It’s been almost exactly a year since we arrived in our new home in Cabo de Gata. After the intensity of life in our little blue van, arriving to our new house with running water, showers and a kitchen, felt like utter luxury. I had grand plans to live a self-sufficient life, and to write about it, but in the end I became so engrossed in actually settling in that I haven’t written anything. I feel somewhat guilty about this. On the journey I could talk about other people, and the places we visited, but now we were fixed in one place and I wasn't sure what the next chapter should be.
What was We Follow The Sun about now that we had found our home? The self-sufficient lifestyle? Moving to Andalusia? Setting up an online business? I did not feel like an authority on any of these subjects as I began to clumsily feel my way in establishing myself in our little house. Did I have to live in a certain way just to have material for the blog? While I love that we live as sufficiently as we do, I'm no eco-warrior. So I thought about it a lot and didn’t write and before I knew it a year had passed.
I could have written about the struggles we had in the first few months, the plague of fleas that devoured us just after we arrived, our initial failure to master the use of solar power, the issues we had with the plumbing that saw Carlos charging around the house with rubber gloves and a home-made plunger he learned to make from a video on youtube. I could have written about adopting our two little doggies and falling immediately and completely in love with them.I could have written of the days when I wondered what on earth I’d done, and then the days that followed them when I woke up to the view outside our house and literally wept with joy.
I could have written about how fat we got on the tapas and beers in our village bar (these kilos have now been shed!), and the people we’ve met from artists to goatherds. I could have written about how much our lives have changed, how we don’t have a TV, how we drink less, talk more, play cards, spend time in nature and about the incredible peace we enjoy in our new home. I could have also written about running an online business from a remote farmhouse, and the highs and lows that have followed. I could have written about the first year of our marriage, and the hard times when we struggle to adjust to life as a team, and the beautiful times when we feel utterly cocooned in our shared plans and love for eachother. In the end I lived these moments privately.
One of the questions everyone asks is if I get bored in my new life. Bored? I don’t have time for boredom! There is always something to do, even if that something is doing nothing. On days when I find myself too closely following a routine learnt in my former city life, I make sure I go outside and work on our land for an hour, or walk with my dogs in the hills that surround our home, or go to the beach. Why live here otherwise, if you don’t take time to enjoy it?
And so now a year in we are established. Friends and family have come to visit, and sharing our life here with them is wonderful. They love the peace and tranquility here and return home relaxed and with their batteries charged. I go to London every few months and see friends and family, catch up on work projects, and do the things I do miss, like going to the cinema or eating dimsum or tacos. But I am always happy to come home to our cortijo in Andalusia. And after a year it really feels like home. I’ve been working on an interior design project, consulting on a new restaurant and helping Carlos run his business. Life is, surprisingly, busier than ever, but I’m living on my own terms. And now this year it’s time for We Follow The Sun to take on a new life and become the space in which to create a long-nurtured dream, a place to marry my twin passions of travel and design.
I have a new atelier and store in the village of Agua Amarga, close to where we live. And this year, as I’m already somewhere inspiring, the collection will be based on Cabo de Gata in Andalusia. I aim to take the sights, smells, sounds and ambiance of the region and design a homewares and accessories collection which evoke this wild and mysterious place that I now call home. It’s a big task, and sometimes my to-do list feels overwhelming. Like partners in crime, Carlos and I often look at each other and start laughing because what we’re doing just seems so crazy. Nothing changes there then!
When I feel the fear, or the voice of doubt starts to gnaw at me, I look back at the last year and a half of my life, and remind myself how far we’ve already come.
Thanks for following the sun with us.