It’s nearly 1am, it’s been a mad and crazy couple of days and I really should be sleeping, I can’t say ‘in bed’ because we don’t actually have one of those anymore, we’re all bedded down on the lounge floor on camping mats. But I’m here, briefly, because this is the very start of the adventure and I want to capture how we’re feeling today.
We still have time before we actually start WWOOFing, four nights staying with family and friends parked on their driveways and spending precious last few hours with them before we head off, then a week camping just the four of us, getting our heads round the transition from work, house and what has been ‘real life’ for all these years before embarking on the new version of ‘real life’ for us this year.
So yesterday and today we have been packing, cleaning, defrosting fridges and freezers, taking final things to the tip, making last minute calls on whether to put things into storage or squeeze them into the van. Today we hired a van and moved all the furniture – heavy, cumbersome work, not made easier by the rain or overexcited children, helped even less when we simply could not get Dragon’s bed out of his bedroom and down the stairs. We cannot work out how we possibly could have got it in there if we can’t get it out but half an hour of headscratching used out of our fairly tight schedule meant desperate measures were called and we ended up putting out through the window! Anyone watching would have been treated to a scene worthy of the very best slapstick comedy as I hung out of the upstairs window holding onto it while Ady stood underneath on a ladder trying to reach up and guide it down. Against all odds I managed not to follow it out of the window, Ady managed not to get knocked off the ladder and the bed remained in one piece!
This evening we had fish and chips, sat on our lounge floor in our empty house and toasted ‘wandering’ with our cherry coke. We had last baths, touched up knocked paintwork, cleaned the kitchen, wiped down paintwork and things like skirting boards, hoovered and carpet shampooed and did last loads of laundry. We now have everything plugged in so we leave with it all fully charged (camera batteries, laptop, mobile phones, DSs, kindle (did I mention we have a kindle), Mifi etc.
We are all feeling a real mix of emotions today. Scared, certainly; of the unknown and of the things we know we’ll miss like beds, sofas, bath, TV, a washing machine and so on. Excited, very, very excited – really looking forward to meeting new friends, learning loads, seeing amazing things and visiting interesting places. I am feeling pretty responsible for leading the other three down this crazy path, knowing it was my idea and I convinced and persuaded them it would be a great thing to do. We feel ready – literally ready as in we have got everything done we needed to (although we could possibly have done with an extra three hours or so in today!) and ready as in we know this is something we want to do and the time is right to do it.
I sat in the pitch dark back of the removal van today – it had three seats in the front so Dragon and Star sat there with Ady and I rode in the back with the furniture. It was very strange sitting in complete blackness trying to gauge where we were and at what point of the journey. I do that drive several times a week and would have said I could do it with my eyes shut, today I sort of did and it was really interesting how much it threw me not being able to see what point of the journey I was at, having to guess, use what I already knew in terms of the route and when we might be turning left or right along with the sensations of going up or down a hill, heading east or west. I think this year will be a lot like that experience today – planned out so in theory a ‘known’ journey but one where there are enough variables to keep me guessing along the way, call different skills into use and teach me a thing or too in the process.
All four of us keep catching each others eyes and asking ‘you OK?’ and at least one of us is probably wobbling at any one time but I think between the four of us we have enough excitement and spirit of adventure to keep each other going if we have the odd moment of uncertainty. So in the glow of the dying embers of the fire – oh and all those little led indicators on the various things plugged in and charging up I’m looking at the restless faces of the other three, all now asleep on their camping mats and tossing and turning a little and feeling proud of us all. Proud that we are doing something different, something adventurous, something challenging and scary and above all something together; united as we begin to wonder and to wander.