FORGE & THRIVE

Create a better life one step at a time

I Cancelled My Wedding For Adventure

It was 2004. I was 23, newly engaged and excited to be busy planning a wedding for the following summer.

We’d got engaged whilst skiing in Italy. It was gently snowing, the picturesque piste wound its way gently through a small woodland and there was no one else around. It was the perfect setting.

Back home we started making plans straight away. We looked at numerous venues and settled for one close to home that could cater for about 100 day guests and an extra hundred in the evening.

It was a stunning masonic lodge with a large sweeping staircase, floor to ceiling windows taking in the ornate gardens and large grounds perfect for photographs. We booked a photographer and I started the search for a perfect dress. We’d worked out a budget and started saving.

By summer, with still a year to go, the initial flurry of activity had passed and there was no rush to organise anything else just yet. We went on holidays and life returned to normal.

I was at work when I received the text from Andrew. It was short and to the point.

‘Let’s go to the pub for tea because I have something I want to talk to you about

That text changed the course of our lives.

‘I was thinking about the wedding….’

Oh here goes ….

‘when we did the budget that didn’t even include a honeymoon. I’ve been mulling over the costs for a couple of days and it seems crazy! Imagine how many holidays we could have for the price of the wedding.’

I laughed with relief. ‘Yes, we could probably go for an entire year’

‘That’s exactly what I was thinking…. Why don’t we just cancel everything and go travelling. Maybe we could just get married without the fuss?’ quickly adding ‘but if you want a big wedding that’s totally fine’

We spent the rest of the meal planning where we wanted to travel and how quickly we could go!

That conversation set the wheels in motion for how we were going to live our lives.

We don’t really take the conventional route. We refuse to do mundane. We choose adventure, taking a risk, doing something out of the ordinary.

Within a few months we got the house on the market, booked a wedding for a fraction of the original cost and handed in our notice at work.

We got married just after Christmas at Gretna Green with just immediate family present.

Shortly afterwards we bought a huge motorhome and got rid of our belongings. Then we set off on the first of many adventures.

We spent the first few weeks travelling around in England, to get used to living in the motorhome and to wait for the weather to improve in Scandinavia.

In Norway we travelled from Kristiansand in southern Norway to Nordcapp at the most northerly tip, taking in Oslo, the Telemark region and the Fjords on the way.

We drove on roads cut through snow that was higher than the motorhome. We had to find detours when avalanches completely blocked the road. We went whale watching in Andenes and experienced the midnight sun never reaching the horizon within the arctic circle.

From Norway we explored Lapland and the whole of Finland. We learned about the Sami culture, saw herds upon herds of reindeer and popped to the Santa Claus village. The numerous lakes tempted us into buying kayaks and we spent a lot of time out on the water – which provided great relief from the scorching temperatures and mosquitoes. It was in Finland that we celebrated midsummer’s day, joining in with local traditions and bonfires.

In Sweden we cycled for miles and miles. We talked about the possibility of staying there for a year or two. The relaxed towns, friendly people and easy access to the countryside and nature made it an appealing prospect. By now though we were fired up with ideas and plans of what we wanted to do with our lives and we were keen to get back to the UK to put them into action.

We discovered a love of wildlife watching and knew it was something we wanted to pursue. We had watched herds of reindeer, been whale watching, hand fed elk, watched sea eagles fish and were lucky enough to spot a golden eagle.

When we returned to the UK we knew that we wouldn’t be rushing back to our old lives.

Sometimes all it takes is one comment, one question spoken out loud, that sets into motion life changing events.

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