I’m going YOLO.
With my best travelling companions ever. Husband Fraser (48): fluent in Spanish, whizz at currency conversions, timetables and map reading. Older son Thomas (10): excellent at running very fast through airport terminals in a bid to reach precariously timed connecting flights. Younger son Robert (8): always happy to eat fish. And me, Ruth (39): who, if she hadn’t realized she could take the family with her, would be going solo.
*You Only Live Once
Our house doesn’t have a far-reaching view, but if you crane your head around from the upstairs window it’s possible to see the lights of the houses on the hill. I was looking out, trying to see distance, trying to ignore the Lego and kids’ pants strewn over the floor.
Distracted, I watched the woman next door. She was sorting clothes from the washing machine. Her young son played video games on a huge screen.
This is our lives.
Have you ever had a thought that explodes in your chest? That you feel? A hotness that expands – making your heart beat faster and your breathing quicken? A huge idea you know is totally, utterly, completely right?
‘Let’s pack up and go travelling for 3 or 4 years’ I said, as I rushed through to my husband. ‘There’s a whole world out there and I want to be in it.’
With no more time than was needed to expel the words, he said ‘OK. Let’s do it.’
Nothing else was said. We chased the kids around, as you do, needling away at them until they finally settled into bed.
Later, under the inspiring blank canvas of the bedroom ceiling, we agreed to go travelling for a year. Homeschool the boys. Rent out the house. Ditch our jobs.
It was our secret until we could inform the boys’ head teacher. We told only the estate agent as she valued the house.
Now, explaining our plans feels slightly uncomfortable. You might think us brave, stupid, delusional, irresponsible. You might be wondering how the hell we can afford it. How he can leave a reliable job and how I can leave a fledgling career. How our sons will learn during a year off from school. So I limit the breadth of my smile. I clip the lilt of my voice. I’m careful not to jump around in my seat and clap my hands together like an over-excited twenty-something.
But hey. Wonder away. Cos I’m super-bloody excited. Hawaii. Montenegro. Mexico. Cape Town. Tokyo. New Zealand. Cuba. USA… There’s a world out there. And I’m getting in it.