Well it’s one year ago today that we sailed out of Portsmouth harbour to start a new life in Spain.
I remember crying my heart out because I’d broken my parents hearts and we were filled with every emotion known – excited, terrified, anxious, you name it, we were feeling it! We were now officially homeless and facing months of living in a tent while we found a new home.
So jump forwards 12 months – my parents get it now and their tickets are booked to come over in March to stay with us. Rogers Mum, who was equally as upset at the move, has been over twice, and she’s already talking about her next visit! They have all watched as we have carved out this new life, and I think now they’re all actually quite proud of what we’ve done. I’ll always be the laughing stock of the family, because I’m different, but I actually really don’t worry about it anymore – we don’t have to pretend to be people we’re not now, and that is a huge relief! And if our antics over here make people laugh then I see nothing wrong with that!
This first year has been such an adventure – don’t get me wrong – there have been challenging days – it hasn’t all been plain sailing! But we’ve met every challenge together head on. Proper challenges too – turning river water into drinking water – you know, the important stuff! Some friends stayed with us recently and by the middle of the week they made an observation – they said, you’re not just living here, you’re both thriving here. Probably the nicest compliment ever!
We’ve learned a lot of new skills – installing a solar system and then adding a wind turbine, stripping down old machinery that was here and getting it working again (I’m talking rebuilding carburettors and the like!) – Rog is not scared to give anything a go, and we had no experience of these things before the move. Then there’s me giving up sales and becoming a teacher – I would rather not have to work, but at least it’s only 14-20 hours a week and I can work from home! Then there’s looking after 90 trees, when we didn’t have a clue what to do with them! But we learned, and we are still learning! Throw in learning a new language, and trying to fathom foreign systems and ways of doing things – makes me dizzy just thinking about it!
The most important lessons I’ve learned this year:
Be yourself, not what everyone else wants you to be – if people ridicule you for that, they have a problem, not you.
Don’t go through life being afraid to follow your dreams – accept compromises along the way, but if you achieve 80% of your dream, there’s a good chance you won’t lie on your death bed going thank god that’s over! Do something – now, not next month or next year – make a commitment to work towards it – it might take years, but that’s better than never! Whatever it is, get excited about it and make the plans to achieve it part of your life every day.
Leave the drama out of life – too many people live their life like it’s a soap opera – if that delivery is a day late, will the world stop turning? I have been very guilty of this in the past, (and I do still occasionally overreact!) but generally leaving all that behind has made me a better and happier person.
Be realistic – life is never going to be perfect every minute of the day, it just won’t be! If you go through life expecting everything to be perfect you’ll be in for some big disappointments – knowing stuff can go wrong means that when it does you have have your 5 minute strop and then move on and deal with it!
Look after your mental health as well as your physical health – they’re solely your responsibility.
Don’t take connected services like gas and electricity for granted. What I wouldn’t give some days at the moment to be able to flick the heating on! These days if we want heating, we have to go and cut firewood – an exercise in itself which warms you up!! I realise now how wasteful we used to be – lights on in a room we weren’t in, radio on in the kitchen and the tv on in the living room at the same time, running the washing machine for just a couple of bits, oh my goodness, when I think about it now!
I can honestly say that I love my life and I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings! I’m particularly looking forward to it warming up a bit!! 🥶 At least that’s guaranteed to happen here!