“It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined”
I can’t think of a more appropriate period than now to act on the words of acclaimed author Henry James as we take our tentative first steps towards freedom.
The global pandemic and associated sacrifices have given us time to reflect if - and how - our dreams, goals and aspirations have changed.
The symbolical re-emergence may also take on a greater sense of urgency for those ‘of a certain age’.
Turning Dreams Into Reality
Our passion at Leave Work to Travel was born out of our bucket list to share tips on lifestyle and travel.
Starting our website in June 2020 (not the greatest time to launch a travelogue!), we set out to motivate and inspire our friends and followers to pursue their passion.
Caught up in the European pandemic on our rollercoaster motor home travels, our experiences - and the things we learnt in unprecedented times - made us realise we could never again settle in suburbia.
Before we made the transition from ‘time poor’ to making time to live, we went through some steps which we wanted to share with you.
Map Out Your Vision
We found that mapping out our vision - even though it changed dramatically due to the advent of Covid - was invaluable.
There’s a wonderful word called ‘dreamstorming’ - letting your imagination run wild - is enormous fun, liberating and energising when compiling your goals.
As your ‘life plan’ is everything you strive to achieve, it’s good to break it down and commit to paper/laptop the first steps - what you will complete this year. This avoids your list becoming overwhelming and impractical.
Before touring Scotland in our motor home, we planned a fabulous itinerary of the area and the islands we would explore along with wellbeing goals which including scaling Ben Nevis.
Despite it being one of my biggest challenges to date, the sense of achievement at ascending the summit was sensational.
You can divide your plan into sections - travel, hobbies, health and fitness. It’s good to set timescales to sustain the impetus and motivation.
This year’s plan for our trio of nomads at Leave Work to Travel is to head back to Europe in our motor home and, for the third time, attempt to explore Portugal’s captivating coast.
Our previous two attempts were made impossible by border restrictions due to Covid cases rising. Our next stops after the Portugal are Greece and Croatia.
You’re In This Together
Compromises may need to be made on your bucket list to accommodate your spouse/partner/family.
There will also aspirations you embark on together such as more adventurous travel destinations - and others, such as new hobbies, you will do separately.
Sharing and involving friends and wider family in your plans helps to avoid any ‘surprises’ down the line!
For those about to kiss goodbye to full time working, bear in mind that spending evenings, weekends and holidays with your loved one being in each other’s pockets 24x7, is a whole different ballgame to working apart five days a week.
This is something we learnt very fast in the confined space of a two berth motor home with a lively golden retriever - especially travelling in France in inclement weather!
As you embark on your new ventures, take photographs or start a blog/ Facebook /Instagram page to make magical memories and encapsulate your experiences.
While we’re passionate about sharing our tips, insights and ‘learns’, we appreciate you may want to keep yours private. Here’s our Bucket List:
- Surfing Portugal’s top waves in Santa Cruz
- Explawing Greece’s dog friendly islands - Samothraki and Kythira
- Pay my respawcts to Greyfriars Bobby statue honouring faithful Skye Terrier, who kept watch over his master’s grave for 14 years
We hope your bucket list - whatever it includes - will be rewarding, fulfilling and bursting with happiness. As there’s no better time than the present to embrace our ‘brave new world’ let’s prove Oscar Wild wrong when he said: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
It’s been widely reported that spending long periods in isolation could coincide with a rise in domestic violence and child abuse as well as depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse.
Building up our mental health ‘reserves’, to help us through the months ahead, is therefore vital and one way to help ourselves - and others - is by embarking on a virtual Wellbeing Coach Training course.
Leading sporting, leisure and tourism destination, La Manga Club got back into its swing on July 1 after the Covid-19 lockdown with meticulous socially distanced check in procedures.
Invited to review the Club in March, we were bowled over by the experience.
As we race into summer and the prospect of sunshine-soaked days to explore near home or further afield in the UK, hitting the road in a motorhome conjures an evocative picture for many.
With staycations all the rage, our Leave Work to Travel motorhoming trio reflect on the lessons - of which there are many - they learnt to help those about to take the plunge.
After swapping a caravan for a motorhome in August 2019, selling a business and setting off on a rollercoaster retirement road trip, Steve shares tips and traps to avoid.
