Leaving the UK after living in a friend’s loft during a cold and wet winter (two of my favourite things ... not!) left me with dual feelings. Firstly I was glad to get out of the UK, one of the reasons I left 9 years previously is that there are so many people then there is the big brother controls which are everywhere (leaving you feeling safer but at the same time without any privacy), additionally now (with Brexit fever) ever more than before an unsettling feeling within the country of rising intolerance and strife and of course the weather. I was sad to leave my lovely friends who have rescued me twice and been more supportive and tolerant than anyone can expect, the transport infrastructure meant in the first months I was there I could get anywhere by bus or train with relative ease and of course the endless consumer opportunities (although all of the little money I had was spent on BlueBelle) at more reasonable prices than in mainland Europe which always surprises me.
But leave I must if I am to continue on this journey of my dreams. But like all dreams they have practical steps that must be taken in order to make them reality. So I packed up my 2 suitcases and one bag that I came with and additionally the gear I had bargain hunted for BlueBelle which included the solar panel, leisure battery, a variety of kitchen items as I left most of these in the home I had left, portable toilet, second hand drawer unit and some odds and pieces like electric van cables, jumper leads and second hand caravan cushions which were to be my bed on the return journey.
The van was surprisingly full and then there was the matter of actually leaving ... while I have travelled and driven across parts of Southern Africa, USA, Canada and Europe it suddenly occurred to me that mostly I had company and shared the driving. Bizarrely, as I look back upon it now, I had a panic attack, could I do it, drive down, catch a ferry and drive across to Luxembourg?
I quickly realised again that if I was to continue on my journey I had to get off the island of the UK and onto the mainland of Europe, that not doing so would mean remaining in the UK, which was just not an option. So I did what I have always done when travelling with others, planned my route, worked back from the time I needed to be at the ferry and checked the travel times and where I should be stopping to rest and sleep, also where it would be likely I would need to put in fuel. The best way to defeat fear is to get the facts and information and follow those instead of the uncertainty.
The day I left the winds were at an all-time high and they stayed that way right through the ferry trip too. I was glad to have taken a leisurely drive allowing an additional day so that I could stop when necessary, do a final shop for goodies and then catch the ferry. The crossing was choppy but I’m certain there are worse days to cross but I was glad to get across in the evening and make my way to my first anticipated overnight on the mainland and arriving in Luxembourg the next day.
Upon reflection it was an uneventful journey, BlueBelle handled it all splendidly and it was interesting to become accustomed to her sounds on the open highway on a longer journey. I always think a vehicle has a voice and when that changes you know there is something to worry about.
Lesson learnt - I realised that “life is on the other side of fear”.