In the beginning

Friends and family have often asked us why we’re wanting to emigrate to Bulgaria. It doesn’t seem to be the place people first think of when they are wanting to leave the UK. So here’s a bit of background.

A few years ago, when Julie and I lived in Penrith, we experimented with living the Good Life.

2005, our allotment
2005 our allotment

We had an allotment, kept chickens and grew lots of our own fruit and veg. We made jams, brewed wine and beer, and were generally self-sufficient for most of our food for nearly a year. We both thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but the problem was that with both of us working full-time, finding the time to do the job properly was difficult. We both agreed that it was not practical to do this while working. When we moved to Carlisle we looked at buying a smallholding in the UK, but it was just too expensive; we’d have to spend so much time working to pay for the land and house, that we wouldn’t have the time to actually work the land. So we abandoned the allotment and smallholding idea, and filed it under “things to think about in the future”.

Now, our future is upon us! We both turn 50 in a couple of years time, and we’ve realised that if we ever want to realise this dream of ours we need to get cracking and do something, before we get too old to manage it. After closing Crown Gallery we decided to have a serious think about how we could make this dream happen.

Make no bones about it, we initially started looking in Bulgaria because it’s cheap. Julie started looking at houses and land, and realised that we could afford to buy a property and run it as a smallholding. When we looked at Bulgaria as a country, we started to fall in love with it;  is a beautiful country, with lots of countryside, mountains and wildlife, just what we like. As a predominantly rural country it had the kind of life to offer that we wanted; to be able to work for ourselves, me and Julie working together to put food on our table and a roof over our heads. Everything else seems unimportant.

Having decided we wanted to take a closer look, we thought we’d better actually visit Bulgaria, so we planned a two-week stay, visiting as many people as we could find to talk to about life in Bulgaria, and find out what we could expect to find if we moved there. We joined lots of forums on Facebook and met lots of really friendly, helpful people, some of whom we met when we visited.

Friends often say it sounds like a risky undertaking. Well it is. But we’d rather take a chance and have some good years living the kind of life we want, free, and masters of our own destiny, than spend our lives living a safe existence, shackled to jobs that don’t fulfil us. A South-African friend of ours, Marnus, has a saying; In the UK we are safe, but we’re not free. In South Africa, they are free, but not safe. We think we’d rather take our chances being free to live the life we want and accept a little uncertainty into our lives.

Bulgaria, here we come!

  12 comments for “In the beginning

  1. Gordon & Sue Henshaw
    March 29, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Just go for it the pair of you! Enjoy x

    • Joe
      March 29, 2014 at 10:11 am

      🙂 thanks Sue, we will!

  2. March 29, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Great ballsy decision guys. When is kick off?

    • Joe
      March 29, 2014 at 10:31 am

      Hi Ray, once we sell the house we’re looking at about 4 weeks to work my notice then we’ll be off. Maybe take a week or so to amble down, then find somewhere to rent while we look for a place to buy.

  3. Carol Bennett
    March 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    good luck to you both we only live one life so if its your dream then go for it and be happy x

  4. Valerie
    April 1, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    So happy for you both it was great to meet you and have you stay, your blog is brilliant refreshing, honest and reflects both of your aspirations and personalities! You will thrive here for sure xxxx

  5. Karen Russell
    June 20, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Julie and Joe…
    Got your blog address from a mutual friend of ours ‘Inge’. Ahhh what a good friend she is to my husband Paul and myself. On her last visit to us in Carlisle last week, she forwarded me the link and I’m so chuffed she did. I’ve just skimmed through your blog so far and there is so much to read and take in. We’re hoping to go to Bulgaria in July and buy a property and haven’t a clue really what we’re doing – except for the fact we’ve been given loads of warnings.

    This has been our dream for years! It’s been my husbands dream nearly all his adult life. To live self sufficiently, have a lot of land to farm, work hard and be free. Not have the trappings of 1st world at all.

    Please could you tell me how to get in contact with the language place in Wigton to learn Bulgarian. I’d be so very grateful.

    No doubt you’ll be getting more messages from me as I read your blog and I hope you don’t mind. Please say so if you do.

    We wish you all the best as we too work our way towards leaving by March or so 2015. The sooner the better. We also have 2 other friends that are due to leave by March 2015 – Andrew and Dee, not sure if perhaps you know them too.

    Best of luck and look forward to hearing from you and reading your entire blog.
    Kindest regards
    Karen and Paul

    • Julie
      June 20, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Hi Karen, We have been doing night classes at Nelson Tomlinson school, Wigton I think they are planning on running the classes again this September. I don’t think I know Andrew and Dee but feel free to tell them about our blog and if you have any questions just ask away and we will do our best to answer them. Best wishes Julie and Joe

  6. Maria
    July 11, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Wishing you both lots of luck and happiness on your new adventure, dreams can come true, will miss you both at work tho xxxxxxxxx Maria x

    • Joe
      July 11, 2014 at 9:35 am

      Thanks Maria, we’ll keep you posted, and all the very best to you all!
      xxx Joe and Julie

  7. Linda & Alan Rispin
    July 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    We were planning to have an adventure when the kids left home – we were forty and forty-two – but it never happened. Good on you both, we are full of admiration. Love from Linda and Alan.

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