Grantham teacher travels around the world
A teacher from Grantham is hoping to ignite her pupils’ passion for travelling and adventure by travelling around the world.
Katie Hand, 27, a teacher at Huntingtower Community Primary Academy, was granted an eight-month sabbatical to allow her to travel the world before returning as a class teacher in September.
After getting married in July, Katie and husband Mike, who owns Stag Electrical in Grantham, decided that they wanted to do something a bit different than the standard honeymoon.
Katie said: “It was a huge risk for Mike as he has to leave his business behind but we felt that the time was right as we’ve always talked about it and after two six-week trips in the summer holidays, we knew we had to take the risk and just go for it.”
The adventure-mad couple moved in with Katie’s parents in Claypole and rented their home out in order to save enough money to embark on the once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Travelling and adventure has always played an important part in Katie’s classroom at Huntingtower, where she has been teaching for six years.
She added:”As a teacher, I have always encouraged travel to my pupils and have often shared previous adventures I have been on, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and an American road trip.”
Katie shared her route with her pupils in a school assembly before setting off on December 27.
The couple travelled straight to Los Angeles where they spent the first day hiking to the Hollywood sign before visiting Santa Monica beach and Venice beach.
They next visited the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Beverly Hills and took in a Warner Bros studio tour.
The couple then headed to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific which Katie described as like arriving in ‘paradise.’ They are currently in New Zealand.
Despite only being on their travels for just over a month, the couple have already had their fair share of adventure including white water rafting down the highest waterfall in the world, hiking up a live volcano that only emerged from the sea 600 years ago and completing the 20km Tongariro crossing, New Zealand’s oldest national park and a dual World Heritage Site.
They have also seen 500 volcanic pools, unicorn fish and celebrated Katie’s birthday last month by going river wake boarding.
But the adventures don’t stop there.
Over the next seven months, the couple have planned to visit Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Andaman Islands, Dubai, Turkey and France.
They are staying in a mixture of hotels, hostels, Airbnb and with friends.
Katie said: “Nothing has been too difficult although we’ve completed a 10km hike most days and some of them have been super hard.
“Completing the Tongariro crossing in New Zealand was by far our best day so far.”
Despite all the new sounds and sights, Katie’s pupils are never far from her thoughts and she actively trys to keep in contact with them on a daily basis.
She added: “I update Twitter most days and always enjoy receiving replies from the children. Some of the parents are keen to follow me too.
“I’ve also sent postcards for a display board outside my classroom.”
Katie is keen to share what she learnt when she returns to the classroom in September, adding: “I’m hoping to take back teaching experience from other countries, new languages, geographical knowledge and most importantly to inspire the children that anything is possible.
“I will be forever grateful to our headteacher Emma Harkins in supporting me.”
Follow Katie’s round-the-world adventure on Twitter: @MrsHand1