The Move, part 2: the push

Having decided that I could no longer stay in Sheffield, I found myself overwhelmed by the urge to head for the hills of North Wales. The familiarity and hiraeth of rural snowdonia was so enticing that I found it starting to consume me. I could imagine nothing that would bring me more peace than the ability to be able to head over to the sea as frequently as I would like and to be able to lose myself in the beauty around me.

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I yearned for it.

It would be a complicated move, one that would only truly be possible if I could make the #VanLife I was dreaming of a reality. Affordable rentals are tough to come by in the countryside, and even harder to find when you’re towing along a large and lovable labrador. Not really a negative for me though, the idea of living in a mobile home with Doug and my laptop was an actual goal. A mood. The fact that I’d recently dropped out of a successful career WAS actually a huge obstacle though as the few bits of cash I had trickling in were paying for the bare minimum.

Still, in a way it was fun to spend some months replacing frivolity with frugality and learning to find creative ways of stretching my money and selling my belongings in order to fund the blog, podcast and the endless cans of chopped tomatoes I was burning through was just fuelling my #VanLife dream even further. I have learned that I need very little other than Doug to see me through a gloomy day and that the most valuable thing I have is time.

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I know it’s all very earth-mother, but nothing makes you feel lucky to be alive than dicing with death and the very real and physical threat of an abusive relationship had reignited my love for life. I had almost become a statistic, but what was important was that I hadn’t. I was still here.

My auntie Clare had bought me a 4 day trip on a boat to Europe and, while the idea of 4 solid days with my travel buddy was so exciting, the financial pressure of the trip was creeping up on me. It was more relief then, when I found out in London St Pancras that there was something wrong with the boat (I’m a very technically minded person, as you can probably tell) and we wouldn’t be going. Instead, we would be visiting Dad in South Wales via Cardiff, a city close to Clare’s heart.

Again, being away from Sheffield made me feel better. I was laughing again, properly laughing. I was feeling creative. I found myself wishing I could feel safe like this all the time - safety had become a kind of luxury to me, an indulgence.


The journey back to Sheffield was an awful, sweltering, no-signal, 7 hour shambles up the country. One thought saw me through: I can feel safe like that all the time if I want to. I can move. And the reality of the freedom I actually had given myself since quitting my job and moving into a house with a short tenancy started to really sink in. It went deep. It got all the way down, under my skin and to my very veins - until the idea was almost as ingrained in me as my van dream. I’m going to move to fucking Cardiff.

 snowdon on a sunny day  

snowdon on a sunny day  

Anneli RobertsComment