I don't want to be a brick in a wall. All bricks look the same and they are cemented into place, kept in rigid order. And walls divide. And life is like banging your head...

The story begins

Everything I have, I've worked hard for. Good work too. Good as in moral, do-gooder work. Work with disabled kids and then teaching. Teaching in a hard, inner-city school. I was good at it, enjoyed it, lived it.

Last February I quit. I woke up one morning and thought about the shit feeling in my stomach, and how I couldn't remember when Sunday had become the worst day of the week, but I realised that it had. I made excuses to get out of family time - I had to mark homework, write reports, plan lessons. They weren't really excuses, I did have to do them. Why on earth was I spending all my time thinking about other people's kids and telling my own that I was busy?

I didn't discuss it much with my wife. I pretty much told her what I was going to do, and did it. It was a moment of real clarity - unusual for me. I'm sure my head of department would never have put me down as a "moment of clarity" kind of person, but I think that my bumbling, forgetful school-persona was a symptom of the malaise that had crept up on me. I was sick. Literally, I was sick. I had more time off work in the last 12 months than I had in my entire working life. Colds, coughs, ear infections, desperate tiredness. Excuses? That's what they thought at school, I'm sure.

I was sick and tired. Sick and tired of planning 4 part lessons. Starter; Introduction; Development; Plenary. Being judged on how rigidly I could stick to the plan, the structure. I hate structure! It made me feel penned in. I can't sit the night before and plan the probing questions that would get students to think deeply about literature, but I had to write them down for the plan.

I thought that quitting would make me feel better. I suppose it did for a while. I began painting and decorating. I make as much as I did teaching. Well, nearly. But it feels like I do, because I also get the reward of time. And all of a sudden, Sundays have become great days again.

But then my wife started to question things. She began feeling like I had. She looked at property in Spain, in France. She made me apply for teaching jobs abroad. I went for an interview to teach in Abu Dhabi.

And then, just a few nights ago, one of us, I don't know who it was, said, "Why don't we sell everything, buy a motorhome and clear off?"

That feeling again. A moment of clarity. We found a blank exercise book and called it our dream book. Then we signed it. It says, "On May 1st 2007 we will put our house on the market. We will use the proceeds to buy a motorhome to travel the world in, to educate our children, and generally to have the time of our lives.

This is the beginning of our story.

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