Having sworn off fixating on the worst case scenario last week, Ben and I have done nothing but go over the what ifs and buts. We are both terrified by the drop in exchange rate, by our research into occupancy rates of existing roulotte businesses, by the costs of the roulotte facilities we feel we must opt for, and by the sheer amount of renovation left to do on our house here in the Cotswolds. We are on a daily rollercoaster of hope and hopelessness. We are trying to stay positive and to keep convincing ourselves through each other that we’ll make something work somehow, that we will reach our dream, in some form or other.
It makes me feel better to tackle the worst case scenario head on, and to have some say in what we’ll do if we were forced to abandon our business plan, our vision for our lives in the Ariege. We have already vowed not to move back to the UK, however, moving to the Isle of Wight, to write part-time and work part-time in a book shop still jumped to the front of Ben’s mind when we started talking again about what we’d do if we ran out of money to live on in France. I’m not prepared to allow us to return to that kind of boring, normal, small existence having tasted the excitement and freedom of our planned French idyll. I won’t allow us to return to a life of servitude (as I see it). How French of me.
So we’ll move to America, Ben changed tack. But if we had to uproot ourselves from the Ariege, I wouldn’t want to start again, not in the UK, not anywhere else in the world. I don’t ever want to go back to conventional life. I wouldn’t want to get off the ride. I’d want to keep going, until we die. We’d sell the house and buy a riverboat. We’d be able to live on the rest for 60 years if we just kept going, on one continuous nomadic adventure. We’d have barely any outgoings. Fuel, wood, food, health insurance. We’d have to go back to the homeschooling plan but the kids would still have a great life. Mom could grow flowers and veg on the terraces and roof, and spend her days sipping gin and tonic on the banks of the river. We’d all be giving up the chance of a forever family home. We wouldn’t have roots in the same way. There’d be no family pile, no nest egg for the kids, and their kids. But we’d still have our dream. Ben would be free to write, we’d all be together all the time, we’d be in nature and beholden to no one.
If we start out with a year’s savings, use mom’s pension lumpsum for four more years, and sell one of the three roulottes off as we run out of money, we can guarantee ourselves at the least 11 years in the Ariege trying to make our off grid retreat work. If after that we have to leave, for a different kind of life on the move, I will still feel excited about the rest of our lives. That’s important to me. I need to feel good about the worst case scenario, and I do. We won’t be compromising ourselves. The selves we will become over the next eleven years. And that’s why it still feels like winning.