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Having less, experiencing more

We're heavily into the housesitting part of this adventure and I'm sitting here smiling back at myself, remembering my hesitation as it met Cyn's enthusiasm for housesitting as part of this adventure. I thought that using holiday rentals would be the simplest way to travel. We were holding so much just by deciding to live without a permanent home, at least holiday rentals would put us in control of our 'Where?' and 'When?' as we travelled around the country. A global pandemic and extensive and unpredictable travel restrictions added spice to my doubts. What if people's holidays were cancelled? What if our hosts tested positive for covid at the last minute? What if...? What if...?

Watching the sunrise in The Cotswolds with new companions Truffle and Darcy

But Cyn was calm. And sure. She saw something that I wasn't able to see at the time. I'm grateful that her enthusiasm and calm led us here.

I thought that the best housesitting might have to offer us would be a practical advantage. It's a pretty neat way to save money whilst you're travelling. I liked the potential balance in it. The idea that as we travelled doing unpaid social justice work someone local was helping us out by giving us a free home to stay in. But housesitting had so much more to offer than financial balance. Ahead of me were lessons in trust. Lessons in generosity. Lessons in what control really is and isn't.

From our first initial forays into this world where people are open to the idea of complete strangers walking into their homes and looking after their precious furry family we have encountered so many warm, trusting and generous people. I guess it comes with the territory. This isn't a space where people are solely motivated by the idea of avoiding kennel fees. These are people who have a fundamental faith in others, so of course a stranger can move in and look after their pets in their home. Encountering people like this on a regular basis has been a healing balm. Healing the parts of me that, on a regular basis, are focused on the harms we humans inflict on each other. Harms that have their roots in places that lack trust, faith, and openness to others.

Over the last year housesitting and our work holding circle, have exposed me to places in our world where strangers trust strangers. A place where meaningful connections can happen, often with ease. Having found these wonderful places I'm so happy to nestle myself in. It is simply good for me to have this in my life.

So here I sit in The Cotswolds. Spending my afternoon in a lounge that's larger than some of the flats I've rented. Most of the things I own in the world are squeezed into a small storage unit in Sussex. The rest fits into the 14 boxes Cyn and I are carting our work/home/lives in as we travel. I have so much less than this time a year ago, and so much more. Less in terms of stuff. Less in terms of control. But the truth is that the richness of my life is being constantly topped up. There is a larger flow to my life now. I'm getting to experience other people's way of living in this world. Exploring their neighbourhood, finding the footpaths in their gorgeous part of the world, experiencing what makes their home and visiting their local survivor organisation along the way.

And just incase the lesson in trust and abundance needs reinforcing the wonderful animals we're getting to love for a short while are here to role model what's important in life. Their message is simple: trust everyone, get a good amount of sleep, enjoy your food, find ways to play (ideally with others), always be pleased to see a friend, be an explorer (even if you've walked the same path a thousand times), ask for what you need but don't hold a grudge if you'd get it, cuddle a lot, and know that life's greatest gift is feeling like you're connected with others.


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Nina and Cynthia with The Consent Collective Van

Find out about the whole journey here.


Resources to support you on your journey

An online course to help you heal from trauma

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Essential, gentle learning for individuals living with trauma and the therapists and support workers who are accompanying them on their healing journey

An image from The courage to be me reading 'A better life would mean looking at my past so that I can learn to live with it'

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The illustrated book about life after abuse that has helped thousands of people on their journey. Read it for free online or order your paperback copy

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