There are a lot of things I shall miss when we’re away: my bed, English Christmas, friends and family, the Saturday Guardian and Heat. But some things I’m really looking forward to being without.
I’m not much of a joiner in. I enjoy doing things with my friends, and I’m as much up for a good night out as the next person, but when it comes to organised stuff I’d rather be somewhere else. I didn’t rush to join lots of clubs at university, preferring to hang out on the beach, I like swimming, cycling and yoga, but have never been into team sports and as a child I joined the Brownies but quickly got bored of the rules. I don’t really like large groups of people, preferring a good natter with two or three others. I’m not completely socially incompetent, I can fake it most of the time, but I’d rather not have to.
I suppose it isn’t really that much of a surprise that someone who choses to travel the world with their children isn’t a conventional joiner inner. I don’t think that I’m particularly unconventional, but I also feel like I often don’t fit in.
At school things, I make an effort for the children. I ran in the mothers’ race today with the boys cheering me on as if I was a normal member of society. I attend some of the evenings out organised for parents and my diary is stuffed full of coffee mornings. I’ve even been one of the class reps this year for Ned’s class in a blatant attempt to curry favour with the school. And while I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my fellow rep, and it’s been a good way to work out who’s who, I shan’t be sorry to have a break from the endless PTA meetings, summer fetes, Christmas bazaars and general joining-in-ness involved.
Next year I shan’t be collecting floats from the office, organising rotas, watching Dads elbow each other in their just-a-bit-of-fun race or getting people to sign teachers’ cards. I’m looking forward to not having my year planned out in minute detail, thinking about Christmas in September. Each day will be different. We’ll be able to change our minds on a whim, blow where the wind takes us, do exactly what we want. I can smell freedom.