Saturday, 26 May 2012

Blog is moving

I've set up a new blog here where I'll be continuing to post:

The Barts Go Adventuring

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

11 months to go

It's been a whole month since I started to tell people about this blog and our plans to travel.  I've been overwhelmed by the support and positive comments I've had from people since we went public but I think it will take me a little longer to get used to all the questions that come with pondering such a different path.  I should be used to it of course, we home educate and in the UK that is also very much a minority path and we are often quizzed and questioned about why the kids aren't in school today.  No, I'm not very good at answering those questions either!  Talking about what we do and justifying our reasons makes me want to cower in a corner!

Online is another matter though and I am quite happy to talk away like that.  I've been getting to grips (slowly!) with Twitter and making a facebook page so we can connect with other travellers especially families who have done or are planning to do similar trips to us.  It's such a minefield and I keep doing things wrong, but I guess I'll get there!  There is a worry that I will end up spending ages just reading and browsing and reading and browsing.  You do end up finidng out cool facts though, like that Istanbul is just over 2000 miles away using google maps directions and would take us 1 day and 11 hours to get there.  Um, yes, I dunno why or how I found that one out ;o)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

What could have been

 Today we should have been getting ready for a trip of a lifetime.  We were supposed to be flying to Chicago to start a road trip along Route 66.

Route 66 Victorville
Unfortunately life happened and we had to cancel the trip, but my father in law and James' cousin are still flying out tomorrow.  I wasn't too bothered about it, knowing we have this fab adventure to look forward to, but James had started mentioning it wistfully the other day and today I do feel a litte sad for what could have been. 

We did have our reasons, of course, the main one being that we were worried about J's job and we felt we couldn't commit to the expense with that hanging over our heads.  I am glad that his job seems ok now, but ugh, we could have done it!

We do have a 'mini adventure' coming up soon that we decided we'd do when we were in that bleak period of not knowing what was going on.  We'll be spending our days walking on the beach, hopefully we'll go on a boat trip to see puffins and sea birds and generally chill out and escape the decluttering going on round here ;o)  Oh, and forgetting about what could have been.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Downsides to RTW blogs

Yup, you read that right, there are downsides to Round The World travel blogs!

They give you itchy feet!

Now don't get me wrong, I am really happy about our planned adventures, I can't wait to explore the Cornish beaches, Scottish islands, castles up and down the country, Stonehenge and poky little museums with exhibits on the history of this country.  I can't wait! Actually, just writing it there gets me all excited about doing it, I love this country and I feel really priviledged to be able to consider travelling round it at length and learn more about it. 

I've been reading some blogs of families on the road and loving the fact that I am not the only crazy one with ideas, these people have actually done or are doing their dreams!  I've also been reading non family blogs and getting excited as they reach their leaving dates, or visit fantastic countries.  They are reminding me of the wanderlust I used to have when I was younger, when I just wanted to visit and experience everywhere.  Latin America seems to be a common destination, perhaps because of the many North American blogs around and it's making me so curious.  I've never hankered after going there, but now?  Oh yeah!  I'd love to!  Asia has always been high on my list, but I think latin america might be catching up.   

The problem is, the world is just too big and we can't do it right now., which of course makes me want it more ;o)  I do have vague plans in my head for us to work over the winter next year after we've done our six months and to then head on down to the mediterrannean coast and explore from maybe Barcelona, through the southern French coast and then onto Italy.  We'd then explore Germany, Belgium and Holland on the way back. 

But, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself *blush*

But that's what these blogs do to you, they make you realise your dreams can be as big as you want them to be and that the world is just waiting to explore.  As I come across more blogs I'm trying to link to them at the side there ----->  I'd love to find more from British travellers though.  Any more out there?

For now I'll go back to dreaming about exploring those fab Scottish beaches on the Outer Hebrides...

Beaches in the south of the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides 

Or maybe even this one...

North Uist near Solas

Friday, 4 May 2012

One step at a time

I love how the internet can connect people with similar dreams, goals and interests.  I spend ages on the internet (really?  You're surpised aren't you?  ;o) ) and mostly it's due to finding blogs or forums with people who are interested in what my current obsession is ;o)  As you can imagine there are a fair few blogs related to travel and decluttering and simplifying so when I've had a minute I've been having a read around and getting inspiration.

