If you've ever been camping or caravanning, you will be well aware of the amazing benefit such a break has on your child's social life. Children of all ages will often migrate to a play area, instantly making friends with other children.
I have always loved taking my children on these sorts of holidays, more so than abroad, because I am always so blown away by the length of time they spend outdoors, off their screens, and immerse themselves in new friendship groups and adventures they otherwise don't have back at home.
in some ways, it reminds me of my own childhood, the days we didn't have mobile phones and our parents couldn't wait to let us go out to play. When going inside was when someone called your name or the street lights came on, signaling imminent darkness. Now we are all too afraid to allow our children out to play at the sorts of ages we used to do it. Forever waiting for the right time, judging their responsibility levels, and dreading the day we have to make that call.
So for me, when I chose to move onto our caravan site on a more permanent basis this year, I absolutely knew it would be the best decision I ever made for my children in regards to their social lives and the skills that would bring with it. Now, I know this crazy idea isn't for everyone, but I'm going to share with you what we did and you can judge for yourselves whether or not you think it's something you could do.
During the lockdown of 2020, I had time to think about what I really wanted out of life, and I decided I wanted to travel the world. We just don't get enough time in life, so consumed are we by work and the trivial matters of everyday life.
I realised that if I wanted to travel I would need to change my career, to enable me to work from anywhere. I decided to become a Virtual Assistant and embarked on a new career alongside my existing job so that I would have the right income whilst learning.
It was at this time we decided to homeschool, for many reasons, but also, to enable us to follow our dreams. At the time my husband was still working but he planned to take a year out. As fate would have it, he was made redundant in May of the following year. By then I was on my way to starting my own business and we made a plan that my husband would take early retirement instead of finding a new job. With careful planning and with me still working, we knew we could stretch out his redundancy pay until he reached official retirement age 4 years later.
We started our plans and spent three months touring the UK in our caravan. By then, I realised that I really didn't like living in our house, I didn't like how it constrained us but my husband was reluctant to sell. I loved the simplicity of caravan life and knew I could live a life on the road. Towards the end of our UK tour, a static caravan became available on a site in the Peak District that we have always loved. We decided to go for it.
We sold out beloved tourer and bought a static which opened up a new phase in our plans. We came up with the idea of renting out our home on Airbnb, and then moving into our caravan as a base. This would free up our disposable income and allow us to realise our travel plans. Our site is seasonal and we bought it in November. With the park not opening until April, my boys had quite a while to go before seeing the benefits of being there full time. We spent months renovating our home to let out, and we officially moved onto the site at the beginning of April. We don't officially live there of course, as we spent time back in our old home and with travelling for long periods of time, we will often be away from the caravan.
I had a hunch that the boys would absolutely love playing out as often as they liked once the site re-opened, making friends and living the sort of childhood we had back in the old days of no telephones or ipads. I was right. The site re-opened on the 1st of April and I barely see my children day-to-day. Dad does the homeschooling from 8am-12pm whilst I head off to an office I have rented, and then they are free to go off to play. We hardly see them, they are out making new friends all the time, especially during school holidays and weekends. They aren't spending much time at all on computers and I've never seen them so happy.
Could you see yourself living in a static caravan? If you have the ability to work remotely and have a home that you could rent on Airbnb, why not consider this as an option. Not only is it a great way for you to free up your income, but it's an amazing lifestyle for your children and one I am sure, they will never forget.