We’ve decided to take a break between leaving Milange and landing back in reality in the UK sometime in October, though this is feeling more lame having just read the details of what Tim Peake’s body will be going through having spent 6 months in space. Our ‘re-entry’ will hopefully be a little less hangover like!
It’s not really a holiday (though it will certainly have elements of one) and we’re not ‘going travelling’ so we’ve decided to call it a Pilgrimage, ‘a journey of moral or spiritual significance’.
What do we want from this pilgrimage?
- Rest and reflection – a break and a holiday that’s not spent dashing around the UK but also a chance to reflect on our past 3 years. We want to have time to fully process everything that’s happened and everything we’ve learnt over the last few years before we go back to a different culture.
- Romance – it’s pretty much impossible to be romantic in Milange so we want to enjoy being able to walk while holding hands and to have quiet dinners by candle light when that is a choice and not a necessity!
- To see new places – while we are on the other side of the world we want to visit those places that have been on our wish list for a while. We are so lucky to have friends in many of these places (and all over the globe) and, as well as being willing to host us and therefore saving us money, seeing new places with them is a great privilege.
- To experience new things – we’re not really the kind of people to simply see new places, we also want to embrace those new places and experience life there. We want to see people’s favourite walking routes, visit off beaten track bars, listen to new music and hear people’s stories. All aspects of having an adventure.
- To learn how to ‘do community’ away from Mozambique – our biggest take away from our time living here has been the importance and beauty of community in our lives, how neighbours have been an important part of our time here and how much we can learn from them. We know that can be a bit more difficult in the UK and so we want to explore ways that people are doing that in other parts of the world, especially in countries more similar to the UK, so that we can be intentional about it once we are back in the UK.
- To be inspired by faith filled and ethical living – like with wanting to learn more about how to do community in the UK, we feel pretty strongly about living in a way that is ethical and which is glorifying to God. We have the opportunity to almost start afresh when we’re back in the UK and we’d like to meet people who are living in this way, so that we come back inspired.
How will we do this?
Inspired by friends Cheryl and Chris and their re-entry journey around the UK in a campervan, we decided to think about what we might need to put in place to achieve these ‘pilgrimage’ aims.
The short version is that we’re going to ‘safari’. Safari is a Swahili word that simply means journey, but we particularly liked the idea of a journey with a daily pattern as set by William Cornwallis Harris in 1836:
‘Harris established the safari style of journey, starting with a not too strenuous rising at first light, an energetic day walking, an afternoon rest then concluding with a formal dinner and telling stories in the evening over drinks and tobacco.’
So to achieve the ‘What’, we have set ourselves a rough ‘How’, a daily or weekly pattern of things we want to try to do in order to cover all aspects of our pilgrimage.
We plan to:
- Spend some time every day outside
- Eat fresh and local food where possible (don’t go to ready meals just because they’re available now!)
- Learn a recipe from everyone we stay with, even if it is just a new way of cooking spaghetti
- Do at least and hour every two days of intentional exercise, beyond just walking around towns, e.g. yoga, swimming, running or walking
- Have a weekly date night, an evening set aside for us
- Not allow screens in bed
- Find 7 geocaches a week
- Financially prioritise unique experiences
- Visit people living in communities of all shapes and sizes and keep notes on what we see so that we can remember
- Have meaningful conversations with people, not avoiding deep topics. “Have conversations like we used to at university” is how we phrased it
- Read the bible together whilst working through a daily devotional
- Try to go to a church each Sunday
- Continue to blog about Mozambique as we see things that remind us of our life there and about what we’re learning and experiencing. The thinking behind ‘hands to learn’ definitely all still rings true for this trip.
As this is a pilgrimage we’re wanting to travel to meet up with inspiring people doing things a bit differently. If anyone or anywhere has sprung to mind while reading this that is not too far from our path do let us know. We’d love to be put in touch.
But, really, where are we going?
So, enough of all the ‘finding ourselves’ waffle, where are we going? We still don’t have an exact itinerary, but so far we know the following (more or less!):
- 9th July: Our goodbye to the Diocese in Lichinga
- 13th – 18th July: Ilha de Moçambique – seeing this famous Mozambican coast we’ve heard so much about
- 19th – 25th July: Cape Town, South Africa staying with dear Milange friends
- 26th – 31st July: Sydney, Australia staying with Joanne’s cousin Paul and his family
- 1st – 7th August: Billabong Retreat, owned by Paul and his family
- 8th August – 7th September: Australia (no fixed plans yet, though definitely back in Sydney for the last 10 days)
- 7th September – 8th October: Pootling round New Zealand in a campervan
- 8th October – around 19th: Fiji to visit friends of Andy’s from Cambridge
- Then heading back to the UK over the following week or so.