The adventure finally begins

80 comments

I’m writing this post from a lovely little restaurant in Palolem, Goa. The tables are filled with other travellers, quietly tapping at their notepads and laptops, and the dusty street outside is alive with the sound of car horns and busy workers preparing for the start of the tourist season. Brightly dressed Indian women chatter in doorways and immaculately turned out children skip past on their way to school. The air is humid and the sky hangs heavy, waiting to drop its next monsoon downpour on us all.

It’s a surreal moment, and I don’t quite know whether to burst into tears or laughter as I soak it all in. After two long years of planning and working towards this day, and ten months of blogging about our efforts, we are here in India at last.

Our last week at home was without doubt the hardest week of my life. Our impending farewells hung heavy in my mind and I was fraught with emotion and stress. Basically, I was in a shitty mood right up until we reached the airport.

My heart broke as I hugged my mum goodbye outside the departure terminal and I found myself wondering if all of this was worth it. I failed to choked back my tears and left Lee to struggle with both of our backpacks as I summoned all my energy just to walk away from the car.

We checked in and were fortunate enough to be granted access to the Emirates Lounge, despite our lowly economy tickets; a welcome perk of Lee’s old job as a travel agent. We made our way past the express security channel and through to the lounge, where we indulged in a free breakfast and much needed wifi, as we still hadn’t even bought our travel insurance yet!

With that final, and rather important detail taken care of, we picked up our bags and headed out towards our boarding gate, just as our names were called over the PA system. We quickly made a beeline for the front desk of the lounge, and were greeted by a lovely lady who gave us a broad smile and uttered eight magical little words:

We’ve managed to upgrade you to Business Class.

Holy shit.

Suddenly all the turmoil and stress of the last week (make that two years) was replaced with excitement and joy, and I knew that the struggle and heartache was absolutely worth it (yup, all it took was an upgrade!).

Our adventure was finally about to begin. In style.

We settled into our seat-come-beds aboard our Emirates flight and were given a glass of champagne before we had even left the tarmac. We flicked through the movie list on our giant screens and switched our seats onto massage mode whilst giggling like five year olds. We could not believe our luck, and owe a massive debt of thanks to Natalie Kromponi and her colleagues at Emirates, and all the staff at Flight Centre for giving us such an incredible start to our journey.

As the plane took off we reveled in the best flight of our lives, with impeccably mannered flight attendants, delicious meals served on tablecloths and bone china, and connoisseur wine complimented by the finest Godiva chocolates. We almost didn’t want it to end, but India awaited us, and we knew the best was yet to come.

And so now here we are, in the tiny little beach town where we first met five years ago. It is impossible for me not to feel happy here; every corner holds a special memory of my many trips here, and even though I am so far away from my family and friends, they are still here with me as I remember the precious times we shared in my favourite place on earth.

Our days are enjoyed at a far slower pace now as we take time to adjust to our new way of life – and the heat! Living at home in England it was easy to forget how hot is really is over here, and the continuing monsoon leaves the air thick, and your skin permanently damp.

We are renting a sweet little room with a balcony that looks out onto tall palm trees laced with washing lines, where local woman beat their laundry against a large stone set in a clearing, then hang beautifully patterned bed sheets and saris amongst the leafy fronds.

A local friend of ours is taking us house hunting later, and we hope to rent a small house with basic amenities. I’m excited to set up a little writing corner and hang hammocks from which to survey my new home with my lovable Scotsman. We’ve come a long way since that day five years ago, when I laughed as I first saw him strolling along the shore in a kilt.

He has kept me laughing ever since.

::

And now, just as I sit here wondering how to finish this post, the heavens have opened and the monsoon rains down heavily, hammering the tin roof of the restaurant and soaking everyone outside instantly.

So I guess I’ll just hang around here, order another cardamom lassi and write a little while longer. I’m in no hurry, and have nothing to do but sit and allow the day to unfold. I’m learning to make the most of every moment, come rain or shine.

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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) October 5, 2012 at 09:56

Woo hoo! You made it! And what a way to kick off your journey! I am super jealous, as I have never been upgraded on a flight and it is my not-so-secret hope that it happens at some point during this year of travel… I keep hoping that purchasing tickets with a “Dr.” pre-fixed to my name (hey, gotta make that PhD count somehow, right?) will do the trick, but so far, no dice.
And I definitely understand that turmoil and mixed emotions that can hit at the start of a trip like this. It actually took several weeks of us being on the road before I really started to appreciate our new life, and I was definitely cranky and grumpy for seemingly unknown reasons before that happened. Just sink it in, because the best is no longer yet to come, it’s here!

