Sagres surfers Portugal
Taking the plunge: Sensational surfing in Sagres.

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.

The Freedom of Letting Go

 Flamboyance of FlamingosTaking flight: Flamboyance of flamingos, Calpe.

Just over two years ago before the advent of Covid, we moved to being semi retired and embarked on a journey - the outcomes of which we could never have anticipated in a million years.

This included being robbed in our motorhome within our first two weeks travelling and being caught up in the European Covid lockdowns twice. We were also homeless after renting out our house for 12 months just two weeks before the World Health Organisation declared the virus a global pandemic.

Needless to say we’re still here tell the numerous tales, and richer in many ways for our experiences!

Taking the Plunge

 w Bracken and Steve in the seaImmerse yourself: Our photographer and traveholic golden retriever Bracken. 

Taking the plunge to savour your ‘golden years’ and the anticipation and excitement of what they’ll bring is invariably the hardest part.

After being conditioned to consistent deadlines and tough schedules working full time, when we grabbed leisure time and holidays, we packed so much into a short time that we often returned more exhausted than when we left. 

Over the last two years we found that making a life plan, while remaining flexible and open minded,  stood us in good stead.

While it is understandably impossible and, depending upon commitments, impractical to plan in the utmost detail your daily, weekly or monthly schedule - setting a vision and goals is key.

Our plan was to test out the experience of motor homing which has enriched our lives in so many aspects. 

Overlooking The Loire Valley Window on the world: Loire Valley views from our motor home. 

Your goals do not need to entail trekking to the far flung corners of the world. They can be closer to home and include taking up yoga, cookery courses, gardening or fly fishing.

Some hobbies, like walking and hiking, can be enjoyed anywhere, and the benefits of going the extra mile are invariably rewarded with spectacular views. 

 High over Benidorm 0345Walking rewards: panoramic views over Benidorm. 

Turn Tribulations into Celebrations

Having ventured up Yorkshire’s Three Peaks, we’d never got round to climbing Ben Nevis which we tackled during a motor home trip to sample Scotland’s heart stopping scenery.

 Ben Nevis, mountain highDominating and deceptively dangerous: Ben Nevis.

We embarked on this adventure because we couldn’t get back into our house which was only half way through its rental agreement. Faced with the choice of finding a house to rent or tour Scotland, we went for the latter.  

Towering at 1,345 metres above sea level, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland and the UK. Dominating the skyline of Fort William and the surrounding areas, it is ascended by around 150,000 people every year, with several fatalities due to climbers not wearing correct clothing.

 Ben Nevis air rescue Helicopter 0134Rescue helicopter reflects mountain dangers. 

We saw this foolhardiness at first hand on our descent when stopping to help a woman who had twisted her ankle and was distressed and in pain. She was wearing flimsy pumps instead of walking shoes and had insufficient warm clothing.

Those who are unprepared, ratchet up extortionate costs for the Mountain Rescue Service which we also witnessed in action.  

If you’re contemplating it, Ben Nevis is a tough climb and was shrouded in mist at the summit during our climb. We set off in glorious sunshine but it gets bitterly cold at the top.

I personally found it a very tough challenge but my lingering memories are not of the aches and pains, but the happiness of a young couple who got engaged at the summit, proudly showed us their ring, and practically ran back down the mountain to celebrate!

 Britain's most northerly point Unst, ShetlandsRaw beauty: Unst, Britain’s furthermost northerly point.

Our magical Scotland trip, which took us to the Hebrides, Orkneys and Britain’s furthermost northerly point in the Shetlands, emphasised for us how important it is to grab opportunities while you can. You may not get a second chance.

Feed Your Mind and Body

Chateau de SaumurHistorical treasure: Chateau de Saumur.

Being transported into another world and delving into the past, whether at home or abroad, can be stimulating and satisfying.
We love wondering around castles, both further afield and in Northumberland which, at 70 strong, boasts the highest volume of castles in England.
During our latest explorations, we explored the truly majestic Chateau de Saumur in the Loire region. A symbol of its beautiful city Saumur, the fortress was converted into a palace by the Dukes of Anjou. Another castle on our list and much closer to home is Alnwick Castle, which featured as the magical Hogworts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in three of the blockbuster films.

w sunset Sagres 1071New horizons: fulfil your dreams.

Turning your aspirations into reality starts one step at a time. Once you’ve stepped back from the grind to embark on a new life adventure, life will never be the same again!
As 2022 swings into action after a tough couple of years, what new pastimes, travels and experiences will catapult you to new heights?
You can also follow Leave Work to Travel and Brackens Travel Tails on Instagram.


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