We left Australia on 13th June, 2013. We flew to Texas for a 6 week course, 8-5 each day and some weekend and evening activities. We then flew to join the ship in Tenerife and sailed to Pointe Noire, Congo 48 hours later. It was a busy start and it hasn’t really slowed down since then.
I recently worked out for each family member, since July 2013, how many nights they have not been onboard:
- Mick – 3
- Tammy – 20 nights due to trip to Australia
- Jack – 4
- Mark – 2 (plus several sleepovers)
- Harry – 2 (including first ever sleepover)
What does this all add up to? We need a holiday!
What does that look like when you are raising funds for your living expenses?
And what is reasonable as well?
Mick priced our airfares home and back at $12,500 approximately. In any language, that is a lot of money. So we decided that we cannot justify going home to Australia this shipyard period. However, in 2015, we will definitely fly to Sydney.
So we then went through some options. We had invitations to stay with good friends in Germany. We had invitations to come visit England with Micks relatives. Working on the theory that fish and houseguests stink after 3 days, we planned a few 4 day visits. This left us with 2 weeks of our holiday leave to plan out. We knew that we needed:
- time away from “community living”
-to be a family together
-heaps of rest
- maximum flexibility
- greenery in the scenery
- lots of walking
- chance to cook favourite meals
- no meal times to adhere to
- showers lasting longer than 2 minutes
- no laundry restrictions
And as a bonus, if we were going to be in Europe, to continue to use our French if possible.
So what we decided, was to book a Motorhome holiday in Germany and France though mainly in France. It rolls our accommodation and car hire into one and we have purchased a France Passion membership where we can go and stay at farms and vineyards overnight without cost. (The expectation is that you say hello and goodbye to the owners of the property and perhaps sample or buy their produce – so a great opportunity to keep our French going at the same time.) Knowing that we are so close to so many attractions, but cognisant of our need for rest, we plan to go to Parc Asterix for the boys; a day at Epernay to sample Champagne for my birthday and a day to visit the Franco-Australian War museum on the Somme. Hopefully, the other days will be about rest, scenery and relaxation.
With all this holiday planning, I have been thinking through what is responsible use of our money. When we were earning money, we didn’t think too long and hard about holiday planning. We generally discussed dates – found a few options and then booked so as not to miss out. Since embarking on this adventure, with finite resources, we have had to think more about what is appropriate use of the money we have been given and our savings. We have had discussions about dinners out, excursions to get off the ship and weekends away. It is a funny thing, that when you are already paying crew fees that include food, you think twice about buying another meal ashore. Then there is the tipping point where you get cabin fever and you have to get to the other side of the gangway as fast as possible. Somewhere in between is where we live on an everyday basis – not going ashore every day but needing to get off at least once a week. A day at the beach is still a cheap day out
The holiday planning is similar. We are using our savings to get to Europe. ( At present, we only use donations to pay for crew fees, school fees or cost of living expenses. ) There is a smorgasbord of places to visit and fortunately, our boys birthdays all occur in June and August. They have been given tickets to theme parks instead of presents - an awesome blessing.
So two days out from our holiday, as I sit and write this; I know we are all looking forward to the break. I am also continuing to enjoy the challenge of working out what responsible stewardship of our resources means for us. And as we work this out, I am sure I will be posting more on this topic.