Monday, 6 December 2010

£1,200 a month

£1,200 per month is our new budget.

Breakdown as follows:-

Fixed outgoings:-

Rent £470
Council Tax £115.00
Water £53.00
Electricity, say £70.00
Gas, say £70.00
Car insurance £16.00
Internet £15.00
Total £809.00

This leaves £391.00 for everything such as food, petrol and other.

This is a tight budget, but it does work. I have had to estimate the gas and electricity because we have not received bills yet. I may have to adjust the budget for higher bills this winter. DH and I don't need much and we don't buy much apart from food, we are very frugal. In general I dislike eating out, I find restaurants over priced and the portions are too small. I am also at the age where I now see the futility of sitting in pubs and bars spending money on booze. Now sometimes DH and I do enjoy a pint and a burger at Weatherspoons for £6.00 each, particularly on a Monday :) I am not into clothes or shoes and I HATE shopping! Not a typical woman eh? I have had plenty of practice on living on a restricted budget as I have been saving for The Escape for several years.

Obviously if we want to go abroad on holiday or to travel then the budget needs adjusting. But to be honest I wonder lately if travel is all its cracked up to be and whether in fact travel has become the new form of consumerism?

We do plan to get some part time work to bring in a little extra income. But we value our freedom over money. I would rather figure out a way of spending less.

How does this compare to your outgoings every month?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Society, your a crazy breed

Since The Escape I have had a lot of time to think and reflect.

I feel myself moving further and further away from the other world. I have a strong desire to spend more and more time in rural settings. I want to plan a road trip taking me to the west of the united states. I want big skies, isolation, scenery, no tourists. My ideal trip would be Idaho, Montana, Washington State, Oregon and maybe North California.

The more time I have for thought and reflection, the more my eyes open. We are ruled by banks and corporations, we have to suffer to politicians telling us that "we are all in this together" while their fellow fat cat politician cronies do their utmost to avoid taxes. No Mr Cameron we certainly are not all in this together so stop insulting our intelligence by telling us that we are.

I read somewhere that living as an iconoclast comes at great expense. There is a great cost for not conforming to group rules, and it makes sense that when a person is ostracized that she would be more likely to be depressed, anxious, or both.

I still feel the need to Escape Britain, I don't just want a holiday or a break, I want a somewhere and something sustainable. Am I searching for utopia?

Society, your a crazy breed
I hope your not lonely without me

You cant beat a bit of Eddie Vedder.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


I am feeling rather down at the moment.

I am not sure why I feel this way but something is missing. It feels like a hole or a void.

I feel overwhelmed. I am tired of feeling this way.

I don't know what to do to fix this. I just want some equilibrium.

It feels like I am descending into darkness again.

I wanted a new start, a new me, a new place. The old records again are playing in my head.

This just feels wrong.

Perhaps I need some counselling again.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Following on from our holiday in Devon DH and I have rented a house for 6 months in South Wales.

We decided that we really do need a base, we were tired of living out of a suitcase. It turns out that we might just have needed a good 3 week holiday to get our "fix" of sun, sea and good R&R. You see that was quite a novelty for DH and I. The last time we had a holiday of anything more than a week was FIVE YEARS AGO. The last two week holiday DH and I had was in 2005 when we went to South West Florida.

For now, we do not want to live abroad. I realise that part of the theme for this blog was to escape Britain. But escape to where, well that horse has been discussed and flogged to death by me on this blog. We have discovered that for now we want to live somewhere in an English speaking country with a temperate climate where there are no immigration issues. With that said living in Britain is the most obvious choice.

The other thing we have come to realise is that we all have to be somewhere, and that it costs something to be anywhere. Wherever you are you "gotta pay". I used to rant on and on about the evils of rent/mortgages/bills etc but the reality is that it costs money to live anywhere, and travel is not cheap. Before people start telling me that travel is not expensive let me say that DH and I are not interested in roughing it or backpacking (ive done that before) or trying to live in SE Asia on 2p per day. Dont get me wrong, DH and I love camping holidays, and have often stayed in hostels in this country and Spain, but doing this as a long term lifestyle choice is not for us.

