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One day we were enjoying India in beautiful Kovalam, planning our next-day flight to Kathmandu and subsequent overland return to North India, the next we were landing in Heathrow, tired, displaced, confused, sick and thoroughly disorientated.
We hadn’t had enough, a month in India can never be enough. We were still getting into the swing of travel in that amazing country, a month had merely wetted our appetites for more adventures, more train rides, more stunning locations and more amazing food.
And then the Nepal earthquake happened.
I’ve already told the world how devastated we are for the people of Nepal. It’s a fabulous country and one we were excitedly anticipating revisiting. Our forced change of plan can never compare to the destruction, devastation and loss of life that the Nepalese are facing right now. Our hearts are with them and we will be back as soon as we can to spend our dollars and promote this amazing place as a travel destination. I honestly think that’s the best thing we can do to help, in our small way.
But this is our family travel story and I have to tell it. I have many readers who don’t follow our business Facebook page, where you’ll find all the latest news, photos and travel inspiration, so our story needs to be told here too.
Why Choose London After India ?
Our choice came down to logistics, our nearest airport was Kerala’s Trivandrum International Airport AKA Thiruvananthapuram ( I’m very proud to say I can pronounce that) and the next available, best value flight out of there was to London.
We trawled Skyscanner for great ideas, bargains and cunning combinations, but London kept coming out on top. ( If you click through the link you’ll find our top tips on using Skyscanner like a ninja)
Our other reason for picking London was work, we liked the idea of a cash injection. Chef can walk back into full-time employment in the city, any time. He was back in the kitchens of a top-notch London hotel the morning after we landed. I make money from the blog, but it’s not enough to support a family of four.
Obviously, we haven’t spent our savings for this round of travel, we’d only had 3 months on the road of an anticipated 6, but extra income is always gladly recieved and a couple of weeks in London would give us a chance to regroup and replan.
OK, So London Was Tough.
I adore London, I want to have a permanent base there (I won’t say live, because settling full time is scary!) but we struggled with being back this time.
We stayed with wonderful friends for the first few days and my kids and their kids had a ball, but I was sick. That tummy bother I picked up refused to leave and a visit to my GP confirmed a virus that I just had to wait out.
Diarrhoea, intense pain, nausea, fever, and headaches were my constant companions and I needed peace, quiet, and space to do nothing for a while, so we checked into a hotel. I’m really not good at staying in other people’s houses, I always feel guilty, like I’m imposing or in the way. I probably need therapy for this, but we appreciated the offer and the experience very much. It’s fantastic to know that we have such great friends willing to do that for us, thanks guys x.
London hotel prices fluctuate wildly, so we couldn’t commit to a week here or there, instead we found ourselves moving hotels every two days trying to catch the great prices.
James was working crazy chef hours, as usual, so the burden of moving kids and bags fell on me, usually with a 2 hour gap between check-out and check-in times. Those moving days were a right-off, we couldn’t hope to do much else other than pack and move but we managed to squeeze in a trip up the Shard and visits to The Natural History and Science Museums along with lovely walks to Kensington Palace and the Princess Diana Memorial Playground.
We’d planned to focus on the homeschooling in the 2 weeks we had in London. We managed to stock up on new work books but didn’t achieve as much as we’d hoped, which was a little frustrating.
A few days into our stay, D went down with a nasty respiratory virus, necessitating a hospital visit. Nothing to worry about thankfully, but one by one, we all succumbed.
I also just didn’t feel right, I was grieving for Nepal and missing India like crazy. It’s hard to explain, but I had a deep feeling of loss. It’s a feeling I’ve often experienced after leaving India, the country gets to you.
So, the point I’m trying to make is, a nomadic lifestyle is not always a bed of roses. We love it and wouldn’t swap it for a normal life, but when the world throws a natural disaster at you, it’s not always easy to transition and re-arrange your travel plans in an optimal way.
What Next After London?
I’m posting from Bucharest, Romania. We arrived yesterday and I’m sitting in a lovely green oasis of a garden, a pleasant walk from Bucharest Old Town and The Palace of Parliament. Our accommodation is wonderful, cheap, spacious and has the added bonus of a gigantic furry Romanian shepherd dog with a beautiful temperament, a tortoise, a chicken a trampoline and a 10 year old boy to play with. What more could we want?
Romania has been great to us so far and we’re very much looking forward to exploring more of what’s described as the last peasant culture in Europe as we head north.
We’re here because we took a leap of faith. We’ve never had any massive desire to visit Romania, we didn’t know much about it, but we’d recently received an invitation to help a guy with an online venture in Transylvania. When I mentioned Dracula and bears to the kids I got “Mum I LOVE you!“
So we’re here.
This guy described himself as like us, but 10 years earlier, so I think we’re on the same wavelength and his hotel looks amazing. I’ll fill you in on the full details of his project soon, it’s a great idea and one that interests us tremendously. We’ve also been talking as a family about the possibility of opening a guest house of our own at some point in the future ( D is particularly pushing for this idea), so maybe we can pick his brains a little.
And After Romania?
We’re going back to London.
Another amazing opportunity came along, a 10 week house-sit in Central London, offered to us by readers.
This will be a great chunk of time for James to work and for the boys and I to just settle for a while, get through some written work, meet up with the vast and active London homeschool community and catch up with the above-mentioned friends again.
Great Grand Nanna, we’re hoping to see you too!
So the future is looking rosy. Things go wrong, we have problems and setbacks, but something always comes up. I wouldn’t swap this lifestyle for the world right now, it’s exciting, educational, fun, challenging and stimulating. We love a bit of adventure and we feel that we have great balance, the work-a-bit, travel-a-bit thing suits us and we may go more and more in that direction as 2015 progresses.
The boys are asking for Africa, they want to re-visit the wildlife. I, of course, want to go back to India and James fancies more Eastern Europe. So anything could happen, including a return visit to Florida, because that’s always fun. The best decision we ever made was to pack up and experience the world, it’s incredible, diverse and amazing. Stick with us to see more.
UPDATE: Romania stole our hearts, one small village became base and home for the next 3 years. We got to Nepal the next year and will be returning in 2018. There is still devastation in Nepal because of this natural disaster, it’s not all fixed, but yes, you should visit. Spend your tourist dollar and give to the people who most need it. The second natural disaster we were in was the Hoi An floods, the Vietnamese people handle this almost annual event so well. It was no problem for us as tourists or nomads at all. Life goes on, just take those lemons and make lemonade.