Preparing for our late gap year

Einstein once said that time is a relative concept.

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I could almost feel the great man mocking me as I dragged my reluctant frame into another day of serfdom. It’s been 2 weeks now since the sold sign went up at our house, and let me tell you, it has been a long 2 weeks. We’re so close now that I can taste fragrant oils and exotic spices in the diesel plumes from the snaking traffic which delivers me to my place of toil.

I’m sure there’s a certain satisfaction in being content with the 9 to 5, but for me work has always been a necessary evil to be endured between vacations. There’s a chalk board on the wall in our kitchen, which ordinarily displays the number of days to our next holiday. But now things are different. Now there is a drawing of the world, but no countdown.

It’s an uncomfortable position we find ourselves in, we could be starting our adventure in as little as 4 weeks, but until contracts are exchanged; nothing is certain.

So how have we spent our first two weeks in limbo I hear you cry?

We’re anti-social.

Well that’s not entirely true. We had recently found Twitter, and I had a Facebook account, but Snapchat, Pintrest, and Instagram, were all new to us, as was, more importantly, blogging.

So the majority of the last two weeks has been spent getting us up to speed. Fortunately there’s a lot of good information out there. We used the free guide published by Mark Wiens at Migrationology.com but Nick and Dariece at goatsontheroad.com produce an equally excellent guide.

How to Start a Travel Blog: Follow These 5 Steps Now

How To Start a Travel Blog – A Guide for Beginners

Setting up, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Snapchat, was a doddle; that said I’m not sure I quite get what Pintrest is all about as yet! We did struggle a bit with Facebook. Once you get your head around the fact that you need to set up a public “page” for your content which sits on top of your homepage, it kinda falls into place, but we did struggle to find the same quality of information for Facebook as was available for bloggers. Perhaps a post for the future once I’ve worked out how to use it properly myself.

Lategapyear

Should it stay or should I throw?

The things you own end up owning you. Tyler Durden says that in the movie “Fight Club” so it must be true.

We’ve been filling our home with assorted clutter for around 16 years now. Some of it should have been in the bin years ago, but some of it, furniture in particular, is actually quite nice. About 12 months before we decided to go travelling, we attempted to fill our void with new possessions, unfortunately consumerism is a fickle mistress and we were soon to return to our previous slump, albeit with nicer, if not necessarily more comfortable, furniture.

So the question is do we put the stuff in storage, or sell/give it away? Well firstly, back to the limbo. It’s a bit of a Catch 22 (unless I have to pay Joseph Heller a royalty for saying that, in which case it’s just a difficult question).

We can’t sell the furniture until we exchange contracts on the house, as any time up to then the sale could fall through. It’ll be devastating if that happens, and the situation won’t be improved if I have to curl up in a ball on the bare floor of an empty room to cry because I’ve sold my sofa, and my bed is in a skip!

To complicate matters further it transpires that long term storage is the last refuge of the sheepskin wearing dodgy geezers that trolled used car forecourts in the 70’s. Their prices are sacred knowledge, and a gauntlet of trails ye must pass to prove thyself worthy.

We did eventually crowbar prices from 5 of our nearest facilities. Storage King supplied us with the most competitive rates.

£35 per week for a 150 sq.ft unit,

£25 per week for a 100 sq.ft unit,

£20 per week for a 75 sq.ft unit.

I should however point out that these rates are only available on the 3rd Thursday of the month, when there is a south-westerly breeze, not exceeding 3kph, and Jupiter is descending in the 5th quadrant.

If you are considering putting your possessions into storage I would urge you measure each item you want to store, and calculate the footspace required. Using this method we cut our original estimate from 150 sq.ft to 100 sq.ft.

This also allowed us to work out the cost to store each item. 100 sq.ft at £25 gives us a cost per sq.ft of £2.50 per week. Therefore our divan bed, measuring 6′ x 3′ (stood on its end) would take up 18 sq.ft costing us £234 per annum to store. (Yikes!)

Carrying out this exercise actually made the decision not to store our possessions a no-brainer. If our travels extended beyond one year, which is certainly the intention, the cost of storage would soon outweigh the value of the goods.

So there we have it. With the exception of a handful of sentimental items, what we can’t sell we will give away, and the rest will go in a skip.

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2 thoughts on “Preparing for our late gap year”

    1. Hi Jaklien
      I know what you mean. We’ve been talking about it for 16 years, waiting for the perfect time.
      All I can say is we have no regrets.
      We’ve only been travelling for 2 months, and it’s easily the best decision we ever made.
      You only live once.
      Have a blast..
      Martin

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