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How it all began...

Making the choice to travel in a mad, mad world


I've never really suffered FOMO about anything except other people's travels. Friend buys big house - lovely, but you'll need a cleaner right? Colleague has a baby - cute, but how are you going to come to the pub after work now? Acquaintance walks the West Highland Way - absolute jealousy and loathing...


My wanderlust has caused friction in my relationship as I ALWAYS want to be on holiday, or somewhere else, or frankly ANYWHERE but here, especially when 'here' is the south-east of England where I've lived since finishing university in 2004. My husband works full time, and prior to the eruption of 'normal' life due to Covid he couldn't envisage a routine without the office and football on a weekend. Fair enough, that is the established norm and it's difficult to think your way out of that until you are forced not to do it any more...


Oh I do like to be beside the mountains - the view from our rental in Aosta


Of course, like millions of others, we were forced out of that routine in March 2020, and notwithstanding the sheer awfulness of the next two years we could now have a conversation about what if's... what if we moved away from the south-east? What if we never had to go into the office? Where do we want to be? What do we want to do? Suddenly the world was our oyster, and we made the decision - let's go! Pack up, sell up, live somewhere new. Gulp.


Getting over the 'we must be mad' hump!


It was my husband who hit on the idea of going skiing for two months as a 'trial' before trying to travel long term, and for various reasons this was brilliant thinking. If you are thinking of taking off to pastures unknown, it's worth going somewhere that you might actually like, and the Aosta Valley, Italy looked like it would be full of our favourite things:

  • Skiing!

  • Food!

  • Wine!

  • History!

We didn't actually know how it would feel to live there, we'd never been to Aosta before - but we booked an airbnb for February and March 2022 and January saw us frantically moving our lives into a storage unit and packing two enormous suitcases each of stuff that we absolutely would need...


The day we left the UK (by plane rather than train as France had closed their borders to Brits due to Covid, causing us a last minute travel scramble) was so exciting, but so absolutely terrifying. The weight of our bags was ludicrous, and the weight of our decision more so. Was this going to work? We no longer had a home in the UK, and we'd left our family and friends to do something that felt out of the ordinary. We'd never lived abroad before. We can't fluently speak any language except our own. Bloody hell, what have we done?!


It wasn't until we were sitting on the balcony of our apartment in Aosta - 'home for now' - looking at snow-capped mountains that the reality hit. Here we are! In Italy, land of incredible food and romance! We have two months to ski, and eat, and explore, the internet works and our laptops made it through the journey...


It was probably going to be alright! In fact, better than alright - it was going to be amazing!


You have to start somewhere...

There's a fair chance we may have been mad to start with. Mad from the lock-downs and changes wrought by Covid, mad with extreme FOMO engendered by seeing people not make it through to do the things they'd dreamed of. But making that first step to Italy feels now like the sanest thing we have ever done. Certainly much saner to me than the 'normal' life we'd been leading - and it had the potential to be a lot more interesting...




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