5 years the ex-pat

It is hard to believe in a way but the time has passed.  in less than two weeks time, i will be celebrating 5 years away from England.
Of course, it has been an epic journey of adventure but i am sure you would expect nothing less of me.  I still remember it well, the day i left my house, handed the keys to the new owners and crunched my way off the pebble drive for the last time in my trusty blue vauxhaul carlton.  the most epic of journeys was about to begin.
My journey started late on 23rd October 2004, a saturday night if my memory serves me well.  I had slept on the floor for my last night at home – all of my furniture had been given away, sold on ebay or taken to the local tip.  My car was full with everything i needed, some stuff i didn’t really need and my two groovey surfboards clamped firmly to a rusting pair of paddy hopkirk roof bars (courtesy of Mr. Richer).
I turned onto the M6 at junction 1 and headed south for Dover.  Of course at 10.30 on a saturday night, the motorway was empty so i crept up to 70mph and hit the cruise control.  My ferry didnt leave until 07.30 the next morning and so i was destined to arrive early.
Once on the mainland i crossed ‘the Somme’ . Post war – this place still had a very eeirie feeling about it, my hairs stood up, goose bumps made me shiver and i held my breath.  Driving across France was an eye opener – a beautiful flurry of small towns, tree lined roads and McDonalds.  Eventually i would reach Le Mans, i was no stranger there.
Biarritz would also be a port of call, with a little business to attend to – a quick surf was in order before heading into Basque country and across the mountains in the dead of night.  France was bloody big !!!  I remember that for sure.
Spain was almost as big too.  I managed to time my run to pass through madrid in the dead of night, and that proved to be a wise decision.  6 lane motorways around the city – can you even begin to imagine that in the middle of the day?
I had to stop in southern spain to sleep, i was completely shattered before continuing on after a very dodgy sleep in the car at a service station.
Finally, i made it across the border and into portugal.  First stop was in Faro to buy a portuguese SIM card and then onto Sagres for some dinner.
For 3 nights i camped at Salema before i found a job and an apartment to keep me entertained for the next year.
That year was an absolute blast.  I was in good shape, we had good surf and even better weather.
It took me all of that year to find the house.  OK it was a bit rough and needed some work but it was bang on the right spot.  to this day, that alone has kept me sane.  I know when it is finished, it will be an awesome venue for me to surf my 40’s away.
Then , suddenly, i got into boats.  It was a great way to earn some money to fix up the house.  Problem was, i also enjoyed it too, so here i am still working on boats
after i had told myself that after leaving the uk, i was going to take it easy.  The biggest benefit is of course the money.  in another 18 months, i will be able to rip the house down and start from fresh – a bit like i am building my retirement home.
But none of that will happen until after i have sailed the atlantic again, passed through the panama canal and stonked out of the other side into the pacific.  The next 18 months will be a most excellent adventure i am sure, such highlights as Tahiti, Galapagus, Caicos, New Zealand are all on the cards and by the time that trip is finished, i will be building a home
A date for your diaries – summer 2011 – come to my new house in portugal and celebrate the summer.
Anyway – enough of this – i have added some photos from the past 5 years.  a real mixed bag of photos i have either taken or appear in.  I got carried away if i am honest, there is nearly 150 of the buggers but do take a look.

2 responses to “5 years the ex-pat

Have a moan - the beers are on me !!

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