A lot of people keep asking us why – what inspired us to do this trip?
About six months ago I wrote my reasons on some Post-Its and stuck them on our bedroom wall next to a pinboard that I covered in pictures of white beaches, turreted chateaux, hammocks and clippings from the guardian travel section. Oh and this postcard.
There were several things that poked me along the way. It took ten months from niggling half-formed ‘got to do something’ thoughts, to resignation letters and flight bookings. Here are my main prodders.
1. We are sitting on a plane flying back from Mexico. It is early Feb 2009. There is a man behind me whose naked, tattooed gut is pressing against the back of my chair. I look around the plane and think of jumping out the emergency exit. And this is not a response to ten hours on a flight with a toddler. This is more to do with the horror of coming back to Britain after two sun drenched weeks road tripping up the Mayan coast. That was when I first had thoughts along the lines of ‘why are we living this life in London that allows us a couple of exotic holidays a year when we could be doing it full time?’
The idea parked for a while until…
2. We speak to Rich, John’s brother. He runs several social enterprises from Mumbai and is generally inspiring. He tells us to just do it. I feel like I’m in a Nike ad.
3. I read Tim Ferriss’ The 4-hour Work Week and fall in love with the concept of not working ever again.
4. I realise that Lula, our baby, is no longer a baby and will be starting school in 15 months’ time (Sep 2010). A quick scan of the local Ofsted reports puts me into a panic. We have ‘that’ private vs state debate and I realise that neither really works for me. I am just not sure that our education system is providing what children need for the 21st century in either sector. Add to this my horror of facing the prospect of being tied into working in London in stressful jobs for the rest of our lives (at this stage I had parked Tim Ferris and was getting realistic).
5. I manage to convince John on steak night Wednesday that this is what we need to do. Absolutely and completely. And totally.
5. I read Fuck it: The ultimate spiritual way and decide to say Fuck It to everything. Job? Fuck it. Scared of not having an income? Fuck it. Possibility of getting amoebic dysentary in India with a child in tow? Fuck it.
6. One of my best project managers at work tells me she is leaving. I say Fuck it. I am too.
7. I resign and they make plans for my succession. It is like a bridge is burning behind me and I can’t turn back.
8. Ex-housemate comes around to discuss renting house off of us. She looks out window, sees a robin and says, ‘but won’t you miss things like English birds?’ I look at John then back to Lizzie and say, ‘Er, no. When I’m lying on my sunbed by the pool in Bali, I don’t think I’m going to be thinking about how much I miss English birds.’
9. Every single person I tell our plan to turns around and says ‘That’s so inspiring’ except for my father in law who thinks we are mad. I feel like Gandhi. No one has ever told me I’m inspiring before and now I feel like I’ve been told it 384 times in the last week alone. I could get used to this. I might not be a Head of Projects anymore but I am inspiring.