What makes a family of six decide to give up their jobs, schools and friends for six months, tidy their house sufficiently that someone else can live in it (not looking forward to that bit) and go overland (no planes at all until after we’ve climbed Mount Fuji) to Japan?
The answer is a flight of fancy, a fifteen minute chat, and a desire not to back down once we’ve said we’re going to do something.
It’s Ben’s fault really. When he was a child he and his family drove across Europe to what was then Yugoslavia and back. I’m going to get him to write about that experience separately, but it was clearly a huge thing for him and it’s still an experience he talks about.
Add to that the fact that we met “too late”. Not really, obviously, but I was always a bit jealous of those people who met someone in their early twenties and then went off travelling with them, or took overseas jobs, or generally did exciting stuff before getting down to the (equally exciting, honest, sort of) business of paying mortgages and having kids.
Add to that the fact that we moved out of London in 2010, just when people were starting to get excited about the Olympics. By the time 2012 came around, all our friends who lived anywhere near London, and lots who didn’t, were in a fever of excitement. We, on the other hand, had been very jaded and cynical and can’t-be-bothered-about-the-Olympics-ish and never bothered applying for any tickets, or even accepted any when friends who had got tickets offered them to us.
And, as eny fule kno, we were totally wrong. The London Olympics were amazing and inspiring (leaving aside any debate or discussion of their legacy) and we really wished we had been there.
But we weren’t. We were in France, having a lovely holiday, but, over a glass of wine and a sunset, a discussion of how we wished we were at the Olympics, turned into a chat about Ben’s family trip, turned into “I wish we could go on an adventure” turned into
“Well, why don’t we?”.
A quick google told us that the 2020 Olympics (2016 seemed a bit soon) would be in either Madrid, Istanbul or Tokyo and an overland trip, destination then unknown (but with fingers very much crossed for Tokyo), became a target.
And to make sure we did it, we came back and told everyone who would stand still long enough (including our employers) our plans. No backing out now…