I always wanted to live between the mountains and the sea and that is now exactly where we are. There is a 2 minute drive to a lovely beach and I can see the mountains from my window. Now this is not a place to live if you want to be amongst progressive forward thinking people, it is certainly not sophisticated and there probably isn't a cocktail to be seen for about 12 miles. But I have "done" all that. I would much rather be around "real" people, in a place where people have lived all their lives.

Let me tell you that the house is a small two bedroom modern semi detached and we are only paying £470.00 for rent. That's right £470.00! This seems like a bargain to me. We can afford this. The last time I paid so little rent was 12 years ago! My tip for early or semi retirement or escaping the rat race or whatever you want to call it is to move to an area with a lower cost of living.

For now this feels right. I say for now because we do not know how we will feel in 6 months time. For me I have found that I have wanted and needed different things at different stages of my life. 5 - 10 years ago living where we are now would not have suited me because for one thing the location does not offer what I wanted at that time, for example there is little opportunity for professional well paid jobs in this area etc.

But I dont need a well paid job now.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

I love mondays

In my old life Mondays were something to dread. I would drag myself out of bed, be forced to deal with the issues of hair and makeup, quickly drink some coffee and then out the door into the concrete jungle to the office. More often that not I would be in a foul mood, not having enough coffee and the thought of sitting at a desk doing paperwork for several hours really made me cheerful.

But not anymore. Yesterday was a Monday and how different my Mondays are these days. We have been sleeping until 10.00 am, drinking coffee until midday etc. Yesterday was one of those days when the weather was 17 degrees c and sunny so we went and sat on the beach until 5.00 pm and just read and watched the magnificent waves. The north Devon coastline is so dramatic. There are few people here and we were the only ones on the beach.

I think that my mind is starting to slow down. In my former job I had to be organised I had to plan, plan and plan again. As a litigator you have to be 20 steps in front, always trying to anticipate the next move of your opponent, living by diaries and court appointment dates and other deadlines for fear of missing something and worse still being negligent. The constant fear of being negligent used to keep me awake at night sometimes.

It is so good to have freedom, before to get any time off I had to go through an arm twisting exercise to take annual leave. Of course the boss would not deny me my statutory rights, he would not decline my request for leave but it was almost as if he went out of his way to make it as difficult as possible for my leave requests to be authorised, and that became extremely wearing.

However, I do have thoughts of doubt, sometimes I think that we were mad to give up the money that we were earning, could we have done another year? Anyway too late now. I am learning to quieten the organising part of my brain and just take each day as it comes.

Monday, 27 September 2010

And back again

We are now back in the UK.

We had a very nice holiday but we came to the conclusion that we probably did not want to live on the island of Mallorca full time. We anticipated that we would target the north west area of the island to "live". Well we visited this area and whilst parts of it were visually stunning, I felt that the area had been spoilt by tourism, large imposing hotels and far TOO MANY PEOPLE. And it was hot.

I had visions of us settling a while in the areas of port andratx or andratx itself or San Telmo, close to some great walking and not too far from the sea. But we just were not feeling it. And it was really too damn hot to make us want to commit to a 6 month lease. The reality of living in Mallorca had hit is, nice place to go on holiday, but unless you have bags of money it may be more of an endurance than an experience.

I think we hit the island at the wrong time, we should have waited and gone in mid October, but when you don't have anywhere to live you just have to go and make the best of it.

DH and I also learned a few things about ourselves and what our (dare I say it) comfort levels are. We found that we were just spending more and more money on the island just to get comfortable, I hate hard spanish beds!

We also learned that we really do need a base, were are sick and tired of living out of suitcases . In hindsight we probably should have just gone with some rucksacks, well you live and learn don't you. We didn't plan it very well. Perhaps I should start a new blog and call it Pissed off with Luggage? :) What is surprising to me is that I thought that we would really enjoy wandering around, but instead of feeling liberated I found the moving around quite stressful.

We do need somewhere to live. Do we buy a house, do we buy a house on wheels, do we look into a boat? Some things to think about.

But can I say again how wonderful it is to be FREE from the 9 - 5 grind. Yes we haven't got it all figured out yet but I am so thankful to be out of the dirty concrete jungle.