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 09:55

I know, we were so lucky! Here’s to future upgrades and happy travels 🙂

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Toni October 5, 2012 at 12:08

I am so ridiculously happy for you sweetheart – you already sound so at home and at peace with yourself and life which is a lovely thing to witness after all the pre-travel stress and emotions you have been going through lately.
I can’t wait to follow your adventure and know that our paths will cross again on our travels because the Universe can’t help but steer me towards such a bright light as you. I miss you already xxx

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 09:57

Thank you so much Toni, what a lovely comment. I’m have no doubt that our paths will cross again one day – I look forward to sharing future adventures with you 🙂

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Monica October 5, 2012 at 12:42

Hannah! Congratulations on making your (hard earned) dreams come true! This post made me teary:) And yay for upgrades! When I went to Southeast Asia I was upgraded to business class on Cathay Pacific… that experience has spoiled me ever since. Can. Not. Wait. to come visit you over there! Sending you lots of love in the meantime. xo

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 09:58

Thank you honey, can’t wait for you to visit either!!!

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Jeremy or IHeartTravel October 5, 2012 at 12:56

Congrats on the start of your new life! Congrats on your happiness! You have finally arrived and in style : )
Hope all goes well with the house hunting, it sounds like your surrounding is a beautiful place.

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:00

Thank you so much Jeremy 🙂

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Audrey October 5, 2012 at 13:04

Yaaaay! Congratulations on making it there at last! I look forward to more posts from Goa and the rest of India. 😀

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:01

Thanks Audrey! It feels so good to finally be here 🙂

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Nomadic Translator @latinAbroad October 5, 2012 at 14:01

yayayayayayayayaYA! *jumps excitedly* 😀 where in India are u at right now?! Sounds nice!
– Maria Alexandra

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:02

We are living in Goa for three months, and will do a bit of travelling around from here to other areas as well 🙂

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Nomadic Translator October 5, 2012 at 14:02

“lovely little restaurant in Palolem, Goa”
*facepalm to self*
😛

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:02

Haha 😀

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Michael Bertrand October 5, 2012 at 14:02

Congrats …! Glad your first day is filled with adventure.
I’m looking to start my own travel adventure next year so seeing you build up to your big day is a bit exciting for me on a personal level. Until I get out on the road I’ll live vicariously through you!
Be safe and have fun!
A fan in South Texas

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:03

Thanks Michael, it’s great to have you following along! Good luck with the travel planning 🙂

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Cat October 5, 2012 at 14:45

It’s so awesome to hear your dream has finally come true! Found your blog several months ago from a mention on Chris Guillebeau’s blog and have enjoyed following your open and inspirational journey. Can’t wait to hear about the many stories sure to come.

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:04

Thank you Cat, I’m so glad you found me!

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Carmel October 5, 2012 at 15:22

I really want everyone to stop telling me how hard it is to leave! Ack.
So glad you made it safely and in style. You deserve the slightest bit of luxury before living the traveler life. 🙂 It’s just hard to even believe it’s here for all of you because next…it’ll be me!

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:06

Yeah, sorry about that! There’s no getting away from that part I’m afraid. I can’t wait to start reading about YOUR travels – here’s to Mexico 2014 🙂

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Jill October 5, 2012 at 15:27

Hannah, this is all soo lovely. I can sense your happiness!
We’ll be there in a couple of weeks, might run into you!

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:07

How exciting! I hope you do, it would be wonderful to meet you all 🙂

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Rhonda October 5, 2012 at 15:45

Congratulations!!! SO glad for you (lol..and so jealous I”m not there). Enjoy being back in the place where you met your love and soak in that truly amazing vibe that is India, and Palolem in particular. Can’t wait to see where you end up calling home.

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:11

Thank you Rhonda 🙂

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Chrystal McKay October 5, 2012 at 18:35

So happy youre finally started! All that work is finally paid off! Can’t wait to read about your life for the next YEAR!! 😀

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:12

Me too! It feels surreal, but wonderful!

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Tiphanya October 5, 2012 at 18:59

Do you have the kilt with you ? (my boyfriend wearing kilt sometimes is asking). Enjoy it and keep writing for us.

