Many of you know that we've been planning a big family adventure for quite a while, and we're now 9 weeks before our departure...I get butterflies in my stomach thinking about it.
There is a lot of logistical organising to do and getting the first lot of passports nearly undid us...but we're still very much in organisation mode for the trip. Flights are booked, house rented for first month (more about this later), still need to hire a van (will have lots of luggage to take from Paris to the south, before we buy a car), health cards that Rob and the boys can get from the UK (me, can't remember what I do), packing and storing the house just to name a few. It can feel insurmountable but we've been ticking things off the list for some time so it feels good to get things done and inch closer to our departure.
One of the biggest challenges we had as a couple, was unravelling Habitots and coming out of our much-love space in Albert Park. This was also a Herculean task for me physically and emotionally, and I found talking about it everyday with customers both therapeutic and mentally exhausting. Most of the time, after my customers got past their sadness for our store closing, they applauded me for 'just doing it' and reassured me it would be a trip of a lifetime.
Interestingly, many of the grandmothers and older carers (ie. not old at all but older than me!) were the ones who congratulated me the most and spent time describing the trips they'd been on or moves and travels their families had taken. Their wisdom and years abroad with little ones, reassured me I was going to be alright. Their stories of lost luggage and kids made me laugh and reminded me to expect bumps in our journey, and to add them to our stories & funny memories we are sure to amass.
I didn't have to explain why we're going to many, as they could almost figure that one out on their own, but I know I tapped into the curiosity of many that surrounds making such a big change and how we're doing it.
Rob and I both run our own businesses, which is very rewarding and gives us more time as a family than most. What is also gives us sleepless nights, stress between the 2 of us that doesn't feel nice, and a responsibility that is love-hate. In the past 3 years, I've gone from one busy job running an advertising agency, to a busier one that I loved 1000-fold, but came with a type of stress I found really hard to manage.
It's funny how things happen (and I do really believe that things happen for a reason) but in the first week of opening Habitots, I found out I was pregnant with baby #3. We were elated and I didn't think too much of the difficulty of having a new baby and a new business, I just got on with it. In hindsight though, I wonder how I did it and how my business kept standing! Despite this, the gift was a wonderful little boy named Charlie who came into the world ready to 'get on with it', be loved and carried around by everyone. When we didn't think it was possible to love another child, he taught us how. He is the easiest baby ever, happy-go-lucky, get's on with it, loves and laughs like there's no tomorrow.
As many people probably do with their last babies, I tried to savour the moments. As fast as life was taking me, I tried to slow it down. Life is fast though and in the many hours spent flicking through old photos on my phone, I realise how many moments I'd forgotten and felt like I wasn't totally 'there' for. We all love to flick through our photos, as it takes us back in time, we smile at the little faces, the birthdays, the trips, the funny memories. However, as much as I was trying to savour the present moments, the treadmill was too moving way too fast, and as a couple we decided it was time to try to jump off.
So we are slowing the treadmill to take some time out to spend with our kids and each other. Many years of talking about living in France is coming to reality, where our kids will go into French school and learn a language in the best possible way. Where we'll try to slow things down and explore the French countryside. Where we'll shop for local produce and cook to our hearts content. Where we can soak up the local festivals and French culture and meet new friends. Where we can drive to the coast for a surf, to the mountains for a ski or to San Sebastian in Spain for lunch.
This is our dream but soon to be our reality. I hope you enjoy following along on our journey and maybe find some inspiration for an adventure you've been thinking about, a leap you've been wanting to take or a dream you've wanted to follow.