We are the Meek family – Tim, Kerry, Amy and Ella. We are a regular family that lived a pretty normal life but that changed in the summer of 2014 when we sold our house, quit our jobs and took the girls out of school to go on a year (or more) of family ed-venture. This involved us travelling around the UK, exploring the country in which we live in, finding opportunities to learn about it in a real and memorable way as well as seeking out adventures that would push us out of our comfort zones and develop us as people.
Meet the Meeks
Hi I am Ella and I’m 12 years old. I love animals especially dogs. My hobbies are adventuring, playing Lego, photography and playing in the outdoors. When I grow older I am going to be the female version of Steve Backshall; working with animals, filming and travelling all over the world as well as having big muscles.
Hi, I’m Amy and I enjoy drawing, reading and (obviously) adventuring! But despite doing all these things, I am just a regular teenager who hates getting up in the morning! In our year of Edventure, I enjoy learning English most because I’m going to be an author when I grow up. I loved our time travelling as we visited different places around the world; our learning was much more memorable than when we were sat in a classroom. As well as this, I like writing blog-posts on our website and I hope you enjoy reading them and find some inspiration from them too!
Hi, I’m Kerry. I’m quite a laid back person with a very positive attitude to life. I love travelling to and learning about new places as well meeting new people.
Hello. By a process of elimination, I must be Tim. I like coming up with ideas for how to maximise the time we spent together as a family. I encourage Amy and Ella to embrace challenge and opportunities, so – in the spirit of practising what we preach – I very rarely turn down a challenge offered to us. It makes for an interesting life – but perhaps one day it will catch me out!
Here’s a video a good friend of ours made – it sums us up quite nicely.
In a bit more detail…
Until 2014, Tim and I were both teachers in Nottingham but felt that our jobs were life consuming and wanted to redress the work / life balance in order to dedicate more time to the family. We made the radical decision to give up our jobs, sell our house and take the girls out of school to travel around the UK in the caravan for a year, exploring the country in which we live. Dubbed a year of ed-venture, we were hoping to combine our love for adventure with a more personalised and engaging approach to education; the locations that the girls visit become the basis of their learning.
The caravan was the vehicle that prompted our lifestyle transformation. It was the prize, won in a challenge set by the Caravan Club and Elddis. The two companies approached us at the end of 2013 after we had finished a year doing 100 Family Adventures. With a philosophy of grasping opportunities when they arise, we accepted the challenge (even though we had never been caravanning before) and were presented with a caravan in which to visit 20 sites in 20 weeks, as well as 100 tasks. Upon completion in September 2014, the caravan was officially ours to keep and became our home.
This then changed in November 2015 when we were offered the chance to live in an Elddis motorhome for a year. We moved our belongings into our new home and the edventure continued. Having spent over a year exploring the UK, we then broadened the horizons and ventured into Europe for part of 2016.
In November 2016 we moved onto pastures new. We’d had over two years out of the rat race, more than we had initially planned to do and felt that we needed to add some stability into our lives, particularly for the girls. We returned to Nottingham and began what we called a hybrid lifestyle. We didn’t want to slip back into a life that allowed the jobs to consume our lives but wanted to have a base from which we could continue to adventure as a family. We wanted to enter back into a community where the girls could mix with their peers, but also balance this with regular family adventures. Still wanting to explore and adventure, we use our home and Swift Basecamp as a base from which we can #getoutside and find adventures.
We are a close unit; we take the role of parenting seriously and want the best for our daughters. We want them to develop into confident, resilient, inquisitive, well-rounded individuals with an adventurous mindset. Rather than hope for it happen we are dedicating time to it as a family.
Talks and Publications
Over the last few years, we have been invited to talk at various events including adventure festivals, literary festivals and in schools; we share this responsibilty equally, all talking about our adventures and philosophy. We also use social media to share ideas with other families and promote our love of adventuring outdoors. The success and media interest in the 100 Family Adventures led to us publishing our first book in March 2015. The second came out in August later that year and a third was published in April 2016. Our story has appeared in various newspapers and we have even been asked to appear on TV.
