Well, it’s happening! We have sold the house, subject to contract, and will soon be homeless!
The germ of an idea
How did we get here? In the summer of 2017, with George suddenly under threat of redundancy, we started dreaming of travelling, taking advantage of this new, forced, freedom. Then it didn’t happen; with George being one of a few people in his department not made redundant, but the idea had been firmly planted.
We talked and researched and talked some more. We realised that there was not a lot tying us down and there were lots of reasons to go out and live our lives. Over the last 6 years, we tragically lost a dear friend in a car accident at a young age, and a family friend had a heart attack and died at just 40. Both George and my best friends have moved away to other parts of the country, and a close friend took an amazing leap by moving their family to South Africa and setting up an Eco Lodge and Safari company!
All of these events, plus the joy we felt at the thought of travelling and showing Olivia the world made us realise life is too short and inspired us to take a leap of our own.
We started looking at different transportation and accommodation options, should we go for a caravan, campervan or a fifth wheel. Little did we know just how complicated those options would be and I will leave that story for another post. We spent a lot of time looking at what countries we wanted to visit, lots of technical research, reading the travel blogs of other people already world schooling, and several long conversations with friends.
Next, we rented a storage locker for the things we really wanted to keep and started doing minor DIY jobs around the house and emptying it ready for sale. A fresh coat of paint here and there, some new carpet on the stairs, and just lots and lot of emptying; we were amazed at how much junk we had collected in 13 years!
Then tragically, in October my mother passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 66, leaving my dad and a big hole behind. As you can imagine this had somewhat of an impact on our travel plans and we put everything on hold while we grieved, helped my dad, supported my brothers and their families, and re-evaluated and discussed if this was still the right decision.
By February, we had decided that recent events had made us even more determined to travel now, while we can. We really started getting our act together and started to clear the house, selling, storing and donating to charity the possessions we no longer needed. We finished the remaining housework to make everything look fresh, and at the end of March, our house went on the market.
The point of no return
Five (long) weeks after we put our house up for sale, feeling like we were in a state of limbo, we started receiving offers. When we finally chose to accept one, Olivia overheard the call with George agreeing to accept and the smile on her face when she asked me “Mummy does that mean what I think it means? Have we sold the house and are we going travelling soon?” told me we are absolutely doing the right thing.
We are all incredibly excited and equally scared! What do we know about camping and living in a fifth wheel camper? Not a great deal to be honest! I toured the UK quite extensively in tents and caravans with my parents; but George has only been camping a few times in his life, and since we got together and had Olivia, we’ve only been under canvas a few times – though we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it!
We have already sold, scrapped or put in storage a lot of our possessions; but there’s still plenty for us to do. We will make plenty of mistakes, our tempers will be fraught but hopefully, once we’re through the next few months we’ll be on the road and happy.
We have started our research of where to go in Europe and have roughly a years worth of travelling planned. We have decided that due to my dad now being on his own, and Olivia only being 5 and missing friends, that we plan to travel for a few months at a time, and then head home to Kent for a while to catch up with our friends and family.
Another issue that we didn’t foresee, is that Pepper, our dog, a pedigree Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is not allowed to enter some of the countries we want to visit! So she will need to be left back home with family occasionally so we can see those places.
Decisions we still need to make
We are pretty certain that we’ll be picking a Forest River Wildcat 30GT for our tour, but we’re still open to new options. The Wildcat was chosen primarily for the huge rear living space which should provide ample space to play and live. Though a little bit of that space will be stolen to custom build a bedroom space for Olivia though!
What tow vehicle will we use? Current favourites are the Nissan Navara NP300 and the Ford Ranger Wildtrak. What hitch do we fit and do we need to make any further modifications? Will I ever stop smiling when I’ve finally got myself a pickup truck (a long unfulfilled dream)?
Are we going to fit big batteries? Solar Power? How should we design Olivia’s bed? What learning materials and toys should we take, and what do we actually have the space for?
There are lots for us still to think about, hopefully, we’ll make the right choices.