by Karen Davies | Apr 7, 2018 | Personal Insights, Travel Blog, UK
Here we are half way through our trip back to Blighty and I felt inspired to write down my thoughts as we navigate our way through this strange period of our nomadic lives.
Operation UK, as we have lovingly called it, has been a journey full of the usual texture and colour that we have come to expect from our adventurous lives. Although I must admit as we prepared for our temporary homecoming, it had an odd hue of grey around the edges as I struggled to get my head – and my heart around going back.
As I reflect back to December, when our plans became more real, I remember the deep sense of dread which seems to be a recurring pattern when we consider a trip back to UK. It’s a really strange sensation as I picture ‘the return’ which fills me with uncertainty and anxiety. I’ve never been quite sure what has driven this feeling for my homeland. Although I embrace it, as I have every other emotional response we’ve had since we hit the road two years ago.
Our first trip back was Christmas 2016 for a mere three weeks and it was a whirlwind visit to spend precious time with friends and family. As I recall, this ‘return’ had a more intense fear to it, as we had only intended to travel for a gap-year whilst we sold some property, although such was our love for our new lives that we decided to keep going. So this trip was filled with an anxiety that played out some very strange scenarios for me;
Would we want to stay?
Would we harbour deep-seated regrets for all we had left behind?
Would there be a surprising desire to return to our roots and bricks and mortar?
I think it was the anticipation of these questions and doubts that nibbled away on the inside of my ego. Although thankfully none of them came to fruition and with a fervour in our heels, we hopped, skipped and jumped our way back to our new European homeland to seek out more life-enriching experiences. Our trip had been affirming, comforting and full of lovely reconnections, yet nothing held us back from the happiness we have found as nomads.
So you could be forgiven for thinking that having done it once I could come back to UK with a certain degree of confidence in my soul. Although this latest trip was for longer…. This could be up to three months! How would I cope with that and what unexpected nuances would influence our travelling landscape?
Just before we set out on our epic route back through France, to quote the famed Mr King, ‘I had a dream’… Said dream gave me an absolute clarity about our trip to UK and the role it played in our lives today and tomorrow. It wasn’t so much a ‘going back’ as an opportunity to consolidate a base on which more years of travel could be built on. That realisation brought me a resounding peace and in a flash of that waking moment, I said goodbye to dread and hello to positive purpose.
So often during the course of the last two years I have been reminded of my work as a life coach and the insights that clients and I create to heal their suffering. And here was yet another lovely lesson from my own story book… When things look difficult or tricky, hard or upsetting, then explore whether, within its fabric, is a positive purpose – a reason that that situation, interaction or person is in your life. Once we see this perspective, it makes our handling of it so much easier.
Added to this, an important conversation with a friend gave me the ‘ah-ha’ I sought to the source of my ‘RETURNING’ fear. Because we decided to swap our corporate stress for a more fulfilling sense of happiness, adventure and simplicity, coming back had the shadow of historical ghosts that lined up ready to suck me back into the nightmare of our previous lives. My fear was more about what the UK represented for me; a place where for too many years we struggled with stress, mental fatigue and people-pleasing traits that called the shots and that sent our lives into a seemingly uncontrollable spiral. A place that we chose to leave behind and one that we never want to return to, having found the enriching life of nomads.
With clarity of heart and mind we stepped on snowy UK shores with a determination that continues to drive us even into our second month. What was more interesting was that our arrival was exactly two years to the day that we had left for European shores. Was that a strange twist of fate or merely a co-incidence? I’ll leave this to your own imagination, as to ponder on its significance seems futile for us at this point. Perhaps it will become clearer at another junction of our lives, although for now we’ll put it down to co-incidence.
Intent on meaningful connections, productive selling, even more positive purchasing and a little milestone Birthday, we initiated our operation with the strategic character of a battle-field. A busy month has had our feet not even touching the ground and our to-do-list reducing day by day.
With a bit of an April respite as we housesit back on home turf in Taunton, a place that we proudly called home for four years, we smile at the way we have reacted to being back on the farm where it all started. Our old house next-door is now occupied by new tenants and as they make it their home, our memories strangely don’t feature in any wistful recollections. We simply feel grateful for all that was and all that is right now. Having this stationery sojourn feels comforting and known as we complete the next set of tasks from our list.
One month on, we are making excellent progress on the financial foundation and the social reconnections are being beautifully restored and whilst we sit here on a wet and grey UK day feeling just a bit jaded from our exploits, we know that we are doing well and navigating our intense journey with teamwork. We must though during this next phase of housesitting, allow our bodies (and our livers if we’re honest), take a rest and whilst it is important to see all our lovely friends and family, we must not to fall foul to the old people-pleasing beasts that lurk in the wings of our life’s stage. We must ensure that we continue to put our well-being first so that we may live our lives with the same energy we have up until this point.
