I’m slowly catching up with the posts from the last section of our trip in Scotland, but some of the more eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that I’ve not updated where we’ve been lately or spoken much about what’s happening right now. Well, there’s been a reason for this:
We’ve had to stop travelling.
Well, for now at least. Let’s get that straight! I have plans and dreams that I’ll share at another point, but for now we’ve had to stop. Why? Mostly financial really. We were never under any illusions about how budget this trip would have to be and I think we did really well to keeping to a decent budget, deciding what was worth spending money on and so forth. We had hoped to travel until the end of the year so it was never an indefinite trip. I’ll admit it felt pretty rubbish having to give up earlier than planned though.
One thing we didn’t really have was a re-entry fund for finishing up travelling and getting a house again. We kept back our house deposit, but really that would only pay for the next house deposit and not the first months rent on a place (never mind some places would want 6 months rent in advance as we’d have not been working and in new jobs). We never felt like we would need much more, we wanted to see where opportunities might take us, but we knew that if we ran out of money or if things went wrong we could crash at my parents house (in our van on the drive) till we got finances together. We hoped it wouldn’t come to that, we hoped we’d maybe get an interesting house sit and find a job from there or something along those lines. So it was fine living without that cushion of money, until our back up plan wasn’t there anymore. Unfortunately my parents situation has changed and they’ve had to move house, with no drive we could crash on anymore. All of a sudden we felt different about having no back up emergency money.
We tossed around so many ideas about how to continue, but the reality of it was, we were worried about coming back and getting a job and where we’d live in the meantime. It never quite got out of our minds once we started worrying. We hoped to continue and at least do Egypt, 2 months of relaxing sounded great, but there were a couple of issues with this. First, upheaval in the country would have meant we couldn’t do all we wanted to do there. I had big plans to travel round the whole country, we couldn’t do that. Secondly, our flights landed back the week before Christmas. We had nowhere to go since we’d planned to stay with our parents and although we were inundated with offers from friends, we had to face up to the reality we’d arrive back when we would struggle to find somewhere to live and when jobs were thin on the ground. It was all less than ideal. We thought we could spend Christmas in Spain and get a rental there for a month or so, but our funds would have been extremely low by then or gone, so it was a bit of a risk.
Just before we arrived back in Sheffield to dog sit for a friend, which was meant to be a half way house between us being in Scotland and going to France again, James and I both seemed to come to a decision, without even discussing it, that we should stop now, use the two weeks with a house to find a job and ultimately somewhere to live and that is what we did. Thankfully, James was offered his job back where he worked before (there would have been no chance of this after Xmas as it’s a job that is busy all through winter, they’d have got new drivers by then) which is great as it’s well paid and he’s been able to slot right back in. We also have rented a house and for now, life seems to be back to ‘normal’.
So what next?
We’re determined we’re going to travel again before the kids grow up and leave us. We have plans, we have unfinished business.
We’ve learnt a lot from all this happening though. Not only did not having much money to start off with not help our plans, but also that we had lots of ties still here. We had a small amount of credit card debt (not much and we put aside payments to make while we were away), we had a car and insurance to pay, a phone contract, life insurance, van insurance and tax for all those – you know, enough to tie you and mean you have to constantly make sure you’re on top of it. We’re planning to cut all these ties and make sure we have no obligation to pay anyone anything! Well, except maybe some storage.
Marcus also needs a brace which will be getting fitted in the next six months, this was always something we knew needed to happen. I hoped us being back sooner would mean this gets done sooner, but our visit to the orthodontist today has knocked that back. Ho hum, so we’ll see how this pans out and how long it is likely to take once it starts (they said 18 months), but I will be happy to know this isn’t on my mind as something that needs sorting. I know we could possibly take his treatment to other countries, but it’s paid for here on the NHS and so getting it done here makes the most sense.
We’re aiming save again, make sure we have a re-entry fund, and a real emergency fund (i.e. not an credit card!!). We want to make sure we can afford to travel and enjoy life more. This means more money really, it’s pretty rubbish having to count *every* penny. Either that or visiting cheaper countries.
We want to create an income online. Answers on a postcard please!
Mostly we’re looking to hit the ground running with this. We know we can do it, we’ve done it before! I’m hoping to blog more about my plans soon and that writing here will help us get there as it did before!