We are now in North Devon! What a gorgeous place. Yesterday we went to Cornwall to do some coastal walking and the scenery is fantastic. As DH and I drove back to our little rented holiday home yesterday the sun was shining and "More than a feeling" by Boston was playing on the radio and I have to say that I felt so happy that I thought I was drunk. I have not felt like that in a long time.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Cala Figuera

Photo- Cala Figuera
Having left Santanyi we are now in Cala Figuera, this place seems to be more bohemian and arty. Lots of boats and lots of fisherman selling fresh fish from the catch of the day. This place is MUCH more tranquilo than Santanyi and MUCH cheaper. We are staying at a small aparthotel and for the past few days there has only been DH and I by the pool, its like having a villa all to ourselves.
The weather remains problematic, so we sit in the shade taking it easy.
Its tough this island living :)

Friday, 17 September 2010

A cloud appears

photo - cala pi
Well this morning we got up and looked out of the window and it was cloudy!

Great we thought. So after the obligatory four cups of coffee we strapped on our walking boots. I wanted to head for cala pi which I heard was a beauty spot with a 3 hour hike nearby.

Cala Pi is lovely, crystal clear water, quiet little beach with a few sailing boats moored. I said to DH that we needed a boat and I want to learn how to sail a boat.

Well, it might have started out cloudy but it was humid, apparently 70% humidity. Anyway we started out coastal walk but after an hour it became obvious that it was still too hot and then the sun started to come out. We started back on our return. Trying to walk/hike in the heat is not a good idea, for one thing you can never carry enough water with you.

After cutting the walk short we walked back down to the beach and literally ran into the water. Never has a swim felt so wonderful.

The photo above is for Frank C who wanted more photos.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Hay mucho color acqui!

It is very hot here.

It appears to be getting hotter not cooler. The last few days have been in the early thirties, some days 35 degrees c. Too hot to do much, certainly too hot to go hiking or to go running. It has become very wearing.

According to the weather forcast we were supposed to have rain and clouds. No sign of any rain or clouds.

By now I would have expected it to be cooling down.

We are thinking about returning to the UK. If we did that then we could always return here later on in the year when it cools down, or go somewhere cooler.

DH and I are not really sunworshippers,we came here for the laid back lifestyle and the great outdoors, well its really too hot to enjoy the outdoors. There is a lot to be said for living in a temperate climate.

I'm not having a moan, I am so thankful for the escape from the grind, and well you cant have everything :)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

something doesnt feel right

I think that next week is week 7 since the escape. It still feels great to be free.

The mornings are wonderful. I drink lots of coffee in the morning and sit on my balcony overlooking beautiful turquoise clear water. Santanyi is indeed beautiful and looks even better in reality than in photos. I can go for a run in the morning and snorkil and eat tapas for lunch. The weather is beutiful and still relatively hot. Either it is cooling down or we are aclimatizing as I never would have thought that we would be able to run in temperatures of 28c albeit we choose a route which affords us some cover from the pine trees.

But I still dont feel "at one". I have tried to analyze these feelings and what comes to mind is that I am fed up of living out of a suitcase, I am fed up of living in hotels. We really need a base of some sort. To get what we really want we would need to comit to a six month lease and well, im just not sure I want to stay on the island that long.

Also, there are still quite a few tourists here at the moment and perhaps I am just not getting the tranquility and peace that I still crave.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this was never about travelling, I dislike travel for travels sake. This was about escaping the 9 - 5 grind and finding somewhere.

Next week we move to a different part of the island, somewhere which is supposed to be bohemian and laid back, perhaps that will suit us better.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Vamos a Mallorca!

photo - cala santanyi
Tomorrow we are finally off to Mallorca.

August was a long month. DH and I learned that we do not much like being house guests and we do need our space and privacy. We also learned that we are not ready to have dogs, as much as I would love some animals they are a tie and they are really dependants.

Now we are finally free.

So first stop is Santanyi in the south east of the island. I checked the weather forecast and it is 28 degrees c out there at the moment. For the first few weeks we are just going to have a "holiday". Thereafter when the weather cools we are hoping to go hiking up at the north west of the island and have a look around for a base.

