Sometimes it doesn’t seem possible that we have been living this life for three years. Three whole years! But today is the anniversary of when we boarded that first flight on our way to the unknown adventures ahead.
Three years ago today we left London Stansted airport on a Ryanair flight to Dusseldorf/Weeze airport in north Germany. It was a poignant first step for us both as we had lived in Weeze for 3 years when Jonno was posted to RAF Laarbruch in the mid 1980s. Yes, that’s how old we are! The old RAF station is now the regional airport so it felt like the right way to begin.
As we left the UK we had no grand plan for the future not knowing where our path would lead us and what we would encounter along the way. We had no great desire to tick countries off a wish list and certainly didn’t entertain any concept of a bucket list. All we knew was that we had left our old lives and booked up a few months of travel. Beyond that our lives were unplanned.
Our most overriding feeling was one of relief to be honest after all of the effort required to sell our home, car and possessions and leave our jobs. It had been a seriously tiring few months which included all of the decision-making and planning for our initial JWalking trips. So the sense of relief to be finally on our way plus our need for some downtime and rest were the strongest emotions.
It seems very strange looking back that we had no life-plan but in all honesty we just felt that we needed to change our lives and that this was something that felt right. The story of how we came to our decision and the work involved in changing our lives can be found on previous posts The Email that Changed our Lives and Building a New Life in 11 Weeks.
Thoughts and being lucky
There were so many things that we didn’t consider or think about as we crossed the English Channel. We didn’t wonder how long we would travel for, or how long our finances would last, we just went for it. Before we left so many people told us that we were lucky to be able to just sell up and go and I always retorted that anyone could make the same decision, it wasn’t lucky at all. The really lucky part was that we both wanted the same thing at the same time.
The biggest surprise of all
The biggest surprise to us over the past three years has been the number of wonderful people that we have met, several of whom have become firm friends. We never ever guessed that would happen and it is without doubt the best part and biggest thrill of our travelling life so far. It isn’t seeing the sights or visiting world famous tourist destinations that we remember, it’s meeting new friends and sharing new experiences with them. Priceless.
Oh and we had never even heard of Housesitting or Helpx when we left and they have now become such important parts of our JWalking lives. We always had the utmost confidence that new opportunities would arise and both of us vowed not to miss any that were presented. We try to say Yes to everything. What have we got to lose?
Three years of JWalking
This anniversary post could easily have become a list of the places we have visited and a whole bunch of statistics on air miles, train journeys, and airbnbs. Although I do love statistics and have all of that incredibly interesting information to hand it really isn’t what our lives are all about. But if you do want a post crammed full of stats just ask and we will be pleased to comply (go on, ask).
I don’t think that travelling has changed either of us at all as we have always been a fairly relaxed, laid-back couple, but it has perhaps enhanced a few feelings that we have always had.
- Life isn’t about stuff, it’s about experiences.
- You will always regret the things that you don’t do more than those that you do.
- Most people are incredibly generous and friendly.
- There’s nothing wrong with physical work, it actually gives you a real sense of wellbeing.
- Every day we spend together is a gift and should be savoured and appreciated.
No more inspirational quotes and enough preaching for one day. We’d just like to say a huge thank you to every single one of you that has supported us throughout the past 1097 days, we are and always will be humbled by your interest and friendship.
Don’t forget that if we do turn up on your doorstep looking a bit bedraggled and pathetic you can just say go away and slam the door. You don’t have to let us stay. It would be nice if you did though.
My final few words and most important are not to all of you out there. They are aimed at one of you in particular. None of this would have been possible without Jo as she is my rock and the most wonderful person you could ever meet. Life, and JWalking, would not be the same without her by my side.
Thanks for everything and let’s hope the next 1097 days are just as good! Please, please, please keep in touch.
01/06/2015 – 01/06/2018