A year ago, I looked at what would be best for me and my family and that involved moving us lock stock and barrel to the place that for me was the closest I've ever felt to home, Utrecht, NL. I lived there throughout the 90's, there were ups and downs, highs and lows. Throughout the time I lived there, the happiness I felt just going about my day has never left me. It's a place full of life, constantly moving, mostly on bikes. It's quieter than most cities, much less motor traffic, I miss this.
Being able to ride around rain or shine is there every day, it's like eating or sleeping, without it, life is hard and more complicated.
I started campaigning with many others in the UK to improve the cyclists lot and it may or may not be coming. The important thing is though, it won't come fast enough to be safe for my boys to have the bike as their main form of transportation. I can't turn Ely into Utrecht and it makes more sense to move to Utrecht as that's the life I want for them.
We have the beginnings of a five year plan, the completion of which will be buying a house with a shop in Utrecht where we run an import business from.
Last summer we spent a fortnight living in a friend's house in Utrecht. The idea was to try on Utrecht, see what we thought in the context of making it our home. We all fell in love with the place.
Now we are half a year on and the plan is to move this summer. It's taken this long, mainly because I wanted the kids to finish their school year, the eldest will be finishing Year 2 and changing schools anyway, so it makes a natural breaking point for them to start a new school year in a new country.
Spring is slowly emerging and the plans are forming. I am keen to get things underway, but it's not really going to happen until I'm there; finding a place to live is the first priority, both for the family and for me working from home.
I know my sources for finding a place, timing is going to play a part - I've already seen a place that would be perfect but it's much too early. I have to hope and pray that there's an even better place out there for us and that I will find it exactly when I need it.
I am chomping at the bit to get things prepared, but practically the work needs doing here where we are, paring down our belongings here, working out what will stay and what will go.
I don't know how it's going to pan out - will I be working all summer? will I have the fundamentals of the Childminding set up so I have a couple of families and a good income to start in September? The game goal one is to have a place to live and a way I can be earning and getting the boys to school everyday - that we are at least break even. Toby won't be there all the time, so my ability to get them to school and earn money is the hard part. Hopefully Toby can be in town enough through September that this is relatively smooth. Yes, that seems the best option.
I can't wait to find at least basecamp one for the Joneses, our first place in Utrecht.