I have bought a one way ticket. There is no return date planned.

Hasta la vista :)

Sunday, 29 August 2010

good bye august and good ridance

I cant wait for August to be over. Being homeless is a nightmare during the month of August. It is so expensive to stay at hotels and short term rental accommodation during August. We have managed to duck and dive through August what with the housesitting etc but staying with people is not really my thing, I NEED MY SPACE AND PRIVACY.

And so I look forward to September, when the kids go back to school, the adults go back to work :) and everything again is calm. And I cant wait to get off to Mallorca to begin our new life.

I am still enjoying the escape, although sometimes I get the feeling that I should do something to be productive or I should be doing something to earn money. DH and I have lots of ideas to start a small business. But that will have to come later when we decide how and where we will live.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Its great to be free

We have now left the housesitting gig. It was nice to have a few weeks of rest and relaxation. We are now staying with a relative. We are certainly paying for our keep as we are doing some backbraking decorating work for a relative. 7 hour days of painting and decorating, phew.

But, it is still wonderful to be free. Today we gave ourselves a day off and went walking in the valley and Forest, the scenery is quite spectacular and the green green grass of home is strangely comforting but also reminiscent of the ghosts of the past.

I do feel different having escaped the grind. As DH and I drove into the area I became overwhelmed by how green the area was, I had forgotten that there were so many mountains or perhaps I never really saw them before. I was also struck by the colour of it all, as opposed to the concrete greyness of the city. Also the roads and streets are clean, in fact spotless.

Sometimes you have to go to come back.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Country living

We are now house and dog sitting for friends in Cheshire.

It is so quiet and peaceful here. We are in a large detached house. Just across the road is beautiful countryside where we walk everyday. There is a river that we walk along. The water is clean and clear and not black liquid as it was in the city. It is so nice not to have to get in the car for an hour to drive to the countryside. DH and I have noticed that we are both sleeping through the night. I have an annoying sleep walking habit. Another thing I notice is that my acid reflux is much better.

The Lady of the house organised for us to receive an organic fruit and veg box and the stuff tastes fabulous. We have been making fresh soup. Lady also has a herb garden and we have been told to help ourselves. Lady has a cleaner who comes twice a week. I told Lady that there was no need for the cleaner to come whilst she was away as I was happy to keep things tidy etc but Lady insisted. Lady also insisted on ordering us fresh milk everyday from the milkman. Lady has been very kind and left us goodies like wine, chocolates and champagne etc.

I told DH that we cant get used to living like this because now we cant afford it!

This is so much better than city living. I feel far more chilled. Fresh air, I cant believe it. I feel like I am on holiday.

Now the dog, well he is a handful. He is not very old but he needs constant attention and he is very excitable, honestly it feels like a full time job looking after him. Its a good job that he is cute. I hadn't realised what a responsibility dogs are especially puppies.

I must admit that sitting in the family room watching the trees in the breeze made me wonder whether DH and I could have afforded to live like this. Well we could have perhaps just about but we cant anymore. I cant believe I thought that. No, we would both have to work like dogs for the rest of our lives.

We have made the right decision.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

I escaped the 9 - 5 !!

I have now escaped the 9 -5 office grind, forever.

Yes, no more office grind for me. I will make it work no matter what it takes. I am never going back. Furthermore, I am NEVER going to live in a city again.

What a great fracking relief!

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

2 days to go!

2 days to go until The Escape.

Yesterday I booked one way tickets for DH and I to Mallorca for early September. A one way ticket, imagine that. I have never booked a one way ticket before.

I cant wait to Escape the concrete jungle.

Suddenly I am starting to feel free. I hope that DH and I have the same expectations in relation to frugal living in early retirement. I think we do. Its just that DH sometimes fancies the finer things in life and I would really rather do without them. I prefer the simpler life.

Thats all for now.

Friday, 16 July 2010


Well less than 2 weeks to go now until the escape.

I have been sorting out the bank accounts and putting money aside into an easy access account. I have thrown a lot of stuff out.

