I cant believe that its already been 6 months since we left our home, in the middle of England.
It’s kinda weird though, it feels like the time has gone in a flash, yet at the same time that we have lived here in Germany forever. My old life feels like very distant memory. Does that make sense?
We are due to leave our little mobile home, on the campsite that we call home, in Germany, in 6 weeks time and I’m starting to feel nostalgic. I know that I’m ready to move on, but I’m going to miss this simple, relaxed life that we have had here. Our 6 months in Germany has been a life changing experience for us as a family.
I suppose now feels like a good time to reflect of the first 6 months of our nomadic life, as a family of 4.
Do we regret leaving our lives in England?
I think, like most travellers, that there was a sense of dissatisfaction in the lives that we were living. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t unhappy, I guess we were just unfulfilled. We had good jobs, owned our own home, our kids went to a nice village school and we went on lovely holidays every year. Sounds like a typical, dream family life doesn’t it?
For us it wasn’t, it was exhausting, fragmented, expensive and repetitive.
I look at us now, 6 months on and I see a family that’s closer than its ever been and a life that’s anything but repetitive.
Yeah we have days that are boring, boring is ok sometimes; amongst all the fun its nice just to do nothing occasionally.
The difference now is that we are in control of it, we can choose to do nothing because we want to, not because we are too broke or because we are too tired.
How have we coped financially?
We didn’t have savings to start us off and we still had a small amount of credit card debt when we left England. We had just enough money in the bank to cover travel and living costs, for the first month or so.
We’ve worked as Campsite Couriers over the last 6 months, a job that we’ve both really grown to love.
I’m going to write a post dedicated to the job later on, but in short we have cleaned mobile homes and tents, carried out maintenance and provided customer service to some amazing people from across the world. Some have become followers of this blog, we feel honoured to have met them.
The work pays well, for the industry, but its a lot less than I earned in England (I now earn in a month what I earned in a week). Amazingly though, we are now in the best financial position that we have ever been in! We have earned enough to live comfortably and experience everything that we have wanted to in Germany. Along with being able to pay off credit cards and save enough money to enable us to live work free, from November to March. Yup, we have a 4 month holiday ahead of us.
Not bad, eh?
Did we have a budget?
We budgeted to live on roughly 250 Euros a week – some weeks we spent it all (and more), some weeks we had a bit left over. Our budget when we leave Germany will be very different! Four months without work will mean the money we have saved will disappear quickly, without some control.
Where have we been?
For us, this has been the ultimate experience in slow travel; we’ve lived in and completely explored every corner of Western Germany. We haven’t pushed ourselves to cover the whole of Germany, its a big country and we wanted to do the Western region justice.
We have pretty much visited every attraction worth visiting (in our opinion), eaten in tons of restaurants and wandered off lots of beaten tracks. Feeding racoons at the birds of prey centre and the dinosaur museum have been the highlights for the kids. Gav and I loved the city of Trier.
We have experienced every kind of weather you could imagine in 6 months; snow, frost, rain, hail and heat like I’ve never know before. Cleaning a tent that registered 60 degrees inside, was like a hard-core Bikram Yoga class!
We have also ventured into Luxembourg on several occasions.
What have we learned
That we can live and function happily as a family in a mobile home, we don’t need a house anymore.
That we all annoy each other, a lot, and how to deal with it quickly, as there is no place to hide and dwell in a small living environment.
That we don’t need ‘stuff’ to make us happy – my birthday consisted of home made cards, handpicked flowers and a home cooked meal. It was the best birthday I’ve had in years.
That absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder; I don’t miss England at all, I miss family and friends sometimes, but I don’t feel that I communicate with them any less than when I lived there.
That my kids are smart, thoughtful, well adjusted little people. Of course I knew that anyway, but having the luxury of time to homeschool them myself, has really opened my eyes to how interested these kids are in the world and its people.
That Germany is not the country that we want to call ‘home’. We have loved living here but we are not ready to settle just yet.
When we leave Germany at the beginning of November we will head north and take a slow drive back to England, probably camping in Belgium and France on the way. We are not entirely sure yet.
We will then spend a week or so visiting family and friends in England (and doing some fun, family trips) before we fly out to Thailand at the end of the month. We have almost 90 days on our hands to explore South East Asia, there are already some plans and ideas in the pipeline but we will reveal more about that in future posts.
We have re-applied to work with Canvas again next year; we don’t know where we will be placed but we have our fingers crossed for a particular destination…..all will be revealed in December…we hope.
That’s it, I think I’ve covered everything. What do you think? Have I missed something or do you have a question you would like to ask about our 6 months in Germany?
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