And don’t get me wrong, my wanderlust is rising up from my feet with the eagerness of wild horses ready to run through wilderness, although for now this is not where we are meant to be. Our travels will resume soon and in fact there is plenty of adventure to be had in this phase of our lives. It is just shaped by a purposeful need to get our house in order so that we may move forward with greater certainty and confidence.
What will the next chapter bring? That we don’t know, although what we do realise is that with our partnership, love and resilience we can navigate it all with the deftness of a coursing river.
by Karen Davies | Oct 10, 2017 | Personal Insights
When you’re stuck in the system of life, the idea of travelling seems somehow quite Utopian. Escaping life’s rules and being free from all your worries and strife. Now there’s a dream we can all buy into.
Yet the reality of travelling is that there is no Utopia, no grass is greener on the other side. Don’t get me wrong, leaving the System and travelling full time in our camper has been the best decision we’ve ever made, (second to getting married, I hasten to add) and we’ve never been happier. It gives us an immense freedom, a joy that is indescribable and an inner peace that I’ve never had in my life. More importantly, I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
Although this is not a dream-like state where everything is rosy and where we all live happily ever after. Life still comes with strings attached, with unpredictable challenges and outright trauma sometimes. It is though all about how we handle those situations and which ultimately define us and our life experiences. Living on the road is no different.
As I reflect on our nomadic path, sat on the cusp of a change to our lifestyle, I feel like after 19 months travelling full time that I can, with a degree of credibility, assess life through more realistic glasses. And it is both beautiful and stretching all at the same time.
We have seen fellow nomads get caught up in hurricanes, we’ve seen couples not getting on and heading home, we’ve seen others being offered jobs that they couldn’t turn down or family having babies that draw them home. Sometimes illness throws you off course, the needs of a close relation calls for your support, or children need to return back to finish their schooling.
However we travel, for however long we travel, it is still life and the ups and downs still need navigating. That is something you can’t escape. And if travel feels like an escape, then don’t be fooled by this illusion as you will be disappointed. After all, our taxes still need paying and financial institutions still need interacting with.
A heap of questions danced in my mind about what would happen next
For us, we have recently had an opportunity to put our travel commitment to the test after a financial sideswipe threw us temporarily off course. Our journey so far has been blessed by only a few financial constraints. Whilst we are mindful of our expenses and we have a budget to honour, it hasn’t been, until now, hugely restrictive on a day to day basis. Yet a significant shift in our rental income hit us two weeks ago and sent us, well in truth me, spiralling into a vortex of uncertainty and panic.
A heap of questions danced in my mind about what would happen next as the reality of our situation expanded from just a short term issue to a medium term challenge. Now we’ve had some problems to deal with along our way, so I don’t think for one minute we have been complaisant on our nomadic journey although this change in finances, which came overnight, was a bit of a shock to the system.
I’m a great believer, when I’m not in a state of panic, that every situation offers learning and opportunity, even if it’s not clear at the time. So when the shock wore off, we were able to assess our new situation with fresh eyes. We looked at all avenues; the thought of returning back to UK was the one that filled me with most horror. Aside of that we had two basic considerations – how to generate more money and how to lower our expenditure.
…and from that moment on, drama turned into opportunity.
Given that returning to UK was not a desired route for either of us, we put our rational heads into gear and from that moment on, drama turned into opportunity. Within the space of a day we had come up with a strategy that was full of synergy and positivity where we could both reduce our spends and raise our income levels. It was a strategy we had already built into our vision before we left England and now it was time to initiate our house sitting plan.
What a perfect opportunity for us; a chance to stand still after 19 months of busy travels and working as travel bloggers. A great way to reign in our campsite fees, diesel, gas and general wear and tear on the vehicle. A way of meeting my ‘helping’ gene, allowing others to fulfill their travel needs and an lovely opportunity to experience a new part of Europe from the very heart of its community. Plus on top of all of this, we will have the time to push forward with our Motoroaming venture and expand our offerings, which is important to us both and hopefully generate some passive income.
And a year on we are still housesitting. We have two very special housesits in the South of France, who, when we’re in the area love to have us back. What a perfect symbiotic relationship it is.
We have turned what felt like a storm of travelling doom, into a silver-lined cloud
When we told a few friends about this, they have been gutted for us, as many of our plans for next year have had to be shelved. Morocco postponed, the Baltics rescheduled and generally our European travels restructured for 2018. And yet we are not only excited, we are so incredibly positive about this junction. With four house sits under our belt, secured in just one week, we know that this is what is destined for us – it is our vision coming to fruition and we couldn’t be happier.
We are still nomads, if that label is important, we are still travelling and we are still committed to full time adventures. There is no ending, no grieving, just travelling in a different way. We have turned what felt like a storm of travelling doom into a silver-lined cloud. As a result the Motoroamers will have some alternative travel perspectives and a new take on our destinations that we hope will inspire you and that we are excited to share very soon.
