Dispatches from Europe
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“Leap and the net will appear.”

Sound advice. I read this in a fortune cookie in 2008 and I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that it changed the course of my life. I think it is really great advice. So great that I find myself saying it to other people at times. That fortune was a real turning point for me.

Having never even considered leaving the UK before, I quit my job, left beautiful Cumbria and took a really low paid job (with promises of huge commission) in Dubai with the hope that it would work itself out. And it did, eventually. I struggled in the job for 2 years and then set up my own small business that I happily ran until just last month. It has been the most enriching experience working abroad. I met along the way people who have just blown me away with their kindness and generosity. It has been a huge step for me to give it all up, but all good things must come to an end. So I find myself leaping again and this time back to Europe.

After the Endurance Life race, Coastal Trail Series in Sussex

Risk-taking is a funny business. I’m not interested in white-water rafting, cave-diving or base-jumping. If something goes wrong, worst case scenario, I might die. No thanks. But quitting my job when I don’t have a new one? This is the third time I’ve done that. By nature I suppose I am quite an unsettled character. I’m always planning even if some of these plans don’t come to anything. I’ve got lists, more lists, training plans and goals. The Europe plan has been in the pipeline for a while so I’ve made sure I paid off all my debt, I’ve got savings in the bank and no commitments. It’s a nice feeling.

I am very lucky. I am married to Luke – UK and International Mountain Leader, nature enthusiast and ultra runner with a love of mountains and a keen sense of adventure. Luke is a practical guy (can make a fire without matches, navigate in the dark with a map and compass that kind of thing), he’s also incredibly patient and brave, also willing to take certain risks. Together we make a great team. He makes me want to do things I would never do on my own, and I am the (slightly more) financially sensible one who encourages the adventure but just keeps things in check.

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Luke + Charlotte

We’ve been married for nearly 3 years and spent most of that time living in different countries, me in Dubai and Luke split between Oman and UK with various worldwide trips along the way. Having spent the last 10 years gaining the necessary qualifications to do the job of his dreams (International Mountain Leader to be based in the Alps in Europe) and having put this on hold for 3 years to come out to the middle east to be closer to me, it is time for us to change track and focus more on his career.

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Slovenia, just over 6 months ago

Our only objective this year is to live in the same country. So far we’ve made it onto the same continent. Baby steps! Next we buy a camper van so that I can travel to Europe with Luke and we can spend as much time together as possible while he’s working. Eventually we want to buy a property and run a little walking holiday business together.

Follow my story as I leap and enter this exciting and uncertain time. The next couple of months for me are all about minimising my life and stripping it back to the bare essentials ready for van life. I’m looking at ‘The 100 Thing Challenge’ with a goal of only owning 100 personal items. Sounds easy, right? Let’s see.

Charlotte Wharf Emms (or Charlie!) used to be a personal trainer and modern therapist, and is now assuming her new role as free agent and world traveller. Follow her story as she makes her way through Europe (with Luke!) and discovers new places, and new fortunes.

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