The end of October brought our summer of adventure to a close. Our temporary ‘for fun’ jobs ended, we moved out of the summer rental and into a slightly more permanent abode. It feels like the real world has dragged us back in.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the enormity and impact of the very simple (not necessarily easy) steps we took to get here. We both knew that a lot would change. We took the decision to sell-up and move because…
a) the fella had a job with a 3.5 hour daily commute, which sucked the life out of him and was bad for his health
b) my dreams of opening a cafe/deli in my hometown turned out not to be as sweet as I’d imagined, and I wasn’t willing to invest our savings in something that we would never own
c) we wanted to demonstrate to the wee lass that life does not have to follow a set path or involve climbing some imaginary ladder that someone else has set before us
d) because we could – fortunate enough to make a little bit on a house sale that we knew was a cushion which could sustain us if we needed it.
Finding jobs was essential to our learning and enjoyment for this summer. We each found a place within the home of golf, working in golf. Being a caddy at The Old Course gave my fella a new lease of life, he skipped to work as giddy as a schoolboy. And my hospitality job at the world’s most prestigious golf club afforded me an opportunity to learn about restaurant food service. Most importantly, neither of us brought our jobs home. There was no burden of responsibility, which left (too much?) space for self contemplation.
There were some surprises along the way, like the realisation that our working hours did not match at all well. He worked most evenings and I found myself alone and lonely in our remote little chalet shoe-box. I also discovered the pain of plantar fasciitis after taking a second job and finding myself on my feet for hours and days on end.
It was hard not to let other peoples’ thoughts on our move cloud our decisions, but I think we managed it. The way our society works and how we’ve all been programmed, is to believe that progression means to make more money, take on more responsibility, buy a bigger house (and TV), and get a newer car. What kind of society have we become that it seems odd or strange to do something that makes you happy and is good for your mind, body and soul? The gasps and Ohhhs and sucking-in-air-through-teeth, and exclamations that we’re brave and it’s scary were often and sustained – and still are. In many ways I believe that what we’ve done is set ourselves free, expanded our minds beyond where we thought we should be. Even our 10 year old still can’t quite comprehend or understand why we would sell our own house with a big garden to move to a flat that isn’t ours, is smaller, and has no garden. It makes me a little sad, that even as young as 10, she thinks everything in her life has to grow bigger as she does.
One valuable lesson we learned was that more space means more stuff, and trying to then fit your life into a smaller space is really, really, really hard. It’s been the most stressful part of the experience – moving twice in 5 months and having stuff stored in 4 different locations up to 60 miles apart – is an anxiety inducing experience, particularly for someone who likes to be organised. Reducing our personal mountain of ‘stock’ has been a difficult and lengthy process, which isn’t over yet. But the less we have, the lighter I feel. It’s been a very busy time. On a brighter note, I visited Madrid and Amsterdam, and turned 40 and got engaged on holiday too 🙂
But now that we’re back to real life again some decisions need to be made. My business isn’t dead, only dormant and morphing into something different. I know I want a work life where I can move my body and I want variety and freedom and flexibility. So what next? I’m pondering that right now. Looking for a job whilst unemployed is completely new to me, and a bit scary – made more complicated because I can’t decide. Back to a full-time corporate job? Or a wee part-time job that leaves space to explore other foodie things? All things I’m considering while trying to balance our financial obligations alongside my values.
Whatever happens next I’ve made a commitment to get back to sharing my food creation adventures with you, for no other reason than I want to! So look out for new recipes coming soon on my Facebook and Instagram pages. And if you want to see some of what I was up to over the summer (and now in winter!), Instagram is the place to do it.