Where does the urge to travel come from? I like to think it started for me when, aged four years old and wearing only inflatable arm bands, my parents failed to notice me floating out into the Mediterranean Sea from a beach in the south of Spain. By the time my absence was noticed I was half way to North Africa (actually only a few hundred metres from the Spanish shore, but family stories tend to get exaggerated over time).
I was promptly returned to shore and given a dressing down. A short while later I was spotted again bobbing out to sea. It definitely wasn’t obvious at the time, but that early sense of adventure stayed with me.
So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when this native of Cumbria, long living in London and old enough to know better, packed in his career and moved in 2012 to Bolivia. We lived in the beautiful ‘white city’ of Sucre, we volunteered with local NGOs working with street children and on literacy in rural areas, we made lots of new friends and this blog was born to recount the journey.
A fantastic eighteen months living in Bolivia and travelling through Latin America later, we moved to the Netherlands … taking the spirit of the Andean nation with us and adopting a motto repeated over-and-over by Bolivian officials everywhere: todo es posible, nada es seguro (everything is possible, nothing is certain).
Four and a half years in the Land of Orange came to an end in mid-2018 and we headed east to the German capital, Berlin. A new chapter in a very different sort of city, in a country neither of us have ever spent much time in.
Life in the land of lederhosen and Oktoberfest was surprising and rewarding, and even with the pandemic we had opportunities to explore far and wide through this extraordinary country. We found Berlin hard going at first but, after exactly three years, when it was time to pack up and head off again, we had come to love the city.
In August 2021, we arrived in Brussels, capital of Belgium and home to the European Union. While we’re looking forward to whatever the future holds in our new home, it is hard not to look back on our adventures over the last few years with the rose-tinted spectacles of nostalgia. As LP Hartley wrote, “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there”.