As I sat on a plastic floating beach today in Lake Ohrid, Macedonia the word lucky sprang to mind. But then I remembered our response when anyone calls us lucky (which has happened a lot since we announced our plans to travel for a year). You make your own luck!
Me & Russell have been together for almost 10 years and we always wanted to travel but it wasn't until 2013 at the age of 29 we were able to. In the first few years we couldn't go travelling due to a new mortgage, loan, car loan, credit card, sofa on interest free credit and blah blah blah. Most people will remember our plans to travel shortly after our wedding in 2008 - the recession stopped that so it looked like it wasn't going to happen.
It must have always been in the back of our heads though because in all that time we stayed living in the same cheap house, kept our 13 year old car, never got any loans or credit cards, just in case the opportunity arose we didn't want anything to get in the way.
We were at Benicassim festival in July 2012 when we decided we had to do this - we can't carry on in the rat race without having at least a year off following our dream (the problem with the rat race - even if you win, you're still a rat) We decided we would ask work for a career break as soon as we got back.
To our surprise in September work agreed to us having a year off so we made it official and told everyone we were going and started saving like mad. We didn't go on any holidays, we didn't buy any clothes, we missed out on gigs and festivals (Glastonbury weekend was very painful), majorly cut down on birthday and Christmas presents and the most of the time we ate out we were doing mystery shopping so it didn't cost us anything.
Obviously we did still go out every so often, there was an unmissable gig at Brudenell (Johnny Marr) and I got a free ticket to Live at Leeds so we managed to go to that but we always took our own booze with us - hiding it in our waistbands to keep costs low.
Doing all this enabled us to save a lot of money - a lot more than we could have hoped for but this was because in all those years travel continued to be a priority so we never bought a nice new car or moved to a bigger house so our outgoings were really really low.
Travelling has always been our priority, even before the long term travel plans our money was spent on holidays and festivals.
When I think of the stuff we're going to miss I can get pretty upset about it. Some massive things - Russell's brother getting married, our friend Eleanor getting married, our friend Karl having a baby and there's less important things that we would have really enjoyed if we'd been at home - beloved festival season, UFC in Manchester, Cribsmas 2, Paramore tour (well, Russ wouldn't have enjoyed that) Arctic Monkeys tour etc etc
Although we have and are sacrificing a lot to do this the smiles on our faces are bigger then ever, I can't tell you how good it feels to never know what day it is and although on the wedding days and around Christmas I will be missing home I don't regret a thing.