Navigator, Cook, Stores buyer, chocolate hoarder, Random place finder, video creator (learning), sports mad.
All opinions on this site are my own & don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the family. That's their problem- they should have done their own website. 😉
Our personal Chauffeur (he hates being driven), Biker, Mechanic, can fix anything with duct tape and zip ties, Computer genius, crisp muncher, Drone pilot. Incredibly patient husband & father but refuses to put his shoes away in the cupboard. Guess nobody's perfect.
Music maestro, singer, artist, avid book reader, obsessive about Harry Potter, Phantom of the Opera, Beauty & the Beast and YouTube. Epic sleeper. Cool place finder- just needs to learn where England is on a map before asking for a 'weekend road trip to Siberia'.
Our Story- the Short(ish) Version
In 2017 we bought a motorhome.
In itself, this isn't that life-changing. Except for us, it totally was.
We'd debated buying a van/ caravan/ motorhome for years- but we'd always dismissed the idea. After all, we owned a boat- when would we ever find time to go off in a Motorhome?
But we did- and it changed the way we prefer to travel. We've never liked staying in one place for a long time. A week in a resort is not something we do very often- we prefer to hire a car and drive around to explore the area. This is exactly what we enjoy in our motorhome.
In 2017 we explored Wales, Scotland, England, France, Italy, Switzerland & Leichtenstein! (Watch our video on the right sidebar to see the highlights.) We loved it so much that when we returned I handed in my notice at work and in 2018 we're heading off again. This time we're heading for Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Spain & Portugal. And maybe Morocco!
If you'd like to learn more about our story, keep reading below for the longer version.
Our Story- the Longer Version
Our first home together was a 22ft sailboat. Let me tell you, living in a tiny space with someone is a great way to tell very quickly if you like them or not!!
Even all those years ago, in my early 20s, we were happy to live 'outside the box' if it helped enhance our life. By living on a small boat, we were able to save a lot of money- as well as having stunning views across the harbour.
Since then, we've lived on several boats (including a concrete one!!), in a caravan and a (very brief) stint at the in-laws. Over the past 14 years we've spent less than 3 years living in a house. This wasn't solely a money choice- we actually prefer living on a boat. It's smaller, yes, but we feel so much more connected to our world than we do from inside a building. We watch more sunrises and sunsets, we hear the wind howl but we also see the moon rise and the tide ebb and flow. There's more wildlife around- we even have a couple of swans who believe we are the best place to get breakfast in the morning! If you'd like to read more about why we love Boat Life, click here.
The Rat Race (aka we sold our souls!)
We're not sure exactly how it happened, but we woke up in 2017 and realised we'd been sucked into the 'rat race'. Somehow, we had cars which needed paying for, rent (we'd started living in a house again- just to try it) and so much STUFF! We'd always been proud of the fact that everything which was important to us fit into two cars- but not anymore. Worse, we were working hard every single today to make enough money to pay for all this stuff. Somehow, our lifestyle had grown to match our wages and we'd lost our freedom.
Even while raising our daughter, we used to save over half of our paycheck each month. We treated ourselves occasionally- but we were shocked to realise 'occasionally' now meant a takeaway (or two!) each week, meals out, new clothes whenever we felt like it, taxis, new toys- and I don't mean for her! After being frugal for so long, it felt amazing to be able to spend. It was like someone who's been on a diet for years finally eating bread. Or cookies. We'd completely lost control of our spendingand as a result retiring early and being able to travel was slipping further & further away.
Reality hits home
Life would probably have continued that way for several years- us working, making good wages and spending them quickly- but two things forced us to stop & re-evaluate our choices.
The first was me hitting mid- 30s (ssssh!) Suddenly, time felt short, yet there were still so many things I wanted to do. I'd barely even scratched the surface of my bucket list. I realised I'd seen maybe 5 countries in the past few years. We were spending all this money but we'd stopped travelling. If we carried on at this rate, I'd be 176 by the time I finished my list! That started us back on the path to reassessing our priorities. We wanted to buy a home base somewhere - but where? We wanted to travel- but how when we both worked? We didn't have all the answers, but we were talking about possibilities again- which is always the first step to any awesome plan.
Then, quite unexpectedly, we lost Mr WB's mother to cancer. Within 3 months we went from laughing and making plans with her over Sunday dinner, to the horrible emptiness and shock which comes from losing a loved one. She was a massive part of our lives and we miss her every single day. It breaks my heart that she died still talking about things she wanted to do.
This awful event shocked us completely out of our comfortable routines. We started to look our lives: Were we happy? Mostly. Were we fulfilled? Not really. Are we knocking items off our bucket lists? Hardly ever. Do we want to do something to change this? Yes. Definitely.
We needed a new life plan.
So we started to do something to bring us closer to our goals. We began saving money again like crazy people- our poor daughter didn't know what hit her!
I applied for a Gap Year from my job to be taken in 2019, which coincided with daughter being 18 and finishing college. This would give us some time & freedom to explore the world further afield.
However, as soon as we returned from our summer exploring Europe we realised a gap year wasn't going to cut it. There were so many places to see & explore and we hate that feeling of counting down the days until work begins again. We wanted to be free from the schedules and demands of employers on our time. Mr WB runs his own company, so we pushed hard to get that as successful as possible in order for it to provide us with an income and allow him to travel. (We may have pushed slightly too hard- but that's another story!)
Within 12 months of our original 5 year plan, we'd paid off our debts, bought a motorhome, bought two new motorbikes to go touring on and have a decent cushion in the bank. So I made the exciting/ terrifying decision to hand my notice in at work (roll on February 2018!)
Around a year ago I discovered a quote - "Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life" (Robin Sharma.)The realisation that this is exactly what we were doing was shocking to us- and spurred us on even faster. I have no idea what is going to happen in 2018- but I do know it's not going to be the same as 2017.
We hope you can follow along with our journey- and if you have any recommendations for places to visit along the way, please let us know!
We love to hear from you
We hope you enjoy our stories and maybe they will inspire you to have your own adventures.
Whether you travel or not- we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us via this website or connect with us on Social Media- links are on the sidebar. 🙂