So what’s the moral of this story?
- Travel is just life lived differently to the norm, free from just some of life’s traditional rules.
- Travel comes with consequences and choices just like any other lifestyle.
- Challenges and dramas hit us when we least expect them, it’s how we choose to deal with them that defines us.
- Travel is multi faceted and three dimensional; it’s how we create meaning for our life and how we let labels of ‘nomad’ or ‘full time’ get in our way.
- There’s always a way through when we remove ourselves from fear and the vortex of panic.
So our final thoughts remain; travel when you can, however you can, for as long as you can, just travel.
How we set up our Housesitting
There a number of on line agencies that a show-case sits around the world. These were the three that we initially joined. Each one has an annual membership fee to join.
www.trustedhousesitters.com – become a member £89.00 per year and £30 for a one-off payment for an advanced level Police Check.* For us this is by far the most professional and prolific of the agencies. We get daily announcements of sits around the world enabling us to plan and look ahead. They also have a referral link that enables you to invite friends and acquaintances to join for a 20% discount and in return you get 2 months free membership.
www.mindmyhouse.com – become a member for $15 per year.* We have not continued our subscription with these guys this year despite having one successful housesit from them.
www.housecarers.com – register for free and become a member for £30 per year.* We have also decided not to renew as we have not had one interaction or communication from them in the last 12 months.
* These are the currencies that we paid to register as UK residents.
If you wish to join one of the largest global Housesitting Agencies, Trusted Housesitters, then we can offer you a referral link that will save you 20% on the fees listed above. In return we get two months free membership. Click this link here if you want to join either as a home owner or as a house sitter.
20% Discount Link click here
When we joined these three agencies initially, we set up our profiles, giving a strong account of our skills, our lifestyle and information about our characters. When you are presenting yourselves to the outside world where TRUST is the centrepiece, then these profits are really important. To that end, we also decided to submit a Profile Document that gives a lot more detail about us as individuals and a couple and included additional references to those that the agency collect from your testimonial list. On top of that we produced a video that offers a very visual perspective of us and helps prospective house sitters see and feel us, in the flesh so to speak. The video has been one of the most positive aspects of our profile and has secured us eight sits in the last year. So we highly recommend this. Check out our video HERE.
When you find a sit that suits your requirements, then you apply for it and if the homeowner is interested in your profile, then they get in touch and generally suggest a Skype interview and ‘Getting to know you’ Session. This is important for both parties as you need to feel comfortable with the sit requirements as much as the homeowners need to feel trusting of you.
After that we then stay in contact prior to the sit to ensure that they always know we are still committed to their dates and we generally suggest arriving the day before their departure so that we can do a handover and get to know the animals that will be under our care.
Remember that housesitting is a symbiotic relationship – it is not a paid contract.
We hope this information is useful. Very happy for you to get in touch if you have any more questions about our experiences.
by Karen Davies | Apr 3, 2016 | Personal Insights
I can’t quite believe that we have come to the end of our first month on the road; without our jobs and without a house; just me, him and Scoobie the Motorhome – and we couldn’t be happier.
Having been in the personal development industry for 25 years, I’m well versed in the art of self-discovery, although this didn’t prepare me for the lessons I have learnt, attending Travel’s classroom. Here are just some of the insights that have struck me in our first 4 weeks. Imagine what the next 11 months will teach me.
1. The ‘Should and Ought to’ Trap
It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating habits shaped around what you believe you ought or should do, whilst travelling. These habits seem appropriate, perhaps because we’ve done them before on other trips or may be because we need their safety to make us feel ‘at home’.
One of my habits was doing a daily journal, although I realised that it was adding no special value to my life whatsoever. It was creating an expectation that wasn’t fulfilling anyone, least of all me. So I stopped. Now I use my journal for recording my insights, lessons and joyful moments and it feels so much better.
My lesson – Do more of what is meaningful not what is habitual.
2. Escaping is futile
We work hard for the day when our holiday, adventure or world tour starts and we throw ourselves into the sheer escapism of that moment, enjoying the freedom it gives us. For a moment it’s as is if that world never even existed. And then, out of the blue, something from The Matrix that we thought we’d left behind, crops up to destroy our Utopian experience. It lurks in the darkness, ready to pounce when you least expect it. Perhaps it’s an email, a text or phone call that immediately drags you back into that world that you thought you’d been able to walk away from.
Yet the stark reality is that even though The Matrix feels like it may be stalking you, it’s not and there is no escaping that part of your world. It still exists even though you choose to disengage with it. You may well be removed from it for a period of time, although like a clock, that looks simple enough on face value, the mechanism behind it is still whirling away. You just need to understand The Matrix exists and uncover how it looks in your newly created, nomadic world and work with it or around it.
