It’s getting closer

I’ve just worked my last Saturday today and have four days left to go. Everyone is getting excited for us. I keep being asked where are you going? Are you excited? Are you ready?

Who knows? Are we ready? These last few weeks have been a bit of a blur. Work has been ramping up, the van still feels like it needs loads of things doing to it, I think were both trying to start arranging to see people before we go, and time just feels spent before we get it.

Time, for myself is one of the things which led me down this path. To have time, to play, to be, to think, to cycle…. I really hope we have time once this trip gets going, and yet equally it is one of the things I’m a little anxious about.

After I finished school I started my hairdressing apprenticeship. Since then the longest stretch of time I’ve had away from work is two weeks. For 19 years I have thought about how it might feel to have a proper break; I never imagined it could be this long. I hope I like it.

And Why Not

And Why Not

“And why not”

My actual text message may have been longer than this ( I tend to be a bit wordy when writing – apologies readers!). But that was the general gist of it when Craig asked if he thought we could actually do what we’d discussed last night; selling the house, buying a camper van, and traveling with a toddler around Europe.

His message back was much more succinct, “Fuck it. Let’s do it.”

So here we are with 5 weeks to go. We have been through so many ups and downs and twists and turns with the process of getting to this point. But I think my original feelings for this trip stay intact.

Craig is going into this journey searching for something, I believe. Myself, on the other hand, I want to be open to all the experiences we have. To experience the present, each moment, and see what it brings and what I can do with it at the time.

I don’t really have any expectations. It’s probably better that way. I know that things will be hard at times, I imagine very hard at times traveling with a toddler. But then I think this will make the amazing moments shine even more brightly, especially with a toddler.

We spoke the other night about why we never travelled before when we were younger. In all honesty, I don’t think we were interested or ready at that time. I think in a way, Mabel has been a catalyst for this journey. She has certainly opened my eyes to seeing the world afresh, living in the moment, and taking things more slowly. She has made us brave. And our coming adventure will need bravery.

I think this journey will be all things; exciting, challenging, and beautiful. I am looking forward to all these aspects and how they shape us while we wander…

– Liz

Where to start

“So, I was thinking, um, maybe we should go and live in Lisbon.”

“What?”

“Lisbon, in portugal.”

“Yes I know where it is.”

“Well, I thought we should go and live there.”

“What!? Why?”

“Well I read this article online, and it said Lisbon was really cool and there’s lots of creative people there, and I thought we should go and do that.”

“Have you ever been to portugal?”

“No.”

“Can you speak portuguese?”

“No, you know i can’t.”

“Hmmmmm”

 

Liz basically shut me down there and then. Until the next day….

 

“So, I was thinking again, we should live in norway.”

“Norway?”

“Yeah, Norway.”

“I thought you wanted to live in Lisbon?”

“Yeah I did, but I read this article in the guardian today and it said Norway was amazing! Great education, amazing social infrastructure, outdoors lifestyle, what’s not to like?”

“Have you ever been to nor……”

“No! You know I haven’t. What’s your point?”

 

This went on for weeks.

 

Weeks and weeks and weeks.

 

“Did you know in Denmark” this,

“Do you know in Italy they do” that….

“Did you know you can buy a house in France for £35k?”

“But I don’t want to live in france”

“I know, I’m not sure I want to either, but we could be mortgage free!”

We decided we could do something different. We should do something different, but i’m not a brave person, never have been.

Liz, well she’s braver than me.

We talked for a few more evenings about travel, europe, motorhomes. Bloody motorhomes! I’ve never been into motorhomes!

After a few days, the house was on the market, and so the plan to wander began.

With a hope to just be, to get out of mortgage repayments, the depression of my pathetic 1% pension, the crippled nhs, fucking brexit, and all the stuff that makes you think aarrrggghhhhh, even if it doesn’t change your day  to day life very much.

For me, to get out of this country and look for another way is so appealing. To do something different, to find a place where an individual’s measure is something other than wealth, or even better, no measure at all. Maybe a new place to raise our little one? Who knows.

A chance to be….happier.

We bought our hymer in September, from a great guy who had spent a year travelling around Spain, Ibiza and Morocco with his partner. He seemed so relaxed, friendly, receptive. I want to be those things.

After a pile up on the m6 on our way home, and 3 hr tailbacks, I lurched into town. We’d been on the road since 7am, and it was now 10pm. I’m used to riding a motorbike, so parking our 6 meter long 2.5 meter wide van was a crap effort, but I’d already had a good feeling about our future home.

Fast forward a bit, and we’re now living with my parents. I have three weeks of work left, and six weeks until we leave the uk. The van is back from being mechanically sorted (though the brakes are a shambles, and going back next week to be fixed (again). We have some fettling to do (upholstery, electrics, soldering, floor laying to name but a few. All skills i’m about to acquire in the coming week or so – thanks youtube).

The logistics and admin to being ‘free’ are seemingly endless, and not at all how I imagined them to be, but the goal is nearing, and it, along with my wife and our youngster, and great parents ( thanks) are helping to keep a positive spin on all the potential pitfalls we encounter.

We are getting close, and the blog is beginning. I’ve never written, I doubt it’ll be much good to be honest, but the pictures will be amazing so stick with it.

– Craig