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Things I Wish I’d known 2 Years Ago… #24

Nobody is looking at you and judging you.

Chances are you don’t stand out from the crowd.  You’re probably wearing jeans and a t-shirt or something equally innocuous, but you’re walking down the street feeling self-conscious anyway, because in your head, everyone is looking at you and judging you.

This is what I assume people are saying in their head when they see me:

‘She would be so much prettier if she lost a few pounds…’

‘She really needs to sort her roots out and what even is that hairstyle?’

‘What’s with those eyebrows, somebody needs guidance!’

‘She needs to make a bit more effort, and upgrade her Primark wardrobe’

Here’s the shocker.  If I’m walking down the street saying those things to myself in my head, then what is everyone else saying to themselves in their head?  Yep, a load of similar jive talk, which means they are not thinking about you or me at all, just themselves.

So you have no reason to feel self-conscious because nobody actually gives a shit about your appearance when you’re going about your day to day business.

Isn’t that liberating?

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Photo Credit: The Telegraph

Why can’t we admit we are afraid?

We’ve seen it time and time again over the past couple of days. We must carry on as normal, hold our heads high and show the terrorists that we cannot be scared, otherwise the terrorists win.
But haven’t they won already? If this sort of thing can happen, unchecked, at any given moment and in any given situation, and we are basically trying to get on with things but not ever knowing when something might happen, is that not living in fear, however we try to kid ourselves?
My actions have been impacted by the attacks across Europe over the past couple of years. The first time I realised the impact was when I was travelling across London via tube last year. I was on my way up to the surface, one of those double deep stations, and I started to feel hot, and weak at the knees, my heart started to race and I honestly felt like I was about to faint. I had to talk myself out of the station, out loud, so everyone could hear me. ‘You’re ok, you’re going to be ok, we’re nearly at the top, soon be outside, just breath, and concentrate on your breath…’
But the anxiety hasn’t stopped there. I feel nervous in crowded areas and close to landmarks, and I’m thankful my friends all live close to the river in London so we can just get on a boat and get the hell out. This also coupled with the nightmares about keeping Freddie safe and yes, I’m aware that media has a lot to do with this, but that doesn’t negate the inherent fear. I rarely watch the news these days, and I tend to unfollow people who just regurgitate horrible news on social media because I’m aware it feeds my anxiety, but the fact remains that anxiety is real and increasing, and has picked up speed the closer to home the attacks get. Fun times.
Until recently, I felt it was my duty to put a brave face on and keep my fears hidden, because that’s what everyone does, and so as ‘not to let the terrorists know they’d won’, but then I thought, doesn’t that just feed into the right wing agenda, the defiance, the puffed out chest, us against them, immigrants not welcome, blah, blah, blah…
How about we admit our fear over these atrocities and what the future holds, instead of sticking 2 fingers up and saying, ‘nah, didn’t affect me, bring it on’. What if admitting we feel some of the feelings they feel when their children and families are killed unnecessarily? What if we make this country a tolerant and accepting place that everyone can call home, instead of marginalising segments, pushing them further away, isolating them and making them feel culturally lost in a place they have always called home?

By showing our vulnerability, and joining together, we have the best chance of making some progress towards healing these catastrophic rifts that tear families apart, instead of pretending it doesn’t affect us.

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Just so it’s clear; I have a child, and he is my number 1 priority, and just trying for 5 seconds to put myself in the shoes of anyone who’s lost a child breaks my heart, so no I won’t be carrying on as normal, I will be looking over my shoulder, I will be alert, and I will do everything I can to ensure his and our safety, and if that means I cannot carry on as normal so be it.  Until we get the f*ck out of here.  Roll on Spring 2018…

Footnote:  Just after writing this, I did a search to see if there was anyone else out there that shared my views, not really expecting anyone to be on board with my obvious irrationality.  I found this article from back in 2015, and in it Zoe Williams conveys my feelings far more eloquently than I ever could:

Zo Williams – Admitting the Fear

Who is Responsible for my Son?

education is self-organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon”

In a case that has been back and forth for over 2 years, the supreme court today ruled a parent to have acted unlawfully in removing his Daughter from school for a 7 day family holiday during term time.

