So we have been home for two weeks now. When trying to decide whether the trip was a good idea I also wanted lots of information on how families adjusted when they returned home. This was my major concern. Was this really a good idea? Taking the kids out of school for six months – would it damage their education? Would they hate me because I dragged them around Europe and away from their friends and their doting grandparents? Would I be able to put up with living with the rest of my family in such tight and cosy surroundings?

I think I need more time to process what the trip has done for us – how it really affected us….I know that my husband and I both feel our attitudes have changed (and, thankfully, they changed together in the same direction!).

So, our return…we came back to the UK. We decided to spend our first night with friends – these friends had arranged a surprise party for us. Wow! What a shock – it was great to see a whole bunch of people that we hadn’t seen for six months. What a welcome home!

Our second day back in the UK was actually when we returned to our home (we had rented it out to lodgers). We had rented it furnished so we didn’t really need anything extra (and everything we needed was in the van) so this first day was just catching up with family and slowly unpacking the van.

Over the next week we emptied our additional, non-essential, items from the attic. This included bags of clothes that my youngest has now grown out of, toys, bedding, ornaments, photos etc. To be honest, I found this overwhelming – we have so much stuff. Hubby was well organised with this and found spaces for most items – we even managed a charity shop run with a boot full of items we no longer needed.

Now – well…back to normal doesn’t quite fit as I quit my job before we left…the kids aren’t returning to school so the girls and I have been spending our week homeschooling and on an education journey. Hubby went back to work – he’s self-employed and was contacted as soon as he was back on English soil!

Some things I had forgotten about living in a house versus living in a van

  • How much paperwork you ‘have’ to keep for your records – we keep these piles of paperwork just in case we need them…and the worst/best bit is that when we need a piece of paper we can never find the piece we need!
  • How many clothes we own – I will admit to wishing that I had a wider variety of clothes whilst in the van but I now have access to 5 pairs of jeans…not sure I really need 5
  • How often we unnecessarily wash our clothes – I wash clothes purely because I have worn them rather than because they are actually dirty.
  • Having access to a shower whenever you want – this is a HUGE plus to being back!
  • How stuff needs to be looked after, it needs somewhere to ‘live’, it needs to be tidied and cleaned. Ugh! In the van we had minimal stuff (and didn’t miss items) and everything had a place so was easy to maintain.
  • How little time we spend outdoors – we now have comfy sofas and plenty of space and we feel much less motivation to leave our home cocoon
  • How easy it is to return to our lives as they were before – I still feel different but there are habits that we’ve fallen back in to easily
  • It’s reassuring knowing where you will be, where you will shop, where you will sleep

Funny the things you notice after just two weeks back. I don’t feel like we’ve settled in house living yet – we’ve not really got a routine, it feels odd not to be moving on every few days. I need to sit and really reflect on what we’ve done and what (if any) changes we want to make for our lives in the future – watch this space!