Head in the clouds, feet on the ground

How do you make your dreams come true? Sorry to say, we can’t give you the magic answer, but just maybe some inspiration. (And that’s a start.)

As we’ve travelled as a family, many people have kindly commented on how we’re “living a dream” – and so, gratefully, we know that indeed we are. But we ensure that as with any dreams, while we may have our head in the clouds we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground.
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And this is we think where anyone can live a dream. It just takes some time, and if you don’t think you have time, you do – it’s just a case of re-prioritising. Then put it into action one step and one day at a time. That way you can achieve it. And actually much of it is about creating happiness, which is an inside job anyway.

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Yet so many of us chase our dream happiness through the status of our job and having more money to acquire more things, but this leaves less time for something we all know in our hearts is proven time and time again to make us feel happy: spending time with those we love, our friends and family.

We saw this on the back of a motorhome recently, which gets it right.

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This doesn’t need to cost anything. Just a simple walk in the outdoors with your family or mates. Listen to the birds singing, look around at the wonder of nature, clear the head, feel fitter, smile often, increase bonds – why on earth are we doing less of this in the modern world? Well, screens of various sizes are one reason…

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This is another reason we wholeheartedly encourage camping. By all means take an iPad or whatever is your device of choice (and we can even thoroughly recommend an iBoost to get much better wifi connection at campsites), but get up early to do your stuff on it or watch it when it’s dark outside, just that between sunrise and sunset there’s so much to see out there in our real world.

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In fact, don’t miss the sunrises and sunsets or the stars and noon at night either! Gazing at those always puts things in perspective and right-sizes any anxieties we have… If you camp or travel to somewhere near a flowing river or the sea, it does the same. That river will keep on flowing for a long, long time as it already has, and those waves will keep rolling in forever…

IMG_8224We try to have a walk with our two small boys every day (and not just on this trip, but even where we live in the shadow of rainy and rugged Dartmoor…). Even half an hour’s stroll, with no aim other than to amble and stop whenever they’re interested in something.

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IMG_8189This has been on our present Education By Astonishment trip anything from ants walking in line, to giant beetles, to geckos in an old tree stump, to parakeets up a palm tree, to lemons growing on another type of tree to bright red blossom, to the cat that purred and followed us for half a mile.

IMG_8234IMG_8232And this is when in fact we have actively encouraged screentime: for, say, ten minutes during the walk, we give Daniel and Darley our iPhones and let them take photographs of whatever interests them, anything they think will make a great pic, anything they think will be great to remember seeing.

Our boys love this (being only three, Darley is still at the age where he is definitely more into quantity of pics rather than quality, so although one of his left shoe might be arty and very good, 56 of these almost the very same is getting a bit too much Andy Warhol-esque!).

IMG_8269Daniel’s just got into quality of pics and many have been excellent, such as this one of the clouds, framed beautifully by the leaves (as well as some of barbecuing fish, a big red lorry, his bike from several angles, plus a dead chick on the pavement that had fallen from its nest. We had to suggest to him that taking pictures of a couple sunbathing in their garden was not such a suitable subject choice…).

IMG_8226© Daniel Hurst, aged 5

IMG_6563© Daniel Hurst, aged 5

We do this quite a lot. It’s great fun, great bonding and a fantastic way of learning. Daniel loves taking pics of what we see now on our walks (some more fine examples are dotted around here with his copyright!).

We recently read Roald Dahl’s My Year book to Daniel in which he wrote that boys when he was a boy always went on walks on Sunday afternoons. But how many children don’t walk much at all these days? You see so much more when you do, as well as it being an underrated physical exercise, a great head-clearing thing to do, and just fantastic family bonding and fun together.

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We’ve also continued some of our fantastic trips directly out from The Camping & Caravanning Club campsites we’ve stayed at as they’re usually in such great settings (and all the campsites we’ve stayed at have been brilliant for walking around too).

IMG_7898Another trip, this time by motorhome, was to Ronda along the winding mountain roads in our ever reliable Swift Escape, with Grandma who was visiting for a week’s camping (as some of our regular blog readers may remember we lost my dad last December so some sunshine time with us and meeting friendly campers was just what she needed).

We booked Grandma into one of the cabins at Camping Cabopino, then got to showing her some of the joys of motorhome travelling – something her and my dad, alas, had chatted about doing. Don’t wait to live your dream…

IMG_7951© Daniel Hurst, aged 5 IMG_7923

Ronda is very beautiful and quite amazing in where it’s been built – in a very mountainous area about 750m above sea level and perched either side of a huge canyon.

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And so it was steep in parts, but 79-year-old Grandma made it fine, so showing that getting out and about in the great outdoors is something any of us can do. (We recently met a man in a wheelchair who was travelling around Europe in his motorhome.)

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Another day we took a trip to Torrox pueblo, a lovely Spanish village, with Grandma for a walk, a swim at the great pool– built next to (we think) the old aqueduct – and some tapas in the village’s charming square.

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The day after it was Nerja and the village of Maro next to this wonderful town to meet with friends, one visiting and one resident for many years.

IMG_8346 2© Daniel Hurst, aged 5

We took about our 151st nose2nose pic as part of our Face2Facebook project (that started all our travels back in October, driving to visit dozens of our Facebook friends and donating to a cancer charity for everyone we do, as we donate to UNICEF on this trip for every fantastic place we specifically visit). This was on meeting great friend Morgan who arrived in Nerja the day we had to leave (but the great freedom of motorhome travelling meant we decided to stay an extra day!). We also met some new great people in her Aussie travel companions and our other friend’s sister who was visiting as well.

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This is another brilliant and big part of travel, meeting new people. Campsites are absolutely brilliant for this, and every time we reach a new site, Daniel and Darley (and us!) can’t wait to meet our new neighbours.

So far on this trip we’ve made friends with people from other parts of the UK, a French couple, a young Spanish family, a German guy, some Swedes and Norwegians, a Moroccan family – the list goes on and on, and some of these we are staying in touch with, so we’re delighted to have these new friends. The connection between campers wherever they’re from is a love of freedom and the great outdoors. Everyone wakes up with a smile. 🙂

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We also made the Spanish newspapers, reporting on our Education By Astonishment concept. This just shows how if you do something you’re passionate about and follow your heart, your dreams, then people are interested in what you’re doing: they’re excited for you to be doing it! Our experience from both our recent trips is that people love it that we’ve followed our heart (we’ve heard this many times, and it’s always heartwarming to hear: “It’s fantastic, you’ve found the courage to do what we all know we should be doing, and making a dream come true.”)

So what do you really want to do? As far as we know, we only have this one life, so don’t live someone else’s, and remember that your heart knows best for you. After all, it’s positioned in the perfect place to do so!

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(Now we must stop staring at this screen and get out there!)

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