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:13

Haha! No, it’s really heavy so we left that in storage at my mum’s house 🙂

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Tyrhone October 5, 2012 at 19:37

I’m so jealous of you guys all meeting up in India, it truly is a remarkable place, enjoy chillin’ before the big event, and congratulations on the start of your sure to be incredible journey. 🙂

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:15

Yeah, it sucks you won’t be joining us, it would have been great to meet you and I reckon you and Lee would get on like a house on fire! I’m sure we’ll get the chance another time though 🙂

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Steph | DiscoveringIce.com October 5, 2012 at 19:53

Awww I am teary-eyed reading this! So happy for you and what a beautiful post! I can really feel your emotion coming out through this post! You are one lucky girl Miss Hannah! You and Lee are going to have the time of your lives…and I can see from this that he is all you need to be happy, no matter where you are!
It’s been a long time coming but now I cant wait to read about the adventures in your new life! 🙂

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:17

Thank you so much for your lovely comment Steph – it’s been a long time coming, and now that it is here it feels wonderful 🙂

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Danica October 5, 2012 at 19:57

Wow wow wow it all looks amazing.
Well done you fabulous peeps. Can’t wait to hear more x

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:17

Thanks honey xxx

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Phillipa October 5, 2012 at 20:32

I have shed a massive teardrop, the size of China my love! I am soooo proud of you and so pleased that you finally reached your destination. We ALL are!
Sanj and I can almost smell the damp air there and so wish we were with you.
I love you hannah and I will never stop thinking about you… In everything you do!
xxxx

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:18

Thank you so much, I’m missing you already honey xxx

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Sarah Somewhere October 5, 2012 at 22:41

Such a beautiful post, I’m so happy you guys made it to your new home safe and sound (and in style at that, woah!). You’ve already experienced so many contrasting situations and emotions, and now making your home in the land of contrasts where you will surely have so many more wonderful experiences. Lots of love XXX

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Hannah October 16, 2012 at 10:19

Thanks Sarah – I can’t believe we finally made it! See you soon!!!

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Meka October 6, 2012 at 02:25

Glad to hear you both made it safely!!! I’m so happy for u both. It is Devine to be living your dream. Absorb every minute & enjoy the ride!!! Looking forward to hearing all about it:)

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:20

Thanks so much Meka, it really is divine 🙂

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Daniel McBane - Funny Travel Stories October 6, 2012 at 14:43

I went to Palolem on a combination of several hot, dirty and crowded buses, but I guess your flight sounds alright too. Ok, I admit, I’m a little jealous… Enjoy your trip!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:27

Yeah, the journey here was amazing, but our journey out of here will be much like yours! I do love the buses though 🙂

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amy October 6, 2012 at 16:55

Wow, it must be so amazing to finally be living the life you’ve been dreaming about and working towards for so long – and what a great bonus to have been upgraded?! I’m very jealous though as I still 21 weeks to go till my adventure starts!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:43

Yes, it really is amazing and I feel very lucky. And your own adventure is just around the corner – congratulations 🙂

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jill October 6, 2012 at 16:57

Oh yay, this post reminded me of our first day on our RTW trip in Colombia. How exciting! Congrats on embarking on the journey!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:47

Thanks Jill! I’m so excited to finally be on the road 🙂

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Ayngelina October 6, 2012 at 20:12

Congratulations! Be prepared for the biggest highs and the lowest lows – they are all normal and part of the experience. Looking forward to reading about them.

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:47

Thanks so much Ayngelina, I’m ready and willing to experience it all 🙂

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Anna B October 6, 2012 at 22:53

Beautiful post Hanny! I can feel just how happy you are through your words. Choked with love and happiness for you. Have an amazing time dudette and I will see you soon 🙂 xxxx

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:50

Thanks Bean! Can’t wait to share India with you xxx

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Kim October 7, 2012 at 02:24

Congrats Hannah!!! I’m so excited for you and Lee and happy that the adventure has finally begun. I can’t wait to read all about your new life. It’s finally here and all the hard stuff is behind you now 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:52

Thanks Kim! It feels great to finally be the third team member to get on the road. Can’t wait to see you in December 🙂

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Clare October 7, 2012 at 04:40

I found your blog recently and I’m excited to follow along. Welcome to your new/old home.

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:53

Thanks so much Clare!

