…because as is our way (which I wouldn’t change) the thought and time we put into intricately planning out our final Christmas in this country is now just pen and ink, words and air, and in fact this very Christmas could turn out to be the last one we ever spend in the UK. There are levels of the dream that come into focus with each step – realising the house could provide us with a power-up that opened so many opportunities, realising that there were more of those opportunities that we could have first imagined, and then realising that what we’d imagined but never thought could be an opportunity was right there for the taking. And the planning and thinking and talking we’ve done at each stage, regardless of its eventual worth or use, has been instrumental in both coalescing the dream into something tangible and in focusing our energies and minds on the pursuit of what that tangible and achievable dream really ought to be. But even with the road behind us already marked by impressive steps, to suddenly be within what could be the 12 month countdown until we quit this island for good is shocking. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating. Should the pieces fall into place I will celebrate my next birthday as a resident of another country, in another language. This colourful burst of a Cotswold autumn (compared with the greenbrown gig of previous years) is very possibly our swan song for this particular season. When it’s possible to frame it in these terms it can’t possibly be anything other than frightening – it’s the fear that tells me the idea is the right one. As I’ve felt all the way along this journey it’s that gnawing doubt or worry or trepidation that is assuring me our newest of plans has all the right ingredients and all the right timing. Fear can be such a useless waste of energy and life but it is nonetheless a powerful emotion. Battling with it or choosing to ignore that creeping dread might be constructive in limited circumstances but crazily enough it’s through this pursuit of our dream lives that I’ve understood that gaining control of fear is less about overcoming this sensation and more about fully owning the feeling, comprehending what it actually speaks of. I find it hard to believe that my body and mind would spend any time producing real fear about something that’s guaranteed not to happen – that’s reserved for the nagging worry, the itching doubt – and perhaps instead real fear is something to be ridden on because the fibre of my self is recognising the real possibility of such a dramatic change actually taking place and reacting accordingly, dredging up primal survival instincts from the soupy memory of my human ancestry. Real fear, that gap in the heart and lungs, is just another way of recognising a real opportunity. Full understanding leads to being able to take full advantage. My unconscious self knows what we’re launching for is possible, likely even, and the immediacy of our plans now trigger a confirmation. Even for us in this out-there pursuit the idea of planning for a move in 2018 was a comfort zone. Two years of organising, thinking, sorting. But in actual fact just two years of waiting. Two years in which anything could happen that might take the momentum away from us. Two years in which events out of our control could derail plans we’d spent so long on thinking through. If we can do what we really know we must do now, if the opportunity is presenting itself and we are placed to grasp it wholeheartedly, if everything comes together and the only question is ‘Are we ready?’ then there is only one answer in my mind. There is no opportunity worth taking that isn’t worth taking right now. There is no dream worth having that isn’t worth making as soon as it is possible to do so.