The Finish Line Is Closer Than You Think

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Six years ago we started our third and final Journey from Belgium to Scotland. We had made two trips prior, first to get a feel of the place, since neither of us had been here before we thought it would be nice to have a look around. The second was to view properties and finalise our lease. At the time of our first visit, we had no idea that it was mandatory for to view a property before signing a lease and our real estate agent refused to have us sign our lease remotely even if he thought the property was a fit for us. He wanted us to decide for ourselves. The trips were long, especially long for me since the longest drive I’d ever been on was a  5hour drive from Ohio to Pennsylvania decades before, that trip felt like torture so imagine a 9-hour drive from London to Edinburgh, adding to that journey, a 4hour drive from Liege to Calais with 45 in the Eurotunnel. 

On the final trip back we decided to stay off the main tracks of London, hitting the M6 north then midway going taking the sideways and byways to English/Scottish borders, stopping to take in the sties of a few English towns and cities on our drive up to Scotland. So our 9-hour trip turned into an 16+hour trip, with Jeremy and I taking turns driving.  By nightfall, I think even our dog was tired of all the stop and go. So I decided we needed break from driving, I just wanted to not sleep in a moving car, besides that a heavy fog started to descend and I was beginning to fell a little car sick, I had never been car sick in my life but thought this must be what it felt like. So after much debate Jeremy agreed that we needed a break from the road and pulled into a layby.

The next morning we awaken by the sound of cars zooming by, the fog had lifted slightly but visibility was still pretty low, we could either sit in the car until the sun came up and hopefully burn off some of the fog or get back on the road. At that point, all I wanted was a warm shower, hot meal and a cozy bed. The first two trips we had done in record time both ways, only stopping for food, fuel and to relieve ourselves or put the dog out. That  final trip seemed like a journey to the top of Mount Everest, it was long, it was exhausting for both of us, our anxiety levels were through the roof. There’s  just something about leaving the familiar for the unknown that puts ones nerve on edge! I felt the same way leaving The Bahamas for Belgium a few month prior. Now I was on my finally leg of moving and there were still butterflies in my stomach.  Pulling ourselves together we started on our merry way, in the distance we saw this huge sign just in front of us that  said “Welcome to Scotland.” just underneath “fàilte gu alba.” We both looked at each other and laughed.  We had actually spent the night at the entrance of the layby of the English Scottish Border, crossing that line give us a sense of rejuvenation, there was still a lot more miles to go but that didn’t matter, we were in Scotland. 

We still talk about that with smiles on our faces. That incident reminds me so much of that photo of the two men in a cave digging for diamonds where one guy is digging away and the other guy gives up and it shows where the second guy is literally 2 digs away from the mother load. Through all the obstacles we’ve faced in the past six years, we never gave up, we may have pulled over along the way. But even when people told us it was difficult or impossible to do something, whether it was an individual project or something we were working on together we got back on the road with the belief that if it didn’t happen, something better was coming along. Sometimes you may get tired digging, you may not be able to see the finish line but keep going, it’s there. Keep going!

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©Etta  D. Richards


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