Inspiration is very much needed when I look around the house at the amount of stuff we have.  This is not helped by almost everyone I speak to asking what we're doing with all our things when we leave to which I reply 'oh we won't have much stuff left, we have a few furniture items we'll keep but other than that we'll get rid of most of the stuff.  I'm not really sentimental.'  Sounds perfect doesn't it?  An empty house and maybe a few boxes with photos and other such stuff left?  In my head I think I will be able to do it, but in practice it is so difficult!  I wonder whether I should keep things, if it will come in useful, etc etc.  You get the idea.

We're going round the house mentally thinking what we'll sell, give away and keep.  But the keep list is getting longer by the day!  It's very worrying although I'm sure as d-day approaches we'll be more ruthless.  Well I can hope can't I? 

A friend is also hoping to get rid of stuff this year and has set herself a challenge like mine to get rid of stuff and build up a pot of money for things she wants to do.  Excellent - always good to have others doing similar crazy challenges so we can cheer each other on!

There is another thing that is making it all hard though.  It's still 11 months until we go so there is no real point in going crazy with getting rid of stuff that we'll still use (take note James!), but at the same time, if we do nothing, in 8 months time or so we'll have a mountain to climb.  So I'd been thinking that we need to find a way to give us a boost so we feel like we're doing something, have a head start on when we *have* to make these final decisions about things, and don't get burnout.

Enter more internet inspiration ;o)

So I was reading a couple of blogs and this post jumped out at me.  It's an old post, but isn't it funny how sometimes you come across these things?  So the idea that this family did was for each of them to get rid of 4 things each day.  We can do this!  It won't feel too hard, we all will have an easily reachable target for each day and hopefully by the end of May we'll have purged the house from a good proportion of things we don't need now, are broken, and are useless.

Once I'd put the idea to the family, who are thankfully fully behind the idea, I then saw this blog post from the fabulously inspirational Family on Bikes blog (in awe - I so could not bike that far!  I love the idea of it though) about how to eat an elephant.  Sometimes that is how this part of our adventure is feeling.  Huge, too much, not fun, never ending, overwhelming.  It needs to be done though, so we'll have to take it one step at a time.

Wish us luck!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Our sealed pot - meet Fillmore!

This is 'Fillmore' our campervan moneybox!  He's named after the VW campervan in the film Cars which we all love.

I first heard the idea of a sealed pot on the MoneySavingExpert site but it never appealed to me as a way of saving.  Then I started reading SavingForTravel's blog and saw her challenge about putting money away for something special and I thought again about seeing if we could incorporate it into our savings for next year.

I decided that I wanted to keep it separate to the other savings plans we had.  I wanted it to be for something we'd all enjoy and something we might not feel we could splurge on when we're on the road. After a bit of thought we decided we'd all quite like to try kayaking round the coast of Cornwall.  I love the idea of doing adventurous activities, but really they have to involve no heights as James and M are really scared of that kind of thing!

I looked into how much something like that might cost and it looks to be around £120 at least for the four of us.  I'll add some links to the bottom of this post of websites I've found, it needs a little bit more research done, but I have to say I am very excited about the idea of it all.  Spending that much money for a morning or afternoon's activity will certainly not be happening often, if at all, but what a perfect opportunity to give these activities a go.

So, Fillmore gets all our change, any money we find on the ground (roadkill!!), any money that I might have budgeted to spend and not needed to, any money I find in pockets, you get the idea.  I'll open him up in December and see how close we are to the total we need.  He's quite heavy already and I know there are some paper bits in there too, but I have resisted so far in counting it all up!

(just so I don't lose the links I shall shove 'em here!)

Sea Kayaking Cornwall
Cornish Coast Adventures
West Cornwall Adventure

Friday, 27 April 2012

April goal round-up

We're not quite at the end of the month, but today is our last pay day so number crunching day it is!

  • We have 11 months, 2 weeks and 5 days until we go!

  • I have cleared 9 items (9!!!!!) from the house in April with a total amount made of £70.12.  I also managed to get more stuff on ebay last week and most have bids but I'll add those in to next months totals.  So:  9/1000 and £70.12/£1000.  ;o)  Quite a way to go still!

  • Overall at the beginning of April we had £673 saved up and at the end we have £1212 so we nearly doubled our money!

I'm not sure how figures will add up next month.  We've had a minor setback in that I no longer have my job at my dad's shop (long story!).  It wasn't a lot of money coming in but was enough to add up to a decent amount over a year and it's gone now so I need to think about alternative income and ramp up any online money making I can.

I am not mentioning the ticker counting my weight loss ;o)  Maybe next month I can report some good there!