Hello, and thank you for visiting our blog!
We are Jess and Karl, from Seaford on the south coast of England. We’ve been together for 14 years, and have always daydreamed about having our own rural business. We both have a deep love of nature, and are always happiest when we’re outside (we’d live in a tent if it was practical!) Life has a knack of getting in the way of such dreams, but in a strange twist of fate, we’ve found ourselves in a position where the dream is slightly less distant than before. After 5 incredible years living and working in the USA, we’ve recently returned to Sussex with a little savings pot from the sale of our house in Michigan. While coronavirus hasn’t disrupted our lives as much as it has for many of our friends and family members, it has given us time: to take long walks on the downs, brainstorm, and really think about what we want to do next.
The result of all this pondering on the downs is what we’ve known all along: that we need a piece of land. The list of uses for the land is as long as our arms, but includes a permaculture garden, campsite, chickens, and a fruit orchard. We also need enough room for Jess to establish her wellness coaching business. Our aspiration is for our farm to be open to the community, with space for people to come and experience the natural world. Having lived in the urban jungle of Detroit for 5 years, we know first-hand how important nature and being outdoors is for mental health, and it’s our goal to create a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy.
So far, so good, right? The little bump in the road always appears when the topic of location arises. We know there are plots of land out there, but we ideally want to stay in East Sussex, and not just in East Sussex, but in the Cuckmere Valley. Jess grew up here, and Karl fell in love with it as soon as he visited for the first time. It’s our happy place, it’s in our bones, and we don’t really want to leave! Aside from our own preferences, Seaford and Newhaven are sorely lacking in community spaces for people to enjoy the natural world in the way we’re envisaging, and we’re passionate about creating a space for the place we call home. Yet after a few months of monitoring property sites, there appears to be very little that’s even close to our budget.
So we’re expanding our search! This year, we achieved a long-held dream and bought our very first campervan. It’s an old, but perfectly preserved Mazda Bongo from 1995, and we fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. When we lived in America, there were times we were desperately homesick, but we eased the ache by resolving to see as much of the UK as we could when we returned. One of the things we always talked about was travelling around the edge of the UK, sticking to the coastal roads as far as possible. As it looks like we’re being priced out of East Sussex, what better time to review this plan?! After 5 years with very little access to the sea (the Great Lakes just don’t cut it I’m afraid), we made a vow that any future home has to be within easy reach of the coast, and so a trip around the coast of the UK makes perfect sense to us. We might find a new place to call home, and if we don’t, we will have certainly reacquainted ourselves with the UK. After driving 30 hours from Detroit to Montana in one sitting, a circuit around our little island seems entirely doable.
Although we originally planned to do the trip in a continuous loop, the uncertainty of the covid situation means that this idea is on hold, for now…. We have set up this blog to document all our trips to the coast in the meantime, and we hope you enjoy following our adventure as it unfolds.