the UK for a few years before getting restless and heading off to Asia for six months. Once we returned home and had kids we kind of assumed that our exploring days were over, until we realised there was no need for this to be so.
Why shouldn't our kids just explore with us?
What could be better than travelling together, as a family? We'd get to shape our kids' world view, be their primary teachers and carers and create a new family narrative for ourselves. So, we quit our jobs and bought flights to Mexico. We gave ourselves six months. When we left the UK we weren't sure what we would do in Mexico except slow down and be together. We booked ourselves a month in Oaxaca and nothing more. We soon realised that we didn't really want to move around all the time, while we do love exploring, we also love really getting to know a place and feeling like we belong somewhere so we decided to book ourselves a month in Tulum to take intensive Spanish classes and then four months in Merida. For us, this was the perfect family option. We explored but with a home base.
Six months passed in a flash. The kids quickly settled into our new reality. It turns out they thrive on adventure. The reality is, as long as you are providing the stability of love and consistency as a family, then there is no reason that children shouldn't thrive anywhere. I read so many articles about what to take with you when travelling with kids but for me, the most important thing is providing stability. Sure it's nice if they have their favourite toy or rice cake but, honestly, the most important thing to a child is her/his parents whether you're at home or exploring together.
What we discovered was that we all loved Mexico and really didn't want to leave.
We loved our new life so we made a decision to return to the UK only in order to sort out our life there and return to Mexico. Once home in London there were times when we were tempted to just stay put, life at home is so easy, we have great friends and family, we know the social rules and the schools are fabulous. But, we knew if we did let ourselves slip back in to London life we'd regret never having taken the opportunity to try living somewhere else as a family so we railed ourselves against London's siren song and booked our tickets out!
We arrived back in Mexico in January 2018 and haven't looked back. We love our life here.
My slight sadness at our kids not growing up with Europe on their doorstep is mitigated by the fact that they're going to be bilingual, that we have Latin America to explore and that we live in an area covered in ancient ruins and cenotes (sink holes for swimming and exploring), two things we all adore. When you lose something, you always gain something else somehow. So, our kids won't get to go to Paris for the weekend but we live just a few hours from Guatamala.
I think we will manage!
ABOUT CASSIE PEARSE
I've been writing about our adventures and experiences on my blog Mexico Cassie and regularly receive emails from people asking me about leaving home for a family adventure. This gave me an idea of establishing a service answering exactly these questions and offering more formal support along the way.
While plenty of people take crazy adventures with their families, not everyone automatically knows how to go about it. Some need to talk through their ideas with someone who won't judge or try and persuade them not to go and I can offer exactly that service.
I've lived in four countries as an adult (UK, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mexico), worked in 14 others and travelled around 63 countries. I'm personable, friendly and very very enthusiastic about helping others to move out of their comfort zone and explore the world.
SPEAK TO CASSIE
Cassie is offering your first thirty minute Skype call consultation - for any families in need of advice, information or ideas on how to travel long-term or relocate - completely free of charge. Check out her website to see if she might be the person to help make your adventure come to life.