- Selected as Ordnance Survey #Getoutside Champions for a second year – January 2017
- Talks on the Incredible Oceans stand at the Telegraph Outdoor Show 2017 – February 2017
- Guardian Travel – January 2016
- Adventure Travel show – January 2016 (interview) and blog post by Water to Go
- The Times – March 2016
- Telegraph – March 2016
- This Morning TV appearance – March 2016
- Selected as Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champions https://www.
ordnancesurvey.co.uk/ getoutside/os-champions/the- meek-family-three-minute- interview/
- London Surrey Border Family magazine – April 2016
- Keswick Mountain Festival speaking on the BMC stand. Took part in video for BMC – May 2016
- Sky Ride blogpost Emirates Airways – May 2016 (article)
- Appeared in Ordnance Survey’s Sky advert (over 190,000 views) https://www.youtube.com/
- Sunday Express – July 2016
- Gladfest Literary Festival – September 2016 (talk and workshops)
- The Good Life Experience Festival – September 2016
- South West Outdoor Festival (National Trust) – September 2016
- Ellis Brigham talk – September 2016
- Pennine Lancashire Health & Wellbeing Celebration – September 2016
- Yestival – October 2016
- Telegraph Outdoor and Adventure festival – February 2015
- Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show – February 2015
- The Guardian – February 2015
- Keswick Mountain Festival – May 2015
- Hay Literary festival – May 2015 (family talk and workshop)
- BBC Radio Four Thought – May 2015
- BBC magazine article – June 2015
- Camp Bestival – July 2015
- Daily Mail – August 2015
- ITV’s Real Stories with Ranvir Singh – July 2015
- This Morning TV appearance – September 2015
- The Good Life Experience Festival – September 2015
- Bath Literary festival – October 2015
- Cheltenham Literary festival – October 2015
- Sports Liberated digital magazine article – October 2015
- Yestival – October 2015
- Family Travel Show – November 2015
- Caravan Times – November 2015
- Kendal Mountain Festival – November 2015
lifestyle/wellbeing/outdoors/ 10958636/Outdoor-activities- meet-the-family-who-simply- wont-stay-home.html
women/mother-tongue/ familyadvice/10465298/The- Meek-family-survival-lessons- then-off-to-school.html
education/2014/sep/03/teacher- parents-kids-year-learning-on- road
- The caravan appeared on BBC Newsnight and we were interviewed in it by Kirsty Wark
- Various radio interviews including Radio 4 PM, BBC World Service
Hi, just been watching your family on daytime TV (I rarely watch daytime but I’m staying with my daughter at the moment) Very impressed with all of you. I started out as a teacher in Nottingham but after National Curriculum messed up the education system, I found I couldn’t stomach a system that was no longer child-centred. So I escaped/chickened out.
Now I’m 61 and I appear to have dropped out once again. I only get a small teacher pension, but no state pension now that ‘they’ have changed the rules. I couldn’t afford to support my house so I sold it this year, put a cabin in my lovely daughter and son in law’s garden, and bought a camper van.
I aim to spend as much time travelling in my van ‘Jozie’ before I become too old to enjoy it. The amazing thing is that when I told family and friends what I was about to do, not one single person told me I was crazy. Not one. They all said “I/we would love to do that when we retire/when the kids have left home/when we’ve saved enough money.”
Well I’m not waiting any longer. I’m off. Iit’s even been offered two house/dog sitting stints, so I guess this could be one some sort of private income.
Its odd having no home base proper, but I think I’ll survive. Its just another First World problem.
30 years ago I was busy telling parents not to worry about taking their children out of school as it’s a great life experience. Government have decreed otherwise. I still think I was right. And so are you. Family time is the most important. You are creating a successful family life, and two very happy and successful adults of the future. The only improvement would be if you had four children!
Happy days. One life. Enjoy!
Thanks for your message and sorry for the tardy reply.
Best of luck with your adventure – it sounds amazing and I’ll sure you’ll have some wonderful experiences and encounter fantastic people and places along the way. Keep us informed and we hope to bump into you along the way!
We haven’t regretted what we’ve done and are all enjoying the opportunities that come our way.
All the best
Hi! We are two italian guys and we are going to present your family on our English class. we read about your amazing experiences and we are surprised about them!
We have just few questions: what is the most exciting experience you have done? most interesting things that you have learned? but we think that you are learning something every day. where are you now? and what’s your daily routine like? although you don’t do the same things every day and we envy you for that.
Ella and Amy are two very lucky girls, they are living their life as an adventure, that is fantastic.
Are you going to come to Italy one day?
Your travel is a good way to learn about all, and a good experience for your life.
sorry for all the questions, have a good trip!
bye, Irene and Francesco
Hi Irene and Francesco,
Thanks for your kind comments. We have done lots of great things, like paddle the Great Glenn Canoe Trail in Scotland, lots of bivvy bagging and completed 500 Fresh Air Miles (using non-motorised transport). Our latest challenge is to try and climb a selection of mountains to reach the equivalent height of Everest. Each day we do maths, English and then lots of different things in the outdoors (museums, historic sites etc) or linked to the UN Global Goals. We hope to visit Italy one day. Tomorrow we head to France for February and then to Spain for March. After that wild camping in Scotland and then hopefully over to Scandinavia for the summer.
Hope these answers help with your presentation.
Thank you for your time and your answers.
If you will come to Italy one day, we live in north-east Italy, you are welcome!
Irene & Francesco
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