When we started this blog, there was no conscious decision to include as many references to music as we could. However, the more posts we’ve written, the more our love of music comes out, and it’s amazing how often a lyric jumps out as being the most appropriate way to frame a story. So thanks to David Byrne and Talking Heads we have a way of telling you how we came to make the decision to begin this adventure.
And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?
Talking Heads (1980). Once In a Lifetime. In: Remain In Light [Vinyl]. SRK 6095. Sire Records.
Four or five years ago, as we approached our mid forties, retirement suddenly seemed a long way off. We’d imagined that retirement would be the period of our life when we could do all the things we’d been too busy working to do, but it seemed an eternity away. I guess from many people’s perspective, we’d already made some fairly adventurous decisions. At 42, with a ten year old daughter we’d left the U.K. to start a new life in Australia. This was a fantastic move, and we’ve loved living in Bundaberg. Our work life had also been taken to a new level. We both worked for great organisations and felt that we were actively contributing to our community. However, our work lives were intensive and we began to wonder if maybe we didn’t want to wait until ‘retirement’ before we tried something other than working .
This remained a fairly loose goal with no definite starting point in mind. However, we did begin to save with a view to taking the gap years we never had. It has to be said that we weren’t single minded about this ambition. We aimed to stop accumulating stuff but we didn’t stop enjoying the nice things in life; holidays, good wine, eating out, live music. We’ve been impressed by some of the stories we’ve read of people wholeheartedly pursuing that travel goal but it wasn’t us. We both had 24-7 jobs, and we needed to pamper ourselves a bit whenever we had an opportunity. Andy did start reading a number of travel blogs and it began to seem that we weren’t the only ones who thought you didn’t have to put travel off until the magical age of retirement. At this point we should make honourable mention of three of the blogs that were very influential in our thinking; Wandering Earl, Never Ending Voyage and Aussie on the Road. There was great inspiration here even though the authors were quite different to us (and a fair bit younger).
We even started our own blog in 2015 whilst on a mini road trip. You can read these posts by going to the 2015 archive. However, work took over and the intention to keep our blog up to date fell by the wayside. A small apology here to Chris who writes, Aussie on the Road. We decided, with our surname that Bridges on the Road would be a great blog title. We duly went out and registered the domain name and got writing. It was only then that we realised we’d ended up with a very similar name to Chris’s blog, particularly as Australia is also our home. So, sorry Chris, if our travels cross, we owe you a beer or two.
A number of life events in 2017 sharpened our focus. This included the fact that we accidentally sold the house we built in Bargara five years previously. You’ll have to message us if you want to know how you accidentally sell a house. We decided not to immediately buy or build again but to rent for a while. We found a great oceanfront furnished apartment so also ended up selling or giving away most of our furniture.
At the end of the year, we reflected and decided that the planets had aligned and if we didn’t bite the bullet now, when would we. Our lease was up at the end of July 2018, so we targeted that as the start of our adventure. Whilst we could have waited a couple of months before giving notice, we wanted to be fair to our respective employers and not begin the year under false impressions. We therefore went back to work after Christmas and gave notice of our intention to leave work at the end of June.
We’re writing this at the beginning of May and we’ve sketched out our plans for starting our travels. The first few months are fairly locked in and you can read about them in; The Big Trip: Aussie Aussie Aussie Part 1. We’ve also begun to sell and give away many of our remaining belongings. The intention is to end up with just the things that really mean something to us, such as pictures and photos, in a small storage locker. Our Australian journey will be a combination of camping, airbnbs, motels, housesitting and the occasional splurge of luxury. We’ve therefore also kept our camping equipment and bought a jeep which we’ll sell before we head overseas. We’ve never named a car before, but this one came with a name, OTIS, as you can see from the Rego plate.
So that’s pretty much how we ended up where we are. In recent months we’ve been reading more and more travel literature. This spans from the classic Jules Verne through to contemporary writers. We’ve discovered blogs written by people not too dissimilar to us, a great example being Jo and Jon of Jwalking. We’ve particularly enjoyed reading authors such as Tim Ferris, with his concept of mini-retirements in ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’, and Rolf Potts who wrote about vagabonding. Indeed, Rolf’s philosophy is one that aligns with ours quite well and we’d encourage everyone to read his book; Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. If you enjoy that, we’d also recommend his collection of travel essays; ‘Marco Polo Didn’t Go There’. Our intention and budget at present is based around a two and a half year adventure taking us through until the end of 2020. However, we won’t really know until we’re on the road if that’s achievable or what might happen at the end.
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