The Ten Year Plan
If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there. And sometimes there’s something to be said for trusting to fate but more often than not it appears to lead people to make the easy choices and accept the defaults, ending up retiring from a long and nominally successful career to ask ‘what now?’
In 1999, on the verge of the 21st century, it was clear that Gesa and I were not only ready to get engaged, but were also lucky enough to have a world of choices ahead of us, a world that isn’t really limited by money and is free and untroubled enough to allow us to do almost anything we could imagine. How could we face such an amazing set of possibilities and not make a very positive choice about what we wanted out of it? If that was the successful career and comfortable cottage in the English countryside, we’d have chosen it. But you wouldn’t be reading about it here.
Sitting in the woodland at a campsite in Alberta, Gesa asked me if I could live in Canada. "I could see us raising kids here" was my reply. And as we talked, it was clear that we really did want to bring a family up in a place like Canada, and I shared my long held dream of buying a boat and sailing off for a while. From then on, we had the outlines of a plan in our minds, and it crystalised over the next five years.
With the birth of our daughter, Issie, we started to put the ideas together. Education, to us, meant getting her into a stable school and social group by the time she was about 8 years old, which meant September 2009 for a new school year. We wanted to sail for two years, which meant leaving in 2007, and that meant buying a boat in 2006. Max was born in late 2003, and now with two little crew to think about, the plan was developed further and here we are.
'HOPES and dreams'
We were driving home one evening after a weekend away, talking about the trip, and decided to jot down our hopes and dreams for the trip and a life beyond. We might come back to these and update them as the adventure progresses, but in April 2007, we wrote:
The sailing trip
A simpler life, relaxing, more time with the family to really enjoy being together. Healthier way of life - sleeping when we're tired, eating well, getting away from 'junk' food - Tesco's finest, Starbucks, Hotel Chocolat - changing habits and changing attitudes from guilty hang-ups to relaxed and free-flowing. Literally letting our hair down and going where the wind blows.
A new life in Canada - For Gesa: space, the outdoor life, a 'dream home', run a cafe or coffee shop, better balance between home and work. For Nick: close to the things we love - the sea, the hills and forests, a place to let the children run free, a new adventure in building a home, a different career, long summer cruises.