Look Forward Not Backwards !!

Thursday 3rd September (Day 175 of 236)

Over the last few weeks, with my feet growing evermore itchy to taste ‘freedom‘ again, I have spent several periods quietly, and inwardly, reflecting back over our last two years. As well as continuing to read a whole host of ‘other’ intrepid travellers blogs, I also occasionally scroll through some of my own earlier blog posts, on doing so recently, I came across a photo that I had taken of a sign I saw outside a shop in Albufiera, it simply stated “If you think Adventure is Dangerous, …..Routine is Lethal” and that, at this present moment in time certainly resonated with me as we appear to have got ourselves back into ‘routines’. It got me thinking about how we are currently living our lives and the question I keeping asking myself, inwardly, is ‘Is this really living the Dream‘ ?

I have always said that my ramblings will be an honest account, it’s okay being adventurous, or as some people may call it, ‘Brave’, but when you have burnt your bridges like we have done, given up our careers, both of which provided exceptionally good salaries and sold our modern four-bedroom house and all our furniture and taken to living in a plastic box on wheels, and then write about it, would we really want to have to admit to the world if we decided that we had got it wrong and didn’t actually like it !!

There have been lots of times, only recently though I hasten to add, when both Shazza and I have wished that we had not applied for these ‘Elf & Elfette’ jobs, or that we had failed in our applications, because before doing so we had already made the massive leap to go off and live a nomadic existence and we were adapting to the lifestyle very quickly and enjoying it. Had we not have been successful we would have had to manage living solely on the income of two pensions. We had already done the ‘maths’, several times, over several years, prior to taking the leap, so we knew that we could live in relative comfort, we would not have been rich but neither would we have been on the ‘poverty’ line either. I think that if we were to be totally honest, had we have known then, what we know now, that being that we didn’t actually need the ‘safety net’ of extra incomes, we probably would not have applied for the jobs, but we had, and we were successful, so that was that and let’s face it, no-one is holding a gun to our heads, we can always choose not to do the jobs if we so wished.

Hindsight is brilliant though isn’t it, and all things being equal, and in an attempt to have a balanced perspective on the ‘choices‘ we have made, I have to consider some of the things that we have experienced thus far, things that we could never have foreseen, but things that, had we not have had the additional ‘safety net’ of the incomes from these jobs may well have already turned our ‘dream‘ into a nightmare !!

In our first year the only additional ‘unscheduled‘ expense outside of our anticipated costs was for a new heating element for the Truma Combi Boiler, it certainly was an unscheduled expense and the cost, although not a huge amount, was an expense that had to be met, which, had we have been living the original dream, would have meant having to make savings elsewhere within our limited income and our already allocated budgets !! Fortunately, having taken these jobs, with the additional monthly income they bring, the ‘safety net’, we didn’t actually bat an eyelid and just got the heater element replaced. There are some people who would have had the confidence or ability to have just purchased the ‘part’ required and fitted it themselves, thus saving the ‘labour’ costs, however, I had neither the ability or the confidence and, dare I suggest, there may be other dreamers like me out there who will have to rely on others to conduct the repairs and so suffer the additional financial cost that comes with that. There are many other people who live this lifestyle who have the tools, the skills and the knowledge, or confidence, to just get stuck in and fix things themselves, I really do envy them but look, sometimes it is good to be a dreamer but there are times when you have to be honest and realistic and know and accept your limitations. That doesn’t mean that you cannot learn as you go, frequent followers of our adventures may recall that on our first trip I had to replace a water pump, something that I had never done before, and I did manage it, but had it have been anything a bit more mechanical, perhaps it would have been a different story, actually there is no perhaps about it !!

