It’s only been 11 days since we left the UK, but the weeks before we left are already a hazy blur. To be honest, it got pretty stressful towards the end.
Just a couple of months ago, it felt like we were on top of things. We sorted the big stuff, like leaving our jobs. I handed in my notice as a digital communications officer. Jim is self employed but also a firefighter, from which he’s taken a career break.
We’re grateful that our daughter Eden’s school were supportive of our plans to home (van?!) educate. She will miss a year of primary, but we hope to get her back into the same school next year. We have deferred our son Ivan’s place as he was due to start school this September.
We were lucky as we quickly and easily found a suitable tenant to rent our house.
Then there’s our 14-year-old Jack Russell, Zippy. We had to get his passport sorted early as there were extra hoops to jump through in case of a no-deal Brexit while we’re away *massive eye roll*.
We decluttered like crazy and sold or gave away loads of our things. We’re all for owning and living with less. Good job considering the present lifestyle choice. We sorted out furniture storage and our family offered to store bits for us. My mum took a shed load (literally, plus a garage load).
So, everything seemed under control. But, as the weeks counted down to days, reality hit and panic started to set in. We still had endless admin to sort out, not to mention ALL THE STUFF still just lying around the house, which we needed empty to clean and decorate.
I kept waking in the middle of the night thinking about things we hadn’t done. We had insurance to sort, contracts to cancel, utility companies to notify, mail to redirect – the list went on. Jim still wanted to make final changes to the van like fitting a solar panel and reversing camera.
We’re both brilliant procrastinators who will happily put off boring jobs to waste time on something totally unecessary. Cue me spending a couple of hours arranging a shelf in the van when I should have been packing. Or Jim deciding to lay out all the bikes and boards in the garden and making me climb on the roof to take a photo, just a few days before we left.
We then faced a potentially major hiccup when our tenant pulled out a week before we were due to leave. Thankfully, the letting agent found someone else suitable within a few days.
A few people have asked how we feel about letting our house for a year. It felt a bit weird a few months back, but less so the closer we got to leaving. As our things were gradually packed away I think we were able to detach ourselves. Besides, the rental income is helping us to do this so it’s a positive thing.
A house is just a house. Family is different – it has obviously been hard to say goodbye to my mum and Jim’s parents, especially as they spend a lot of time with their grandchildren. However, they have been very understanding and supportive of what we are doing. We plan to return to the UK over Christmas and it’s so easy to keep in daily contact. After all, we’ve crossed the English Channel, not left for Mars.
By some miracle, without either of us having a nervous breakdown or killing each other, we did manage to tick everything off the lists, finish getting the van ready and empty/clean/decorate the house. Finally, we were ready to close our front door for the last time and begin our adventure.