In the beginning…
Skyping with Kim, unbidden I think: How about if we gave up our jobs and went travelling for 2 years?
Well why not.
My lovely grandparents died over the same weekend 2 years ago, my lovely step dad worked hard his entire life for a relaxing retirement with Ma, only to be struck down with dementia, and now spends his days bedridden, trapped in his body and mind. Life is unpredictable, fiery and takes just as much as she gives.
Without any further thought it was decided, for me at least.
We had the lovely Kevin and Alf over for dinner that evening and I ran the idea by them, then Jhubz (who’d arrived home after they’d arrived) we all think it’s a good idea, woohoo!
It just so happens that it’s the Ashford Hill Village Fete, where we ran the idea by Mum and Shamie, who were all wonderfully positive.
And so we bought lots of cakes, it seemed the right thing to do. Good decisions should always be accompanied by cake.
JHubz skyped his family and shared our thoughts, they were delightfully positive, if a little bemused.
So we are agreed, we are going to do it.
Travel for 2 years in ten countries, ish.
Now to plan…
With any large life decision I go through a cycle of ARGH/EEK/ARGH until the change has bedded down in my psyche. Right now I’m still trying to balance the sick feeling of nervousness? Anticipation? Outright terror with holding the excitement. Trying to stay here, in the moment, in London, with all that is going on and the need to plan and prepare for what will happen in a year. I want a cigarette. I think it’s 2 months now that I haven’t smoked (YAY ME). I’m not going to have one. But I want one. A lot.
The listing has started, countries we want to visit, visas we will need, the weather, what to see, what will we do with the flat, our stuff, the cat, will she be alive then? I hope so but at the same time leaving her will break my heart, but ooh coming back to her after years away would be awesome! But you are in London right now, breathe, you are going to be here for a while. But what do we need to plan first? Backpacks? What sort, liners? How big? How heavy? Will I be able to carry it? should I cancel my health insurance, I mean it seems a waste of money if I have the NHS here but if anything happened in the interim would the NHS cover me, and on and on and giddy hysterics. We really are going to do this.
Do we want to work when we are away? Do we need to? To Teach English as a Foreign Language or not to TEFL, and to be as clear as mud apparently the qualification you want isn’t even called a TEFL it’s a CELTA or TESOL. A quick search reveals you may as well burn your money than do many of the courses that come up when you search TEFL. The only 2 with any weight are the aforementioned CELTA and TESOL, which a much more limited number of accredited colleges provide full and part time courses for. 4 weeks of full time and 12 weeks of part time intensive study and about £995 later you’ll, if good enough, be the proud owner of a certificate letting you teach all sorts of places. If we want to. Do we want to? I don’t know, we have money and will be able to save a bit more in the next year, I don’t see us living and working and teaching English somewhere, I see us exploring and having adventures and stuff, the stuffs not so clear yet but the excitement about it is. So not ruled out, but shelved, for the time being.
Started optimistically, researched such fun things as storage, mandarin lessons and travel insurance. Having a wave of sadness that all this, the ease, London as a whole, would be gone, feel sick inside, glad we’ve told people and I can’t back out. Back to eek and ugh all at once.
The photo is JHubz and a panoramic shot of Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, May 2014