It’s interesting. I’ve been following Ju and Jay at Our Tour for over 4 years. These pair have spent most of the last 4 years travelling in a Hymer 544 named Dave (although, like us, they upgraded to a newer version half way through). Unlike us they now have celebrity status. Their blog/website is fabulous – so much better than this drivel – and they often get appearances on radio shows and similar about how they manage to do what they do. Their last appearance was on the BBC in the New Year, along the lines of ‘Our 30 Year Retirement’. They have built their life (and worked hard) setting themselves up so they never have to work again. It’s all mightily impressive stuff. And, just to reiterate, their travel blog is a fabulous repository for all sorts of full-timing info. A bible, if you like. I’d go there before anywhere else to learn about motorhome travel.
And yet, having got home last autumn, moved back into their house and with Jay doing some contract work – because he can and because he missed a bit of normality – they are unsure as to what to do next. They did think they were going to go away again in the New Year. And then not. Maybe Norway for the summer? But, and this is the point of today’s post, they’re rather enjoying being normal – and being part of a community. Going down the pub. Etc.
That’s interesting, because that’s exactly where we find ourselves. The last 3 years have been a blast. And Doris, the fabulous Doris, has become a central part of our lives. But we’re going firm – for a while. And I’m going back to part-time work. We’re really looking forward to being static – and part of a community. It’s also going to be good to be earning some cash. We can afford to fulltime indefinitely – it’s much cheaper on the road than in a house (we lose rental income for a start), but earning a few bob here and there will make a difference. And travelling is tiring. No, not tiring. It requires effort. It fills your day. You can’t (easily) do both. There’s a choice: sit still and be part of a community; travel. Currently we’re plumping for option one – for a bit.
That doesn’t mean we won’t push off into the sunset again. Pack everything up and relive that wonderful 8 months we had in 14/15 where we wintered in Sicily and Greece. And we will keep Doris and use her often. Indeed, I don’t know what I’m going to do from July when my school contract runs out. I could (likely) extend it for another year. Or look for another teaching job elsewhere. We just don’t know yet. Or I could be a rich and famous author by then. Who knows? And how lucky are we to be able to even have that conversation?
And I guess this is the point. We, and Ju and Jay, are fortunate. We have a rock-solid plan for retirement. Our routes have been different, but the outcome is the same. Likewise it seems we can both easily find work. I don’t think I’ll ever have to panic about getting some teaching somewhere. We have all tried fulltiming and loved it. Significantly we have spent over 3 years in a small white box with our spouses and not resorted to murder – and that is not a given. But, after a period of time we have both found the desire to go static. And we can. We have property and we can work. So, if you don’t mind me patronising you, for those of you out there thinking of fulltiming, C and I can’t recommend it enough. We can’t. It will liberate you like you cannot imagine. And it will fill your experience banks with stuff that will enrich you more than you could know. But, unless there is no other alternative, think through what will need to happen if you decide to stop. Where would you live? And how might you find some extra cash? If you can I’d recommend renting your house out rather than selling it. Or sell it and buy a bolt hole somewhere. If that means buying a second hand van rather than a squeaky new one, then do it. Be careful. Be wise.
For the record, we walked Monday and Tuesday (saw some mountain goats!) and skied yesterday – fabulous. Today we’re heading down the valley to buy some wine! Bottoms up!