Who we are
Paul: born in Middlesex in 1955, the middle of three brothers. Grew up in Ramsgate, Kent. Naval dockyard engineer (once an engineer always an engineer). Married, two children, carved rocking horses and built carousels, managed a day centre for adults with learning difficulties, developed a business as coach and trainer for leaders and executives; various pets, moved house a few times, divorced, married again, divorced again.
Helen: born in Ramsgate, Kent, in 1959, went to school, learned to swim, left home young. Joined Friends of the Earth (FOE) briefly, moved house several times, got married, worked in shops and offices, passably proficient at indoor rifle shooting, got a cat, got divorced, kept the cat, joined the church, remarried, went on a day trip to France, learnt to speak and write Russian (since gone seriously rusty), trained as a social worker, got divorced again.
Paul: an early adventurist and always an adventurer at heart.
Helen: brought up with safety as a byword for a life in which adventure did not get a look in.
Helen: interests include recycling, radio, reading, studying and learning, swimming, doing weights at the gym, surfing the internet and internet forums (from which I expect to suffer withdrawal symptoms while travelling). Budding photographer. Favourite books include George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Appreciates the pleasures of the olfactory system.
Paul & Helen together: met as teenagers in the 1970’s but young love was not to be and went our separate ways. Met again in 2003, and fell in love (again). Married in September 2009. Paul says: “Helen is wonderful – she provides me with all the love and the freedom I need, still laughs at my jokes after six whole years together, and doesn’t mind that I fart occasionally.” Helen says, “We have found in each other our soulmate – and it’s not occasionally.”
We share a mutual loathing of the proliferation of CCTV cameras and other mechanisms of control sold to us in the name of safety. Paul in particular is infuriated by the general creeping departure from personal and social accountability that this also represents.
Paul says “I wouldn’t want people to think you have to be exceptionally rich and successful to plan an adventure like this. We’re not, we just work hard and find ways to live well. We started planning this adventure with no funds to undertake it at all. We have no personal savings or pension to speak of. You just have to find a way.”
Together we believe we have the ability to provide the opposite forces that draw us into adventure and back into safety, the balance and the counter-balance, that will allow us to experience adventures and still come home, together.