The Big Why, and the Lesser Thought Through What
Both of us hit our early 40’s recently and crossed a threshold of having been continuously at work in successful careers for around 20 years. We found out that children were not an option for us and so quietly (regularly and usually through a cheery alcohol induced smog) set about planning for a life. A life which was just a little different and made the most of our circumstances.
We considered many different options, lots of “what if’s”, or “how about’s” but these generally fell into the camp of work relocation to another country. Over time we realised that whilst this would be exciting, it meant lifting our lives up from the UK and moving it piecemeal somewhere else. It just didn’t grab us enough.
The answer surprisingly came – like all good ideas – out of the blue. We were out with our friends, Rich & Ranj, and one of them suggested just packing it (our jobs) in, taking a risk, going travelling and spending time on our travels contemplating the bigger questions of “what next” whilst taking in the sights, smells and experiences of the places we’d always wanted to go.
As you can imagine, this suggestion came up quite late at night, several drinks had been consumed. I turned to Michelle, a little blurry eyed and we both had that look of knowing that this was the thing. THE idea that we’d been looking for. From that moment we didn’t look back.
Once the wine had worn off, it was immediately obvious to us that this was a pretty big deal…. 20 years of working and doing what people do. We have built up quite a collection of reasons why spending a year travelling the world was just not possible. Work was one. Owning a house another (well, when I say “owning” I do of course mean in the most modern of senses in that we owned half, the bank own the other half and for that pleasure we were expected to regularly contribute to their bottom line). Lack of finances. And most of all our beautiful dog, Juno.
The tough part
In truth, unpicking all of our commitments has caused us the biggest problems in the build up to our departure date (you can read more about our build up here). Unsurprisingly, planning our trip was moderately easy (once we’d got over the fact that the lifestyle we had become accustomed to wasn’t one we were able to continue…not without it being the most expensive and shortest round the world trip ever).
In the end we focussed more on the immediate; what had to be done today that would stop us going away tomorrow. We both resigned, house is up for rent (still not rented yet, causing us some concerns…), repairs around the house which we’d been intending on doing for some while but never quite got around to, cancelled the things that were monthly outgoings such as broadband, tv package, national trust subscription (hey, our life has been quite comfortable to now!), sold our car and have combed through the house several times with things either a) being packed, b) sold online or c) given to charity or d) thrown away (which both of us have found amazingly therapeutic actually).
Step by step, slowly but surely we unblocked the things that would stop us going.
The absolutely toughest part
The biggest emotional hurdle was what to do with Juno but even in that regard we are lucky in that my parents have her sister…and love Juno almost as much as we do.
We’d bought them Nora (Juno’s sister) when we got Juno because not long before they’d lost their previous dog, the lovely and sorely missed Tara. In fact, I remember saying that Nora was our gift to them and the only thing we ask in return is that they look after her for us when we go on holiday…ha! They didn’t see this one coming! Luckily Juno is always very happy there and my parents love having her, so readily agreed to look after her for us. Seeing Juno and Nora together I suspect it will be harder for us to say goodbye than her.
That said, we wanted to spend some of our travelling time with Juno to share some of our experiences. This changed our thinking somewhat about how to do our trip and the idea of travelling in a motorhome for the first leg was born.
It is quite some mental challenge to let things go, to say goodbye to a life built over a number of years, put it on hold indefinitely and still now with three weeks to go we suffer moments of panic, stress, excitement almost on an hourly basis.
Mostly though, all three at once………..a giant leap at life.