Today I made enquiries with an estate agent about the possibility of a 6 month apartment rental in north west Mallorca. If we could get it at the right price I think we may go for it. Browsing on the internet this morning it just caught my eye. Bang on the sea front with beautiful vistas in a quiet residential area, adults only. The sea at the front and the pine woods and mountains at the back. The trouble is that I don't really want to commit to 6 months. I really would prefer 3 months but I think that a short term agreement would cost me a lot more. Anyway lets just see how it goes. I've put the feeler out and its no big deal if they don't go for it. We still plan on going to Mallorca in September for at least a few months irrespective of whether we enter into a long term rental agreement.

After being land locked in a gritty urban area in the North West for so long I am desperate to be live near the coast for a while. Being near the ocean makes me feel different, calmer more zen.

The beauty about planning to go to Mallorca is that I dont need a visa, I can stay as along as I want, I can buy a one way flight (which is what I plan to do) and they wont throw me out if I overstay. I can just turn up and go with the flow. We also plan to spend some time in Menorca and Ibiza.

I just want to go NOW.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

But you cant LIVE anywhere in the world....

I read a lot of travelling blogs or lifestyle design blogs that scream out that you can go anywhere in the world.

Yes I know I can go anywhere in the world, and now I am at a point where I really CAN go anywhere in the world. But I cant LIVE anywhere in the world. There is a huge difference.

The trouble is, I don't just want to go anywhere and everywhere, I have specific places that I want to go and see but I am not into travel just for the sake of it. I am more interested in finding a sustainable living solution. If you are a long time reader of this blog you will know that if I could LIVE anywhere I would live in North Amercia. But, as I have discussed many times on this blog there are no viable visa options. And no I am not about to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a "business (fools) visa" like a lot of expat brits have done and have got into hot water.

And that's the problem. The V word. You cant LIVE anywhere in the world because you need a VISA. I do not want to play hide and seek with the border authorities. I want to be free to come and go as I please.

I have spent a long time living temporarily in places because I have to be there for work to earn money to live etc etc. Now I want find a sustainable living solution.
Just my random thoughts for today.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Getting Excited

Its almost a month since my last post. I must post more often.

I'm really starting to get excited now. There are now 5 working weeks to go (it still seems too long!) until the escape.

I am REALLY looking forward to being freeeeeeeeee, I will be getting my life back. I realised the other day just how unhappy this life has made me for a long long time. I am feeling a lot more positive about the escape, we just might be able to pull this off.

Having time out of the rat race was never an option for me, I wanted OUT COMPLETELY. When I did locum and contract work I had the opportunity to take some time off for a few months, but nothing had really changed for me. I was still living in the same place, still having to make a living so I could give up work and escape the grind.

So we we are out at the end of July. Initially we are housesitting and dog sitting for a friend for a few weeks. August will be spent here and there in this country. Then in September the rough plan is to go to the Balearic islands (all of them) potentially for 2 - 3 months. Then we may go to the Caribbean and then who knows?

Next spring I fancy travelling around the west coast of North America in a motorhome. From some initial research hiring an RV or a week could run to $1,000k. It appears to be prohibitively expensive to hire an RV for 3 - 6 months. So instead we are considering the idea of buying one on the way in and hopefully selling it on the way out. We need something reliable but we also do not want to spend too much on an RV in case we don't have time to sell it. We would probably start off in Canada so we can go in on 6 month visitors visa. Any tips?

So thats the plan for the next 12 months, although we dont have a concrete itinerary. We are just going to start off in Mallorca and see what feels right and see what comes.

Who knows we may end up being permanent bums in Ibiza beating the drums with the dudes that drive the magic vans :)

Friday, 28 May 2010

Escaping from myself

In two months time I will escape the 9 to 5. I will no longer have to spend the majority of my waking hours in a sedentary job in an office. I will no longer have to live a lifestyle that stifles and depresses me. I will no longer have to live in a concrete jungle to be close to work because I can’t stand to commute.

The prison gates will be open. But what lies beyond the prison gates? Hopefully peace of mind and perhaps even contentment.

