We're going on an adventure. An epic one. Three months in Europe - planes, trains, automobiles and the odd boat. It's an amazing trip, we've been planning it since before Christmas last year. At that time we knew we needed a seachange, to push a reset button after our shitty 2016. We did dabble with the concept of selling up, Nick chucking in his job and just becoming nomads. But after some soul searching we decided a mini break was probably the more sensible option, that going away for a long time was just running away from our problems. Our goal for this trip is to find ourselves again, find some happiness and have an awesome adventure with Sam before he starts school next year.
In December last year it seemed like we had an age to wait til we left. And in that time I'd have physically healed, I'd have started to get fit again. I'd be travel-ready. And now I find myself a month away from our first flight and I'm in bed again, recovering from another minor procedure yesterday and waiting for my body to heal, hoping that it will heal in time for me to manage the first 12 hour flight. Sigh.
To say that I'm pissed off at my predicament would be an understatement. I do know that my anger is pointless. I accept that I will be weaker than I intended to be, that I will need to rest constantly at the beginning of our trip while my body heals. I accept that we'll have to go slower than I had hoped. But I also accept that I'm angry, angry at being physically compromised for over 18 months now. It's frustrating to not trust my body, to feel let down by my body. And when you've planned something for so long, when you're doing something to try and heal your emotional wounds, it's crushing to feel like the actual travel will be a burden, another thing you have to survive.
When will I start to enjoy things again? When will I have that great day, feel effortlessly happy? I can only hope that I'll find this on our trip, that this massive adventure we're planning is as healing as I hope and need it to be.
This fucking trip man. Loads of people keep telling me how awesome it is and how excited I must be. I am excited. But I'm also fucking terrified.
Physically, it feels like we're limping to the finish line. Annamarie's health is still on a knife edge, and I'm still in a full leg brace following knee surgery. My hip is giving me grief, probably because I'm walking like Robocop. My back is killing me, partly because of my shoulder injury, and partly because that's where I carry stress.
Emotionally, we're still a mess. We have good days where it feels like we're on the right track, and where I'm amazed at how far we've come. We recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary, and I went on a trip to Sydney to see Arsenal (yes, I am a fan, for my sins). Those were amazing weekends, some of the best I've ever had. And then some days we spend yelling or sniping at each other from dawn til dusk.
Mentally, I'm shattered. Tired, and stressed about our finances (a dream family trip can be done economically, but not for free my friend), worried about everything we have to do before we go, worried about leaving work behind for 3 months and what might happen.
But I am also one other thing - I am fucking going. We are going. We might run out of money. An Airbnb guest might trash our house. I might get hit by a bus in Berlin. Hell, given my track record I almost certainly will have some kind of terrible accident while we're out there in the world. But to hell with it, we've dealt with worse. We're going. See you out there.
We are a family of 3. This blog is the story of how we almost became 4, why we didn’t, and what we are doing to recover from that experience.