Striking a balance and preparing to re-enter the rat race

At the end of last week we were both pretty fed up. We seemed to be stuck in a bit of a rut and it felt like the feeling of freedom that we’d grown to embrace over the past two years had finally ebbed away. We took a long hard look at ourselves and realised that because we haven’t had any money coming in, we’d reverted to what we did when we first started our tour – we refused to spend. It took us a couple of weeks touring France before we realised that we were on a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip and not fully appreciating it because we didn’t want to spend any money. At that time we knew that when our savings were gone we’d have to return home and find work – fortunately it was another 22 months before that happened – but slowly we began to open the purse strings and treat ourselves to meals and drinks out, mixing with the locals.

So, just like when we reached the same realisation in France, we made an effort to go out, spend a bit of money and enjoy ourselves. Friday night we met up with some mates at the local and got a bit squiffy. On Saturday we drove over to Matlock and Matlock Bath in Derbyshire, (the closest thing to a seaside resort in the middle of English, but without the sea), where we splashed out on a bag of chips…..each!!

We visited friends on Saturday night and redeemed a voucher they had been given for a free carvery on Sunday. However what we failed to realise until we got home was that the weekend before bonfire night was wet, so all the fireworks purchased locally were set off this Saturday night instead. The result, we got home to find no sign of Charlie in the kitchen. Both doors were shut and he had managed some kind of a Houdini number. Jay eventually found him shaking and cowering behind the kickboard under the kitchen cupboards – needless to say he got a million extra hugs and kisses to calm him down. Twice this week I’ve flailed about in zumba class, while Jay opted to spend his ‘night out’ tinkering with a friends Spitfire and in the pub. While we haven’t spent loads, we got out and fell a whole lot better about our ‘new’ lives.

This week has been a nail-biting one for me. After attending three interviews last week I was waiting for feedback. Then it was decision time. Finally after a long hard think and talk about our futures I’ve accepted a 3 month fixed term contract as a Marketing Strategist in Nottingham City Centre – time to get myself a tram pass! I start on 25 November, which suddenly made me realise how many things I had left on my ‘to do before I got back to work’ list. Spurred into action by a deadline, Dave has now been cleaned. It took four hours, and that was just the inside, he’s still sporting a menagerie of bugs from across Europe on his windscreen! A carrier bag full of dog fur and Saharan sand has been removed and he no longer smells like student digs. I was equally amazed and disgusted at the state he was in, but I guess we are living proof (just) that you don’t need to anti-bacterially clean everything in life!

Sunday Dinner and no washing up!!

Have a great weekend!!

Ju x


  1. Hi,
    Nice to be still reading your blog, life is a bitch no mistake!

    Hope you get where you want to go eventually, thing is, it’s time itself which is your enemy, not much else really.

    I decided way back in my late teens that early retirement was as good a goal as any!

    So I spent a lifetime aiming for just that, have the kids early, etc etc.

    Been retired since I was 51 (10 years ago) 3 x very nice pensions, motorhome, bungalow etc etc.

    The point I make is that early retirement is a far better goal than a stop/start existance……Let me explain, say you work for 3 or 4 years and have enough for the boat, there will be costs of course and a limited area to explore,to be honest all canals look the same to me, and of course it will be raining 90 percent of the time.

    When the time comes to rejoin the rat race, jobs will be harder if not impossible to find, age will work against you untill you become unemployable, at this point you will probably live in poverty like so many others waiting for the call to a higher plain.

    Consider putting things on hold for a while and setting up your plan for a much later date, you don’t have to live in misery while you wait either, but any achievable dream is better than a nightmare.

    My apologies if my advice has overstepped the mark.

  2. Hello Mike and June, you make good points but…

    What happens if you don’t make 51 (some don’t) but had an opportunity at 41?

    And how about if in your travels or adventures at 41 you find the calling that absorbes you for the rest of your life, happening to Adam and Sophie maybe.

    Isn’t there a case for ‘seize the moment’ too?

    • Hi Jamie, Mike & June

      I guess it all comes down to the first part of the title – striking a balance.

      We want to carry on travelling and enjoying the freedom that comes with it. However I want to be able to travel without worrying about money, I think Jay would happily set off again today and work out how to pay for things along the way!

      So, we’re striking a balance and both compromising a bit – after all that’s what marriage is all about.

      Ju x

  3. Hi All,
    Can’t disagree with any points made, guess it all comes down to, doing what you can when you can, with what you have!

    We all have a dream, just thought I’d share mine.

    With the extent of the adventure you have undertaken, I’m not surprised that you can’t contain yourselves.

    It will all work out for you.

    What about further afield? You both have talents and skills that are highly sought after. Canada and America especially, must be Motorhome heaven

    Mike n June

    • Oooh, don’t tempt us! Far away shores are so inviting, but Charlie isn’t a big fan of travel other than in a motorhome! We’ll be staying put in Blighty for a while with dreams and plans of far flung places to spur us on. :)


  4. Totally get you with the money thing – spent the first 1.5 years in Lesotho on the verge of miserable, cos my (cheap) car was a risk everytime I went anywhere and I never wanted to be home – cos I made no effort on making it feel like home. Bhutan was an improvement – bought a car that would take me where I wanted to get to (up mountains) and home was more inviting…now, home feels comfortable (can spend the whole w/e without setting foot outside and have my motorbike…if only the job would sort itself out!

    Similarly the year in the UK with my ex -he never got past the exchange rate issue – and we did nothing, went nowhere. Made me miserable til I ended it and I headed to Bolivia for the summer and left him at home to study.

    Learning about yourself never ends – take care

  5. Hi to you both and Charlie
    You have been an inspiration to us oldies, retired and not wanting to stop in the old rut. We spent last winter in Portugal and now ventured into Morocco after reading A Monkey Ate My Breakfast. Really feel for you having to be back in the UK. Hope we can keep on travelling and look forward to your next book Julie. Sylv, Paul & Charlie Farley from Exeter via Birmingham x

    • Hi guys! You’ll never be as young as you are today, hey? So nice of you to write to us and fabulous to hear that you headed over to North Africa, what an experience! Ju’s off to work starting on Monday, but we’ll get that next book together by hook or by crook! Take care and keep on roaming. Cheers, Jay

  6. Just to say good luck with the job starting Monday 25 Nov. We are right in the south of the Peloponnese (Greece) with mixed weather. Our Blog well updated and only a week behind actual location. Had 3 course meal, 5* fresh fish platter, jug of wine all for 45 Euros in local taverna .. hoozah!

    • Hi guys! Never fear, I’m up to date on your blog as soon as you post it! Hope the weather holds out for you down there, we seriously LOVED that part of the world and having the sunshine obviously helps. Wishing we were there, Jay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.