I decided I was having a quarter life crisis. And I was actually rather happy about it. Have you ever found yourself so exhausted, stressed and worried that you want to press pause on life and go back to someone you used to be able to be? Everything was finally going right after a long and painful period of everything going wrong and yet I was restless. I had itchy feet and I couldn’t place why. I couldn’t just enjoy a sense of contentment any more. My demons were following me into every aspect of my life and in the moments of utmost joy and happiness they would wave their ugly little hands and remind me that they still lurked ready to wipe the next smile off my face.
It was at that point that I knew I needed change and coming from someone who loathes change with the passion of a million bears swarming towards a honeycomb this was a big deal. So this little idea started germinating in my head. I wanted to travel. But to actually LIVE in a place, experience it, breathe it, work it and become a local. I’d done it once before 6 years previously on the Isle of Mull and I was addicted to that feeling of truly finding “home” away from everything you thought you knew.
But how to fund it? Savings only take you so far so one night I happened to stumble across a website called “workaway” (seriously, google it, NOW, it’ll change your life!) and realised it might be possible. You can sign up as a workawayer and view a list of “hosts” – people who live all over the world and need help with various jobs. It can be anything really and in exchange for helping with this work you get free bed and board. The main cost would be the flights. What started off as a curious click onto this site (in between watching youtube videos of how to make really cool cakes) turned into a 3 hour long session of staring in awe at my computer screen, selecting countries I wouldn’t even think of visiting and seeing what was available. I got very little sleep that night.
Within a couple of days Peter had set up our profile and we would spend our free time daydreaming. We fell in love with the initial idea but as always, animal cemented it for us. Lots of places needed help with farming or animal rescues or even just looking after much beloved pets. So that was it; we could travel the world whilst cuddling animals. Of course this was still all just an idea. We hadn’t done any of the “big scary adult things” like hand in our notice or book a flight or even tell our families. Little did I realise we actually would.