“It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.” Seneca, ancient philosopher
The New Year invariably marks an exciting milestone, symbolising new opportunities and new beginnings.
It’s a time to take stock, reflect on the past and look at enhancing our lives through making changes for the better. These changes can include areas such as lifestyle, health, work, and relationships.
Our Leave Work to Travel trio share how we (Steve, Sharon, and Bracken) moved forward from the past and, at the combined age of 193, are making time to have a blast!
Why We’re BIG fans of Life Plans
Knowing what you want from your life – whether outside work or, even more importantly, if you’re retired, or about to retire, is a great starting point.
Sadly, we hear time and again of people who count down the days to finishing work but have no idea of how they will spend their ‘golden years’ once they’ve bid their colleague’s farewell.
A life plan does not have to be a mammoth document. It can be written on a piece of paper on which you can prioritize your goals to enable you to follow your passion and dreams.
Setting timelines also helps your plan to become more realistic and achievable.
Don’t Give Up At The First Hurdle
Our plans back in Autumn 2019 were to buy a second-hand motorhome and travel extensively in Europe.
The experiences we have encountered since then could not be made up – and fortunately we’re still here to tell the tale.
We’ve been robbed in our motorhome and been made homeless through Covid – renting our house out just two weeks before the global pandemic.
We’ve driven through Europe to the UK in lockdown, had to rent a house and then move out again after three months as it was up for sale and a buyer was found.
The formative experience saw us seizing the day, exploring new countries, making mistakes - and learning fascinating new things along the way. This includes how to find washing machines in more offbeat regions to avoid carrying round copious kilos of dirty washing!
Hot on the heels of Covid, the advent of Brexit and the complex travel restrictions it imposed,brought bigger challenges.
We were faced with the choice of ditching it all and return home to live out our retirement – or working around it to find a solution.
We opted for the latter in a heartbeat – embarking on a nine-month mega road trip on September 2022 which, to avoid fines and/or deportation due to overstaying our welcome - has taken us into out of our comfort zone and into the unknown.
To date Albania has, more than any other country we’ve ventured to so far on our road trip, tested our nerves and made us grateful for the benefits, standard of living and freedoms we enjoy as British citizens.
The country’s troubled past included it being an isolated communist state from 1945 to 1992 – widely known as a dark period where citizens were renowned for spying upon their fellow residents and reporting them to the government.
We had to purchase insurance for our motorhome from a man in a shack at the Albanian border because we were unable to get cover for the county on our insurance policy.
We experienced the most harrowing and chaotic driving ever – and were apprehensive if our insurance document was worth the paper it was written on.
The poverty of the country was distressing to see – as was the sad and dejected look in people’s eyes. We were given first hand insights into the past and present by a man who’d experience the communist regime and its successors.
Although it made for troubled listening and still haunts us, we felt it was important to understand how tough life is in a country beset with reports of corruption and where wages are pitifully low.
Of all the eclectic countries and new cultures, we’ve eagerly, and respectfully, explored on our life plan journey, the new friendships we’ve forged along the way are the treasures that will remain in our hearts forever.
The hospitality and generosity of people - who we originally met ‘online’ through our motorhome and traveller’s community and then spent time with - in real life - is something I give thanks for every day.
Linking up with our like-minded community and sharing information and tips as we travel on our respective journeys keeps us energised and motivated.
The million-dollar question now is – will we return home as originally planned in June 2023 or will we keep rolling down the long and winding road – wherever that may take us?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, we’ll continue to make the most of each precious day while we can.
As Geoffrey Chaucer, the famous English poet and author famously said: “Time and Tide Wait for No Man”.
What steps will you take in 2023 to make it a year packed with new experiences and magical memories?
The month of January sees many of us, including our Leave Work to Travel trio, fired up with the best intentions to become sylph like, toned Adonis’s and transform our lives overnight.
The reality is that we become disillusioned very quickly, often because we’re too impatient with the result that the diet is ditched, the gym membership dispensed with, and we feel despondent.
If that’s the case, now is the ideal time to dig out your bucket list and reignite your mojo because life’s short and we never know what’s round the corner.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
Life’s greatest pleasures include consuming wine, evocatively described by Galileo, as ‘sunlight, held together by water’.
Leave Work to Travel’s eclectic motorhome adventures have taken us to Spain, which, unsurprisingly, is among the world's leading wine producers. In 2020 it ranked third on the list of wine-producing countries with a phenomenal output of four billion litres.
Our route took us through the La Rioja region which has 500 wineries including the famous Marqués de Riscal and its jaw-dropping design masterpiece.
Ibiza dazzles and enchants with its eclectic and diverse culture fusing the historic and the modern.
The stunning 'Isla Blanca’ (white island) is also a ‘foodie heaven’ for tempting palates with delectable dishes.
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.