Monday, May 30, 2011

Throwing it all away for a year

The school my kids are going to in Brookline are having a Book Fair. They asked parents (mostly) who are authors to contribute to a stand. Parentonomics will be there but I discovered a dozen other authoring parents; that alone says something about public schools here. 

Of these, the first book I picked up was Behind the Wheel by Wendy Swart Grossman. The Grossman family were newcomers to the school and one of their children, Josh, is in the same grade as Child No.1. Yes, notice that this family has been happy to use their children's real names but then again they aren't talking about toilet training either.

Anyhow, this family decided to do what might be optimal in a recession -- revert to leisure. They were Americans in London but left in 2009 to return. Instead of getting straight back into what might be termed normal life, they decided to do what many talk about but never do: take a year, rent an RV and drive around the US. This is the kind of extreme behaviour that can get you on Wife Swap. And indeed the Grossmans were approached auditioned, got it and then declined! Of course, that is surely a sensible position for a family to take but we were this close to knowing someone on a major reality TV show.

Of course, in the process, they blogged about it and that blog became a book. It is a light read and to tell you the truth leaves you wanting some more. But if you ever had a yearning to throw it all in for a year, spend a considerable amount of time with your kids and go on an adventure, this book is a good place to start to see what it is like. For us, the sabbatical in the US has been more than enough and if we ever go driving across the US it will be without kids.

There is more on the Grossman website. Perhaps the most interesting part there is the blog from their 12 year old who took the job of CFO for the family and managed their budget. There are few details in the book about that one but his blog contains some juicy data. The bottom line: if you want to drive across the country, choose a time when petrol prices are low.