Initially it sounded a bit foolish but then the more we thought about it, the more it made sense. There had been talks about eventually moving to Greece in the past, so getting the chance to spend a quarter there would be a great tester. Then my work allowed me to work remotely, so why not try to push the boundaries and get to do that for 3 months in a row? If I could keep my job this would probably allow us to make some savings as well, especially if we stayed with friends and family. The idea was there, we started planning.
On my next one to one at work, there didn’t seem to be any leeway for a pay rise anyway, so I just dropped the bomb. I was feeling exhausted, I hadn’t spent serious time with my parents for more than a decade, I was happy to be flexible with dates and ensure work wouldn’t be impacted, I wanted to work remotely for 3 months… from abroad. Needless to say that my bosses were not exactly impressed, the expression on S’s face was actually good for one of those Mastercard adds. I suggested 2 possible start periods either early November or late December. I didn’t get an answer during that meeting obviously but a promise they would think about it was a start.I
did wait for some time, and the answer wasn’t coming, so in October I started to chase as I was getting stressed they might OK a depart for November with no more time to plan for the outward leg. I did get an “of course you can go” in early November, I was free to plan it as I wanted, the only constraint was to ensure that I would spend some time in the office in London at the middle of the trip! Easy-peasy, I’ll fly back for a week, so I can check the mail and the boat. This was working wonderfully; a tale was starting.
With slightly more than a month to arrange the thing, the next few weeks were hectic planning the trip. What route should we take? Was the car ok? How would we handle the pets? What about insurance? Breakdown cover? How do we ensure internet on the go if we work abroad? What is the plan if we don’t get-on well when staying at parents? How much is it going to cost? What do we do with the boat? I serviced the car, got the new MOT which was due for November anyway, got winter tyres to ensure we can keep on moving whatever the weather. We started contacting people in the various countries we thought we might visit and look more in depth at the various options we had.
Going to Greece for the winter sounded absurd to many people around us, as most only view it as a summer holiday destination. But we wanted to test how it is to live there, so going in the winter, hang out with people while they work, get some cold and rain made sense in our case. It was also expected to be the “low period” for my work, meaning that I was less likely to need overtimes and hence there was less risk to abort the trip at some point or run into issues with work. The whole enterprise was meant to be a break and fun as well, but it would also be an adventure and a glimpse at a different way of life, a different culture and aspect of Greece for Roxy. And it would also test our other dream: how is life as a nomad, working and living on the go? Plus the weather couldn’t be worse than in London anyway.A
couple of weeks before our departure we knew we’d spend about 10 days in France during the winter holidays and then about a week to get to Greece. We had 3 possible routes: Italy and crossing by ferry to Patras, Italy and the Adriatic coast through Albania, or Central Europe. The ferry crossing for Dieppe was being booked, family in France was being lined up to receive us for the holidays.
The weather turned very cold, we got temperatures down to -7°C in the wharf. We got snow thick enough to see snowmen pop-up! The canal froze; it was beautiful for taking pictures in the park, but less comfortable in the boat. The white scenery revived our appetite for beautiful places, the cold made warmer climates even more appealing. Getting a glimpse of the sunrise during the morning dog walk was gorgeous but leaving work in the dark hours after sunset was depressing. Wintertime or not, spending a few months in Greece looked all the better for it.
On the 15th of December, a week before the trip started, we still didn’t have a definite outward route. We did however have a leaving do in Camden with our best friends to reunite one last time before we went missing for a few months and celebrate this new start. Life was changing, it felt promising.