Feeling the need to break free of society’s constraints meant a second mortgage, a Ford camper-van but also a blank canvas and the prospect of adventure
Article by Jo Gregory
Leap and the net shall appear. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Well, we did and, as I speak, my husband Tom is outside tinkering with our Ford Legend camper-van making the vital changes for our much-anticipated trip across Europe and North Africa.
Tom and I met 11 years ago striking up a friendship which lead to us writing folk music together and eventually falling in love. We married young, swapping pastel confetti for iridescent glitter, for our wedding at Bestival. It was a riot, and the years that followed were the same.
Fast forward nine years, we’d managed to get a foot on the London property ladder and I was heading up the sync department at a music company – a job which I adored. It came with a multitude of perks and I’d made some lifelong friends along the way. However, I’d reached a glass ceiling and wasn’t challenged anymore. This naturally brought me to a major crossroads in my life. Where do I go from here? Do I join my friends in the rapidly growing baby club? Do I get a new job? Travel?
The decision was something we mulled over for months. Tom and I have never lived outside of London and aside from a booze-fuelled two months in Thailand and a few long weekends away, we hadn’t really seen much of the world either. But on the flip side, I’m 35 and always saw children in my future so we set aside dreams of travelling and decided to climb aboard the baby train.
The year that followed was tough. Tom was renovating our house pretty much single handedly. A job which saw us living with no heating or electricity and piles of rubble for furniture. During this time, Tom’s dad had been taken seriously ill and we’d sadly lost a baby, which totally devastated us. The endless cycle of hospital visits and ovulation tests wore hard on us both and we hit breaking point and almost lost each other in the process.
Was this really it? We both felt like we weren’t living our life to its full potential, and with Tom’s dad now on the mend, we concluded that life was just too short. We needed adventure, we needed to be challenged, we needed a change. In the summer we quit our jobs, took out a second mortgage (something which terrified us), rented our house out, moved back in with the folks and decided to travel Europe in our camper-van.
Our decision to completely turn our lives upside down has been met with both sharp intakes of breath and utter bewilderment. Even my spirited father is anxious at the thought of us breaking out of society’s routine. And who can blame him? We’re about to set off with no real set plans on where we will go or when we will return. But here we are, six weeks until D-day and not one single regret; not yet anyway…