Back in April 2015, Jon Platt took his Daughter out of school for the holiday, and against the School’s rules.  On his return he was awarded a £120 fine and refused to pay it, citing the fact that his Daughter had an above average attendance of over 90%, and therefore, he felt that she would not suffer as a consequence of taking that time away during term time.  The local authority did not agree and the subsequent legal battle began.  Over that time, Mr Platt has been steadfast in his decision not to pay the fine, and despite the matter being upheld in his favour twice, ultimately, the supreme court has ruled against him.

So what does this mean for parents across the UK?  It means that if we choose to state educate our children, as the majority do, we relinquish some of our rights as parents. Ofsted and the incessant pursuit of statistics dimishes our babes as mere numbers to be entered into graphs for the end of year reports for Governers and Councillors, Government Bodies and Politicians.  Travel companies will be rubbing their hands together in glee, already sitting on a gold mine given that they know exactly when the majority of families will be taking holidays, and that’s even if parents CAN take time together.

Looking at our own situation, Freddie’s school is closed for half term, Christmas, half term, Easter and the summer holidays – a total of 10 weeks, and between Johan and I, we accrue 9 weeks annual leave.  So not only does this not cover what we need, but we also can never take time off together as a family.  It’s never going to happen is it, unless we do something different.

Meanwhile, and I speak from having just yesterday talked with a passionate teacher friend of mine, the children and those who teach them suffer.  I sincerely hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her but her words moved me to tears:

It is so sad. The early years curriculum is actually a wonderful document- emphasisng the whole child, the need for play and exploration and physical development. Then children go to year one and all of that is stamped out immediately and it is all read,read,read,write,write,write.  No awe and wonder, no self led investigations where the teacher follows the childs interests like they do in (a good) early years class.

I have battled to change the way we teach- to add an element of play – at least significant periods of it – into their day – but it wont be changed.  It breaks my heart to see the same child I taught last year who was so full of beans, so tired looking and subdued sat at a desk.
 
I love being with children, it is my passion (and im fucking ace at it) but i hate the rest of teaching – the limitations, the paperwork, the meetings etc… I have NO life
My day between 8 and 3 with the children is amazing – the hours whizz by and i am filled with joy.  The hours of prep, between 7 am and 8 am and then from 3pm way into the night just zap all my energy and joy and time that should be spent enjoying people, my community, nature and learning new things for myself”
So as I read the outcome of todays ruling, and consider just who is in control of my Son; the local authority or us as his parents, and giving thought to the conversation with my friend, it just compels me more than ever to fight tooth and nail to create this fucking fantastic life for my Boy, where we as his parents take full responsibility for his upbringing, learning and whether he takes a holiday in October or May or whenever the hell he wants, because we, above anybody else on this planet, have his best interests at heart. Always.

Technology IS my friend

Good morning all,

As you know, I have been taking part in a gratitude challenge, some of which I have been covering in my blog.  If you want to catch up on the full 7 days, you can find them on my Facebook page.

Today is Day 6 of the #7daysofgratitude, and I’m going to focus on technology.

Over the past couple of years, social media has allowed me to get back in contact with friends who I lost touch with over time, and now they are as dear to me again as they once were.  These are not just acquaintances, but friends who were my closest confidences at one time or another, so it feels really special to have found them and have them back in my life.

Over the past couple of years, I have realised that social media is not something to be scared of.  The absolute worst that can happen, is that someone you add as a friend turns out to be an oddball who either has very strong views which are at odds to yours, or is a bit of a perve.  Well, you can just delete them from your friends list and block them.  It’s that simple.  I have become an expert in weeding out the weirdo’s from the word go.  These are my top 3 tips for women’s weirdo weeding when you get a friend request you’re not sure about – I’m sure they apply to men too:

  • Check how many friends they have – if it’s just a handful I might be suspiscious
  • If it’s a man and you are a woman, check if all of those friends are female – In my experience, some men create profiles just to gather female ‘friends’ to pester
  • See what posts and photo’s they have – if it’s not a real profile there won’t be many photo’s or posts