During this our second year, so far we have had several ‘other‘ unscheduled expenses. By far the biggest was the ‘Fuel Contamination Incident‘ we experienced in Morocco. This could have happened to anyone and at a cost of £1,500 to put it right, this expense, would have been one month’s income on its own, had we not have had the additional savings from the income of the jobs, that would have definitely meant suffering several exceptionally lean months !! Since then, we have also had the ‘unscheduled’ expense of having to replace the heating element in the ‘Fridge/Freezer’ and just recently the rather large bill for Dental work. I accept that in ‘other’ circumstances I may have been able to have got the dental treatment ‘cheaper’, however, my point being that all these things have happened, they were all ‘unscheduled’ expenses and they all needed to be dealt with. Of course we could just consider ourselves to be unlucky with all these things happening, we may go for the next two years, if not more, with no other ‘unscheduled’ expenditures. I guess the message I am trying to get across, rather clumsily I think, is that it is okay dreaming about driving into the sunset, on a limited income and budget, parking up and wild camping under the stars, travelling around Europe at an easy pace and enjoying the freedom, but if you do not at least ‘consider’ the likelihood of the ‘unexpected’ happening or the ‘unscheduled’ expenses then dreams may very quickly become nightmares. Of course, you may not be as unfortunate as we have been and may not experience some of the things that we have, but as sure as eggs are eggs, there will be ‘other‘ things that fall into the category of the ‘unknown‘ that will happen at some point and will have to be dealt with, somehow !!

Now do not get me wrong, this is not me attempting to spread doom, gloom or despondency, you only have to read the numerous current Motorhome travel blogs that are on the Internet to see what a fantastic adventure this is, even when things don’t always go to plan or things need repairing or replacing, you just tend to have a moan about it, curse your misfortune, say “Why Us” then deal with it. We too have already experienced several wonderful adventures without misfortune and quite honestly, we really cannot wait to get back ‘on the road‘ proper and play the cards that we are dealt with, but we have the ‘peace of mind’ that at least, thanks to the incomes of the jobs, we have savings and so a bit of a ‘safety net’ ready for the next ‘unexpected‘ and ‘Unscheduled‘ expense.

I titled this post “Look Forward, Not Backwards” as a bit of a kick up my own backside, a reminder to myself that you cannot turn the clock back and really, I have just shared conversations and musings that I have been having in my own head, with you, so now you may understand the reason why I often refer to these posts of mine as ‘ramblings‘ !!  It also serves to remind me that sometimes things happen for a reason. Had we not have applied for and got the jobs and have had to live on our limited income, then, with our misfortunes, how would we have managed ? I don’t know the answer to that question and, thankfully now, don’t need to, all I do know is that we would have just had to have managed, somehow !!

We do now of course own a nice ‘bolt hole’ in Southern Spain, at the time of purchase we didn’t know that as well as being a nice retreat for ourselves, in between ‘Elf & Elfette’ seasons, that it would also serve as a nice place to entertain our twin granddaughters as well as other family and friends, did I mention that things happen for a reason ?

So, perhaps my reflective mood has been caused due to what has been, and still is, a long, hard and tiring second season which is coming to an end and we are both ready for the good long break. On the positive side, we now have three types of ‘Adventure’ awaiting us, the expeditions and explorations around whichever new location our next seasons Elf & Elfette duties take us to, the expeditions and explorations around the locations of our new Spanish residence in ‘Wuxly’ and the wider expeditions and explorations of Europe in ‘Big Momma’.

So, wider world, “Looking Forward and not Backwards“, should I be saying that we got it wrong, I don’t think so, it was still a good decision, and although our direction may have changed a bit from how we had initially planned the adventure, the great thing about our lives right now is that we still have the ‘freedom’ to make changes, to make choices, isn’t that what an Adventure is all about ?

Talking of expeditions, isn’t there another Castle still waiting to be explored……………

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14 Responses to Look Forward Not Backwards !!

  1. Baxterbus says:

    Agree totally, adventure means doing something unusual or daring. Think so far you have covered both of those points and then some. We would all love to live the ‘gypsy’ ideal but in the real world things cost and unexpected things happen all the time. Using common sense does not detract from having an adventure. Not long to go 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Sandra, yes, not long to go now and following your own adventures via your blog has helped keep our dream alive, thanks for that. I know you are on the last stretch of your trip but continue to enjoy it and keep those blog posts coming 😄

  2. Ste T says:

    Once more Eric you echo my thoughts. I did warn you about the long season though! It is a funny life working on a site. On the one hand you have the “freedom” and, as you say, the spare cash, to Winter away, either in your van or apartment. But on the other you have to be there while others drive off “living the dream”!

    We’d decided to get back on the road at the end of the season and have at least next year off, possibly “retiring” completely but fate, or whoever controls these things decided otherwise. Anns’ mum has been diagnosed with Dementia and this has meant that we are to do a Winter season to stay handy, and it might affect our travels in the Spring, who knows? But at least we’ve done some of it, and fully intend to go again.

