This is a slight departure from our normal blog posts in that I am going to tell you a story. Not just any story but the story of one of the first steps that got us into our JWalking way of life. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee or something stronger, switch off the TV, put that packet of paprika pringles down, and journey back three years to 2015 with me.
In March 2015 we were both still in full-time careers in Kent in England but seriously thinking that there must be more to life than that. At that stage we had sold our house and given away 90% of all of our possessions and were living in a lovely little rented house in Coxheath just outside of Maidstone. We had deliberately got ourselves into that situation as we knew that some life changes needed to be made. We just didn’t know what they would be yet.
Countless long walks and discussions about the future punctuated our lives as we both tried to figure out what direction we wanted our lives to take. Could it be changes of job, moving to a new town, working together, travelling, doing nothing? All we were totally sure about was that it was time to move on to something new.
Then on March 4th we began to see the light. I sent a fairly innocuous email from work to Jo just chatting about the morning and just threw in the following question.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you most like to travel to?
We often talked about where we’d like to visit so it was just an innocent throwaway question really like so many others we had regularly exchanged.
A couple of hours passed by and I thought no more of the email or the question as I was obviously engrossed in my fabulously interesting job(!). Just before lunch I received the following reply.
Hi, the start of my wish list (in no particular order, with no particular knowledge geographically regarding the order):
- New Zealand (with Asia stop over?)
- Australia (coastal as well as city/Shelagh)
- Canada ( Vancouver and mountains/canoe on a lake/river/national parks?)
- America (San Francisco, Chicago, National Parks, Washington, not sure about NY)
- Croatia (more of the coast)
- Moscow and St Petersberg
- Holland (Andy and cycling)
- Germany (southern)
- Scandinavia (northern lights?)
- Wales – (walk a coastal path/Snowdonia)
- Lake District
Does it match yours?
Well it did match my list and matched it almost identically. Before anyone starts using the term ‘bucket list’ this was definitely not one of those as we both detest the expression. Neither of us is planning on kicking the bucket anytime soon so it was just a plain and simple wishlist. We don’t want to hear the B word again thank you.
So the next few evenings were spent discussing our lists and talking about travel and generally getting nowhere fast.
A week later we were sitting in Harrys Kitchen at the Lockmeadow Entertainment complex on the banks of the River Medway in Maidstone having a coffee and a bacon sandwich when we both just looked at each other and said “let’s do it“.
“Just quit our lives and go!”
Instantly we both knew that it was the right decision and the direction that we wanted to go. An afternoon of planning, getting excited, a fair amount of “Are you really sure?“, and lots of scribbling lists and checking calendars and we were sorted.
Next morning, Monday March 16th 2015, we both went into work and gave in our notice! Two months notice.
We set our life-changing date as June 1st, just 11 weeks ahead in which to plan and arrange everything. No problem.
Just needed to tell everyone now ……………….
We’ve been asked so many times how we decided to change our lives and what the steps were that we took, that I thought I would put it into print and publish here. We could go into how those 11 weeks developed and the unbelievable mountain of tasks that we needed to get through if you were interested?