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 A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...

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Jed@CampervanCulture.com
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PostSubject: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:24 am

Hi guys,

After attending The Overland Show last year with my mate Alan and H (we all own VW Syncros) and run www.campervanculture.com with our mate Jake, we were sat around the camp fire late at night and I think one of us said, "We should really try and do something...."


So I believe Tom wanted to set this forum up to start travel blogs from others and I hope we can help and contribute. To be fair its not an outrageous trip we plan on doing as we are only driving from the UK to North Africa but we plan on documenting it in our unique style so we hope it will be done along the vibe of all our other travel videos on CampervanCulture.com.

It has taken some effort so far as the only hold back is that myself and my partner Louise have a son called Isaac that is 7 and it is a tad tricky to take kids that age out of school. We will be traveling in three VW Syncros, Alan and H in a panel van/camper, Jake and Mel with Lucas aged 2 in a Syncro campervan, and Louise myself and Isaac that will be 8 when we plan to travel. We all have heavily modified our campers for this trip but as a family Louise, Isaac and I have just managed to take Isaac out of school by jotting this letter to his head.

I hope this might help others who wish to take their children out of school for a few months to get permission.

To Miss ++++,



We are j**** and l***** and we are the parents of i****, who is in year two and in W*** class. We would like to take this opportunity to put forward our plans for the end of this year and what we aim to achieve as a family after a year of planning. We plan on taking Isaac on a once in a lifetime overland road trip from where we live in S****** to the Sahara Desert in Morocco, and back again in our 4wd campervan.

You may, or may not be aware already, but we are a family who love to travel. Before having Isaac we travelled as a couple as far south as Cape Town, as far east as Australia via Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and as north as Norway, mostly overland. Since having Isaac we have continued to travel frequently in our 4WD campervan, with extended trips over the 6 weeks summer holidays. Isaac has visited many countries including France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic and not forgetting Scotland, Wales and the majority of England, all overland as he has never been on an airplane. One summer holiday we visited nine countries during one trip with Croatia being the furthest away and Isaac benefitted enormously from this trip both educationally and personally. He learned how to map read and knows where he stands and lives in the world in relation to all of the other countries in Europe. He developed an interest in flags and languages and has asked for and paid for things using different currencies in the many different languages we have encountered. As parents, one of the many things that has impressed us most about Westbourne was on parents evenings and while visiting school assembles when we could see displays done by the children illustrating different language, religions and cultures, which is as important to you as it is to us with regards to children’s education. The North Africa trip we are planning to take has involved a huge amount of planning as we will be traveling with two other
families in their 4WD camper vans. Whereas in the past we have taken our trips over the 6 weeks summer holidays this is not an option in this instance as it would be quite uncomfortable if not impossible to travel across the Western Sahara with young children in the height of summer due to the extreme temperatures. We plan to take advantage this year of the Christmas holidays so that the impact on Isaac’s education will be at a minimum. The reason we have decided to do this trip now with Isaac approaching 8 years old is purposeful and deeply considered. Aside from the preparation required for this trip it has a lot to do with Isaac's age, robustness and where he will be already educationally. For example, we want Isaac to be old enough to appreciate and remember what he experiences and be up to date with his reading and writing framework within a school environment and we feel he has now reached this stage. We don't want Isaac to be too unbonded to friends and classmates when he returns in the new year and we would like for him to be part of the class during January by us either sending emails to his friend j*** in *** class about all the experiences he has witnessed and taken part in, or to his class teachers directly and told in a show and tell style for the class to share for a few minutes a week so he won't be totally missing from the classroom in January. Isaac has his own digital camera and he is a keen photographer and would enjoy this opportunity to remain as part of the class for the short time he is away by using his photography skills.                            
We as Isaac's parents appreciate how valuable his education is and how well he has done through being at Westbourne. He has been graded excellent in both attendance and punctuality with no unauthorised absences, and that is why in the past we have taken trips over the long summer holidays. We have supported the schools policies by working with Isaac at home and while being away on long trips by completing all homework and leaving parent comments when asked in the relevant sections.  As we pass through each country on our route and reach North Africa we will take every opportunity to teach Isaac the differences between religions, cultures, languages, diversity, environment, geography, navigation, history, life skills and more. We believe it will be a fantastic and unforgettable opportunity for the world to be brought to him. We plan on setting Isaac educational projects to follow while away and these range from,

•  Daily journals/diaries.



•  Regular reading (daily), maths and spelling.



•  Trying to visit sites and places of interest - sometimes an education in itself for which we       already have lot's of ideas for.



•  As many opportunities as possible to meet and play with other
children networking and contact skills.



•  Themed / topic per country e.g. Night sky/environment/weather.



•  Geography, climate and map-reading skills.



