Monthly Archives: September 2013

Getting fit

Image

A couple of years ago, nearly three in fact, my big strong husband hurt his back. It was the start of November and a couple of days later a thick frost took hold of everything. At the time we had a number of pigs with piglets and I was feeding my own little piglet, Patrick. He had “growth issues” and so I was breastfeeding on an epic scale, eating well and not drinking booze.

The frost was a welcome change from the mud but it froze the pipes solid. Rob’s injured back meant that I had to carry out 60 litres of warm water from the kitchen every morning and afternoon to the pigs in the field. I lost weight… rapidly! I also got strong! We had a 25l water container and in the first few days I could barely fill it half way but within a week and a half I was happily lugging it full across the kitchen to the sack truck and then over the electric fences to the water troughs.

I turned 30 that January and I wore the same dress I had worn on my 18th… I was chuffed to bits!

Then Rob’s back got better, Patrick grew a bit and started solids, we got wwoofers to help on the farm, the frost melted mid Jan and my delightfully toned body slipped back to the flabby “I’ve had kids” state it had previously been. Getting pregnant again then sealed the deal “I’ve had 3 kids, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it”… Until now!

Rob bet a friend that I wouldn’t go to 10 fitness classes with her… and lost! And now he’s in on the act. He’s worried that with such a physical job at the moment keeping him in shape and healthy that when he stops to go travelling he’ll balloon. We are going to have long hours sat driving and lets be honest, the States aren’t known for their salads and healthy options!

So we are getting fit together, a mini team dean adventure! We’ve join the gym in Fowey and are actually really enjoying it. My personal goal is to fit back into the dress in the picture… I’m actually going to print a small copy of that out, laminate it and keep it in front of me on the rowing machine and tread mill – for motivation. Closer to the time we will work out exercise routines that we can maintain whilst we travel. Until then… watch this space, I’m hoping to be back in that dress by Christmas!

Stuff

Image

It’s 5 months tomorrow until we depart from London Heathrow and the excitement is building. That may sound ages to some people (mainly those without children whose lives always seem to progress at a more leisurely pace) but to us it’s virtually tomorrow! Although I’ve been busy with work over the last month and haven’t been able to achieve much, things are now settling down and I am turning my attention to preparing for the adventure.

So, we are getting rid of “stuff” and minimising our lives. We have a hell of a lot of “stuff” in our house and this is a daunting task to say the least. We’ve so far sorted the attic out and partly boarded it for more “stuff” to go up there. I’ve also tried to limit my keepsake memories to one 35l tub… and failed. I so far still have two tubs and an awful lot more “stuff” to work through. Rob on the other hand didn’t have enough to fill his 35l tub and is keeping random things just so it didn’t look too empty.

Reducing our dependence on “stuff” is all part of the journey we are on though and I am determined to reduce our load. The cupboard pictured above is in our hallway and has looked like that since we moved into our house over 18 months ago (I deliberately blurred it a bit to reduce the horror!). Surely if I haven’t used the things in there in a year and a half then I don’t actually need them? Hmmm…. yes in theory although I don’t doubt that in practice as I open the boxes and find my long lost “stuff” I’ll suddenly need it all and wonder how I have coped without it. I intend to tackle it this weekend and we shall see how it looks next week…

Make hay while the sun shines!

Image

We are being asked a lot about our motivation for heading off around the world with three such small children and although I gave a brief explanation in my initial post I though I would take the time to give a bit more detail.

Rob and I didn’t really travel much in our youth. Although I had been on some amazing family holidays, the idea of back packing never really appealed. I didn’t have specific interests enough to have gone to particular places, it would have been aimless and wasted in hindsight. Our early twenties were spend studying for our degrees – Rob’s in Environmental Conservation and Countryside Management and mine in Nursing. After that we got married and had kids. Due to a pregnancy related condition I suffered with, the 6 years it took to have our 3 children resulted in a total of 27 months of bed bound misery for me and a housebound prison for Rob, my nursemaid and in pregnancies #2 and #3 a single dad.

Now that our youngest is walking and nearly talking and we certainly aren’t having any more, the world seems our oyster! Getting out and going places with three kids is positively easy when you’ve had 27 months of barely getting down the stairs or out of the front door.

As is the natural way of getting older and growing up, the last few years has seen us honing our interests and hobbies. Luckily for our marriage our interests have grown and developed together and so our aims for what we want to get out of our travelling experience are mutual.

Although we have long been into bird and nature watching we have both become fascinated by geology and natural history in just the last couple of years, along with a developing passion for science and astronomy. Britain is lucky enough to be host to an incredible array of birds and wildlife but lets get real… to really experience the natural world we need to pack up and move on.

But what about the children? Why don’t you wait until they are older and can remember it?

Well, what if we wait a few years until Orla is old enough to remember it and something happens and we can’t do it? Not wanting to sound morbid but who knows what is around the corner – from cancer to car crashes, childhood illnesses and mental breakdowns. Right now we have our health, we can afford to do it so why wait! Yes I know Orla won’t remember much of it, but it will help to shape who she is and you know what… when she is my age and has a family of her own she could take off and see the world with them and learn about the things that interest her.

The kids are young enough for me to home school them – it’s just a bit of reading and writing and their maths will soon sharpen up with a bit of pocket money. They aren’t overly fussed about friendships, their own space, fashionable clothes and so on. They eat what they’re given and don’t require vast amounts… They’re pretty portable really!

And so there you have it. That, in a nutshell, is it. When asked why? my answer is why not? The sun is shining right now… so lets make out hay now and it will feed us for the winters ahead.

Finding the time.

Image

Plans for our big trip have largely been on hold throughout August as I’ve been struggling to keep up with the day job whilst the kids have been on school holidays… best get used to it though as there won’t be school hours 9-3 while we’re on the road!

I’ve been preparing for a conference in London for the Charity I work for, which is on Thursday. After that we’ll be getting down to the serious business of getting rid of stuff and preparing for the trip. In particular we have an awful lot of Cows to sell!

Another task I took on over August is the involvement of the ninemonthsof.com campaign in which I am blogging weekly recipes to raise money and awareness for Pregnancy Sickness Support. Given that we are going to be leaving in just over 5 months and the campaign lasts nine months (clue in the name) I will obviously be continuing the recipe blog whilst on the road around the States and Canada. So expect a lot of one pot campervan wonders as well as a vegetarian Hari Krishna dish or two and a prehistoric cave man style dish…

Which brings me onto the news that we have managed to get a wwoof placement at a stone age living skills centre in the Colorado Rockies! To say we are excited would be a major understatement!

This summer has seen vast amounts of outdoor cooking for us and the wonderful Daddy Dean bought me a pair of fantastic dutch ovens (yes, ha ha) for our 7th wedding anniversary. In case you’re not quite sure what a dutch oven is (the cooking type not the smell trap type) then let me enlighten you… A large case iron pot with a well fitting lid which you use on a campfire to create an oven environment for cooking everything from stews to cakes and bread. The lid is designed so you can put hot coals on the top too in order to control the temperature inside. This weeks recipe will be a new campfire dish I made specifically for my new ovens but can obviously also be cooked indoors so go on and have a gander at the nine months of team page.