We’ve finally got some time to work out how to use WordPress to publish our progress updates and photos, so here’s our first short post about the run up to our departure. Something about our first week or so in Buenos Aires will follow soon…
We’re now in Montevideo, Uruguay, waiting for the Yellow Van, which arrived in a shipping container on board the Cap San Nicolas on Friday, to clear customs. We’ve just finished our second week of language school and are preparing to really, finally, start the trip proper! A lot has happened to get us to this point in what is really a relatively short period of time. We had been thinking about doing something like this for many years and saving hard to make it possible, but a combination of circumstances meant that we both found ourselves at a natural point for a career break this autumn.
In reality, we only got our teeth into the whole project around Christmas time, which gave us only nine months to: source a vehicle and convert it for the trip; get the house rented out; find a new home for the cat; move from living in a reasonably sized house into a van; get it transported to South America; put our normal lives on hold (or migrate them to the online world to be managed there) and get ourselves out here ready to receive the van. Wanting to put the house on the market to be available for the new school year (peak rental changeover time) and then, finding someone to share a container with to ship the van, gave us a hard deadline, which I’m sure helped us focus! More of the details about the van and the processes involved with getting registered in the UK and converted will come in a separate post at some point.
We started our life on the road back in mid-September, when we moved out of the house to make way for our tenants. After a lot of chaos in the six weeks leading up to the deadline, which involved massively downsizing (through the use of a mix of long-term container storage, donations to a homeless charity, to other charities, freecycle, recycling and, as a last resort, visiting the tip), we went to my work leaving party, hosted by my boss, the Saturday of the weekend we moved out. I managed to be late to my own party because we were still rehanging curtains… After a lovely afternoon and evening, we spent our first night in the van parked outside his house. Fortunately, seeing as we were trying out what is going to be our bed for most nights for the next couple of years, we woke up in the morning after a very comfortable nights sleep! After picking up our remaining stuff from the house (giving us a very full van of stuff still to sort and dispose of), we drove up to Becca’s parents in Harrogate, stopping for a night in the Peak District.
The next few weeks involved us rushing around the country, moving between various members of our families, visiting a number of friends, getting some final mechanical work done and finishing off and tweaking kit and the van. A hectic few weeks where we tried to get as many opportunities to try stuff out before we went. We have become internet scroungers and we’d like to give a big thank you to a number of friends kindly left us to do online admin and drink coffee in their houses when they went off to work for the day! All generally went to plan and we dropped the van off in Felixstowe for shipping on the 7th October, giving us time for some final family farewells and a sneaky week long trip to Spain to start surrounding ourselves with Spanish (as well as have a bit of a break and a visit to a friend in Madrid). Twenty one hours of flying to Buenos Aires (via Dallas – it was the cheapest option we had) meant that we arrived here quite tired on the morning of Friday 24th October but with a time difference to the UK of only 4 hours, jet lag was not a problem…
Here’s a little album of images from our sneaky pre-trip holiday in Spain. Click on one of the images to open the album and hit escape to return to this page.
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Horse riding lessons may lead to other opportunities