We will not be visiting or staying in any kind of holiday resorts or hotels during the trip, we will be visiting the real country and staying with and communicating with real people leading their everyday lives in cultural surroundings far removed from ours in Sutton. The Western Sahara and Morocco in general is criss crossed with unsealed roads called pistes, these are the kind of routes we will be following and wild camping out in the desert landscape and mountain wilderness forests and deep gorges as much as possible. One of the highlights will be the unique opportunity for Isaac to learn about Berber people and how they live, while spending time during the trip on a camel safari and learning how to understand the desert as an environment. We are planning to be away from the week before he breaks up in December for Christmas when we assume that his studies would be least affected due to the seasonal preparations (16th December) and we would be aiming to, as mentioned earlier, take advantage of the school Christmas holidays and have Isaac return back to school after the weekend of the 31st of January. If we could ask you to please look favourably on our request as
this is a one off special circumstance, and a once in a lifetime opportunity Isaac is unlikely to have again. We would be more than willing to meet in person to discuss this request if you or the governor's would like us to do so.


Yours Sincerely


Jed
















Sooo Isaacs school gave the thumbs up for two months off and I guess this is page one of this trip now its ha the thumbs up from Isaacs school...


Last edited by Jed@CampervanCulture.com on Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:32 pm

Well done! I might actually need that letter format. I am trying to get my 20 year old son out of graphics arts college to come to Moroccco with us in October. His profs are pretty tough but I am pitching it as a project to do a film, photography and some art work.

Given how cool your other films are I am really looking forward to seeing whatever you produce after this trip.

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:48 am

Hi sounds a trip, especially taking your son, we have taken our granddaughter with us in the UK. and are planing to take her to France next year, to see the country, and maybe Belgium the Netherlands as well, so she will see other cultures, we shall take her to Disneyland too.
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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:13 am

Thanks guys. The letter didnt copy and paste that well but you get the idea. Apparently in September the law is changing so if you want to take kids out of education for more than 10 days it will be no longer down to the discretion of the head and just not allowed by law. We know a couple of heads in different parts of the UK so acted now and it paid off thank god....

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:05 pm

Nice one Jed, the trip will definitely be an education in itself for your lad, something he's likely to remember for the rest of his life. A great idea. thumbsup 

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:04 am

Well the kids break up next week and I am fairly sure the Syncro is out of MOT as it usually runs out just before our annual month tour of some place in Europe this time of year. I shagged my knee in last weekend but I cracked on at work just about (plasterer) and want to get the van emptied and sorted for the MOT next week. I landed job down in Eastbourne the following week so its nice to have the "luxury" of the Westy Syncro while working away to stay in so I want to get it done for that at least.


The to do list is growing and we went laneing last weekend to try and shake some stuff off and I managed to bash off my custom air intake pre filter so that needs work.

Wish me luck guys

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:44 pm

Yes indeed! Sounds as if you need a bit of luck, especially as time is galloping by. Well, it always does when a deadline looms large.

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:48 pm

this might help a bit

PopularQuestionDate: 20 February 2013

The current law does not give any entitlement to parents to take their child on holiday during term time. Any application for leave must be in exceptional circumstances and the headteacher must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the granting of leave.

Parents can be fined for taking their child on holiday during term time without consent from the school.
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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:59 am

Well you can take your child out of school and home educate, then you can take your child on any educational trips to further the child's education.
We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship.
School does not teach about live skills!!

Know quite a few in Scotland who home school.
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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:33 am

Before we asked for the permission to take Isaac out we asked a couple of head masters we know. Right now the heads of school can give 10 days of authorized leave per year per kid and the rest has to be unauthorized and only excepted in exceptional circumstances. This basically means they will keep your kids school place open for them when they get back home and we have been told to be back for February. However the law changes in September (hence getting this sorted now) and the government will no longer leave it to the discretion of the head and it will become illegal to take your kid out for more than 10 days and no discretion is to be given by the head.

Its kind of handy for us as I think the permission was given as a bit of a screw you to the government by the head for taking away her powers, not so good for next year though...


Anyway spent all weekend on the van getting it ready for the MOT and made a few lists. Went through the spares I have under the back seat and made some more lists and went through some kit and made some more lists. My list are now as fat as the yellow pages affraid 

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:21 am

Got the van back with a list of stuff to do from the MOT garage so I need to get stuck into those.

One of the front shocks are shot so that would explain the van topping out and the rear knocking that I thought would be a rear wheel bearing was the bush on the rear shock. Just about to upgrade to Gas shocks to help on those wash board roads in Morocco so looking forward to that. I live in South London but some how I have landed a job (I am a plasterer) down in Eastbourne starting next Monday so I could really do with the van to be able to stay down there for a week or so.

When I priced the job earlier this year I scouted out some wild camping spots near some byways so looking forward to driving and camping out on those if I get the an done on time so I can live with it even more and make some more lists.

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:50 am

Did I ask before whereabouts you are in South London? Don't think so but with my memory ...

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:44 am

Tom Mc wrote:
Did I ask before whereabouts you are in South London? Don't think so but with my memory ...

