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So it turns out that escaping the matrix isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. From our moving day being on one of the worst weather and travel conditions for decades to the water pipes springing a leak the first time we tried to have a shower on the boat, we are being tested at every step of the way.
Also, it takes time. It isn’t like just stepping through a portal and here we are in our new world, this is a transition. We are still processing and adjusting, finding our feet. With each new challenge we are growing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary.
Which brings me onto platitudes, fridge magnets and movements. The image is actually a notebook. It is a cute present that I was given by my husband’s work colleagues and obviously I agree with the sentiment. Just like I agree with the minimalism, downsizing and voluntary simplicity movements. I enjoy reading an article in the dentist’s waiting room about someone who gave up a highly paid job in the city to open up an organic teashop as much as the next person.
But what these articles don’t tend to do is tell you how hard it is. Maybe magazines like to maintain a chirpy tone. Maybe the article has been written some time later so that, as with childbirth, the really bad bits have been forgotten.
I am doing this right now and I can tell you, fantastic as it is, it’s also difficult and scary. Having a lump of money and then immediately spending quite a lot of it when we’re not used to having or spending a lot, that’s scary. Moving into the Travelodge with one car in the car park full up with our stuff, and another car left outside the old house, also filled with our stuff, was a bit overwhelming. Having a leak and having to mend a pipe on the boat was stressful. Thinking about what we’re going to do when we get back from India and how will we manage financially (sign up to agencies, make enough to cover expenses, run one car). All of it is both scary and super exciting.
How we handle all the challenges is what is important. To look at it all as an opportunity for growth, and to accept everything as it is rather than hold onto the irrational hope that everything needs to be perfect all the time. We have to hold our nerve, and we have to keep going. That’s the real focus of the moment.
We have regretted a few of the things we got rid of, but no matter. If it was what we needed to do to get us here, then it was worth it. Previously, it was all about breaking down the old life. Now it is about building a new one. As I said before, the blog comes first, but I’m also writing to magazines, submitting work, writing a book with my husband, and generally taking my writing seriously and hoping that it can become part of what I do to earn money in this new world.
Do something your future self would be thankful for, another one of those platitudes. The platitudes and the sayings, they don’t really help, or rather they help as much as a fridge magnet can. They may inspire, but the doing of it, the action, and the dealing with the consequences of those actions, is all you.
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What’s really good about living in a small space is that you can see everything all of the time. You don’t sit in one room and have to hold some other rooms in your mind at the same time. It’s all right there, in front of you. I am convinced that this takes up less mental energy and is beneficial.
Oh, and problems with the water meant that I washed my hair a day or two later than I’d have liked, over the sink using kettles. I used Faith in Nature natural shampoo and conditioner as the sink goes straight into the canal. It was a blissful experience and all the next day I couldn’t stop smelling my hair!

Thank you for reading
Rachel xxx

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