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Returning to Base

[I’m writing this over a year after the events that have happened]

To get to the good part, click here (this post is a multi-page endeavour, please use the navigation at the bottom to go through this week-long adventure)

Preamble

While on the surface I’ve been living the dream of my carefree existence of a nomadic fancy-footed adventurer, I would like to note that all things aren’t as shiny on the inside as the outside somewhat perceive. Nobody likes to hear about your bad day, and it certainly doesn’t sell well. ­čśë

Ladies and gentleman, it comes with great humility and gut-churning embarrassment that, I had to admit defeat on this battle. Nearly 2 years in Spain and countless varied attempts to support myself financially have all been for nothing.

End of May 2018, upon receiving my paycheck that morning for the job I was killing myself to do at a garage, I saw there was no way I could continue. My income and my savings would only support me 1 month longer! I had at this point now much-reduced living conditions. (I had moved to the pantry room of an upstairs neighbour, a small single room smaller than a prison cell without a window, which was still costing me almost as much as the money I was earning).

There were no other jobs.

It was a fairly painless decision, the forecasts had been proving this moment for a fair while. While I had arrived in Barcelona 2 years earlier, optimistic with enough in the bank to set down a deposit to buy a home, enough working experience in my professional field and good references to guaranty career progression in almost any company, what I had not anticipated was the X factor of living in Spain Catalonia. It’s not how good you are, it’s who you know, and what dialect you speak to them in. And I knew nobody (in my industry), and I knew zilch in Catalan! I went from trying to get CAD jobs to teaching English to be a content writer at an online beauty service company (who didn’t treat-me-well, pun intended) to then starting out as a photographer while I designed a few websites and eventually desperate enough I worked as a runner at a car rental company which then lead me to be a car valet, parking cars are a Toyota garage in the afternoons. 2 years on and I was totally broke, my spirit, my finances were destroyed, but my will to live was still strong. The way I saw it was a fork in the road of being stubborn enough to keep trying at this losing battle, and end up homeless on the streets loitering outside the supermarkets asking for change, OR admit defeat, and look for help.

Back to Safer Shores

Now, it can be quite demoralizing being in your mid to late thirties asking to move back to your parent’s home. Truthfully, it really is. Nothing spells failure bigger than that! However, you also have to consider how much joy this can give to a parent. Asking my mother if I could move back was welcomed with open arms she was positively excited that I asked! While on one hand it’s admitting defeat and being defeated, the upside is my mum was over the moon to have me, and that in itself is heart-warming when your morale is in tatters.

That day, I handed in my 30-day rental/work notice, and in the proceeding days acquired boxes and arranged transport of my things, arranged a goodbye party and enjoyed the last 30 sunny days that remained, by going on outings, seeing places I had repeatedly postponed since moving there (like the Sagrada Familia) and seeing more botanical gardens.

Map

Onto the Good Part

So this is a travel blog and so let me tell you, I had accumulated a few things in the 2 years of moving to Barcelona, namely a motorbike. While I could ship some of it, donate and bin the rest I still had the responsibility to take my vehicle back to England. So I decided to make a trip of it.

A few weeks earlier I had received some things including my hammock back from Damon in Utah! So many good memories of sleeping out in the hammock, it was great for my morale just thinking about being out in nature hanging in my trusty hammock!

I had for years wanted to visit some places in France that I had never been to, other adventures always took priority over visiting the lavender fields in Provence, or a few named places like the Loire Valley and Mont Saint-Michel and the fortified town of Carcassonne. I plotted out a map of where I wanted to go, then researched wild camping on french online forums for le bivouac options along the way. My shoestring budget was governing many factors of how long I could travel for and what I could afford to do. Tolls roads were off, and most of France is made up of expensive toll roads. I guestimated if I stuck to slow national roads, refuelled at super-market fuel stations and ate “Saucisson avec le tomate” and a bit of pain every day I could probably arrive in the UK in one piece.

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