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Life lessons after a month living ‘on the road’

by TKOAdmin
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A month into following her dream of living life on the road as a professional executive coach and digital nomad, Claudia Unger, formerly of Gloucestershire, shares some of her learnings as her romantic dream becomes a reality.

During her first 30 days on the road, she has walked 500 kilometres (310 miles), caught a train twice, fallen over twice, carried her dogs over difficult stiles more than 60 times. She has also had conversations with nosy cows too interested in the dogs, learned the way the British do breakfast, and has found that no matter the path keeping moving takes you forward.

“Prior to taking this big ‘step’ in my life I did a lot of walking with my dogs and thought I knew exactly what this ‘journey’ would involve,” Claudia said.

“Very quickly as my first month began, I realised that was not the case. For a start the weather has been awful and I’ve done much walking in the rain, getting totally soaked and totally cold. Yet I’ve kept on going regardless, determined to see my dream through.”

Here are ten lessons Claudia has learned in her first four weeks on the road in her own words.

  • My backpack was far too heavy. Dog food is heavy, my tent and sleeping bag were very heavy, especially when wet, and there are very few places to camp safely with dogs along the route. I read a book once about someone who had a backpack which pulled her over, I thought that would never be me! It was! I soon dumped my tent and sleeping bag and opted for a bed each night!
  • Finding suitable accommodation on the go for me and my dogs is not easy or logical – so many places are not dog friendly. I cannot keep in a straight line following my route – I have had to adapt my plan and my route often based on where I can stay for the next night. Thank goodness for my OS map, Booking.com, and Airbnb!
  • A trail may say it is a National Trail but it may not be easy walking. When it is well maintained, it is great. However so many times I have had to scramble through brambles, bushes, nettles and got scratched and stung and then not even been sure if I have managed to stay on the trail at all. 
  • Stiles are interesting – I did not realise how many types of stiles there are across the UK and some are absolutely awful if you have dogs. Some are real barriers and I have had to try to lift the dogs over them. It is a bit rich to get a sign which says ‘keep your dog on a lead’ when you have to try to get them to run and jump over a stile which is a dense lump of stone.
  • Socks are my friends. I have been slower than I imagined I would be, and blisters are vile things. As I have gone through the month, I have ordered more suitable socks and got them delivered to my accommodation in advance and am starting to understand which socks work and which are just for show! Thank goodness for Amazon.
  • Friends are life-savers – in the first month two friends en route have offered me stops and rest days at their homes to give me time to rest, regroup, and regain my energy.
  • I realise I am lonely. I do not say this to whinge. I have always been fine in my own company, however when you realise that you have not really spent time with someone you know – or who is super friendly – you can feel very very alone.
  • Our countryside in the UK is wonderful. I always knew it would be. Highlights so far for me have been Chrome Hill in the Peak District and the sunny stretches of the Yorkshire Dales (a bit sorry not to see all of it because of the rain). Malham Cove, where some scenes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were filmed, was also spectacular.
  • Clients have been so supportive. There were teething problems: I used to have my coaching hours in the day, now I am doing more in the evenings when I have reached my accommodation. Too often when I am walking the connection is not good enough or the wind is too strong so I cannot hear nor can be heard on the phone.
  • I am going to keep on going. This first month is not going to put me off. It may have been the wettest July on record in the UK, yet I have got through it.

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