I am in Sutton Surrey so South London/Surrey boarder.

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:17 am

Know it well. Brought up in Penge/Beckenham/Bromley area, but of course I know Croydon and surrounding areas too. In the 70's/80's had some good friends living in Belmont, must be just around the corner from you.

Happy days.

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:43 pm

Not far from me Jed ... I live in Beckenham so just a stones throw away from you in Sutton. I may have to drop you a PM and see if I can come over and drool over your camper Smile

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:24 am

I live just off the A217 so right next to Belmont really, always up for some drooling Laughing 

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:45 pm

Well CampervanCulture.com have been busy getting ready for trading at The Adventure Overland Show next week so if you want to show your support please feel free to call in and say Hi.

The trips wheels have been set in motion and the first major point is that Jake, Mel and Lucas (ages 2) have bailed out and are moving back to Canada for personal reasons in November so it is just us (Me Louise and Isaac aged 7) and Alan and Harriet. We had a look at booking the Portsmouth/Bilboa ferry last night and it didnt feel right as we are supposed to be on an overland trip. Now that we are not traveling with a two year old we can take the more challenging option so we are going to do Dover Calais and drive down. We are setting off on Friday 13th of December (Isaacs birthday) and we have had an invite to stay at some cave house down the south of Spain so may well include that.

So yeh I feel like the trip has defiantly started.

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:03 pm

A friend of mine owns a campsite in the Orne area near Remalade in France at a steady 50 to 60 mph they are about 5 hours from Calais, he has B&B if the weather is too cold for camping that far north in December. I will give you the details at the show if you're interested

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:09 pm

wideformat4x4 wrote:
A friend of mine owns a campsite in the Orne area near Remalade in France  at a steady 50 to 60 mph they are about 5 hours from Calais, he has B&B if the weather is too cold for camping that far north in December. I will give you the details at the show if you're interested

Cool thanks for that, any info is good info in my book cheers1 

We wont be needing a B&B though as our 4x4 camper vans have diesel hot air heaters like trucks have and we often sleep out in -9 in just our shorts and t shirts. One of the upsides of having a VW Syncro I guess. When you swing by give me a nudge and I will show you round the van if you like as both of our vans will be on our pitch.


I just noticed that earlier on in this thread I said about landing a job down in Eastbourne and that I would be taking the camper down there to stay in and find some wild camp spots. I made a video of the time spent away and added it to our website if anyone fancies checking that out and having a watch.

http://campervanculture.com/2013/08/working-away-and-using-a-camper-van-in-every-day-life/

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:56 am

Jed@CampervanCulture.com wrote:
Well CampervanCulture.com have been busy getting ready for trading at The Adventure Overland Show next week so if you want to show your support please feel free to call in and say Hi.
<snip>
Guys

We'll be coming in our less glamorous T4 Syncro and will be staying over on Friday night. Looking forwards to seeing some nice prepped campers, and also the talks and stands on the Saturday.

Will come and say hello ...

PB.
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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:00 am

Nice to meet you all at the show.

Since then we have been busy getting ready. Alan has just re built his gear box and waiting to change his engine as well as do all the other prep stuff. I have gone through my list of 68 things to sort out and I now have only 22 left and only a couple of them are vehicle things.

We met up with some other VW Syncro owners a couple of weeks ago for a bit of a shake down and make a video of it.

http://campervanculture.com/2013/10/wiltshire-weekender-vehicle-shake-down/

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:32 am

Great vid - as per - if nothing else they will be wonderful memories of people, vehicles and places in years to come. Learnt that long since, as a club I was in back in the early 90's has changed dramatically over the years as people move away or - no easy way to say this - people die, so I wish we had taken videos at the time instead of just photos. As I say ... memories never to be repeated!

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:27 am

Time is now running short so time to get the professionals in (not Bowdie and Doyle). We chose Huw Matthews because his credentials were really impressive, he spent a year and a half fitting solar installations in Afghanistan as a contractor (none military). He is also a nice guy, Welsh and drives a T4 Syncro Campervan so he was always going to get the job really.


Huw installed solar power....








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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:49 am

... and the sun was shining to test 'em out, you couldn't write the script! thumbsup 

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PostSubject: Re: A trip that started at The Overland Show last year...   Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:36 pm

Pleased to say that when the sun is shining the solar panels are able to run the compressor fridge/freezer, even has enough extra to feed the batteries too.

We finally sat round a table and started to work out where we want to go. Booked that new LD lines Poole Santander crossing for only £277 one way inc cabin etc a few days back too. We have taken on board a few of the things people have told us and we are basically just going to go and head for Chefchauen, then Fez and do the Cedar Forest pistes and head down south and play it by ear. We don't want to be tied to a tight itinerary and time frame because every one we have spoke to that has done that we have spoke to has regretted it when back home.




So the plan is, there is no plan.

4 weeks left until departure.

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