We're kind of, at least hoping to be, embarking on a quest of co-habitation, self-sufficiency and go-your-own-way in life (to name some hyphenated things and a song [feel free to listen at the same time as reading]).
In the world beyond the cutlery draw, we are searching for an alternative way to live our life together, one thing I think we've always had in common, a life which isn't the default we are constantly faced with, certainly in a city within the UK.
Our journey began with a Workaway last September, in the very place I am currently sat, house-sitting no less! We decided to go on holiday, but completely put off by the idea of a package holibob, and not into splashing the cash, we discovered Workaway - an awesome website offering, you may have guessed it, working holidays. This website links hosts and volunteers from all around the world, it's wicked, similar to WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), with more than just organic farms. So in September 2014 we embarked on our first Workaway to Extremadura, Spain, where we helped out a fantastic couple on their finca in the middle of nowhere, it was glorious, and exactly what we had in mind for our break. While we were volunteering, many discussions were had about how and why, plus what they do to survive; financially, linguistically and ecologically. It was apparent that it was where we could see ourselves in 15 years time.
And so, following this experience we started, albeit slowly, on our journey to now. Returning to the UK, full of desire for living in Spain with a little finca in the sticks, living off the land, being as eco-friendly and low impact as we can. The first thing we struck upon was an allotment, and one with no waiting list to boot! A local, society run allotment, with free plots! So, by mid October we had our own half plot, and a shed, and I had applied to the CELTA course to pursue teaching English. Christmas came and the only thing we asked for was seeds - to attempt to grow on our new allotment. January, I started the CELTA course, part-time, and continued to work at the printers. Also keen to learn all we could on our quest, we started to look for our next Workaway and, naturally, looked up our previous hosts for any news from the hacienda, their we saw a very early plea for some housesitting over Christmas and New Year, ceasing the opportunities when they arise, we voiced our interest and with an overwhelming reply of 'yes, yes, yes please' we commenced the count down.
We continued to battle the unknowns of a new allotment, and me to studying hard, I proudly earnt myself a Pass B in May, by the end of June I started a shiny new job teaching English at a summer school, while also agreeing to a spot of design work (my previous job was as a graphic designer) for the school at the same time, win, win! The changing of career seemed to be worth it as my contract was extended, then extended some more.
Before the summer we were in discussions with a farmer to move to into a caravan - live cheaply, save money etc. After confirming we should hand in our notices on our respective rented rooms, it, obviously, all fell through and we had to source some emergency accommodation for the end of July, we got really lucky with a lovely lady called Diane with some very similar ethics and outlook on life, and who we discovered we'd previously met. However, in such situations, the room was only available for a few weeks, so as soon as we'd moved we were in the search for our next place, by this time we knew we couldn't afford to rent a place of our own, especially as we were due to be away, by this time 2 months - our house-sit, extending to fit in a bit of Lisbon, another bit of volunteering and a bit of a look around south Spain.
So, following the end of summer school, Señor Spoon and I moved house again - the day before I headed to Austria to teach for three weeks, I came home knackered, to a house I'd spend just one night in, in a little village a few miles from the city. For three months we lived village life - cycling or bussing it to the city, the only shop with irregular hours - not depending on a 10 minute walk to Tesco, taking a torch every where we went, and most importantly remembering to take everything you needed for the day out with you when you left, otherwise rendering the day useless! So we learnt a few valuable things about living in the sticks. My return was with no work lined up - the perils of seasonal work, but Señor Spoon was still working and since moving in together, our outgoings, were massively reduced. I picked up a spot of design from the school I'd worked for over the summer, and some cover teaching, plus a bit of design work from the printers. It was autumn we were winding every thing up ready for Spain.
So, the very end of November, Señor Spoon left his job as a chef in a vegetarian café and we said our many goodbyes and Merry Christmases, early December we packed up our room, collected all our belongings we'd stored at various friends' houses and shifted it all to my parents' for storage. We flew to Lisbon for 2 nights, got the bus over to our friends' and here we are...
We are currently on day 15 in Spain and day 9 of housesitting. As we have charge of this lush hacienda, and enough spare time to have naps and wallow in our unemployment, the idea has occurred that Señor Spoon and I should start a blog about our adventures, discoveries, projects...and mishaps - I'm certainly hoping it'll be a nice place to document and share the random stuff we do.
So, here's to stuff and things...
|Bougainvillea - still flowering in December!|