The Email that changed our lives

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):

Far away

  • 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)
  • Caribbean

Mid distance

  • Croatia (more of the coast)
  • Moscow and St Petersberg
  • Holland (Andy and cycling)
  • Germany (southern)
  • Scandinavia (northern lights?)


  • Wales – (walk a coastal path/Snowdonia)
  • Scotland
  • Jersey
  • 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?

Life changing
Little were we to know how far this decision would take us and how much our lives would change.


  1. Yes, it is easy once the decision has been made. We certainly have no regrets and won’t be stopping anytime soon. Bucket lists and those irrating blog titles 10 ways to … or Let me tell you the BEST places to see. Empty blogging posts. No soul!! Did you hear me scream? Good on you two, sounds like it was the best decision. By all accounts you are still enjoying the lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re still loving the lifestyle and can’t now imagine ourselves living any differently. The initial decision is the big one though. Once you get through that it’s plain sailing (sort of).


    • You’re so right Kate, that first decision is the biggest hurdle. Then each step seems to be fairly straightforward. We’re still making slow steady steps but have no idea where we’re going really, all part of the adventure.


  2. This is truly inspiring – I mean that.

    You´ve taken a decision that took some guts but its worked out.

    Looking forward to seeing you both again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this and I think it’s amazing you guys took the plunge and went for it! I know I lead a random life but we still have that security that every move is a set plan for x amount of time. I love that you guys just go for it, making your way down your list (high five for Jersey btw) what freedom is all about

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, you’ve actually hit the nail on the head when you say that we are like minded. Our life wouldn’t work if we both didn’t want the same things.


    • Nice of you to say so Fran. It’s just great when other people enjoy and perhaps get something from our story and blog posts. We love that.


  4. Paprika Pringles! Is that a real thing? It’s a great story. Definitely top 5. I’m looking forward to the Jwalking adventures in the Caribbean, Moscow and St Petersberg, Scandinavia, Jersey, Wales and the Lake District!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course they’re real. Paprika flavoured pringles are the best ones by far! Need to start planning those JWalking excursions soon then so as not to disappoint our top commenter don’t we?


    • Thanks for the comment Fiona, just sorting out that next 11 week post now. It is our dream and we’re so lucky to be able to live it currently.


  5. Just logged on and found your follow up to this, which I haven’t read yet. I did as you suggested, and went to your this post first – then also as you suggested, made a cuppa and read it. It reflected to some extenct the beginning of our life changing journey in 2013/14. We didn’t follow through with our intended life changes, although the beginning of our journey led us to a different place than we would have otherwise been if we hadn’t started that journey. Reading your beginning story has brought tears to my eyes…. not tears of regret, but tears of remembering making that life changing jump and everyone thinking we’d lost our marbles, and now the anticipation of reading the story of someone else who jumped in the deep end, but in your case you’ve kept going with the tide. We climbed out…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It isn’t the right path for everyone Chris, in fact probably isn’t right for hardly anyone. We are so lucky that we both want exactly the same things though. So where did you climb out to?


  6. It’s a brilliant story, I feel priveleged that I was actually around to witness some of it at the time. I remember a trip to Maidstone United one lunchtime in March 2015 in the Fiesta…. and a few lunchtime walks around Shepway. It’s really great that the plans and the journey have taken you both this far!

    Liked by 1 person

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