Three Years of JWalking

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.

Our expectations

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

Three Years JWalking

33 comments

  1. Wow where has 3 years gone!? I think you guys are incredible and inspiring. I often use you guys as examples when chatting to people that say “I wish we could just sell up and go but obviously that’s not real life” I’ve loved your adventures thus far and like you say here’s to many more. The fact you are together, experiencing and making memories is what life is about

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Jon and Jo – I so enjoyed reading your 3rd year anniversary post and by the end of it I was cheering for you both – having achieved the lifestyle you wanted and one that you went out and grabbed with both hands. I do hope that my husband and I get to meet up with you both some day and somewhere! You two sound like wonderful and like-minded people. Every word in your post resonated. We too set out from the UK with no plan and having sold everything. Not knowing how long we could last being world travelling explorers and nomads. But this is our fifth year – and we love it and hope we can continue for as long as possible. We have freedom. No regrets. We have found the world to be exciting and beautiful and people mostly good and incredibly generous. Travel on friends. *Raising my rum to you from the Caribbean!*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jo loves a rum so we really will have to meet up sooner rather than later. You’ll have to send us a detailed itinerary so we can compare dates!! Thanks so much for the very kind words Janice, really appreciated.

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  3. I think you sum it all up beautifully when you say every day together is a gift and should be savoured and appreciated. That is so true and something we often forget or take for granted. I hope you enjoy your next 3 years as much as you have the last. Cheers to you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such an inspiring post and bravo to the two of you for making it happen! Say yes to every opportunity. It takes some courage but such astounding results. Sending you very best wishes for the journey ahead!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Congratulations guys. It’s been a fabulous journey so far and I am delighted that it’s been such an amazing success. It’s been an absolute pleasure sharing you adventures and even featuring in one or two of the more humdrum ones. Here’s looking forward to the next 3 and the next 3 and the next……………

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an inspiring and delightful story. We are passionate travelers and would thoroughly enjoy doing the same as you two, but time is not on our side. Still, we are traveling wherever we can, whenever we can…and enjoying every last minute. As you say, every day is a gift. We began our blog (a short time ago) for the same reason…to inspire others to live their travel dreams. Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda, thanks for the lovely message. Every day is a gift so we all have to make the most of each and every one. Nice to meet you. Where are you currently?

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  7. You guys are truly inspirational, and I’m glad that this wasn’t a post about all the places you had travelled, even though I would have loved to have read about them too!! Instead a post on appreciation and gratitude for all your experiences and friendships made along the way. Good luck to you both and best wishes for many more wonderful memories like the past 3 years. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi J and J – yes we’re good – hunkering down for the winter looking forward to spring!!! Plans a bit in the air for now, Steve’s step d is getting married in London – either next year or 2020 – so if next year will attend the wedding and then plan a week or three around Scotland. If the year later – its a ummhmmm significant b’day for me so had planned on Uk and Italy anyway 🙂 Lets hope we can catch up somewhere!

        Liked by 1 person

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