This blog is about to take on a new format.At least for awhile, I intend to focus on the journey I am making home to America. It is a home I have visited more recently over the years, but this year I am going to America with a particular purpose: Senior Gap Year
I believe Gap Year started with the Australians, though most of them seemed to call it "Walk About" years ago. Their young people would head out to travel around Europe and extending on to various parts of the world. British young people began to return the favour and head down under, or to various places in Africa or the Middle East. Both of my children (quarter English/quarter German/half American but raised in the UK) went on their own personal Gap Years.
Gap Year serves the purpose of taking a year off after uni graduation and getting out to see the world, while avoiding questions such as, "What do you plan to DO (read "work") after uni?" It gives them time to think/process what they have learned and just get away from it all while they try to figure out the next step in life.
Now as I have hit the retirement time of life, I am going to take what I am calling a Senior Gap Year to think through what I want to do at my own time of transition. My husband and I will travel together, but he is on a different journey. I am on a journey to discover my country of origin at this stage of life, and to revisit places significant in my childhood. He just wants to see more of America than was possible when visiting on business trips.
It is my intention to blog this journey, reflecting on what I discover over an eight month period. While we moved over to the States two weeks ago, we simply unpacked and then I headed to my place of birth (Washington, DC) to the Families in Global Transition Conference. These people at FIGT are "my tribe." People here this weekend are people who also live life of living and/or raising their children in a culture not their own. We share stories. Many are stories no one outside the tribe wants to hear, but we listen intently and validate identity as an expat.
It will take time to process all I have learned this weekend; about myself, about being a writer and becoming a speaker but I have been encouraged here-and that is a great start to any journey. A very big thank you to all who worked heard to make Families in Global Transition Conference 2012 a great success. It is sad to leave the tribal meeting, but I give thanks that I have heard and shared stories and know so much more of the richness we all bring to this world.