And yet, I still struggle daily with a deep sadness, sometimes, a lot of the time the sadness consumes me. It’s a constant battle to keep up on top of the demons and it has taken years of hard work fighting against them. The past is in the past and we have to live in the now, that is true. But the truth is that I am still living with the consequences of the past, I probably always will be. I acknowledge and try to accept the past but I still dont like the past. I always knew deep down that had the past been different that I would be living a very different life now. That was confirmed to me recently in therapy. It was quite a shock to hear someone else say it.

I am not sure whether therapy was useful or not, it certainly gave me a greater understanding of my “problems”, but no resolution. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s made me worse.

So I fixed the 9 – 5 problem, it took years to fix but I did it. Now I just have to fix me and that job is far more difficult.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

No Going Back

DH and I have given 3 months notice to our employers.

Our apartment lease is up on 10th August.

It still doesnt feel real. I still worry about money and other associated things.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

North California

I've wanted to visit north California for some time.

I want to see the Big Sur (above), Carmel, Monterrey...I remember watching the film "play misty for me" and being mesmerised by the scenery, the stunning coastal drives. I wanted to be Clint Eastwood in that car driving along the coast and I want his house in that film! So much space, so few people, bracing fresh clean air, or so I imagine.

I also want to see Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe, we will probably camp there. I'd like to see Sausilito, and DH wants to see the Redwood trees further North.

There is something that draws me to the area, the climate, the contrast between the dramatic coast and the beautiful wilderness.

We are thinking about going to North Cal in September. Flying to san franciso and then driving from there. But having costed the trip up its given me a bit of a fright. We want to go for a month. In terms of accommodation we want to camp and stay in a few hotels. I've found an amazing camp site in the Big Sur. The first time I costed the trip it came out as £7,500!. Then I thought if we camped more we could bring the price down to about £6,000.

The trip would have something to keep both DH and I happy, DH is not a beach person, he loves hiking in the outdoors and wilderness. I like to hike but I also like to sit on quiet beaches watch the waves and just ponder. Hopefully we will get beach and hiking in north cal.

Can I justify spending the money? We could stay somewhere in the Mediterranean at that price for months. But its a holiday of a life time for us and it really is the only place (long haul) that we want to see.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Would it be so bad if....

Back to the issue of where to go and what to do after The Escape.

Actually, we know what we want to do and what we don't want to do. We want to live again and enjoy life, to rest for a while, to think and to just be. We want to cook, to while away the hours whilst enjoying beautiful scenery. We want to enjoy the great outdoors. We want to be close the sea and close the countryside.

We have decided that we are not really interested in travelling per se, i.e we have no desire to go travelling round Australia or Asia for example. To be honest, DH and I are not very good travellers. We love the Mediterranean. There are parts of the USA that we really want to see such as North California, Oregon, Montana and Idaho.

Cost is also a factor. Lately I have been thinking as to whether it would be so bad if we had a little base in Devon or Somerset? Just somewhere small we could rent for several months and go on extended trips from there. Its funny because when I originally started writing this blog I had visions and ambitions of sailing away from the UK on a plane somewhere with two fingers stuck in the air, ha!

I still want to spend the end of the summer this year and the few months of autumn somewhere in the Mediterranean. DH and I don't like the heat so we need to wait until it cools down.

We are also thinking about the option of housesitting and I am sure that we will do this one day. But for now, we think that we might need to have a something with no commitments or timetables etc.

Nothing is set in stone for now.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Back to the drawing board

Well we have just come back from the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.

It is NOT the oasis of cheap living I dreamed it would be.

Eating and drinking out is mostly about the same price as here in England. I say mostly, some things are cheaper, but overall things cost the same. Take a trip to the supermarket, there you will find that most items are up to THREE times more expensive than over here. Yes THREE. I went to a few supermarkets just to check that there wasn't one supermarket for tourists and one for the locals, but nope the locals were shopping with the tourists and the expats in the same place.

After a little bit of online digging around I found that the official inflation rate in recent times has been about 12%. There has clearly been a time of hyperinflation in the area.

I just cant fathom how the locals live with this cost of living.

We enjoyed our time and the people are lovely warm people. The outdoors are spectacular, both DH and I enjoyed hiking through the mountains.

