The Grey Nomads of Education

grey nomads

The grey nomad is typically depicted on a never-ending holiday, traversing the country in a caravan or laying a carbon footprint further afield, and of course, doing the proverbial spend of the children’s inheritance. But there’s another story…

In recent days, I’ve caught up with several friends, children of ‘60s and ‘70s, who’ve shed a different light on grey nomad travels. All are, or have been, teachers and leaders in education, and very good ones; all could happily rest on their laurels. Yet in fact, each told a similar story – of travelling to various parts of the world and volunteering the wealth of their knowledge and expertise. Their stories were not told to impress, simply in answer to a query about what they’ve been doing lately.

Geoff and Wendy regularly work in a school in the Solomon Islands; for J.A. and Penny it was an Indigenous school in the Australian Northern Territory; Peter and Jenny’s contribution has been in Rwanda, and I’m aware of Andrea and Max’s sustained work in Cambodia. More conversations would undoubtedly furnish more examples.

The idealistic influences of the ‘60s leave their indelible mark. What a powerful combination when tempered with the intervening years of experience and practical knowledge. Perhaps these conversations were mere coincidence, or perhaps there’s a movement afoot? Researchers might take note! Either way, all hail, the grey nomads of education.


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