What a difference a year makes.

So it’s the 6th April 2017. Why is that important ? Well exactly one year ago today we decided to change our lifestyle and to recognise our first anniversary of that life changing decision I thought I should sum up how it’s been. The ups and downs, the good and bad bits, warts and all. So here goes….

Firstly the bad bits and what we miss.

Well surprisingly very little but sometimes it’s the small things that count. The Convenience having a washing machine on tap 24/7, water that just comes out of the tap without having to fill it up every three days, a W.C that doesn’t need emptying every other day, the ability to leave things messy, our garden, our house. Angie misses ‘home’, Would any of the above change our decision. Not a jot!

More importantly our family, our friends and our son. Because of our forced absence we probably make more of an effort to catch up and see everyone when we return back to our home area. They also make an effort to come and see us. When we meet there is a real interest in catching up with each other’s news and a small sadness that it will be another few months until we see them again but in a way this actually makes the friendship stronger. My dancing friends make a real fuss of me on my return after two or three months away and all of this makes us feel loved valued and missed.

We also strangely sort of miss the routine of the 9-5 where you don’t have to think what day of the week it is or what you should do that day because it is already pre planned for you wether you like it or not (most of the times not). We have yet to complete a tour of duty for the club so are expecting this feeling to dissipate. We certainly do not miss the traffic jams or the daily commute the alarm clock or the daily grind. Neither of us miss work in the slightest but do miss our work colleagues although still see most of them when we can.

Selling the house was the biggest decision to make but one that needed to be done to make this happen. We were and still are nervous about being off of the property ladder but it is also quite liberating. No bills, no maintenance, no upkeep and all of our free time (which is a lot at the moment) is our free time. Having now met so many unconventional people that have also given up homeownership to live a free lifestyle we realise that you don’t necessarily need bricks and mortar even in your old age and there are so many other options open to us than having to own a house or flat albeit that may still be an option. We were unaware of just how many thousands of people live in caravans or a motorhome all year with no intention of ever buying another property and are so fit and healthy because of it.

Ryan- Probably our biggest concern. We effectively forced his hand and made him move out into a position where he now has to devote half his salary to the art of living.  He is 21 and six months on, he is a better young man for it. We support him emotionally and help out financially when needed. In all honesty if we had carried on the way we were he would still be living at home drinking his salary away down the pub and relying on his mum and dad for basically everything and probably be doing that for the next five years. As it is he is now renting a two bedroom house which he calls home has a steady girlfriend who stays with him some nights a cat called Kier and a much more responsible outlook on life. We have seen him flourish in his new responsibilities and so far so good. Would he want to move back to his old life – Nope!

So on to the good bits

Well firstly it’s 2.37pm on a Thursday afternoon. Normally I would be sitting in the office with another four and a half hours to go before I leave to go home and I would get home at about 7.30pm. Instead I sit here doing the last edit to this blog post in full sunshine wearing nothing else than a pair of jean shorts and topping up the tan. Enough said?

What we have done. There is no denying that if we had carried on with our old life since September when we picked up Catori the motorhome we would have done nothing much other than work, have Christmas to excess and may now have been looking forward to a weeks holiday in the next month or so. What we have actually done is

Purchase and collect Catori the motorhome.

Uk Tour in  Catori – Verwood, Oxford, North Norfolk, Fareham, Bosham, found carefree (which we now feel is home).

Buy Smart Car

Set off for our first tour in France:-Pevensey, Dover U.K, Calais, Le Crotoy, Le Manns, Orléans, Château de Chambord, ChâteauDe Villandry, La Rochelle, La Tremblade, Les Mathes, Meschers-sur-Gironde, Bordeaux, Bizet-sur-Baïse, Condom, Midi-Pyrénés, Gruissan, La Grande-Motte Languedoc, Nîmes, Pont-du-Gard, Claremont-Ferrand, Thiepval memorial and back to Calais.

Came back to U.K  Chertsey, (for induction day) Lincoln,(tow bar and tow car fitted) Fareham.

Set off for Spain:- Portsmouth, Caen, Mouzillon, Montguyon, Castebon Pyrénéés, Zaragoza Spain, Benicarló, Peñíscola, Vinaròs, Pineda de Mar Catalonia, Castillion, Donzenac, Mont-Saint-Michel, Caen.

Came back to U.K for a month working in Theobalds Park.