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Brendon October 7, 2012 at 08:34

Wow congrats sounds like you have an alot of amazing experiences ahead of you. I recently found your blog and will definitely following you on your journeys

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:53

Thanks Brendon, I’m so glad you’ll be following along 🙂

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Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5 October 7, 2012 at 13:49

I have heard 3 people mention Goa in the past few weeks – and I have officially added it to my future travel list! So happy you are finally on the road and I am looking forward to reading your adventures!
Good luck house hunting!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 04:59

Thanks Caroline. And yes, you must definitely make sure Goa is on your list, it’s a wonderful place with so much to offer 🙂

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Charlie October 7, 2012 at 17:00

Congrats on starting the new adventure! You capture the spirit of Goa here beautifully. And reading this makes me so impatient for my own adventures to start!! Can’t wait to read about the adventures to come!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 05:00

Thanks so much Charlie!

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Victoria October 7, 2012 at 20:58

Hannah, it’s so exciting that you’ve made it there and have started the journey. Your post is beautiful and I cant wait to read more. Good luck with everything and I hope our paths cross in the not so distant future. Take care, Victoria x

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 05:01

Thank you Victoria, I really hope we cross paths soon too. Let’s try and make it happen asap!

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Gennifer October 8, 2012 at 00:23

What luck! I’ve always wanted to fly business class. So glad you could start your trip in style!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 05:01

Thanks Gennifer, it really was a wonderful way to start 🙂

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Tash October 8, 2012 at 09:06

What a great start!
Have just stumbled upon your blog, and am now keen to read along with the adventure! So exciting!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 05:03

Thanks Tash, so glad you found me!

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Lindsey October 8, 2012 at 11:22

Ahh congratulations!! I’m so excited for you both! I’m glad your emotions turned around once you got to the boarding gate as well. That anxious anticipation sucks so badly. I can’t wait to read more!

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Hannah October 19, 2012 at 05:03

Thanks so much Lindsey, I really appreciate your continued support 🙂

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Ashley of Ashley Abroad October 9, 2012 at 02:02

Ah that’s so exciting! You are on your journey now 🙂 Also the digs in first class look amazing, lucky you!

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Jenny October 10, 2012 at 08:02

Congrats on becoming a bonafide travel blogger!! YAY! I’ve been waiting for this post 🙂
I have to ask… is there a story about the first day you saw Lee (did I spell it right?) walking down the beach in a kilt? If not, there really should be!!

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Bethany ~ twoOregonians October 10, 2012 at 09:44

Our first flight out of Oregon came after eight years of dreaming and scheming and saving. I relate so much to the emotions you shared. And I’m euphoric for you! Way to go 🙂

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Gerald Englebretsen October 12, 2012 at 10:48

I am somewhat (no, mightily impressed) at what you guys have set up for yourselves and the fact that right from the get-go you have really interesting content – and a great way of putting it across.
I look forward to following your adventures.
Best of luck.

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Savvy Scot October 12, 2012 at 13:30

I have missed your writing! Unbelievable! So happy for you guys 😉 especially my fellow Scot!

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TammyOnTheMove October 12, 2012 at 14:11

How exciting! It must feel amazing to finally be where you wanted to be for such a long time. Can’t wait ton read about your upcoming adventures. Why do I never get upgraded?

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Stephen Schreck October 14, 2012 at 19:01

So glad your trip is now underway, though I am a little jealous lol. I think our stories are similar your just one chapter head of me, as my life long travels don’t begin until May.

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Marisol October 15, 2012 at 00:12

Hi Hannad, Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for your. Wishing you a wonderful journey.

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Nomes October 15, 2012 at 10:46

Well. Frikkin. Done 🙂 This story *has* to end with the Scotsman proposing a happily ever after somewhere suitably stunning, romantically sporting his trusty kilt. But I am not going to skip to the end just yet cos the middle, I am sure, will be very juicy 😉 Now, let me know when you are in the mood for a little light spot of web designing. PS Ruben says what is the white cat called? Us xxx

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Vacay Girl October 16, 2012 at 17:24

I’m bursting with excitement and laughter over the beginning of your journey. Yeee!

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Emily Vickery July 11, 2013 at 00:05

First stumbled across your website yesterday. I’m embarking on my big adventure in under one month!! I am happy and grateful I found your blog for inspiration. Everything I have read of yours has given me actual chills, and I love that. You are a beautiful writer!

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Hannah Loaring July 11, 2013 at 07:06

Thank you so much Emily, I’m glad you found me! Good luck on your adventure – it’s so close!

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