Susan and I have decided to do something we’ve been dreaming, longing and planning for since we first set off in a campervan for our honeymoon nearly (gulp) 21 years ago.
When we returned from that epic 3-month trip, we always said that when we were old (like, in our 40s or something that seemed impossibly ancient when we were bright young 20somethings), we would take a year out to go travelling, to see more of this beautiful world, and meet more of the amazing people who inhabit it.
You could call it a sabbatical, if you’re feeling holy – and we do really hope that it will be a year to listen to God and renew our faith and joy. You could call it a career break, if you’re feeling practical – and we do really hope that it will provide a breather, some space and perspective, after the overwhelming pace of life in the TQ over the past few years. Or, you could call it a holiday, if you’re feeling jealous – and hey! who am I kidding? – there will be deckchairs and beaches and good food and wine – I hope!
There are always reasons not to do something like this. For a few years now, we’ve kept promising ourselves that next year would be the year – only to postpone again and again as responsibilities piled up and the right moment never seemed to come.
Well, you can’t keep putting these things off forever – so really, definitely, this time, we’re doing it. The ferry is booked. The bags are being packed. These days the campervan is distinctly more luxurious than the old Renault – though in typical style, to Susan’s patient despair, I’m slightly sort of taking it apart and putting it back together again (y’know, vastly improved) before we go.
We’ve spent the last few months trying to lay the foundations for things we love and care about to keep thriving while we’re away. So, both The Dock and The Wee Tram will blossom and flourish in our absence, giving the fantastic people in each the chance to do their stuff! We’re finding that we really can trust our teams as we step away from the daily responsibilities that have defined our lives for years. It’s a very freeing experience.
And we’re finding that nights out with friends and days spent with family are suddenly taking on a slightly tear-stained aspect as we do stuff for The Last Time Before The Big Trip. Which is crazy, really, as a year will pass in the blink of an eye and it’s not as if we’re moving to another planet. But still, farewells are bittersweet.
And that leads me, finally, to the biggest invitation to the biggest farewell and the biggest party we’ve had in the life of The Dock. Saturday 28th April is D-Day. Susan and I will be spending the whole day in Dock Cafe, doing nothing but drinking coffee with anyone who cares to call in for a chat. And then in the evening (from 7pm on) we’ll have a Bon-Voyage-slash-Thank-You-Everyone-slash-We’ll-Miss-You-slash-You’ll-Do-Great-slash-What-An-Amazing-Inspiring-Unexpected-Thrilling-Unprecedented-Adventure-This-Whole-Dock-Thing-Has-Been evening of thanksgiving, celebrating, eating, drinking, and living Life in the Titanic Quarter.
So there, you’ll know where we are all day and all night on 28th April – and we would love to see you at any stage.
And then, for a year, you’ll not know where we are – and at this point, we haven’t the foggiest clue either. We’ll make up our adventure as we go along. Sounds a little bit like the story of The Dock, really…