Looking back with hindsight on everything we have done since leaving home for the last time, I am overwhelmed by how naïve we were, carried along by our sense of this journey as a great adventure but with absolutely no idea just how great the adventure would turn out to be. My diary from the time, which I wrote by hand out of a desire to eschew looking at screens, records the kaleidoscope of emotions we experienced on the first leg of our journey.
Cabin 219 on the pet deck, on the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander.
…We have been on the road three days now, driving all the way down from Glasgow to Portsmouth with our blue Volkswagen stuffed to the roof with dogs, and extra blankets and some other more inexplicable last minute items, including a few house plants that just could not be left behind. It feels a little bit like we’ve skipped out from school early and any minute someone is going to catch us out and make us go home. It’s hard to believe you’re allowed to just pack your stuff and drive to another country, leave everything behind and just start fresh. When we checked in at the ferry terminal I actually had butterflies in my stomach when the lady took my passport, just waiting to be ‘caught out’, but it never happened, and now here we are. Our ferry will be pulling into Santander within the hour.
I can even see Spain from the deck!
We have had a very nice journey so far. The drive to Portsmouth, although long, was uneventful and the three dogs travelled very well.
We even stopped at a few places to picnic and enjoy England for what may be the last time for a long while. We are both experiencing strong emotions, mostly relief/freedom but also a strange grief for all the luxuries that we no longer have. I miss my house, my bed, my own bathroom. I miss being able to cook my own food and have a nice cup of tea whenever I like.
It’s hard to accept we won’t be going back to our home ever again – it still feels like mine even though I’ve handed over the keys.
The ferry is very cool, we have the VIP (very important puppy) cabins which are much larger, probably because you’re only allowed to take the dogs to the pet deck or stay in the cabin, so they give you a bit more space. I love to sit on deck, even though the wind is strong and the temperature is low, it feels as if we are really moving forward – such a powerful way to travel. I love having Skip and Reggie and Molly with us. Skip and I are sharing a cabin and it’s so cosy to snuggle up with him in the little bed and dream about what our new home will be like…