If it looks like a real profile, then give them a chance.  I have made some amazing friends online, and in fact, when we head off on our travels, I will be meeting some of them in person.  The great thing about the internet is you can build those friendships up online, and really get to understand what people are about, learn about their lives and see how you might connect before actually meeting them in person.  I think it’s a great tool for making new friends, and it feel like it’s really opened the world up to us as a family.  We’ve connected with other vegans and other worldschoolers, even other vegan worldschoolers!!  We’ve found volunteering opportunities, housesit opportunities, work and business opportunities.  We will use it to meet with other people doing what we are doing so Freddie can build relationships with other kids who are living this life also.  t gives us the chance to get involved with charitable work that we might not otherwise be able to.

The internet has allowed me to study online.  It has allowed me to keep in touch with family who don’t live close to me.  It’s let me work from home when Freddie has been sick so I don’t lose pay.  It’s made life easier in shopping, booking travel, looking for a car, organising trips away, teaching Freddie, finding new music, working things out, inspiration, and ultimately, building my online business which is going to give us the freedom we so desire as a family.

I remember being a kid and getting our first PC at home.  The Einstein Computer, with it’s tiny black and green screen that we could only play Pacman and Mummy on.  It seemed like such a brave new world then, but look what has happened since then!

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The Tatung-Einstein

Laptops, Games Consoles, CD’s, DNA Sequencing, MP3’s, Ipods, Internet, MRI, GPS, Online Shopping, Office Software, Solar Power, Mobile Phones, Large Scale Wind Turbines, Social Media, Digital Cameras, Hybrid Cars, Surgical Robots, Contactless Payment…

Technology makes life easier, it allows me to do so much more and get so much more done.  It can run behind the scenes making it easier to multi-task when necessary, for example setting up direct debits and scheduling tasks.  It can make the use of time more efficient by allowing me to set up onlone meetings rather than having to meet in person.  It saves me time when ordering online for home delivery, so I don’t have to go out to the shops.  It helps me to educate my Son with online resources and academies.  Ultimately, technology is what will help us navigate our way around this world, and will give us the freedom to find opportunities, book places to stay, organise travel, teach Freddie and build the business as we go.   What’s your favourite technological advance?

You know what else, technology has just informed me it’s #worldhappinessday – so have a happy, happy day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Wonderful World

Day 3 of #7daysofgratitude

I’ve been backwards and forwards trying to figure out what I’m going to talk about today. There is a lot to be thankful for, but I’ve been looking our for a sign and it seems the signs all point to this wonderful ball of green and blue we are spinning on so here we have it.

Our beautiful planet.

My gratitude has obviously expanded over the last few weeks given our plans.  Researching the countries we plan to visit has really opened my eyes to just how diverse and incredible it is, and we are hugely excited not just to come face to face with all the wonders of the natural world and all the creatures that live in it, but just how awesome it is going to be for Freddie as a world schooled child.

We do however understand that this is not just a holiday, and that we intend to give something back in terms of getting involved with conservation and animal organisations as we go.  So far we have a vegan monkey sanctuary in South Africa on our hit list, and Freddie has requested to volunteer looking after turtle eggs, so of course we will make sure that happens.  For me, top of my list is to see whales breaching, and there will be video footage of me crying like a little baby when that eventually happens.

We also want to ensure that Freddie mixes with children from other cultures, and that he is exposed to how other children live, particularly where they are not so fortunate as him.  As long as it is safe to do so, we may look for volunteering opportunities with refugees, or teaching english in poor communities where we travel to.

My gratitude in this sense is that I am in the fortunate position to be able to do this with my family.  We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, and we will be working as we go, so it’s not a jolly and it will be hard work, but it will be worth it.  It will be so worth it.  From the souful vibe of the East coast US, to the vibrancy and colours of South America, to the wild nature of South Africa, the lush green of Sri Lanka and the tastes of Asia, to the vistas of New Zealand, and then back across continents on the most epic train ride from Beijing to St Petersberg and the frozen lands to the North, the Northern lights and hot lakes, across to Europe and it’s history and architecture.  We live on such a beautiful and awe inspiring planet and it is time for Team Tinglert to go and soak it up.

