As I look back at 2018 and prepare to sail into a New Year I do so with very mixed feelings. I still have deep grief at losing two very dear friends to cancer this year, Frances (46) and Marian (67) – both taken far too soon and neither of whom I dreamt on 1st January 18 would not be with us at the end of this year.
Despite having worked in the Funeral Profession for the last 15 years and seen far too many people taken too young it has still forced me to stop in my tracks and look at my own mortality. I can’t help but wonder who may or may not be here this time next year – or even me myself. As morbid as it may sound we all know that tomorrow is not promised to anyone and all we can do is live for today. We are certainly living and LOVING life to the fullest right now!
Another part of me is also filled with gratitude as my Dad was seriously ill at the start of this year and I honestly didn’t think he would be seeing in 2019 – but he is, frail but well. Being a tight Scotsman his will to keeping living at the age of almost 84 is ‘screwing Southern Water (his former employer) for as many pension payments as he possibly can!!! But hey it’s keeping him alive so I am not complaining 🤣. What it has also done though is also served as a harsh reminder that even when we are still living, our health and mobility can be taken from us without notice and time for travelling and adventure suddenly just runs out.
Other than the death of my two wonderful friends this year I can still honestly say that 2018 has been AMAZING for me. It started off a bit wobbly – the man I had fallen in love with proved not to be the man he said he was and was living a complete lie (he basically ‘forgot’ to mention he had a wife and at least one other girlfriend!!!!) – but hey-ho, having my heart broken proved to be one of several major catalysts leading to me making the overnight decision to take a gap year, pull my son out of school and to go off seeing the world together.
March/April was meant to see me taking my parents & children on a 28 night Caribbean Cruise to celebrate Mum & Dad’s Golden Wedding Anniversary and Mums 80th Birthday. They were so looking forward to it but sadly Dad was not well enough to travel, and even if he were with his recent health issues the travel insurance quotes were coming in around the £4000 mark!! So we had to make the heartbreaking decision to cancel the whole thing (losing 5 deposits in the process) We still managed to celebrate though, just on a lower scale and closer to their home in Wales.
I have always been a keen traveller and had lots of holidays overseas, Cameron and I had managed a short break to Rotterdam in February prior to the originally planned cruise with my parents, but May was the month I decided I was going to finally take a Gap year at the age of 47 and travel the world. The decision came down to several accumulating factors (both good & bad) but I just knew it was time to escape the rat race and do something different for a while. Technology has also advanced to a level where I could continue to run a large part of my business remotely from anywhere in the world. So within 24 hrs of making the decision I had given notice to my son’s school and told all of my business associates that I would be taking a year out to travel – hence the planning rapidly progressed and we set out on our first flight heading to Dubai at the beginning of July just after Cameron broke up from school.
The last 6 months have been amazing, our journeys have been incredible, although exhausting & a little stressful at times and I have learnt so much about the world, the experience, my family and myself. Looking back I may have done a few things differently, but never once have I regretted the decision I made. In 6 months we have visited Dubai, Ireland, Las Vegas, travelled coast to coast from Vancouver to New York City, and most recently travelled by rail from Chicago to Memphis and New Orleans before joining the cruise ship Carnival Dream for a 7 night Caribbean Cruise over Christmas.
This morning (New Year’s Eve) Cameron & I arrived back at Heathrow airport in London and we are now back home, slightly jet-lagged but ready to see the new year in quietly within the comfort our own home surrounded by our family and fur-babies!
I am excited at the adventures which lay ahead for 2019. We will begin our journey of circumnavigating the globe at the end of January when we fly to Kuala Lumpar before travelling on Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Hawaii, San Francisco…then after a brief stop back again in the U.K. in June, we will continue on again to Bali and Hong Kong.
We look forward to sharing our continued journey with you and thank you all for supporting us thus far and sharing the dream.
We wish you all a happy and healthy New Year, and share with you a few final highlights of our 2018 travels:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Terri & Cameron xxx