The Great Adventure continues …
We are a married couple, who decided to take a middle-age gap year in May 2013.
Initially we spent a lot of time travelling and exploring new places as tourists, but then we discovered “Workaway”, where you have the opportunity to live with local families and in exchange you ‘donate’ 5 hours a day of your time. We did everything from housework and gardening to painting, building a wall, looking after sheep, making salads in a restaurant and climbing into an enormous, black water tank to clean out the grunge (while trying to pretend I was not at all claustrophobic.)
In most cases we were embraced by the families, included in all kinds of family and community get-togethers and taken on outings. We did not see all those major tourist attractions, but we did connect with some wonderful people in a very real way.
Stefan attended the Electric Universe Conference where there were many opportunities for studying the “human condition” and I conquered my fear of shared bathrooms. We learnt to travel together; I held onto all the important documents, Stefan booked our accommodation, I navigated and Stefan drove. (This one took a little longer to sort out, but we excelled in the end.) We leant that we could make each other laugh and made a good team.
We drove to Las Vegas and got married by Elvis. We had no guests and great fun.
Having returned to South Africa, after fifteen months away, we realised that we cannot go back to, or even fit into our previous lives. So we have taken an opportunity that has presented itself, and we are off to the Island of Koh Samui in Thailand for about a year. Here we will immerse ourselves in Thai culture, visit other South-East Asian countries and continue to write …
And after that who knows?
We are a middle-aged couple with grown up kids, recently engaged, oh but that came later.
A few months ago we decided in a moment of wild abandon to unplug from our routine lives and travel. First for a bit, then a bit more; a few weeks became months, the months became a year and then more than a year. Young people do it all the time; carefree, can’t decide what to do with their lives, their whole life ahead of them, that “Gap Year” thing. But I guess in our case it should rather be called a MAP Year. (Moderately Active Parents)
Apart from my former boss, who’s response to my resignation was, “Why on EARTH would you want to do that,” which you can understand from his hectic work travel schedule, we have been met with mostly positive responses and some envious glances. It seems that what we are about to embark on is something many people would love to do; or so they say. I suspect out of earshot they may be saying things like…”how could they be so irresponsible”, “ how could they use their retirement money in this way”…”give up a good job, at her age…madness”…”they are acting like teenagers”…
Is there a purpose to our travels? My fiancé’s objectives are clear; he tells me he wants to study “the human condition, the universe, and everything”. He is going to be busy. My immediate goals are much more grounded; don’t get lost and avoid any accommodation with a shared bathroom.
And now, here we are, our passports bulging with a multitude of visas, ready to go. I was told by my fiancé not to refer to this as a “holiday”, as it is no holiday, but rather “A Great Adventure”. On reflection I thought perhaps “A Life Adventure” or a “Change of Life Adventure” is more apt, as even now, the impact on my future is hard to predict.
Synchronicity, had its role to play…and so too the internet. You see that is how we met. In our previous lives we both kindled a dream; a dream to travel and explore the world.
Fortune was kind to smile upon us, and now everything’s in place…