I’ve been a member of the YesTribe for a while and met Dave Cornthwaite (the founder of the YesTribe) around six years ago. Last year Dave started his summer series camp-outs, as a way to turn his Facebook friends into real friends. Many answered his call, but unfortunately I wasn’t one of them.
I’m what you might call a social media consumer. I sit and consume other people’s adventures and enjoy them vicariously. This is where I found myself in the early part of 2015. Inaction was the norm. Money was tight, life busy and my wife and four children rarely saw me due to my time-consuming job in London.
Fast forward to the first Yestival in October 2015. Using our commitments at that time and financial constraints as excuses, I continued with my inaction, and we didn’t make it to Yestival. But, a few days later a post-Yestival meet up was organised which in hindsight proved to be a pivotal moment for me.
My YES moment!
I was unsure about going, nervous about whom I might meet and what they would be like. Thankfully, I took the plunge because I met the most amazing, positive people who filled me with such energy that I went straight home and said YES to my wife.
What did I say yes to? My wife had been asking me if we could re-locate to France ever since our daughter started boarding at a ballet school in the south of France and I always said that when the time was right we could do it. However, fresh with inspiration and a new outlook on life from the YesTribe meet up, I realised that “the right time” was an incapacitating excuse – there was never going to be a right time! With this realisation, our YES moment was born. This Yes to my wife’s clearly superior adventurous side unlocked our adventures to come.
What happened next?
We set a date and worked back from that, making plans and booking ferry crossings. In the end we didn’t find it hard to make the move – our life was pretty unspectacular at the time and so we certainly didn’t lack the motivation - we just needed to give ourselves permission and start planning - translating our dreams into action. In fact our planning pretty much consisted of securing school places for our children, booking a ferry and buying a left hand drive car.
After agreeing to make the move in October 2015, just 10 months later we finally re-located in August this year. We couldn’t actually find anywhere to live and so, in a leap of faith, we booked a holiday apartment and embarked on a three day road trip south with a five month old baby and our three other children.
When we arrived we spent the first six weeks as holidaymakers, except, instead of booking sightseeing tours we were buying school books, bags and pencils. Our children started school and we didn’t even have a place to live! We were flying by the seat of our family pants but we coped and our children didn’t even notice. We managed to find an amazing place to live just in the nick of time and I commenced a commute backwards and forwards to London which again took me away from my family.
We discussed when I would quit my job but the same phrase reared its ugly head once more, ‘when the time was right, I would leave.'
Now that we were living in France we missed the second Yestival in October 2016 as we were settling into our new home. However, just like in 2015, I joined the second post-Yestival gathering, and was met with the same nerves: who will I meet, what will they be like?! But I got involved and thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about the magical weekend at this year’s Yestival on Brinsbury campus.
I once again found myself filled with positive energy and a ‘can do’ attitude. I called my wife in France and within 24 hours we’d made the decision that I would hand in my notice and we would just make it work.
There never was going to be a right time.
I’m now going to be at home full-time just before Christmas as a stay at home dad, looking after our four children. For me, this is a huge adventure having been in full-time employment all my life.
Are you waiting for the 'right time'?
I would ask anyone considering making a change in their lives who are similarly waiting for the ‘right time’: are you waiting for something specific or tangible to arrive, or are you putting up an impassable roadblock so that you can perpetually say no, and stay in your comfort zone?
For me personally I had got into the social media consumer habit of seeing adventure and life changing decisions as something ‘other’ people did, but not me. I asked myself some useful questions: “why not me, why not my family?” and the honest answer was that I couldn’t find a reason why not. All it takes is one Yes.
In our experience that first Yes - that first change - was the most difficult. But the momentum from that point on grew quickly, and we then found it easier to make another change… and then another.
I don’t believe that first Yes to change needs to be momentous or ground breaking. It was my decision to join the post-Yestival meet ups from which I drew so much inspiration, and they led to our life changing decision. So try starting small and building up.
Since we moved to France I’ve been inspired by the natural beauty of this area; the Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur region is where the Alps meet the Mediterranean Sea and it is truly stunning.
One thing we struggle with as a family currently is getting enough time outdoors. We are all surrounded by screens. So we have created Family Unplugged, a new venture where our goal is to figure out how we can spend more time outdoors and become more in control of our use of technology, rather than it controlling us. I really believe this is key to leading happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives.
We want to share our journey with those families who are experiencing the same technologically incarcerating problems and encourage them to live healthier lifestyles through time spent outdoors. We are in the early stages of putting together a podcast which will air on Family Unplugged early next year – the site will also chart our progress as we explore ways to disconnect from technology and embrace the great outdoors. We'll be speaking with a multitude of experts in health, psychology, outdoor, addiction and education and trying to put what we learn into practice.
We also want to provide families with the opportunity to de-tech and de-stress in the beautiful surroundings of the local national parks near us, so we are looking to set up our first family adventure early next year.
If you’re interested in the idea of swapping screen-time for human-time then one of our family adventure breaks could be for you. They are open to everyone, not just families. So if you’d like to keep informed about our family adventure breaks and perhaps even help us develop and test them then please do subscribe to our mailing list here and we’ll be in touch soon!
Mailing List http://eepurl.com/cqNRC5
The call of the sea.