Swimming in clear blue seas, eating fruit off trees by the side of the road, dealing with bugs and biters, sleeping under the stars, haggling and bartering, resorting to the emergency marmite and tea bags when we land in a country that doesn’t do vegan, making new friends, learning new languages, taking breathtaking trips and falling in love over and over again.

Here are a few of the place we are looking into visiting:

Vervet Monkey Sanctuary (South Africa)

Black Jaguar White Tiger (Mexico)

Sloth Sanctuary (Costa Rica)

Parasmina Turtles Conservation (Costa Rica)

 

 

 

Attitude of Gratitude

I have been set the challenge this week to spend 7 days focussing on gratitude, which is one of my favourite things to do.  It makes you take a moment to really appreciate what you have in the midst of the bustle and hustle of everyday life.  I can easily get caught up in the challenges of parenthood, work, running a business, and the million things I have to think about in planning our around the world adventure, so this is timely.

I did a similar challenge to this a year or so ago, and focussed on people, which is an obvious focus because it is after all the people around you who have the most impact, we are relational creatures after all, so this time I wanted to think a little bit outside the box, but also relate it to our upcoming adventures.

Yesterday was Day 1, and I gave thanks to my Husband, because without his inspired idea, we wouldn’t be planning for this adventure.  I totally tried to close him down, and had he asked 2 years ago before I did any self development, I would have succeeded, but thankfully it put a seed of curiosity in my head, and I have learned to listen to those seeds. This morning I started to consider what else I was grateful for and I floundered as it was just people that kept popping into my head, my Son, my Mum, our wider family and our friends.  Think differently Mand, get those creative juices flowing, aaaaaand Bingo!!

So today I am going to be grateful for my imagination, creativity and love of the arts, something that I have relied on to get me through some difficult times.

It has allowed me to really appreciate art in it’s many forms, given me the freedom to get lost in music, moved me to tears when watching a dance performance, given me a break from myself when immersed in ‘creating’, boosted my awkward teenage self confidence when I discovered my love of design (and that i was actually quite good at it).  When I listen to opera, it takes my breath away, quite literally.  When I watch an Argentine tango, I often catch my body secretly moving along with it, like it has it’s own will, in fact any latin music does this to me, so I’m looking forward to finding the sensuous latin diva within when we hit South America!

When I watch ballet I feel such utter joy at the precision of the performance and the beauty of their bodies, the costumes, the elegance and recall that time back in Leeds when I got the opportunity to work as a ballerina dresser for the English National Ballet, an absolute dream come true.  Watching at the side of the stage as they performed Swan Lake is a memory I will always, always have with me.

I am a visual person, we have quite the creative streak running through our family, and I did study photography for a while when I lived ‘Oop North’, so I guess that’s why Instagram is my social media platform of choice.  I see things as images, and I remember things as images, and as such I am eternally grateful for my sight.  My Grandad was a photographer, and I guess this is where I get my passion for it, and looking forward to taking his 1960’s Pentax film camera on the road and teaching Freddie how to use it.  Sadly Grandad got glaucoma later in life and it blinded him.  It was downhill from there for him and clearly, like me, sight was one of the most important things for him.  To lose it was to lose such a big part of who he was.

Essentially, Art in it’s many forms moves people, it inspires and provokes.  It can be used as communication, satire and activism.  It can challenge and shape perceptions, or it can evoke emotions and be aesthetically pleasing.  It tells stories, stories which can be different for each person that views or experiences it.  It can be cathartic and help people to make sense of, or move through difficult times in their lives. It is in the human spirit so it will always ‘be’, and whilst many artists are made through education, many more are born, inate, creative beings to be celebrated.

A couple of years ago, Johan and I went away to Prima Vera festival in Barcelona.  It’s our one and only holiday together in the 6 years we’ve been a team.  For Johan, music is his thing, he is extremely passionate about it and cannot go a day without having music in his life.  At that festival, we went off together to watch Anthony & The Johnsons, live, a dream come true for us as a couple as our musical tastes are often at odds but with this band, we connect.  And you know what, we both just stood there and cried like a pair of douchbags.  So here it is for you to enjoy, alomst exactly where we were standing, hugging and sobbing.  What moves you?

