Thirteen years ago next week Hubby and I, and our then seven year old son moved from the hectic hustle and bustle of city life in the busy East of England to a tranquil rural setting in the Heart of Wales. In fact we about as in the middle of Wales as you can get, in the smallest town in the UK, Llanwrtyd Wells in Powys.
We happened upon Llanwrtyd in a frantic need for respite from the stresses of Hubby’s corporate life and ended up sticking a pin in a map on a page of nothingness. We came for two night’s refuge and didn’t go home.
There was light over that horizon. For hubby the time BLW (Before Llanwrtyd Wells) was never ending commutes; road rage; and stressful, unsatisfying work environment. It was unhealthy, unforgiving, and it was slowly breaking him.
When we arrived in LW that wet weekend evening we chanced upon a little bistro with no other customers barr one friendly Welshman, who happened to be the ex headmaster of the village school, and an eager pupil, meeting him for some additional education support. We chatted for ages. The next day, also rainy, we perused the properties for sale, daydreaming of our distant retirement. And the next day we did a bit more than window shop and went viewing a few cute houses.
That night we talked and talked and talked. Why were we waiting until our retirement to live our lives? What if we didn’t make it there? What about the quality of life for our son, educated in overcrowded classrooms in Essex, unable to play outside alone etc etc?
The next day a blazing orange sun rose over the horizon and lit our future path. We put an offer on the house. We handed in our notice at our respective places of work. We pulled our son out of school. That was October 2004. On 4th February 2005 we drove towards the light of our new future.
And we have never looked back.
Thirteen years on we have a successful and welcoming guesthouse with lots of lovely customers who repeatedly visit; maybe for our warm welcome , wholesome breakfasts and cosy beds; maybe for the respite, tranquility and magnificent scenery; probably a bit of both.
We have a wonderful community, a network of very special friends and a full and fabulous social life and work/life balance.
Our son was raised on freedom, damming rivers, climbing trees and disappearing from breakfast to supper. He would come home with a sparkle in his eyes and stories of adventures with his friends. He went to a village junior school with 50 kids and mixed aged classes which promoted tolerance and mentoring. He went to a high school of 700 pupils where he had to travel daily by public transport. And now he’s thriving in Wales’s capital, the beautiful historic city of Cardiff. When he can, which is often , he comes home. Because home is where the hills are, where the stars shine bright a night; where, when you look to the horizon, you are met with green pastures, trees and mountains; pink sunsets and deep orange sunrises. Where you can walk or run or cycle for hours without seeing a soul; or where you can pop into the local pub or cafe and start a conversation with any number of friendly locals who happen to be there.
Life should be a journey, an adventure. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We are lucky enough to be living every moment of it. And we are more lucky because we are able to share insights into it and the possibilities of a less then ordinary life to anyone who chooses to come and take a peak. You are more than welcome to visit.
Life with a view of the horizon