Recently I was asked to detail why we travel in no more than 500 words. While I didn’t manage to keep to the word count, here is my response.
Our story is not one of high end luxury getaways, nor is it a cutting edge tale about trekking through jungles, summiting volcanoes or circumnavigating the world in just thirty days. Ours is a back to basics travel story. Devoid of the usual smattering of over the top metaphors and similes, lacking in prose. Simply put, it’s an 11000 mile journey, a family of five, two cats and a caravan. It’s volunteering our way around Europe, six countries, seventeen projects and counting. I invite you to join me as attempt to condense the most rewarding year of my life, to date, into the remaining four hundred words.
It’s difficult to know where to start with a story like ours and it’s near impossible to articulate the emotions involved when your original dream or vision is realised and it is all you imagined and then some. My husband and I set off with a romanticised notion of what the year would hold and how the life lessons our children would learn would justify the gamble we were taking. We had no evidence or point of reference to explain this overwhelming gut feeling just an incredible sense of urgency- it needed to happen.
From the very offset there were obstacles- testing us, trying us, steering us and guiding us. Each new country brought with it new cultures, foreign languages, unfamiliar sights, sounds and flavours. Our senses were working overtime, as were our bodies. For with each new stop came an entirely new project. And just as we had completed one, sweat dripping from our brows, muscles aching, it was time to pack up the caravan and start all over again. New people, new project, new country. At each stop we attempted to exceed our hosts expectations and at each stop our hosts exceeded ours. This past year and a half has seen our family work on farms, take care of animals, remove and replace an entire farmhouse roof. We have built a fire pit, a shed and an activity centre for goats. Our three teenage children, plucked out of suburbia, have learnt to operate tractors, prune grapevines, fell trees and have grown in most beautiful sense of the word. We have seen each country through the eyes of it’s people and we have fallen in love at every stop.
Our hard work has rewarded us with friends and mentors and these unique, insightful, colourful characters have tightly woven themselves into the fabric of our family, as I believe we have done in return. This kind of connection is not found in a package holiday and no amount of money can buy it. This kind of experience is different, it’s why we travel.
That brings us to today, amid a global pandemic, with borders closed and lockdowns enforced you might be wondering what happened to our full-time, travelling family. Well, as many of you already know, the five of us reluctantly returned to the UK on the 9th September 2020 but that is not where our story ends. While back in the UK we plan to undertake eleven mini adventures which will help prepare us for a charity trek to Base Camp of Mount Everest in October 2021. We will keep travelling, keep adventuring and keep encouraging others to do the same.
If you would like to find out more about our Base Camp trip click here and if you are interested in keeping up with our upcoming adventures sign up for the blog or follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.