It was such a simple plan. Tidy up existing motorhome, sell house, have a positively Bohemian summer, a change of era Christmas and new year, stick two fingers up at the rat race for a couple of years, travel far and wide. Return wiser and with greater understanding of our fellow man ... also appreciate that while the land of foreign is nice and warm, south of Dover they are generally feckless indolents looking for hand outs and somewhere to nap ... or to fuck your missus while you’re scouring the bars looking for a good English Breakfast. I jest of course, I don’t eat English Breakfast in the land of foreign; I eat foreign so the foreigners can’t point their, Frog, Spic, Phlegm, Wop, Bubble or Dago fingers at me and say I’m not cultured or multi cultural ... init matey peeps (the management apologises for the narrators slide into abusive names for the residents of greater Europe).
It’s not much to ask is it? Where in this simple to conceptualize, relatively easy under normal circumstances to execute plan was there a clause desired by any of the travelling parties, to make the entire enterprise as complicated, expensive and as mentally and physically draining as it has become? Did we assume too much? Did we forget we were in a recession? Or did we just invite all the bad luck in the world into our lives by dreaming a little bit bigger and brighter than people like us should (whatever “people like us” are)?
I’ve climbed a few of life’s mountains in my time, I’ve stared down some pretty harsh odds and some harsh times associated with those odds. And while at the time I may have twisted and writhed on hooks of mental agony and anger (multiple spinal surgeries, a horrific divorce from a vengeful harpy, almost without peer ... other deep shit). I like to think each time I’ve come out the other side a bit wiser and stronger. And with no small amount of time, I can look back and make light, almost see a retrospective cause and affect ... some may call that twenty twenty hindsight with rose tinted glasses (well they will if they ever read this and pick up on the phrase). And most important of all I’ve regained my sense of humour ... had I not? I don’t like to think about “had I not” it goes to places one shouldn’t contemplate very often, or for very long.
I think I’m tough mentally, and I know how to roll on the ropes, and Amanda is likewise tough in all the right places, but also has the one thing I lack in my makeup. Amanda can forgive herself her mistakes and move on. This is useful, because she can also point out that I’m beating myself up, and that I don’t actually need to ... after all nobody died ... yet.
Anyway enough of the maudlin; we had to have a plan B, a plan C, and a D, though in fairness C and D didn’t become official until September when we realised the year was running out.
Rent out house in Essex, it makes no money but it loses nothing either (it becomes self sustaining in terms of mortgage and insurance). Move back to Somerset for cleaner air, slower pace of life. Wait for recession to pass, then sell house then go travelling. Plan B is the path of least resistance, it gives us back the breathing and planning space we lost to damp works both in the motorhome and the house, but does still have the disadvantage of moving us to Somerset in a state of unemployment and no guarantee of grabbing any kind of job straight away. So it’s a plan, but not as a good a plan as plan A.
Sell house in Essex at lowest possible value to progress plan A (Plan A is “Go Travelling” ... it’s only once you look at the details its gets complicated). Plan C has a revision of the original: go travelling for eighteen months up to two years plan. Instead of going for two years, just go for one year, and don’t take a significant break in Cyprus for four months from October 2013 until early March 2014. Just go solidly for one year, but far more thoroughly in and around the Mediterranean coast of Europe in the relative warmth during the winter months, then in spring make a bee line for Norway for early summer. And finally back to blighty for the East of England leg.
The trade off is that the equity from the property is going to have to be spent as support for the entire venture (minus paying back what we’ve spent from existing funds to pay for repairs both at home and in the motorhome ... it’s a chunk). However with plan C, there is unlikely to be the opportunity to get odds and sods of work to offset the cost, however the benefit is that all your time is your own. Plan C has merits; one that we maybe overlooked is that by doing one year of solid travel, we can leave later in 2013. The optimal months for late departure are end of April through to the end of May. This gives four months UK travel, four to five months Europe (including a drive down to Cyprus for a week or two break towards the end), and then a leisurely roll back up through Europe to Norway and then back to the UK for early to mid summer 2014, and then if we over run into late summer, early autumn and have budget for it ... who cares, we deserve it don’t we?
That’s a combination of Plan B and C. And goes something like, rent house in Essex, it makes no money but it loses nothing either (it becomes self sustaining in terms of mortgage and insurance). Move back to Somerset for cleaner air, slower pace of life. The additional elements are, only work four days a week (I already do), and spend the three remaining days using Somerset as a hub to travel abroad in the UK.
I’m sure lots of people do Plan D, without all the upheaval we are putting ourselves through, and probably do it with only two day weekends, and all the other shite that goes with living pre-retirement. However in mitigation, I have to point out that the upheaval of Plans A and C actually buy a certain form of Freedom Plan D can only dream of. And both A and C have the obvious benefit of not spending money on fuel to do a journey twice I.E. going to a destination and then returning down the same route. Plan D isn’t travelling, it’s visiting in comfort ... not terrible but not the essence of adventure, and not contiguous or focused ... it’s fucking cheating and no mistake.
I can make the point (if it needs making?) this past weekend we travelled from Essex to Wiltshire and back, that is 298 miles all in, that’s £70 in fuel, only one stop (annual spooky party at our friends ... great showers, electrical hook-up and all complimentary). All well and good, but given that we don’t in an ideal world wish to travel more than thirty miles per leg of our journey, before stopping and exploring the locale on foot, on bike or local transport. 298 miles represents a potential eight or nine stops, or almost the entire length of the south coast (point to point, no wiggly bits). So you see you don’t want to come back on yourself ... it’s not efficient, dammit and that’s that.
What can I say, it’s not so much a wobble since last week, it’s more of a not knowing how things play out for the next four weeks that our first estate agent has left on their exclusivity, and then which way to jump following the end of that term. Right now we actually need to be a little bit pessimistic in spite of the move out of recession, hopes have been up, down and all around ... we’re ready ... nothing else is.
Oh I forgot Plan E
Win the Lottery or Premium bonds.