An Introduction: Leaving the States…

They say that you can only make so many big moves in your life.

When Angie and I first decided to move to England we were fully prepared for what would be one of the biggest culture shocks of our lives. When we first mentioned it to our kids they laughed at us. We were two sexagenarian Americans who, despite our love for British culture, had spent our entire lives in the States. The thought that we would uproot ourselves from everything that we knew to live out the rest of our lives in a foreign land was, understandably, laughable to our children. It wasn’t until we all met up in person at Thanksgiving that they realised how serious we were.

Although we were a close family, we had spent the last few years in separate states, only meeting for major holiday events. We love our children dearly, but when they had children of their own they naturally had less time to catch up with us. We tried our best to visit them in their respective towns, but these visits were uneven. We wanted to spend time with our grandchildren, but we were also drawn to our dream of leaving the country and, in the end, it was the latter desire that won.

In March of this year we sold up our home and made the move to the UK. Leaving our family home of over 40 years had been a hard task, ideally we would have had one of the kids take the place over, but by the time we wanted to leave they’d settled themselves down so far away from New Hampshire that asking one of the to return home would have simply been cruel. The money we reaped from the sale (as well as some savings) bought us our home in Castleton, a little village in the Hope Valley. Leaving Manchester, NH was always going to be difficult, especially when it involved leaving so many of our treasured pastimes back in the States.

Arriving in our new home in Castleton was like starting a completely new life. We had new neighbours, a new community to be a part of and the massive gorgeous expanse of the Peak District to explore. In short, although we were both in our mid-sixties and had less life in front of us than behind us, we were both completely invigorated by the experience. Invigorated…and tired! We spent the first few days slowly unpacking and getting out home in shape. Our little 3-bed cottage had everything that we needed for us to get by and although we felt like we were in the middle nowhere, the supermarket was only a 15 minute drive away.

From March to June we settled in, pottered around the garden and took day trips out to different corners of the Peak District, but it wasn’t long before we were discussing our next big adventure. Although we knew that the big cities of London, Manchester and Liverpool were high on our list, there was one place that had dreamt about travelling to for an even longer time: Scotland.