My lesson; Let go and accept that The Matrix still exists and I need to work with it from time to time, as to fight it futile.
3. Choosing a nomadic life means being a tourist from time-to- time
Choosing to be a nomad, for however long that might be, is a big decision. It’s a huge life-changing event that turns your world upside down. Adjusting to this takes time – there’s no rule book that says how long – it just takes time. So it is inevitable that you will experience a whole range of emotions. For us, a month in, it still feels like the reality of this nomadic life hasn’t really hit us. We still feel a bit like tourists, hopping from one town to another, rather than rooting ourselves somewhere. I think the conclusion that we’ve come to is, that this is ok. In fact everything is ok. Travelling is about having experiences; sometimes – thrilling ones, sometimes – tourist ones and sometimes – very normal ones. And there will, undoubtedly, be some difficult ones to navigate too. Although being a tourist isn’t a bad thing, it’s about embracing life just the way it is, without judgement or expectation.
My lesson; Avoid forcing anything and just let life flow. The more I push, the more life becomes like it was ‘back home’.
4. The world is diverse – embrace it all
We are more country than city types. We love fresh air, being outdoors and being in the middle of Mother Nature. Although we’ve realised that travel experiences are so much more than staying within your comfort zone. There is so much more to be appreciated and learnt about. This comfort zone is rarely where the insights come. Yet I feel the most authentic when I’m in the wilds rather than within the walls. So I find that being able to step into this less comfortable place and take in all that it offers me, is vital to my travelling journey. One such example was Seville. Neither of us really felt inspired to visit the city, although we knew we must as people told us how beautiful it was. And within just a few minutes, Seville had captured our hearts, minds and soul. So imagine if we’d have missed it because of our dislike of cities.
My lesson; Be prepared to open your mind and heart to every experience. Give every type of travelling experience your time and attention as they have their own unique story to share and they may just surprise you.
5. Not every day needs a plan – go with the flow sometimes
I come from a background where everything needed a plan. In fact I’m sure it is more intrinsic than that. I think I needed a plan to give me a sense of certainty and security. Knowing what was coming up and knowing that I was prepared for it made me feel safe.
Over the years, as I left the corporate world, I have learnt to let go of agendas and action plans, although I recognise that I take a little of this shadow with me as a traveller. This has been a really important lesson over the last month, allowing each day have a little bit of its own magic. We do have a rough plan, as there are events coming up in the next month that we need to cater for, although that’s the bigger picture. On a day to day basis, allowing things to evolve, just a little, is the mystery of our European tour.
My lesson; Everything in the world is shifting just a little – remember that so too will your nomadic travel. Give it space to evolve as it is meant to and your experience will be all the more enriched.
6. Travelling is not an escape – it’s simply a different way of living
Whilst you may pack furniture and possessions into storage, leave your job and sell up your house – you know what? You still take YOU with you. You may escape some aspects of your life, although the one thing you can’t get away from is YOU. It’s bizarre, the very things that you wish to leave behind, perversely you take with you, in your beliefs, attitudes and habits. Situations you face on the road are handled in the same way that you would at home – the circumstances might be different, although your reactions to them will be very similar.
The real trick is to enter into travel with a new mindset; it is about an inner journey, not a just a physical one. When you learn about your values, beliefs and the things that influence how you see the world, then you become clearer about what brings your life joy and conflict. From this point you can then begin to change what is no longer working and begin your real bid for freedom.
My lesson; Being nomadic is not an escape, it is simply a different way of living and when you can master the real conduit to your happiness – YOU, then freedom becomes more than a backpack or a Motorhome, it becomes something that flourishes from within. You can then truly embrace every moment of your travelling experiences, moment by moment.
7. Travel mindfully not mind fully
Life and the treasures that the world has to share are not held only in the cathedrals, the Bullrings or the sunset and white, sandy beaches. The world has so many more profound experiences to offer us, if we can just open ourselves up to them. It’s all too easy to take a busy, worried or fearful mind with us, that mar our experience of life. Will we be safe, will everything go according to plan, what if something happens that we hadn’t thought of?
Whist these may well be normal things to worry about, they are delusions of a fearful and insecure mind. If we can let these thoughts go and concentrate in the moment and relish every single experience and sensation, then the happiness we feel is second to none – in that moment. We need to enter life with our whole being and not just our ego, otherwise we will miss some of the magic.
My lesson; See don’t look, listen don’t just hear, feel and touch everything around you and you will experience travel in its truest, rarest form. Allow the mind full to empty in this moment and appreciate what you have in front of you – right now. It’s precious.
With these lessons, I enter into our second month, wiser, clearer, happier and more present. I know there will be more lessons from Travel’s Classroom in the coming month, although for now, these make my life richer.