The Start of 8 Miles from Home

How 8 Miles from Home came about – The Beginning

It started in 2009 after a Christmas break in the Scottish Highlands.
We were driving home, when just after we got off the motorway, our car, that had survived the 1,300 mile round journey, decided enough was enough, burning it’s clutch to cinders.

We were just 8 miles from home

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Releasing the offensive smell of burnt friction plates on its final exhale.

We rolled begrudging to a halt in the middle of the night, just outside a junction of the M25 ring road in Greater London.

The Sat Nav stared at me, with its bright tormenting light, laughing at me with the fact that after all the hours of driving, we were just 8 miles from home.

As we sat in wait for rescue to come at 1am, rain pouring down, surrounding us with misery.  Over an hour and a half of solemn restlessness and through sleepy irritated eyes, we saw ‘Him’.

The man who cemented our thoughts on leaving the country, toward a life unknown and filled with new adventures.
The man who made us seriously consider our options and weigh up what we were actually doing with our lives.
The man who greeted us with the biggest smile, when anyone else called out to rescue someone at 3 o’clock in the morning would have grunted a few inaudible lines and dropped us off without making conversation.

He was different somehow.
His smile failed to fade and was a permanent feature on his face, a jolly Santa Clause in the dead of the night.

‘The Friendly Car rescue Man’

After a few pleasantries about our little Scottish holiday, he mentioned how Scotland was a lot like New Zealand.
Jmayel told him how we had been there on our gap year when we were 21 years old and we loved it so much,  that we would like to go there again one day, and then briefly mentioned our love for travel.

To which his reply was so profound, that it actually changed our lives.

I know you guys will do it. I can feel it, You won’t stay in the UK. There’s so much out there to explore. You should just go for it.  You never know what’s waiting for you.  I believe in you.  Don’t be scared to do something different

Hearing him say these words in such an unnatural setting, the front cab of a flat bed recovery truck, and receiving advice from such an unlikely source is what made the whole situation surreal.

Now would probably be a good time for me to tell you that throughout our journey home to London from our Scottish holiday, we had been discussing the possibility of leaving the UK for a life somewhere new. We talked for hours about where we could go, what we wanted to experience and our plans for the future.

Were this man’s words just a strange coincidence? I like to think otherwise.

After The Friendly Car Rescue Man drove us through our all too familiar home town, we exited the cab after just a few short minutes in transit with a whole new sense of ‘something’

What that something was, I don’t know, an unexplainable feeling, a yearning.  We felt it – we both had this relentless need to live our dreams.
The Seed had been Sown.

As we walked into the front door of Jmayel’s parents house, we turned around to make sure the large truck had safely made its way out of the dead end road without any problems, and to give our rescuer a final wave, to be met with nothing but a steady mist of silent rain.

The truck had gone. We didn’t even hear it leave. The Friendly Car Rescue Man had vanished into thin air.

Jmayel turned to me and unusually for him said, ‘well that was weird’.

I was eager to know if he felt what I had felt in the truck, and I wasn’t just being my usual dreamy self.

He had.

That was all we needed.

The following months that proceeded were all about setting up a way to make money online, enabling us to follow our dreams and live a location independent lifestyle. To experience life all over the world if we chose, to embrace our insatiable yearning, rather than leaving it dormant in our souls.

J told me to give up my job in the city and concentrate solely on our new photography business, building up an online stock image library that would lay the foundation for this new direction that we were heading in. He temporarily continued to work at an office to allow us the time to gradually increase our online earnings day by day.

We started a YouTube channel to document our journey.

We started this blog.

And that is how we got to be where we are presently.
Sitting in a wooden house in the centre of Chiang Mai North Thailand.
The early morning light is beginning to stream in through the gaps in the imperfect walls of our new home, the air is cool and not yet full of the immense heat from the Thai sunshine.
Our dog Eden is curled up next to me in a soft slumber, snoring lightly.

This is just the beginning of our new adventure. This will be the first post of many. Just one week into the beginning of our new story.

Being here feels…right.

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