Many of my regular readers won’t fail to notice a change of theme for this blog — from a black photoblog to a more reader-friendly theme with classic typography. And if you look closely at the tagline you’ll see that Writing and Photography has been extended to Writing and Photography on the Road — Travelling in Europe on a Shoestring. So what on earth is going on?
Easter Sunday, 2012. The day began as any other Sunday with a cosy lie-in followed by showers, breakfast, checking emails and a delicious brunch, the kind that sets you up for the rest of the day: a glass of OJ, pancakes with strawberries, ricotta, maple syrup and veggie sausages, plus a cup of freshly ground and Bialetti-brewed coffee.
After eating we donned our coats and scarves and headed off to our friend Martin’s house to drop off a packet of crisps to replace those we had devoured whilst visiting the previous evening. Unfortunately Martin wasn’t home, so we decided to leave them on a hook in the garage for him to collect later. Our plan for the afternoon was to take a stroll around the Lewes Priory and perhaps sit with our backs against one of the flint walls whilst soaking up some rays from the warm Spring sun, but opening the garage and seeing our car was all the inspiration we needed to abandon our plan and instead drive out to Cuckmere Haven, one of our favourite spots in Sussex.
It was a glorious afternoon, and as we were leaving town we both felt the urge to embrace spontaneity and instead head to Newhaven to catch the ferry to France, to start our planned summer holiday early. Although we didn’t do this, the idea grew into a much larger one as the conversation continued while walking down the estuary towards the sea; and as we climbed the first of the Seven Sisters we had agreed to do the very thing we both wanted to do since before we met and got together — pack up our possessions to go travelling around continental Europe.
That was just over two weeks ago. Last week we gave notice to leave our rented apartment — which has already been re-let, so no turning back! — and we have been crazy busy ever since. Departure Day is set for Monday, 14 May, and the clock is very much ticking. I’ve installed the Milestone widget in the right sidebar so you can follow the countdown to D-Day!
Over the next three weeks we have a million tasks to check off a very long list of to-dos, from general admin and paperwork to buying various necessary supplies, from selling larger items of furniture to packing and storing those smaller items, such as books, that we want to keep. Since we’re not leaving with a vast budget we plan to mostly camp and couch surf, and have now joined CouchSurfing, a worldwide network of travellers and hosts. As our main motivation for travelling is to meet people from other countries and discover both the differences as well as the commonalities, couch surfing seems an ideal way to travel. But we’re also very much looking forward to camping as a way to visit more rural places and, being food lovers, have just invested in the Cobb Kitchen in a Box.
We intend to fund our travels by continuing to work on the road: I can continue my business via Skype (teaching people how to use their Mac, troubleshooting, etc.), something I already do with those who live outside of the local area; and Sean will be available to run creative writing workshops and retreats in various, as-yet-unspecified locations Europe-wide. We’re currently looking for people who would like to help find venues, so if you live in Europe and are interested in doing so, please do get in touch — we’d love to visit your hometown!
My blog posting is likely to be erratic over the next few weeks, but once on the road I intend to post regularly, to share the story of our adventures, and the highs and lows of travelling in Europe on a shoestring.