WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU .."STUFF" OR "FAMILY AND FRIENDS"?
When I decided that I wanted to hit the road in my motorhome and travel around Great Britain nearly two years ago, the important thing for me was to send out a positive ageing message and to challenge ageist stereotypes. I am heartened that in the last two years, particularly throughout both lockdowns, I have seen a momentum growing of people advocating the proageing message.
We all age from the day we are born. We are privileged to be able to age, I have lost family members far too early in their lives and that makes me even more determined to embrace life and live every day to its fullest.
The pandemic stopped me in my tracks during the lockdowns, and I have to admit that at times it was very hard psychologically to know how to cope with the restrictions imposed on me. The main thing I said when I set off was "my plan is to have no plan. I intend to go with the flow and see where life takes me"
The Pandemic gave me time to really reflect on things and to regroup and prioritise things in my life. The overwhelming message that came through to me was that family and friends are my lifeline. I got very down a couple of times, particularly in the second lockdown during the winter months, and I questioned what I was doing. But then I became even more determined to finish the adventure that I had started, no matter how long it took me. I had so much more of Great Britain to explore and I wanted to inspire both younger and older women, to listen to that voice and to take a moment to have their adventures and embrace the ageing process.
After the initial euphoria of reconnecting with my daughter @samsieKate post lockdown, I felt a bit anxious going out and about. I realised that part of me had liked the protection I felt of being holed up in a field away from people during lockdown, I was protecting myself from possible Covid contamination. Now here I was able to mix with others and walk around shops but the only thing was, I did not enjoy the experience, I just wanted to get what I needed and then make a run for a safe environment. I realised that things would never be the same again for me.
I had said from the very start of this adventure that I was disillusioned with people working long hours, to earn money, to buy stuff they did not need, meaning they did not have enough time to spend with family and friends, I felt too many people were getting their priorities wrong and we needed to rethink the way we lived. I wanted to show that we could live and be very happy with so little. That is why I got rid of my flat and most of my things and bought the motorhome. I think the Pandemic has highlighted that we need to rethink how we live our lives and reprioritise what it is that makes us happy in our lives, do we really need all the stuff we have accumulated?
When my sister and sister-in-law joined me in their camper on the East Sussex caravan site in Crowborough, after not seeing them for nearly ten months, I felt that that was all I needed to make me happy, not material things. I literally cried with joy. That joy was only compounded the next day when I turned round to see my brother and his wife pulling into the site in their motorhome.
It took a few seconds for my brain to comprehend that it was really them arriving at the site, I screamed with joy. Those are the moments in life that are so precious and it is impossible to describe the feelings that go with them. But I know that is what I want, to really experience special moments and feelings rather than just existing.
Those days together with my family will stay in my heart forever, they reenergised me. We reflected on good and bad times in life and to know I have their love and support is invaluable. There are times on this adventure that I do wonder what people think of what I am doing. Do they judge me as someone who is just tootling around in a motorhome with no real sense of purpose? Do they wonder why I do not settle in a big house surrounded by lots of lovely things? Should I be aspiring to that ? Have I got my life balance right?
But when I think of moments like when I was wandering along the South Downs way near Seaford Head, towards the Seven Sisters and I felt such unadulterated happiness, I know that I am doing the right thing and I want to help other people feel this way in their lives. I want them to stop chasing the next possession and to really feel what it is to be alive.
Whilst I do realise that the way our society is, we have to conform to a certain extent to survive and that in itself can be restrictive, and I am in the fortunate position in retirement to be able to stop and stare and take in my surroundings, I do hope that some of the people following my blog and instagram @shuvonshuvoff will want to look at saying Yes to more to experiences that make them truly happy.
Now that I have moved on from Sussex and travelled down to Folkestone in Kent I am feeling the hunger again to find new places and things to do.
I loved walking by the sea and seeing the Anthony Gormley statue under the harbour arm in Folkestone, it made me feel the sense of one with nature and beauty of the sea. Wandering up the cobbled high street in the old part of The town it is clear that there is a lot of development going on in this seaside resort. I just hope that it does not detract from its history and quirkiness.
Soon I will be heading off along the coast towards Dorset where I have volunteered to work on a farm in exchange for working a few hours a day. I have no idea where I will be stopping or what the work will be but it is pushing me out of my comfort zone, so I have a mixture of excitement and nerves, which is what I like to feel when I head off into another part of my life's experience. I am optimistic. Watch this space to find out more.