Day 299 - the journey so far

I thought it was about time that I gave you an updated one of these. Personally, I always want to see the big picture...

Someone asked me last week, "how do you decide where to go?" It's a good question, as knowing where you are going is usually an essential element of any journey. The answer for us has been more to do with people than places. Our seemingly random zigzags across England are a consequence of seeing family at certain times, of house-swaps with strangers, and opportunities to see friends grabbed in between.

Just this last week, we have just visited the Peak District and Manchester staying with my friends Christian and Ashley in Wilmslow, and then moved on to Sherwood Forest and Nottingham visiting Laura's friends Nina and Ian.

There was a vague overall master plan before we set out, which was really nothing more than starting in Cornwall and then travelling north to Scotland in the New Year - both of which we did. Indeed, now the overall master plan has run its course we are having to put more effort into deciding where to go in our remaining months. So Brighton, Chelmsford, and Corfe Castle are in, and Lincolnshire and Cambridge are out. We have nothing against those places, or Aberdeen and Hull, or indeed most of Wales, it's just that for various reasons we decided to visit other places.  Looking back, deciding to not try to go everywhere is one of the major factors of success for our trip. The richest encounters and experiences we have had have been during the times when we have settled down in one place for 2 or 3 weeks.

The other major factor of success we had no control over whatsoever, and yet that too has worked out really well for us. The weather on this trip has been amazingly kind to us, and I can only conclude one of the following : 
- the UK weather is not as bad as it's made out to be,
- climate change and/or Brexit have started having positive effects on the weather (from a tourist's point of view),
- we have just been really jammy. 
Yeah, probably mostly that last one, although with a dash of each of the first two options. 

As the photos can attest, one of the benefits of this trip has been how active we have been and as a family we can now do a 10 mile cycle ride or a 5 mile walk without much complaining from anyone. Staying at the National Water Sports Centre near Nottingham we can now add Kayaking to the list of sports we have tried out this year.

Finally as we now enter what seems like the final straight of our trip we've started thinking about returning back home to Gennevilliers in France. The Eurostar tickets are bought and we've made contact with the man + van who brought lots of our stuff over to Guildford.  I'm also going to be giving back to all the people in forums and facebook groups who have helped us over the past 18 months by doing some reviews of all the equipment we've bought and how well it has worked or not worked. Those blog posts will be clearly marked so you'll be able to skip those ones - unless of course you're now tempted to take your own family travelling for a year? Go on - you know you want to!

Sherwood Forest looking wild and lovely


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