Dogs, teeth and conflicting dreams

We finally have a plan for our first real journey – we lack a date and a budget, though.

The plan is to spend a month going from Copenhagen, via Heidelberg and Zurich, down to the Amalfi coast, and it’s likely to cost about 800 – not too bad, though we are likely going to couch-surf in Zurich because hotels there start quite a bit higher than anywhere else.

We had hoped to head off on the 28th of Feb. A few hiccups – one, I’m out of cash. More painfully, my wisdom teeth are playing up.

They started causing a fuss back in October, when my biggest concern was that I couldn’t afford the sick leave required from work in order to get them taken out. The short version is I went to the dentist then and was told you need to have three separate infections before you can get an NHS referral to have them taken out. (I adore the NHS, but its dentistry is severely lacking, primarily because that’s been the first target of cuts since the NHS was founded after WWII.)

So I figured, given two of my teeth are causing a lot of grief now, that should equate to three infections, right? Wrong, apparently. I now need to sit around for an undefined period of time for the privilege to pay another £20 to finally get a referral to a hospital – and even then, for only one tooth. Nevermind that all four of them are causing me grief.

The result: looks like I’m going to Hungary, to sit around in an AirBnB for a week eating soup while my face hurts. That wasn’t on the agenda, but I’m relieved to have an escape rope – and I’m extremely grateful to my sponsors, the Bank of Mom and Dad…

I don’t know when this will happen but it seems imminent, and I’m feeling a little bit daunted. I’m not convinced that Ben wants to come, so it may just be me for this little journey.

Once that’s out of the way, and I’ve put some cash aside via a mixture of freelance transcription and translation, we’ll be ready for our trip.


However, it’s complicated a little by the fact that I really, really want a dog.

A Samoyed to be precise – they’re hypo-allergenic, and well, ridiculously adorable. I’m allergic to a lot of dogs. Samoyeds can cost £1,000, though, so that’s not so great. Our flat has a freehold that doesn’t allow dogs, either, plus is too small.

If it were up to me, I’d get a caravan, and have me, Ben and the dog all live in it and roam around Europe.

One final piece of good news from my perspective – I had thought that the longer journey had been ruled out, and that Ben wasn’t up for it at all. It turns out he is, provided that I find a way to stay solvent and not have to lean on him financially – which is fair. I’m nothing if not determined, so it’ll happen sooner or later, and when it does I’ll be here to write all about it.

Maybe we’ll bring the dog. I hope so.


Keeping a Fear Journal

I doubt I’m alone in wishing I had a tape recorder for my brain. I have so many thoughts that it’s hard to capture, they come through looking perfect for a fleeting moment and then they disappear leaving an indecipherable imprint on me, sometimes a longing, sometimes an unaccounted-for decision.

One decision I made recently was to start journalling my fear. Ana Forrest says, when you feel fear, write it down and then you can turn around and stalk it.

For a start, I’m not sure what it means to stalk fear. I’m determined to learn, though.

For a second thing, what does it mean when the first entry in your fear journal reads “I’m afraid of starting a fear journal”?

A key fear I’ve found though is fear of mediocrity, of doing something and being a bit poor at it, not getting results, failing. Of course, you have to do something badly over and over before you can do that something well. It’s a prerequisite stage. So if I maintain this fear, then I will never be good at anything.

I keep panicking about coaching because when I tried it several years ago, I wasn’t very good – and of course I wanted to be the female Tony Robbins from my first session. It helps a little to remember that I was also pretty awful as a union rep the very first time I tried it, and I got reasonably good at that – not phenomenal, mind, but I could get there if I gave it a few more years. Which, incidentally, I don’t particularly want to do.

It also helps to remind myself that when I first received coaching (also from a student coach) I didn’t think for a moment she may not be any good. I was too busy worrying what would she think of me, of my problems, what would I get from the session? They do say that the coach’s personality isn’t supposed to factor into the session at all.

I’ll let you guys know how that goes.

Ben is currently downstairs laser cutting a table as a birthday present for his mum. We head back there on Friday, via a friend’s house, and then we are celebrating her birthday on Saturday.

We are going to do a few day trips and possibly an Isle of Wight overnight, and then head to our first Workaway for a few days.

I’m excited. But a bit nervous. Maybe I should write about that in my fear journal too.

Yin and Yang

We’ve all heard of the Chinese concept of the Yinyang, and mostly know it as a fun little symbol with some sort of meaning about balance.
I recently read Unearthing Venus, by Cate Montana (highly recommended reading if you are, or love, a woman). At one point Montana explores the Yin and Yang and what they mean.

Basically, Yang is the masculine, the white, governed by the sun. It involves exertion, doing, striving. Yin is the feminine, the black, governed by the moon – and involves being, softening, allowing. For balance, you need both. It’s a fascinating topic and I recommend checking it out.