Mini U.K Tour :-Kingsbury water park Birmingham, for N.E.C to buy awning. Cotswolds, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Burford and the Slaughters, Bibury, Bouton-on-the-water, Morton-in-marsh, Stow-on-the-wold, Castle Combe, Devises, Kennet and Avon Canal, Tavistock, Dartmoor National Park and finally back to Fareham (Carefree) before starting our first seven months at Theobalds park.

Slightly more interesting than the 9-5? Yep. What we have seen is parts of the UK that we had previously not seen and we have not even scratched the surface of UK touring! As for Europe well although we feel that we have seen a lot it we have not. To provide an analogy what we have done so far is not even as much as getting the screwdriver out of the tool box to take the lid off of the first tin of paint to start painting the forth road bridge. A Minuscule amount of traveling and so much more to see.

After being given 5 days to get set up mostly in the sun wearing shorts and a sports vest. The van is set up in its dog escape-proofed compound. Molly now has the run of the van the awning and the compound and grass under her feet. She is loving it. We have a sunny spot with a relatively private corner for our bistro table and chairs for breakfasts lunch and evening meals in the sun and  and a fourty hour a week contract for 30 weeks which by my calculations should give us enough savings throughout the summer to pay for five months of play time in the Spanish sunshine or similar.

I walk or run Molly most mornings and evenings along the new river and in the distance I can see the M25 and A10 which are gridlocked, I listen to the radio and the reports of the M27 junction 9 being slow or closed due to an accident and I truly feel very lucky that we have decided to change how we live life. Although we have seven months of ‘work’ ahead of us, mowing the grass on a tractor in shorts and t’ shirt in the sun , helping people on to their pitch or booking a weeks stay for a holiday maker over the phone isn’t actually work is it?

I am acutely aware that not everyone is as fortunate as we are to be able to make a huge change like this but I am also conscious that we nearly didn’t because it is/ was a risk we are aware that there are many many people who absolutely could do something similar but are not brave enough to do so. If you are one of those who may be reading this ….

LIFE IS NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER OF BREATHS THAT YOU TAKE IT IS ABOUT THE NUMBER OF TIMES THAT YOUR BREATH IS TAKEN AWAY.

GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS. LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGINED!

The easiest decision to make is to not make a decision!

Would we go back? – NO – 100% NO. 

Would we encourage others to do something similar if they could and willing to take the gamble ?  100% YES!

We have so many photos and memories but here are just a few that give a snap shot of our last six months.

As for the next seven months? Well if our first 10 days of work returning to the site are anything to go on we are going to love it. It is so relaxed, we wake with the sun and if we are on five days of lates have a leisurely breakfast in the awning or in our garden as we don’t start till 12.30 and finish at 6pm with an hour for lunch. We remain on duty till 8pm but from the enjoyable surroundings of our sunny garden with a cup of tea in hand.The next week is five days of Earlies with a quick toilet check at 7am and then effectively 9- 4.30 with an hour for lunch. We have Wednesday and Thursdays off each week.

We move a few vans, mow some grass, do a bit of office work and if on earlies a toilet clean, chat to the guests and generally do our best to make the site as pleasant and friendly as possible –  job Done!

As this blog is to follow our travels and how we have been able to change our lives – (definitely for the better! ) there will not be too much to post over the next seven months so there will be very few posts.  We never can tell however, so if you wish to follow us without needing to keep checking our blog click on the ‘follow us’ tab at the bottom of this page and you will be e-mailed every time we do a post ( which may not be till October). But for now we will be signing off and we hope to catch up with you all again as we escape the cold of the British winter to see another small slice of Europe. If you wish to contact us then you can do by leaving a comment or e-mailing us direct.

Have a great summer everyone

Gids & Angie

5 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes.”

  1. Great report and description of the lifestyle that we both enjoy….

    We had similar concerns to you before making the change to a free lifestyle without the constraints that society try’s to place on us…..
    The reality is that the most difficult thing is making that decision in the firat place…. once made you just don;t look back…..

    As you know Anne and I have just completed our second year of ‘full timing’ and we have absolutely no plans to stop anytime soon….

    That difficult decision was actually the best one we have ever made..!!

    We are looking forward to seeing you both again at the end of August as we come to the end of our third full timing summer…..

    Enjoy life…….

    Liked by 1 person

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