How Cultured Are You?

According to Google the above definition of being cultured basically backs up the findings of some rather amusing research commissioned on behalf of MSC Cruise. Basically, we Brits apparently fib a little in order to appear more cultured, for example saying we’ve read books, seen plays and similar. Talk about keeping up with the Jones’. Do we really do that? A survey of 1500 people indicated that yes, some of us do.

To me reading books, making time to watch films, visit places and enjoy new experiences is all about enjoyment and broadening my horizons as opposed to having something clever sounding to put on Facebook. Perhaps social media has had a hand in this one-upmanship, the need to appear more cultured when really, being cultured is not something that can be measured, nor should it be.

 For me, indeed for us as a family the thirst for new experiences and knowledge is something that is part of us, the way we are forms part of our family dynamic. To me travelling, for example with Caribbean Cruises who offer a unique way to experience difference cultures in an easy away, being able to visit a number of place on short trips off the ship before moving on is a great way to experience something new. This enables you to plan ahead and visit what is really important to you (and to research the real best places to visit rather than just the tourist spots).

For me joining the local library is a great way to learn more, through fiction and non-fiction. We are big readers and enjoy discussing what we’ve learned. Last week I went with my Mum and sister to a talk on the local area hosted by the local museum. It was fascinating and I was buzzing when we left, eager to come home and share what I’d learned. THAT is what “being cultured” is, experiencing the experiences because you want to, because they excite you and because you want to share them with your nearest and dearest. I can’t see any benefit to pretending to have seen something, done something or been somewhere to look good.

Perhaps it’s just me? What do you think?

Round The World Travel With Children – Were We Crazy?

 Today’s eye-opening guest-post is great read. I’ll let the author introduce herself!

My name is Amanda and you can find me at on my blog, Having Fun, Spending Less  or  follow me on Twitter.  My blog is about life as a family of four, making the most of the budget we have whilst not compromising on fun. It’s filled with budgeting ideas, activity and day out suggestions, and random family life ramblings. Today’s post is about a spectacular adventure we took as a family!

In 2009 we sold our house, quit our jobs, sold/ gave away most of our belongings, took the girls out of school and went travelling around the world for 8 months. What prompted this decision you may ask? We got bored, we decided life was too short for ‘maybes’, we experienced a couple of traumatic bereavements that made us realise life isn’t a rehearsal, you’re only here once.

It’s not secret, our parents thought we’d lost the plot. Maybe we did! From making the decision to travel to actually leaving took 5 months. In that short amount of time we’d condensed our lives into a dozen or so boxes of things we couldn’t live without (stored in grandad’s loft). It’s wonderfully liberating to strip your life down so bare, to realise how few material belongings you actually need/ want in your life. It made me realise the clutter I’d gathered was weighing me down. All we left the UK with was 4 rucksacks and a mini suitcase filled with school work – which we promptly ‘gifted’ to children in Peru a few months in because it was hindering our travel experiences.

‘What about schooling?’ was most peoples concern. Taking the girls out of school was ridiculously easy. We carefully planned to follow the literacy and numeracy curriculum that the girls would miss, but quickly abandoned this. In actual fact we read with the girls frequently, kept journals with them, did day to day maths in markets etc but on the whole we just allowed ourselves as a family the chance to really immerse ourselves in the environment we were in.

The girls came back to the UK at the same level their friends were working at, except a couple of maths things like measuring angles and naming triangles – a very small price to pay for the rich experiences we had together.

We spent the majority of our time in Mexico,Peru and Ecuador, but also visited Hawaii, San Francisco, Australia and New Zealand. We had the most amazing time together, very rarely annoying each other, probably in part because when we became restless, we moved on. We all returned refreshed and more well-rounded individuals. It was a wonderful parenting experience to be able to witness the girls’ idea of ‘normal’ shift and their horizons widen.

I could share a 101 travelling tales with you, in fact I think I might over on my blog in the future. You would not believe the things we got up to!

We came back with a minimal amount financially, enough to get us through the period of buying a car, renting a house and finding work again. I guess you could say that we’re starting all over again. Yes, I think we are, but it’s refreshing. The only negative thing I can say is that we adults have found it more difficult to re-adjust. We’ve become wanderlust, where as the girls have settled wonderfully into North Yorkshire life…but hey ho, who knows what the future holds?

So, if any of you are considering doing anything similar…I say do it! Or maybe you just think we were crazy?