THE BLOG

Travel Minus Four Weeks: The First Goodbye

07/08/2014 16:54 BST | Updated 07/10/2014 10:59 BST

Earlier this year I decided to change my life forever. On 30 January 2014 I made my way down to Dorset to attend the funeral of my Grandmother May. In many ways this was not momentous. She was ninety five years old and had been unwell for some time and she died in the nicest possible way; in her sleep with people around her.

But her death set in motion a chain of events that would alter my life completely. She was a very adventurous woman in her youth: a hardcore welder during the war, a feisty mother and a keen traveller in her later years. At 95 however she was frail, and her passing reminded me of two facts: life is too short not to grasp every opportunity and life is far too long to regret the big choices you didn't make.

It was as I was on the train headed west that I knew that I needed to scratch my itchy feet (not literally you understand, I do have some decorum!) and move on from a life that was pleasing but not moving.

That is the first thing you must understand - I have a great life.

On 30 January 2014 I had an incredible job as a teacher and a head of year at a wonderful school. I had a cool flat/shed in South London and amazing family and friends but my life was meandering rather than shimmying and on that day I knew I needed to call a halt to the saunter.

I told my parents that evening that I wanted to give up work for a year and use the time to travel the world. Despite the lack of any other plan they were incredibly supportive and eager to listen to my excited ramblings.

The next day on my journey back with a heart filled with love for my Grandmother and a keenness to make something of my life, I met the man I was soon to fall for in a big way. Being the hopeless romantic I am, I felt then that the decision to travel the globe was blessed as in making it I became a mover and a doer and someone who could meet and connect with someone truly amazing.

Over the next five months I set the ball in motion by meeting my brilliant travel agent and booking my flights, applying for visas and becoming a very expensive pincushion getting vaccinations against 8 tropical diseases. I also did the necessary booking for the Inca Trail (essential to do as quickly as possible owing to a restriction on the number of people who can walk the trail.) I told friends and family and spent many happy hours putting sticky tabs on maps and guide books imagining the magnificent experience I was about to embark on. The whole thing felt like a delightful, and fairly far off, dream.

A dream that is until ten days ago when I was reminded that making a huge, meaningful and momentous decision is a wonderful adventure but that in setting out on this adventure I would need to leave behind a job that I thrived on, friends and family I loved and now a man I adored.

Ten days ago I left my job. The thoughtful cards and gifts from my students and colleagues were a touching reminder of how happy I had been and how lucky I was to have worked with inspirational people. I must admit that while I did shed a tear (or several) as I walked away from my amazing job full of a reflective sadness for the unforgettable memories I was leaving behind from but also full of an insatiable, buzzing excitement about the incredible adventure that I was walking towards.