The idea of spending a winter back in the UK was always going to be a little bit scary.
Living in a caravan down in Southern Spain in the winter is one thing, but being back in temperatures that drop considerably overnight is something else altogether.
Our routines have had to change to accommodate ‘drying’ out the caravan as condensation is enemy number 1.
This weekend we also tackled another problem, the awning roof freezes overnight (on the inside) and then the following day defrosts and rains waters down like a shower!
So, everything has now been double bagged in bin bags and what we don’t need either packed away in the car or gotten rid of.
People have questioned the sense of what we are doing and asked why we don’t just go and rent a house for our stay. Its a fair point and one that I thought about yesterday whilst we were knee deep in bin bags and the temperature hit 28F in the caravan due to all the heaters we were using to dry everything out!
Why don’t we just go and rent somewhere? The answer to that is simple. Money. We would need lots of it. The average rent around here for a 1 bedroom place is about £600. Add to that water rates, council tax, heating oil (most places in this area are oil heated) electricity and that’s before you have even thought about food and petrol and any other living expenses you may need.
Food is our main living expense and its not cheap, especially when you want to buy good quality organic fruit and vegetables which lets face it are the mainstay of my diet. It is crazy that I have to spend more money on buying fresh natural food than I do to buy processed, pre-packaged crap that nourishes me not a jot – but that is a post for another day!
If we wanted to rent we would have to go back to regular 9-5 employment. Back on the merry-go-round, the hampster wheel that we disembarked from many years ago. Back to spending most of our waking days in the pursuit of money so that we could pay just to live.
Being self-employed is not easy and more so in a world that certainly doesn’t encourage free thinking or working outside the box. There are no incentives, no pats on the backs or nice holidays at the end of it all. But, you know what I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Since letting go of all my material ‘stuff’ I have been able to see just how much of a drain it is was on us; financially, emotionally and physically. Was my life any better having the latest fashions, iphone or 40″ TV????? or am I living a more authentic life now that I don’t have to worry about earning the money to pay for it all.
I get to do follow my dreams, live my passions and explore the world on my terms. At times it can be tough but it is so worth it because I feel like my life is much richer now than it has ever been, and that is the real difference. People think they need money to be rich, society has conditioned us to think that the more material stuff we have then the easier and happier our lives will be. But I disagree(you knew I would didn’t you!!)
I feel as though my life is much better now that I have less. I have done the other side, had the big flash house, four bedrooms, ensuite bathroom, double garage, utility room, underfloor heating, amazing views……all the trimmings and yes it was lovely but it was also exhausting maintaining it all. We worked like maniacs just to pay for it all and to be quite honest by the time we made the decision to sell it felt like a noose around our necks. The funny thing is over ten years later people still ask me if I miss it.
I guess they see that image and then look at us living in a caravan and think that we are down on our luck. We must have hit rock bottom, bummed out and are scraping the barrel.
The truth is that I am so much happier living my life this way. Even with winter fast approaching and the promise of snow by the end of the week looming, which is where this post started! This is my choice, actually it is our choice and we are embracing it as we do everything in our lives. Feeling it, living it and experiencing it – and more importantly preparing for it!
This week we are making sure we have everything in place in case the weather does turn foul as has been promised. Extra food supplies, candles and torches and enough gas in case we lose electricity, draining the water from the system and switching to manual (buckets for the waste water outside and bottles of water to wash inside) as pipes will freeze and burst otherwise oh and coats for the cats to keep them warm and snuggy – especially for the old boy.
Doing this makes me appreciate what I have even more, a roof over my head, food in my stomach, a place to wash and clean myself and my clothes and the people that matter most to me by my side. The rest is just frills, decoration and the thing I have discovered over the last few years is that I am definitely ‘minimalist’ when it comes to decor 🙂