As I write this, I am sitting in Mirabelle (our motor-home) in a beautiful campsite and I can hear the roar of the wild Atlantic which is less than 5 minutes’ stroll from our ‘front door’. We arrived here almost a week ago after an overcast and quite damp 10 days house-sitting in the Gironde. When we left there last Monday we decided that we wanted to chase the sun and, thanks to Eoin’s brilliant weather app, we found it. We have had a blissful week here with lots of sunshine, swimming in the waves, cycling, yoga and general outdoors living in temperatures in the mid to high 20s. My skin is feeling sun-kissed and my body is feeling very healthy (if a little tired after a long time in the ocean yesterday).
Our two dogs are still staying with friends in the Dordogne and we decided to make the most of these two weeks of total freedom with no commitments to anyone apart from ourselves. When we arrived here on Monday we told the receptionist that we would be staying a couple of nights but after two nights we realised that we were both really happy, relaxed and loving the place. It was only our minds that were telling us that we “should” explore more of the coastline and see or do more. We both dropped the word “should” from our vocabulary a few years ago so we decided to stay put until we both feel the urge for a change of scene.
We are really loving this level of freedom and ease and we are starting to realise that, if we decided to, we could just live like this for the winter. We could leave France and keep heading south to warmer climes in Greece or southern Italy if we fancied it (and if it wasn’t for the dogs). We have met people who have been living in their motorhomes and travelling around Europe for 4 years now. It is such an interesting life choice and one which is open to us now that we have no home and we are on mainland Europe.
However, it probably won’t happen this winter because travelling with the 2 large dogs in the motor-home is just not fun at all. So we have a house-sitting commitment for the whole of October in a beautiful house in the Dordogne which we are able to bring Samson and Delilah to. After that we will probably rent somewhere in the Dordogne for the winter while we do some serious property hunting if we are still 100% sure that that is where we want to put down roots.
Part of the dilemma at the moment is that we love so many of the parts of France which we have explored so far (and that is not many). It is such a vast country with so much variety. We had a couple of days in a beautiful town called Loches in the Loire and adored the romantic beauty and history there and now we have fallen in love with the healthy, outdoor lifestyle which the Landes region, where we currently are, has to offer. I love the ocean and the ability to swim without the bone freezing temperatures of the Irish sea is very appealing to me. I also know from previous experience that I adore Provence and could live very happily there (if I could afford to!).
So much choice can bring its own challenges. Where do we even start?
Well, we are VERY clear on several points and have used what we know we DON’T want to create that clarity. We want a much drier climate than we had in Co Down so that we can spend a lot of time outdoors keeping physically active and being in nature. We want to find a community of like-minded, free-spirited, colourful, creative, passionate people. We want to be able to walk/cycle into a reasonably vibrant small town with a market and interesting social activities. We want relatively easy access to an airport which allows us to fly to Ireland for work. We want to be no more than 2 hours from the sea (much closer if possible). We want to be amongst beautiful forests and with great walking and cycle paths right beside us. And that is just what we want in terms of the location of our home. The spec for the house is just as detailed! At times my mind thinks that we will never find something that ticks all those boxes but then I remember how clever the Universe is and how my job is to stay focused on the ‘what’ and ‘why and let the Universe figure out the ‘how’.
The good news is that we have already ruled out a few areas which don’t tick all the boxes for us and also that we are under no time pressure. We have a roof over our heads in the form of Mirabelle and our businesses back in Ireland are ticking over very nicely as we work on them remotely. We feel very blessed and we are enjoying every second of this delicious freedom which we have created at a time in our lives when many of our peers are locked into careers, mortgages and pensions. Some of the choices which we have made to allow all this have not been easy and our income levels are always a matter of uncertainty because we are both self-employed and have been for many years. But, I wouldn’t change all the financial security in the world for the freedom and ease which I am experiencing right now.
The sun is fully up in the sky now and it is time for a gentle stroll through the pine trees, a visit to the boulangerie and some lunch in the sun. La vie est belle!