We’re Jo and Jon, an English couple who have turned our lives upside down. We’ve quit our jobs, sold our home, got rid of all of our stuff and are doing a bit of what the young people call travelling.
We aren’t particularly adventurous and don’t make decisions rashly but really felt that we had got a point in our lives where we needed to take a new path and shake things up a bit.
Now there are lots of people who decide to travel the world and have gap years and most of them write brilliant stories and blogs about their adventures. There isn’t anything special about us except perhaps that we are a little older than most being in our mid 50s.
The Background Story
This isn’t a story of feeling unfulfilled or dissatisfied with what we’ve got or of having a wasted life, in fact it’s the complete opposite. We have done everything we’ve ever wanted to do and been very happy and fulfilled ever since we first met 39 years ago.
I, Jon, was in the Royal Air Force for 6 years and we had a fantastic life serving at RAF Northolt in Middlesex, RAF Marham in Norfolk and RAF Laarbruch in Germany. We had six amazing years socialising and travelling and just making the most of every opportunity that we were presented with. The time in Germany was particularly good as we visited so many places in Europe and probably caught the travelling bug then.
Back in the UK we lived in Nottingham and Leicester before settling in Maidstone Kent where we had our most incredible adventures bringing up our three wonderful boys. I won’t go on about it too much but being parents has been the greatest thing in both of our lives and continues to be. Our boys are everything to us.
So we were in a situation where our boys had left home and started their own lives, and we were back to being newly-weds (almost). We felt that we had a decision to make. Either sit back and enjoy the slow drift towards retirement with more money and time to relax, or get up and take a different path. There is nothing wrong with relaxing after years of hard work and enjoying the better things in life but it just wasn’t for us.
So we decided to take that first step …..
We left England with just a suitcase each and a backpack at the end of May 2015 and flew out to Holland to start our little adventure. We’d decided to spend a few months in Europe quietly adjusting to our new life before heading out to the other side of the world in September. So a month living with Airbnb hosts in Holland, Germany and Austria followed by a few days back in the UK then off to Australia.
We then had 3 months in Australia and another 3 months in New Zealand before returning via Singapore to England in the middle of March 2016.
A few days visiting friends and family and catching up seemed to flash past quickly and we found ourselves back at London Gatwick airport ready to fly off again. This time it was west to the United States and Canada.
We then enjoyed 3 months wandering around the USA before spending another 5 months travelling across Canada until we returned to the UK in December 2016.
Canada was absolutely brilliant and the US was equally great. We loved San Francisco, Boston and especially Chicago but our time in Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler was fantastic. The whole trip across both countries was immense and we’ll never forget it.
We had a change of pace and direction in 2017 when we decided to try housesitting and registered on the TrustedHouseSitters site to see how it went. We planned to try a few sits around the UK and also do a few working stays as there are so many places that we still haven’t seen at home. Well it was a massive success. We spent the whole year housesitting and working all over England, Scotland and Ireland and thoroughly loved the lifestyle.
Then, 2018, was even more exciting as we completed an incredible three month adventure in New Zealand. It was our second big trip there so we must have quite liked it a bit I guess. Then 6 months working in Italy followed by Scotland on Helpx stays before a few more housesits in England until the end of the year. Throw in our backpacking trip through Germany, Holland and Norway plus a December visit to Krakow and it was a wonderful year.
Twenty Nineteen was even better with incredible trips to Malta, Egypt, Scotland, Normandy and Munich plus road trips up the wonderful Northumberland coast and Yorkshire, and a few weeks exploring North Wales and Snowdonia. Intersperse all of these with various housesits all around England with new friends and amazing dogs and the year was an enormous success.
Everyone knows about 2020 don’t they and the worldwide pandemic so our travelling lives were seriously curtailed like so many others. Our escape from Tenerife as the world started locking down was exciting before 4 months living in North Devon and then the rest of the summer in Hove in Sussex. A fabulous road trip around Shropshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire followed before our tough Bridges of London Challenge which we absolutely loved. More of that please. Some lovely return housesits finished the year before 2021 sort of fell apart with a complete lockdown in the UK.
So it’s been monthly Airbnb stays in southern England so far this year but looking forward to more adventures when we can with a few sits already booked through the summer.
So far so good.
Oh, and because we keep being asked if we’re travelling and we really don’t like the expression we’ve decided that we are ‘Land Sailing‘ instead. We are carefully drifting around the world at our own speed doing our own thing.
Please say hi in a comment if you have a moment as we love linking up with people, especially other travellers. Only takes a second or two and it would make two old JWalkers, or LandSailors, very happy.