process of being worked on (“It’s hard to find friendly mechanics who know what to do with it!”). There is, however, another element to the expedition that could cause problems; Mir and Kaia, Andy and Cath’s daughters, are quite young. Young kids, plus a longer than average journey in the close quarters that are the truck, for most parents seems like a nightmare, but Andy reassures that with a little for- ward thinking, this wont be a problem.
“The girls are six and ten and most long journeys with them so far has been fraught with difficulties; they get bored easily, they want to go to the rest room, stretch their legs, they want to know when we’ll get to a place so we can do something. So, I do envisage difficul- ties but we’re going to make it as child friendly as we can. We’ve spoken to other families who have made similar trips with young children, and from that we’ve made the decision not to drive for hundreds and hundreds of miles each day, and although we’ve got a route and destination, we don’t have a strict day-to- day itinerary. We’ve got the freedom to stop if we see something we like or if we want to stay somewhere for two or three days.”
Cath is looking forward to the rare opportunity that’s been afforded her and her husband. “It’s exciting to spend so much more time with them. When they’re at school you just get part of your time with them, just the evenings and weekends, so I feel in a way that we’re so privileged to spend so much time with our kids… I may well change my mind about it on the way along!”
With the girls as young as they are, and time being taken off school on either side of the summer holidays, there was some worry about how the schools would react, but both girls’ schools are
on board with the idea. Sounding a little surprised but mostly relieved, Cath says, “The schools have been fine! They’ve been really supportive so that’s a great relief to us. And obviously we’re going to be teaching them while we’re away. Both schools have mentioned the educational benefits to the trip and I think they feel we’re doing a good thing. I think it’ll be great.”
The educational benefits for young chil- dren on such a trip are outlined on the Drive For Peace website, which include languages, basic mechanics and naviga- tion. The website is just one of the ways in which interested followers can keep up to date with the trip and get more information should they be contemplat- ing a similar expedition themselves. Alongside the website, there’ll be their daily blog which will be updated by everyone on board the truck, there are the social networks to check in on such as Twitter and Facebook, and then there’s the possibility of a satellite tracker, which they could use to link up with Google Maps and offer people the chance to see exactly where they are.
So now with just three months to go until they set off into the sunset, how does everybody feel? The word, it seems, is excited!
“I am excited”, says Cath, smiling as she glances up at the world map on the liv- ing room wall, on which a trail of foot- print stickers mark out the route from England to Mongolia. “I’m definitely more excited now that it’s nearer and it feels more real. I think when we were just talk- ing about it, it was just a plan, but now that we’re actually, physically, ordering visas and getting injections and talking to schools about work for the children, it feels much more exciting.”
Andy, an experienced traveller, is look- ing forward to seeing the trip through his daughters’ eyes. “I’m anticipating the looks on my daughters’ faces when they come across certain things when we’re actually on the road. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they’re going to react to the whole experience and what they get out of it.”
And what about the littlest Hickson?
“I’m really looking forward to meeting new people” says Kaia (aged 10), “and my Dad said he would let me drive the truck in Mongolia” she adds smiling. The things that Kaia is not looking forward to are the injectiions (she’s just had a painful one), and saying goodbye to her friends.
“Well, there is some reasons that I don’t want to go” offers six year old Mir, eyes to the heavens and with a thoughtful ex- pression on her face, “and that’s cause I’ll miss all my friends and I’ll miss the house. I’m excited though because we’re gonna meet new people and we’re gonna live in the camper van and it’s gonna be really fun.”
Mir pauses for a moment to consider the most exciting aspect for any school pupil. “And, also cause I don’t have to go to school! I get a big big big big break from school.”
“We’re gonna teach you some lessons on the way though”, offers Andy.
Mir ponders this notion for a couple of seconds.
“Well… I’ll be glad there’s no head teacher.”
Website: driveforpeace.com Blog: actiontrip100.blogspot.com Twitter: @actionwork Truck artwork: graffiti4hire.co.uk
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