A few weeks after I officially retired I found myself pacing the cage with a serious case of cabin fever and more than a wee touch of the crazies. I was Bored with a capital B. And that always spells Trouble with a capital T.
What’s a recent warrior fresh from the corporate front to do? Well there was Donut Thursday, a couple of classes at Vanderbilt, trivia night with the girls, a few art projects that are now on the shelf and then…BINGO! Right back to the original plan that hubs and I talked about when I began writing this blog five years ago. Backpack and Rollie. It was now or maybe never. Time to walk the talk. Go big or stay home.
We started to hatch our plan back in March when a request came through from Home Exchange. Would we be interested in exchanging with a couple from Madrid in August? We mulled it over for about three minutes and, as we are not people who spend too much time contemplating the big decisions in Life, we said Yes indeed we would. So, that led me to thinking that maybe we could put together a few house sits and extend our trip. I applied, and applied, and applied and came up empty handed. Second best but never the chosen one. I was frustrated and ready to throw in the towel when a request came through from a mother-daughter team in Barcelona asking if we might be interested in house sitting over Christmas? We did think a few days about this one before deciding that it was a sign and we should go ahead and throw caution to the wind and say Yes again.
Now all I had to do was figure out how to fill in our time between August 28 and December 20. No problem. Or maybe a big problem. I wasn’t sure at this point.
I applied for three house sits in England over September and October and bingo, bango, bongo (or whatever) they ALL said Yes! On the same day. Yikes. It was getting very real now.
I once again had a full time job as I took on figuring out how to fill in the time between house sits and our home exchange. Good thing I had lots of time on my hands. I dug right in. Those who know me well know that I was in my element. Happy to be creative and busy again.
Hubs and I decided that if possible we would do all of our travel from location to location by train. I’d heard the trains in Europe were excellent. I’d also heard that they can strike without warning leaving you late or stranded. May the train gods be with us. I have now booked almost 17 different train trips as we wind our way from Madrid (home exchange) to San Sebastian (where I will celebrate my 70th) to Bordeaux then Paris, through the chunnel to London, on to Grantham, Thorne (house sit), Dunstable (house sit), Edinburgh, (airbnb), Cheltenham (house sit with a cat named Freddy Mercury), back across the channel to Paris (hotel), Turin (overnight on a long train journey), Venice (airbnb overlooking a canal), Rome (airbnb), Florence (airbnb), Nice (again breaking up a long train journey) and Arles, France (airbnb). Finally down to Barcelona (housesit) and then fly to London for New Years Eve and back home to Nashville.
Nothing to it. One medium sized suitcase each for 3 seasons and one backpack/carry on. My new ipad with all of the apps will hopefully make life easy as we go. No cellular but FB messenger and WhatsApp to stay in touch.
What could go wrong? Everything and nothing. Too late to worry now. We leave in 5 days. No turning back. We are committed. We are ready (almost). And we are excited, terrified, exhausted and going for the gusto.
Watch out what you wish for. You might just make it happen.
Stay tuned for tales from the road.