Now it’s only 7 weeks until we leave the UK and begin our adventure, I’ve been reflecting a lot about the things we’re giving up in order to travel and how I feel about doing so.
The most obvious things are our family and friends. Seb and I are lucky to have extremely supportive families who are excited by our plans. At the same time, we’re still finding it really hard to say goodbye and I’m not looking forward to having to do so. It’s made more difficult by the fact that we don’t know when we’re going to be back– we don’t have a plan and beyond living in Ningbo for at least a year we don’t know where we’re going to be or what we’re going to be doing. The way I manage this is knowing that when I need to come back, or want to come back, to the UK I can always do so- I can always get on a plane and fly home within a day or so. Equally I hope that our family and friends will want to come and visit us at different points in time, because I really want to share our experiences with them. Of course, we’re also lucky enough to live in a time where there is Facebook, and Skype, and all other kinds of social media which will allow us to keep in contact. I know it’s going to be hard, but I also know that it’ll be okay.
Secondly, and very important seeing as half the blog title is inspired by them, are our cats. It breaks my heart to have to rehome them, but it certainly wouldn’t be fair to have someone ‘foster’ them and give them back in a few years time- who knows, we could be away for longer than we’ve had them for! They are wonderful furry companions and it will be very strange living without them, but we would hold a lot of regret and resentment if we stayed in the UK just because of them. Travelling long term was never on the cards for us when we got them, so we never thought we’d have to give them up, but knowing that they’re going to lovely new homes (people that we know) makes it much easier. I’ll look forward to cat updates every now and again!
A side note- I haven’t actually ever mentioned the cats in detail on this blog- we currently have two British Shorthair girls (Lollie and Chloe) and a Ragdoll boy (Frankie), and are self professed crazy cat people (at one point we had 10 all at once!). Expect future posts involving new furry friends that we meet along the way!
Next are our careers. Last June I qualified as a Social Worker and I’ve been working in Adult Social Services since then. It’s a big deal to me to spend 3 years studying to work in a profession, to then give it up for something completely different! Luckily for me, I will always be able to register as a Social Worker and will be able to pick the career back up in the future if it’s something I’d like to continue with. For Seb it’s less easy- his job is not related to his degree and he’s unlikely to find something similar (that pays well) later down the line. He will need to think about what he’d like to do on our return and take steps to make it happen. We’d both love to own our own business one day but this is dependent on finding something that we both enjoy and are good at that can make us money! We hope that our experiences teaching will aid us later down the line rather than hinder us.
We are also giving up our house and almost all of our material possessions. With more than 7 weeks to go we’re already halfway through selling our furniture, and every item we own is being carefully considered as to whether it’s important or sentimental enough to take in our suitcase, put into storage, or give away/ sell. I’ve never debated about a coaster so much in my life (it says ‘crazy cat lady’ on it)!
Seb and I have spent 7 years building a life and a home together, and it’s mad to think that none of it is important as getting out and seeing the world. However, although we’re giving lots of things up, we’re also gaining a lot- memories, experiences, knowledge, understanding, new skills, realising dreams, excitement, freedom, happiness… the list goes on!
We are also very lucky to be taking on this challenge together- we have a strong, trusting relationship and I know that having each other will really help to make the transition easier.
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