Right then, so Emma and I are back in the UK! We chugged into Brighton marina aboard Gertha about three weeks ago now.
Being back is, of course, strange. After 19 months of travelling (and the majority of those months without money), this isn’t much of a surprise. There are the obvious things: the fact that the oven is static and unhinged, and we’re not cooking in the middle of an ocean. Then there’s the fact that we’ve been staying at family and friend’s homes, eating the most luxurious food and drinking good alcohol, after a year on the road eating whatever we came by, if anything. There is, too, the fact that we can now speak to everyone in our native tongue, which is actually slightly more difficult than I imagined. Both Emma and I have found ourselves tongue-tied after muddling our way through in Spanish for the last year.
All of these are very enjoyable things to readjust to, and I can see already that it would be so easy, after all the dust settles, to fall back into the life I was living before. I was lucky in that I had a decent job, working with friends in London. But city life made me unwell, and I’m not best suited to a 9 – 5 day.
I keep finding myself thinking back to something I said to Roz Savage during our interview from a Colombian toilet a few months back:
“Don’t let go of what you learned, otherwise it’s not a lesson.”
Often we are pretty bad at taking our own advice, or listening to what we think are our own good ideas, but this time around I’m making sure to listen to myself. The fact is, often we have our best thoughts in or on the toilet. Certainly there weren’t many showers in those days for me to have thoughts in.
Since we got back Emma and I have basically been travelling back and forth between family members and some friends too, visiting, catching up, fattening up and then rolling off again on our bikes to the next family member. We’ve spent a coupe of weeks in the south and a couple in the north, changing location every few days, and yet we’ve still got so many people to see, to spend time with and to thank.
We’ve racked up more mileage on our bicycles than ever before in such a short period. We are shattered.
And we are excited. Because all of the things we were planning and dreaming of as we travelled around Latin America are showing promising signs of actually coming to fruition. But that will require some focus, and commitment to the things that we learned on the road.
The next few months are going to be interesting, as we acclimatise to life back in the UK. So far it has been a fairly simple (though exhausting) transition. We arrived to the most beautiful summer I can remember, with warm and generous receptions from our families. So it doesn’t really feel like Emma and I are homeless and broke, even though we are actually homeless and broke.
But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned repeatedly from travelling without money is that being homeless and broke isn’t half as bad as you might expect. In fact, it has treated us rather well, and continues to do so now. Even when we stop sapping our families’ generosity and resources in the near future, we know that we can continue to live a very happy life with very little money, very few possessions and no fixed abode. We will be continuing our apprenticeship on farms around the UK and then comes the next challenge: building our own project, on our own little shared piece of land with some dear friends.
So, as we transition from travelling to, well, travelling in a different way, our uncertain journey will continue and it feels every bit as exciting and pregnant to us as those distant days before we set off for South America.
We’ll be sharing a lot more on this blog, as well as catching up with some more of our experiences from the road. You can expect to read about foraging, farming, hitchhiking, moneyless travel, crowdfunding, sea-vomitting and lots more.
For the moment, apologies to those of you who we’ve yet to contact/visit/thank properly, and sorry too to our lovely readers for not being very good bloggers! Your readership and support mean a lot to us, really they do, so we shall be better from here on out. Life is rather hectic right now. But it will calm down soon and we’ll gradually have more time to catch up.