As I write this I can’t believe I have been home for a year already, the time has flown by!
For the first time in 4 years, we have both been able to spend Christmas with our families. Whilst it’s great to have the memories of Christmas in Australia, China and Poland, for me Christmas is a time when you want to be with your family more than ever.
Looking back over the year, it really has been such a massive contrast to life on the road, on a bike. It has still been an adventure, but one of a different kind. Shortly after getting back, I moved to Manchester, found a flat and started a new job. Chris arrived back in February and slowly began to adjust to life in the UK again.
In April, we got married and had the most wonderful wedding with over 100 of our friends and family, in Cornwall. Everyone wanted to know what the Cornwall connection was, but for us, it was simply the case that we wanted to marry in a place that was as spectacular and beautiful as many of the places we went to on our travels. Cornwall, for those who haven’t been, is a glorious part of the UK, with rugged coastlines, fishing villages, traditional ways of life and gorgeous places to stay, not to mention great cream teas!
We chose an old fort from the 1860s, which had it’s own beach below the dramatic cliffs and we hired it (self catering) for the whole weekend, with many of our friends and family staying with us. The local B&Bs did very well too as 100 people descended on this quiet corner of Cornwall.
It was a wonderful opportunity to get creative as the Fort is a blank canvas and you can decorate and bring in everything (and everybody) you need. Deciding that I’d prefer to design my own wedding stationery and decorations, our flat in Manchester turned into something of a sweatshop in the few weeks before the wedding, with homemade bunting and order of services being printed and sewn all over the place! Heaven.
For the cake I decided I wanted to pick up on the theme of purple flowers and butterflies as the entire time we were cycling, in virtually every country there were wild purple flowers growing everywhere and butterflies fluttering alongside us as we cycled. Chris’ mum spent hours creating a beautiful silk flower garland to wind around the cake and I managed to buy two little metal cyclists for the top!
On the day we had so any helpers, it was a real team effort getting everything ready. Neither of us follow any kind of organised religion and we chose to have a registrar to marry us at the Fort, with a non-religious ceremony. Getting ready was fun and after 2 years on the road without much in the way of glamour, it was so much fun to dress up in my wedding gown, have my hair curled and feel like a princess for a day. It was all I could have dreamt of and I was so happy.
As we entered the main hall, suddenly seeing all my wonderful friends and family, some of whom we hadn’t seen since we’d been back, was a little overwhelming and I immediately felt choked up with emotion. Walking down the aisle to ‘All I want is you’ had the little ones dancing a little jig as I arrived, and it made us both smile.
The ceremony was amazing, I hadn’t expected it to feel so intimate and special. I was so overcome with emotion that I had to fight to keep the tears back, failing spectacularly when Chris’ dad got up to do his reading. By the time we reached our vows I was very emotional and I think anyone who wasn’t already welling up, was by the time I managed to compose myself and say the words! I’ve never been so moved by happiness like that before and it was so unexpected – I hadn’t really anticipated crying in front of 100 people!
Outside the photos were chilly and a big clap of thunder got everyone excited as the black clouds rolled in along the Cornish coastline. Trust us to have a bit of drama eh! The rest of the day was a great celebration with great food and a fantastic band, where we all danced our socks off till the wee hours. Chris and I attempted a ‘Strictly come dancing-esque’ dance to Crazy little thing called love, which we both loved and managed to remember all the steps!
The next day we were able to potter about on the beach and had a BBQ, the sun came out and Elly, our photographer was kind enough to do a second photo shoot on the beach, taking some spectacular photos. We were relaxed and messed about, in all sorts of poses – these are some of our favourite photos.
After the wedding, we hired an old VW campervan for the week and explored some of the west coast of Cornwall, eating great food and going for nice, but windy walks along the coast. It was exciting to be back home and exploring our own country for once!
Since then we have been working and settling into ‘normal’ life. My job has been full on and I have been travelling up to Glasgow and down to London on a regular basis, but is all consuming! I’m relishing the new challenges and love being part of a creative organisation, surround by lots of talented people. Chris has been freelancing and has gone back to college to start studying towards a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology. He is also taking over the web design company that I ran before and during the trip. The aim is to get that up and running again in full by the Spring 2013. Any freelancer designers and coders out there?? Do get in touch…
The last couple of months have been very exciting for us, as we have found out that we will be having a baby in June 2013! Whilst I’ve been wondering about cots and baby clothes, Chris has started researching baby bike trailers and baby carriers you can wear on your back! We have very excited parents who are looking forward to a grandchild and we are really happy to have a little one joining us in a few months, for a whole new type of adventure.
I remember on some of the hard days on the bike – struggling up a mountain pass… not being able to find a good camp spot and it getting dark… waking up to a tent full of hornets… running out of money in Mongolia….being too cold in Ukraine – and thinking, ‘well a crying baby at 3am is gonna be a walk in the park compared to this!’ However the closer the due day gets, the more I realise that life’s challenges are not necessarily harder or easier than each other, just different.
One thing I do know though, is that 2.5 years on the road together, has made us an awesome team and there are times when it seems we can read each other’s minds. So I am confident we can handle whatever a tiny baby wants to throw at us, so long as we stick together, keep talking and be there for one another.
I’ll keep you posted!
Finally, I want to wish all of you, wherever you are in the world, a fantastic New Year and a wonderful 2013. We’d love to hear your news too, so please email us when you get chance: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos by Elly Poselthwaite of PhotoBaby: www.photobaby.co.uk