Meet the Team
The Main man.
Newly retired from London Fire Brigade.
The Navigator/ Brains of the outfit.
Primary School Teacher.
Disillusioned with the current education system and taking a break from the chalk face.
What’s the story?
Many of the best love stories begin on a journey: Titanic, Brief Encounter, The African Queen, Bonnie and Clyde…..
Ours is no different; it began on the 78 bus from Bermondsey to Peckham – our school bus. This was in 1982, an incredible 35 years ago.
In the early days, we often talked about our dreams of travelling and finding out what was out there in the big, wide world. Steve applied to join the Royal Marines, in hopes of seeing the World. I tried unsuccessfully to get a job in a travel agents. We were both told to go away and get some qualifications and experience- in short, to grow up.
Well, we certainly did some growing up in the next few years! By the time we were 20, in 1987, we were married and had our first child. The 90s saw us adding to our family and getting proper, grown-up jobs; Steve as a Firefighter and me as a Teacher.
No, this didn’t mean that we lost our spirit of adventure. Any of you that have had children will know that raising children is the biggest adventure there is. Coupled with jobs that gave us all the new and challenging experiences we could handle, we can safely say that we’ve had rich and rewarding lives. But travel certainly took a back seat. Yes, we had holidays. Depending on our budget and limited to school holidays, we’ve spent wet and windy weeks in caravans, fun-filled package tours in sunny tourist spots and even a luxury break on a tropical island. However, the experience was always strangely similar. I spent endless hours reading books about people having wonderful adventures, while Steve spent hours listening to people singing about them. Mostly, we lounged around on sunbeds and recharged our batteries, ready for the next round of real life.
So, what changed? Well, over the last 10 years, we’ve both had health scares (some more serious than others), we’ve both lost our parents, and our two amazing daughters have struck out on their own, with their lovely partners.
We found ourselves hurtling towards middle age, with time on our hands and wondering what comes next. Like thousands of others, we’d watched every episode of those programmes that we call “Lucky Bastards in the Sun.”
But we knew deep down that we don’t really see ourselves living the ex-pat life, and we can’t imagine living so far from our girls.
Steve’s early retirement was the catalyst really. He reluctantly accepted after his last operation that early medical retirement was inevitable. It was while he was still at home recovering from the op that I came back from a night out with my friends and found him waiting for me with a strange look on his face and a request for me to “Just hear me out before you say anything. I’ve had an idea.” Now, this isn’t particularly unusual. I settled myself back with a brandy, ready to hear how the latest gadget he’d spotted on the internet was going to either transform our lives or make us rich.
So you can imagine my surprise when he suggested that as soon as he retired, I hand my notice in and we bugger off on an adventure, travelling around Europe for a year in a camper van! But you can’t begin to imagine his surprise when I said yes! He’d spent all evening preparing his case and practising his persuasive techniques, and I completely took the wind out of his sails. As far as I was concerned, it was a no-brainer. None of our parents had been lucky enough to enjoy a long and healthy retirement, and Steve himself has been dodging the Grim Reaper for the last few years. We both turn 50 this year and will be celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary.
We’d used the term “Life’s too short,” often enough. Now it was time to practise what we’d preached.
That was 18 months ago. The dream has changed a bit since that night. The campervan idea has been replaced by living in 18 different homes, and the year has become 6 months. It has taken more planning and organising than we ever thought possible. But the dream has been keeping us going through some frustrating times. And now it’s about to come true!
This website is about our journey – the journey is not about the website.
We will be uploading photographs, videos and drone footage of the amazing places we will be visiting. We’ll also be writing a weekly blog. If we can work out how to do it…….there will be a vlog linked to my Youtube page. Please bear in mind that we are technologically challenged at the moment, but it’s never too late to learn new skills!
Thank you to everyone who has supported us and wished us well, but especially:
Jen and Jo- our wonderful daughters. Love you Rats! xx
Rich and Luke- their partners. Look after our girls, you two!
Maureen and Steve- Thanks for looking after the house for us while we’re away. Welcome to Kent.
The J-cloths and their groupies- The best friends we could ask for.
Friends and colleaugues- Thanks for your support. Keep up the good fight!