Over a decade ago we lost three friends in their 30s in the space of 6 months. That loss combined with mid-life crisis sent my husband Andy, dog Harvey the basset hound and the adventure of a lifetime.
We left our jobs and travelled Europe in a Rapido 7 meter luxury Motorhome. We had no idea as we pulled off our driveway where we were going or for how long, but what we did know was that there is more to life than what we were experiencing at that time.
We travelled to France and spent months in all the regions down the west coast, highlights being Normandy and Bordeaux, we travelled across the plains of Spain, San Sebastian, Salamanca and into Portugal, stayed in the Estrela mountains, and the ancient cities of Beja and Evora, spent months in the Algarve over winter before heading off to Italy. The destination driven by the weather and living off the rent of the house meant budget camping on beaches which you can do in many places around southern Europe over Autumn and winter.
It took 3 months to truly unwind from the stresses of life, but when we did life was far more richer, as you had time to smell the roses, explore, spend hours in the markets, learning languages, reading, speaking to people. Being present and totally living in the moment. What we experienced and learned about life was transformational.
We met the grey nomads, there were many from many countries, people that had travelled for decades following the fruit picking seasons. The Dutch travellers are the best, a couple we met south of Bordeaux in Mimizan on the coast, each winter they take their motor-home and a menagerie of animals including a budgie and live on the beach. There was a Dutch professor from Utah and his wife that escape the winter to San Vito Lo Capo in northern Sicily.. too many stories and so many magic moments.
When you have all the time in the world, you start reflecting on your life and what you want from life. It was these moments that prompted me to read Aging to Saging a non religious book written by a Rabbi https://www.amazon.com/Age-ing-Sage-ing-Revolutionary-Approach-Growing/dp/0446671770, the exercises made me think about my future years and what I wanted from life. Looking at life backwards I understood, that although I loved my travels I need a purpose in life.
I always loved being in business, the people, customers, strategy and learning something new about people and my self every day. I missed it, I only have to look at my dad who started a business at 50 and is now 70 and has a great balance of work and life as he loves getting away in the motor-home as my husband and I left it for my parents when we moved to Australia.
As the months of travelling unfolded the mist cleared and a plan emerged. We no longer wanted to live in England the weather was depressing and we needed to experience something new. Although living in a motor-home for a year was fun we missed the luxuries in life, the experiences made us appreciate what we had a whole lot more when we returned to living in a home.
We all want to help others, it is in our blood, so what became clear is I wanted to help others to enjoy success and live a balanced life. Through my work as a business leader I had the opportunity to embrace both. When I returned to the UK, we had the opportunity to move to Australia with the company I ran before we travelled, Andy and I jumped at the opportunity to live in Sydney. My legacy is all about others realising the potential of others and creating a good life/work balance.