After a bumpy start in November 2019, when our Leave Work to Travel trio was robbed of our passports, money and credit cards we had two choices - give up or get going again.
Having been on the road for just 12 days when the disaster stopped us in our tracks, it would have been easy to go home - at that stage our house hadn’t been rented out.
Up for a challenge we opted to stick it out - never imagining the seismic changes Europe and the world were about to undergo within the next few months.
Fortunately we had a small family flat in Spain which had not been on our travel itinerary. A ten hour drive later, it gave us a bolthole to get back up and running.
After a mountain of phone calls, copious emails, a trip to the British Consulate in Alicante, a flying visit to England for new passports we hit the road again.
Our first stop was the delightful spa town of Fortuna in Murcia to which is popular for its healing springs and spa baths.
The spas were a legacy of the Romans who were very partial to bathing and set up spas wherever feasible during their occupation. We luxuriated in the therapeutic waters which gave us a well being boost for the journey ahead.
We also met an inspirational motor homer who’s been touring for over 20 years. Fit as a fiddle in his late 70s, he was a great example of how this lifestyle kept them happy and healthy.
Breakfast was also available when, every morning at 8.30am, a local resident peeped his horn and offered fresh eggs.
Our highs - of which there were many - included touring Andalucia - a glittering jewel in Spain’s crown.
Covering over 17 per cent of Spain’s territory, the region boasts charismatic cities, magnificent mountains and 500 miles of captivating coastline.
Invigorated, we left Fortuna for La Iruela located in the magnificent Sierras de Cazorla natural park.
We saw an abundance of natural wildlife including a roebuck, deer and rabbits. The area’s 1,200 animal species include wild boars which we had mixed feelings about encountering!
After more campsite stops in the magnificent mountains we landed in mesmerising Córdoba.
The city is a former Roman settlement whose mesmerising mosque-cathedral (Mezquita) boasts over 800 original Moorish red-and-white horseshoe-shaped arches.
Prominent for its culture, its historic centre features on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
At the Royal Stables the breathtaking world-renowned Andalucian Horses can be seen in action.
The magnificent animals were born of the passion of King Felipe 11 who set up the stables in 1570 to create and breeding the greatest purebred horse of all time.
First bred from Arab stock and previously used as warhorses, we watched them exercising.
We later returned to a magnificent equestrian show infused with passion, colour and a rich heritage where the grace and rhythm of the horses intertwined with flamenco dancers in a dazzling display.
Less than two hour’s drive from Córdoba is sensational Seville - Andalucia’s capital city.
With its horse drawn carriages, the city exudes a zest for life and boasts an eclectic mix of architecture - influences include Gothic, Renaissance and Modern.
The tomb of Christopher Columbus is said to be buried in Seville’s Cathedral - the world’s biggest gothic cathedral and a UNESCO site.
Thanks to the pioneer, Seville’s port became the gateway to the New World when Columbus set sail for the Americas in 1492, heralding the Age of Discovery. Just 27 years later, Ferdinand Magellen also departed from the port to successfully circumnavigate the Earth.
Seville’s 12,000 capacity bull ring is the oldest in Spain. During the lively annual Seville fair, which in normal times takes place in April, the site is the backdrop for the world’s most renowned bull fighting festival.
An exhibition centre in the bull ring displays the history of bullfighting with posters, bullfighter suits, bronze works, tiles and statues.
A city of opera, Seville was also the backdrop for the creation of immortal classics such as Bizet’s Carmen and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.
Among the scenic campsites we stayed at was the Puerto de Gelves located on the right bank of the Guadalquivir river which has its own restaurant.
Seville was just a 15 minute bus ride away - and the bus stopped right outside the port. The friendly town of Gelves was also perfect for an evening wander and bite to eat.
The road to new discoveries stretched endlessly ahead as we wove our way through beautiful mountain ranges towards the sun drenched beaches of Malaga, romantic Ronda, sherry tasting in Jerez - and the spectacular carnival in Cadiz.
To say we encountered more than we bargained for - after waving Yorkshire goodbye on a bitter October night for a European motor home trip - is a wild understatement.
Fairly seasoned travellers by train, sea and air, aswell as many years of caravaning, motor homing was a new quest as we set sail for Calais in high spirits with an overexcited golden retriever.