Coming Home

September 23rd, 2011

Home at last

Now we are back home it is time to review how we got on with the objectives we set for our special family time. As a reminder they were:-

  • To have a lot of fun and very special family time.
  • For my children (and me!) to learn the art of travelling on a budget.
  • To manage whatever conflict situations arise.
  • To provide inspirational leadership
  • To practice my mediation skills in order to ensure we all peacefully co-exist.

Having fun

We certainly achieved this and even the kids would agree! Their initial reaction to the suggestion of this trip was that they could not possibly be away for such long time as “what about our mates”. With the benefit of wi-fi and Facebook that does not seem to have been the real problem envisaged and we were largely very happy with our own company. We have many stories that will now form part of family history and in-family jokes and I have also gained a new nickname.


I think we did really well. This is not mine or my eldest son’s strong point so we did have to work hard at it. We eventually came in at or around our budget figure which considering the prices now in Europe was a real achievement. Most surprisingly perhaps though we all enjoyed the challenge and it got to the point were we preferred to cook for ourselves than waste our money on meals out.

Managing conflict/Mediation skills 

I have obviously trained my children incredibly well as there was very little real conflict and therefore no real need for mediation. If only I knew how I had achieved that I could make millions on a self-help book.

Alternatively, the explanation is that I managed conflict so well that it did not become a problem. What conflict there was usually overcome very quickly, often by the use of humour or ignoring the person concerned until they had either calmed down or forgotten what the problem was.  I would not advocate this latter approach in a workplace situation. Whilst you might want to give people time to calm down ignoring issues will not make them go away and this is often the cause of greater conflict. Far better to deal with the issues straight away and avoid them festering into something more.  

We also managed any conflict with third parties effectively as evidenced by my previous blog regarding “the skateboard incident” .  I did however fail to resolve an incident (to my sons satisfaction) with a  rather stupid women who was feeding a family of swans in Lake Annecy in an area where children were swimming and whilst my son was stuck on a pontoon and not able to swim back. I thought I had communicated very clearly (despite language difficulties) that she should stop feeding them and I am convinced that she understood me; she however pretended not to and chose to ignore us. Our only option was to wait it out (much to my son’s annoyance) until the swans had been feed and swum away.  We did avoid conflict with the swans and the rather stupid lady but I did not get my message across.

Inspirational leadership

I think I did achieve this but maybe you should really ask the kids! I did get some feedback via my husband that the kids were impressed with my “can do” attitude.  I did engage them in all we did and we certainly operated well as a team sharing tasks, from managing to master paying at tolls ( a bit stressful at times in Italy when we managed to put a €20 note in the wrong slot) navigating, pitching the tent and taking it down in a storm, cooking and clearing up and sorting accommodation.  Ultimately, I got us there and back safely and without any serious mishaps.

To come back totally refreshed and raring to commence my new venture.

I do certainly feel refreshed and privileged that I had the chance to have such a special time with the family. I am also enjoying getting my new venture up and running and pleased with how well things are taking off already. The only problem is the tan is fading fast and I am missing the sunshine. For full details of what I am now up to please see my full range of services at

Finally, here is a little selection of photographs of the team taken along the way.

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The report was very professional, it dealt with all the issues raised and was particularly thorough. It clearly took the time to fully understand all of the issues and background. It was complex but the report really helped to break it down and I’m hoping we can progress in a positive manner following the recommendations.

Group HR Manager, Energy Sector |

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