Our Story – Travelling the World with Network Marketing

Last night, I shared our story on Facebook Live, talking through my journey so far with Network Marketing, and how building an online business has given our family the life changing opportunity to see the world.  Here it is if you would like to have a watch; this isn’t a business presentation, this is our story.  Enjoy!

(Excuse the hat, it was cold and I was having a bad hair day)

One World School House

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There are about a million books I need to read and I need to read them all now!!  Anyone else feel like this when they’ve made a big, life changing decision?  I’m spinning plates at the moment, with ramping up my business efforts and the welcome but time consuming fall out of that, alongside getting to grips with all the decisions we need to make in terms of our adventure.  We also have all the UK stuff to consider, like downsizing to a smaller rental until we go, selling all of our ‘stuff’, making arrangements to remove Freddie from school, making sure we see all our friends and family over the next few months etc…

I definately don’t have time for a day job anymore so that needs to go asap!

In the meantime, I have had to centre myself and think about what is the single most important thing I need to do, and it is to ensure I have the necessary tools and resources to keep Freddie’s education on track.  Not on track with any school system, but on track in terms of ensuring he has the right level of learning for his age.  So I’m starting with this book, which should be with me in a few days.  I have just discovered the Khan Academy online and I’m intrigued to read all about the background and how it came to be.  It looks like something we will be utilising lots over the next few years.

If anyone has any other essential reading recommendations, or learning tools for digital nomad families, please do pop them in the comments 🙂

How are we able to plan the adventure of a lifetime?

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Hello Friends

Feel free to join me on Thursday this week as I talk about my online business and how it has provided our family with the opportunity to plan this epic adventure.  I’m rubbish at Facebook Live, seriously, but I hope it proves that anyone can do what I do and make a success of it, with a bit of hard work and tenacity.

Yes, we will be working on other bits and bobs as we travel, and I will have the TEFL qualification, but that’s not a fall back option, it’s something I actually really want to do. It just means that, instead of having to do work we don’t really want to just to survive, we have the option to be selective.

Join me, ask questions, you never know, it might be just what you are looking for 🙂

 

 

(Please note – this is 9pm GMT)

Why a Different Education?

There are a number of reasons why we have been considering homeschooling or world schooling Freddie.  Until 6 months ago, we hadn’t even considered it.  He finished at pre-school in August and we chose a school for him to go to, which was the only montessori school in the area, and we kept everything crossed he would get a place as we didn’t choose a back-up.  My Husband had grown up in the Swedish school system so he knew what he wanted for Freddie, and knew the mainstream schools here in the UK would not provide that for him.  Thankfully, Fred got a place and started there in September.

It was difficult to begin with, but surprisingly more so for me than for him.  All of a sudden there were all these rules being imposed on my little 4 year old and it became overwhelming. The insistence on draconian uniform policies, sausage-gate, homework, and not teaching the full picture on certain things had annoyed me enough but at the beginning I felt there was no other option and he would remain in the system until he came out the other side at 16 or beyond. I persevered, but I certainly started researching alternatives and that’s when I came across the wonderful world of homeschooling.  I knew in my heart that this is what we needed to aim for and eventually spoke to Johan about it.  I added myself to lots of groups, both locally and further afield and started to find out about all the amazing and creative ways parents were bringing up their children, and talking to parents who had committed to this way of life and who’s children were positively thriving.  See the video above as an example.

Freddie is doing well at school, he’s a smart kid and picking things up easily, making friends and such, but there hasn’t been a single day that he’s gone in willingly.  Now I know some will say that all kids dislike school, but that’s not so.  I stand there with him every morning, and watch most of the other kids running in happily whilst he clings to my leg.  Yes he always comes out happy, and I am certainly not knocking the school for their education, I just feel that there is a much better way.  And that is to take him out into the world and teach him about being an individual, creative, compassionate, cultured alongside learning the staples of maths and english and languages and science.  Get him right into the situation, immersed in volunteering projects and seeing first hand the impact he can have on the world.  Wouldn’t every parent want to offer this to their children?