As a natural effect of Alternate Day Fasting I have noticed that my days are becoming quite Yin and Yang.

Yesterday was my yang day. I attended a coach training “accelerator day” in Buckinghamshire, learned a lot, and jumped repeatedly out of my comfort zone. I was feeling pretty scared in the morning, and by the evening I was so tired that I took the wrong exit driving home and nearly fell asleep in the Keralan restaurant where I met Ben and friends for dinner.

Today, predictably, is my yin day. Apart from a short burst of exercise, I have spent today mostly in bed, using my tablet to chat with my best friend, fasting, taking stock. Writing a to-do list for tomorrow when tasks come up.

I can deal with this! It helps that today is a Sunday, and that I’m not currently employed, so I can take these. I do remember thinking I needed a treat to help me get through my fast days. I think this rest will be the treat I’m looking for, for a little while anyway.

After all this is largely a quest for balance. And I can’t help but feel a lot of the reason we are losing our collective balance as a species is because we are neglecting our yin side. In a way, this is me doing my bit.

How do you get your yin balance?

A quiet Monday

We haven’t actually travelled anywhere yet.
Or to clarify, the journey we created this blog to document is on an awkward hold.

As I write, I am sitting near Ben in the living room of his mum’s place in Portsmouth. I got here on the 29th of December, after spending a month with my family in Davis, California.

I quit my job as a UNISON organiser back in November, and have little external to show for it.

I was burnt out. You could call me a professional loafer now if you wanted. It’d be accurate. I’m running on savings from my time spent working there, and they are running thin.

I have tons of goals:
– Complete my coaching diploma with the Coaching Academy. I enrolled in it 4 years ago, while working in a call centre. I got the tuition paid off, but I never did the actual work. The time has come, and I’m on it.
– Enrol in and complete the Forrest Yoga teacher training which is taking place in Peterborough in July/August of this year. I can’t afford it, though. So I struck a deal with my family, that they’d pay for it if I complete the next goal:
– Lose 16kg by May 15th, and keep it off until Christmas. This one, I am working on through alternate day fasting, which seems a healthy and relatively painless way to get reliable results. I’m on my second fast day currently, and leaning heavily on a great Facebook community I found.
– do the 7 minute workout every day until I have the strength and guts to do the Military Fitness that is run by Ethos, the hot yoga sports studio of my choice, and then start doing that (and maintain the 7m workout…) so far Ben and I have done 2 days, but haven’t yet completed it for today.

What’s novel and rather embarrassing is that none of these goals is focused on service or contribution (though the certificates will help with that later). My focus on contribution in the past is why I’ve gone and burnt myself out.

So what of the travel that is this blog’s raison d’etre? I keep my faith that it will happen. We’ve signed up on and although we indicated immediate availability, we haven’t really looked over the past few days. Ben wants to go back to Cambridge to laser cut a table for his mum’s birthday present and get our affairs in order. I need to find a part time remote job, because the cost of workaway may be minimal but I still need funds for travel etc.

I worry that we are in “failure to launch” mode, as Ben is nervous of the travelling and he tends to procrastinate on things that make him nervous. I hope he won’t mind me saying that. I’m procrastinating too, because, money. And because I have all these other goals I’m trying to kickstart for now. I will blog on those until we finally hit the road.

Until next time,

The end

I’m Ben, and I’m an introverted thinker.

I’m Sadie, and I’m a flamboyant wiggly worm.

We met a few years ago. One of those couples. Always snuggling.

Whilst having bizarre discussions about our wildly different perspectives.

We each plan for futures that the other finds incomprehensible.

Ben, why is this post called “the end”?

Hm? It’s the last post people read. Newest first, then back in time to the oldest. The end of the blog for new readers.

Begin with the end in mind, eh. Cool. I can manage that. And they all lived happily ever after. Except you know what happens next, we don’t. Wow.

Woof. I mean, yes. *wags tail*. Now, how do we style our text so the readers know who is writing?

Look for a way to edit the CSS.

Turns out that’s premium only. We’ll have to do this as custom HTML. Good thing we both know that. 🙂

Hm. I’m not a fan of changing the background colour. Can we try the fonts?

Sure. Lets see what it looks like…

I don’t think our readers want to see our entire creative process. Let’s just do this offline.

Me again? Oh, fine. So the story behind this blog, is that Ben wants to suss out European cities that we could live in, and I just wanna travel, cos I’m like that.

You may wonder why an introvert would be willing to uproot themselves for another city, let alone another country. Well, I’m not thrilled by the idea of disconnecting from friends and family like that, but every part of the world is changing, and I’m not too thrilled by the direction of my own country. I’m trying to improve things where I can, but if I’m not strong enough then I want a backup plan.

It seems a bit of an unhappy premise for what will hopefully be an exciting journey.

Perhaps. But I’m still looking forward to what it will teach me.