With that cost of living I don't think we could live there, every time we went to buy something I worried about how much it was going to costs. Housing costs would be a lot cheaper, but if we are spending up to three times as much on food as we are here and worrying about the cost of going out to eat then, its simply not worth the hassle.

I think a lot of expats are using the high interest rates that Turkish banks will pay on savings deposits. Most of them are paying around 10%. I believe that this is how expats are partly funding their retirement. But I consider this to be a risky move given the instability of the economy and the rampant inflation.

Sigh, back to the drawing board.

Monday, 1 March 2010

cyprus calling

We are off to North Cyprus next weekend for an exploration trip.
We want to explore the area and get a feel for the cost of living and potential areas for a six month winter stay. It appears to be virtually impossible to get a flight from the airport direct into North Cyprus. The only other alternative is to fly into Turkey and then transfer but we only have a week so its a bit of a rush. So we will fly into Larnaca in the south where our hosts will pick us up and drive us the one and a quareter hour journey accross the border. We will be staying in Bellapais. We have a week so I want to try and get a good look around but at the same time get some relaxation in too.
I am looking forward to the break. After all the stress and busyness that the flat sale brought it now feels like an anticlimax. I think perhaps we should have just escaped straightaway after we sold the flat but now we are signed up to a six month lease so thats the decision made for us really.
I will report back:)

Saturday, 13 February 2010


The flat has SOLD!!!

I think it is just sinking in. The relief I feel is amazing. I feel like a huge monkey has climbed off my back.

We found a buyer last September and we only completed yesterday! Its been quite a stressful four months what with one thing and another. At times I wondered whether the sale would actually go through. I started to think it might never happen. I feel slightly duplicitous not sharing the news earlier but I wanted to announce it when it actually happened.

So whats next? Well now we are still living in the urban jungle but only for several more months and then we are out of here. We are still on track to escape in the autumn so hopefully its just a matter of putting things on automatic pilot.

Now I am completely debt free and I dont owe any one a single penny. I've been debt free for years in terms of consumer debt, ie credit card, loans etc but of course when you have a mortgage you are never really debt free.

I can almost feel the freedom.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Well the last few weeks have passed like a whirlwind.

There have been some significant developments in the escape plan. But sometimes I feel that the machine has its jaws clenched tightly around me. So tightly that it feels like my are efforts are sometimes in vain.

I finally feel like I am doing instead of just talking about the escape.

I have developed all sorts of strange health problems, painful throat, pulsating eyelid, headaches, acid stomach etc. I think I'm stressed.

There is a little voice inside my head that whispers pessimistic thoughts about the escape plan. It tells me that I will be unemployed, that I will have no money, that I will be rootless that my restlessness will continue that the escape is a mistake and I will be sorry. But I have come to realise that this little voice is part of my social conditioning. Yes, even me in my rage against the machine, I too am socially conditioned. I have come to understand that the presence of social conditioning can be very subtle.

But I feel in my heart that I must embark on this journey and I can almost smell freedom!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Cutting the tree down

In my opinion, escaping the 9 to 5 with any degree of success takes a certain amount of planning.

In order to cut down a tree properly it must be taken down carefully and methodically. Someone once said that the process of tree felling was akin to leaving the rat race. You take the tree down bit by bit rather than have it all crashing down at once.

So that is what I am attempting to achieve. You see once I am out I really don't want to have to go back into the system, go back to the 9 -5 office grind. Therefore it is important to me to ensure that we have made sufficient provision. It is not that I don't want to work, not at all. In fact I want to work but I do not want to work in the law and I do not want to work in an office (or at least not full time).

I feel that I have come so far in this journey that to have it all crashing down now would be a real shame. You see, even though I hate the grind and I know that money does not in itself bring happiness, I also know that to have no money is as equally if not more stressful.

Hopefully, within several months the escape will happen.

So the rough plan for 2010 is:-

1. Sell the flat
2. Keep our jobs (for a little while anyway, fingers crossed)
3. Live on 30% of our joint net income
4. Escape the 9 - 5 by autumn 2010
5. Spend six months living abroad (somewhere warm!)