    None of us know what life holds round the next bend but the main things is, I believe, is to not waste the time we have and get out there and do the things we dream about and at least have ago at living them!

    3 weeks and 4 days! 😉

    • I guess there will always be people either just starting their travels or just coming back from them, and we always wish it was us on our way 😪 Life working on site is as you say a funny old beast, I think it is the working for over 8 months without a decent spell of holiday that makes it so hard. What is that saying “the grass is always greener on the other side”, for without the jobs there would need to be a lot of compromises and financial restraints, even concerns if and when an ‘unexpected’ happened and you had to rob ‘Peter’ to pay ‘Paul’ !! At least for now we do have the best of both worlds just not the freedom to roam at our own choosing 😳
      Sorry to hear about Ann’s mum matey but as I have mentioned to you before, family is important 😉 we will know in a couple of weeks where we will be next season, let’s hope it is one of our preferred locations, Poolsbrook Country Park would be good, only because the season finishes on 28th September instead of mid-November !! Take care both and stay in touch 👍🏻

  3. Glad you wrote this blog I have followed your adventure from the beginning and I hope you both have many more advenures. Keep on writing and taking the wonderful Photos to keep old men like me living the dream through your eyes. Best of luck to you both.

    • Thanks Bill, I know that you are one of my loyal followers and I am very appreciative of you regularly taking the time to post your comments and also for following my ‘ramblings’ 😉 I think that what my last post confirmed, to me, was that I will never be short of something to write about. My next problem is ‘space’ as I am running out of space on this particular ‘WordPress’ blog so need to think about either purchasing additional space, but that means a regular commitment to ‘Annual’ subscription payments, or finding another ‘free’ blog provider.

  4. Chris Miller says:

    Thank you for your comments on my blog Eric, as you know, where just getting our ducks in a row, renting the house out etc I’ve also followed you through most of Europe and your blog has been mostly responsible (that’s a compliment 🙂 ) for us getting onto the road. We’re both really looking forward to it and being an ex News photographer, I’ll be probably writing less and shooting more for the blog.

    Looking forward to reading your next chapter on the road.
    Regards to you both Chris

    • Hi Chris, I am sure you will enjoy your fulltiming adventures, especially in such a wonderful location as NZ with the choices of both the North & South Islands. I look forward to reading your blog posts and seeing the stunning photography, enjoy 👍

  5. Interesting blog as always Eric. It sounds like you are in need of some time off and a bit of Spanish sun and grape juice!
    We really enjoy reading about the lifestyle and picking up hints and tips. Could you send links to the other similar blogs you mentioned please.

    • Hi Darren & Christine, yes, lots of Spanish Sun and Grape Juice would be just what the Doctor has ordered and the days are reducing quite well now. I will send you some other current blog addresses via Email very soon 👍🏻

  6. Barry says:

    Good ‘episode’ and very Eric-ish – Per Ardua ad Astra!

    • Hello matey and good to hear from you and nice to see you haven’t forgotten your Latin 😄 I agree with the sentiment but not sure I would class some of our ‘incidents’ as ‘Adversity’ or ‘Struggles’ but I know ‘where you were coming from’ 😄👍🏻

  7. Hi Eric
    We have been following your blog for ages, and have set off on our 12 month journey around Europe just five weeks ago. I was thrilled this morning to see you have decided to follow our blog 🙂
    We have already had a small ‘disaster’ in that our awning has broken. We will need to get it replaced before we head further south for the winter. We also made a poor decision on our choice of bikes. We bought fold up bikes in England, but really needed proper bikes to get around. So, our unexpected expenses are pretty high so far, but we hope that things will settle down for the rest of the year.
    Very best wishes to you and Shazza. It’s been great reading your blog, and we appreciate the time, effort and inspiration you give.

    • Hi Ian and Julesey and thank you for your kind words. Just remember that it is an Adventure, you will adapt as you go, changing things is part of the process, learning what you actually need rather than what you thought and as you will have read, perhaps doing things a little differently to how you first thought you would, it is the freedom to make all those choices that make the adventure interesting 👍🏻😉 Looking forward to reading about your inspirational adventures 👍🏻👍🏻

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