My name is Sarah M. Lawton. I was born in June 1968 in Sheffield and my childhood was split between Dundee, Scotland and Harpenden, England. Happily married to Ben since 1995, I have two sons; Alexander (21) and Andrew (15). Alexander has left home to set up on his own in Stockholm, Sweden, where he was born. Andrew, Ben and I now live contentedly with two daft cats, Bo and Quinn, in a fairly non-descript, four-bedroomed detached house in the pretty little village of Olney, Buckinghamshire, England.
As a young adult I was routinely described as having ‘itchy feet’. I rarely stayed in one place for longer than a few months and loved nothing more than to throw my few possessions into my ancient leather doctor’s case (purchased from an antique store with my first decent pay check), jump on a train, and head off into the unknown. I thrived on adventure. I wanted to try everything, do everything, see everything. And I travelled alone.
During his speech at my wedding, my father suggested to my new husband that he drive a nine inch nail through my foot and into the ground to keep me in one place. Ben thought he was kidding.
Luckily for my foot, Ben had a much more effective approach towards teaching me to stop and grow some roots. He never attempted to tie me down. He never said no. He never built walls or gave me limits. I could do anything I liked. I simply couldn’t take him with me. He was his calm, chilled, utterly unmovable self so consistently that he got me passed the point where I wanted to poke him into action and, in total frustration, I sat down… relaxed… had another baby and discovered I could enjoy the more inwardly focused journey of trying to be the best mother and wife I could be.
That was 16 years ago. I’m now a near-perfect reflection of Middle England. Consistently reliable as ever, my husband is the main earner. Our children attend the best school in the district – despite us having to pay through the nose for a coach to get them there. Through the early years of our marriage, I tried both full-time motherhood and full-time work. Alongside a job as a P.A., I spent six years studying with the Open University to get my degree – of which I am very proud. I now work, part-time, as a scientific copywriter in a marketing communications agency. Summer weekends are spent pottering in my vegetable garden, followed by a Pimms under the pergolla while waiting to eat the slap-up meals Ben loves to produce. Winter weekends are spent driving my mother to superstores, decorating, or snuggled under a cat-laiden blanket with a laptop and a Whiskey Mac. I love nothing more than Downton Abbey on a Sunday evening and can be bought with a cream tea (raspberry jam – not strawberry!). It’s all rather blissful and certainly enough to have made my previous self wonder who the hell I am!
While I love my current lifestyle, as my children grow up and leave the nest, my inner instincts are reawakening. The feet began to itch again a few years ago. I found myself dreaming of distant lands and trying to persuade my family to swap our usual Tuscan cottage holiday for a trek in the cloud forests of Venezuela. Sadly, my youngest son enjoys his home comforts as much as his father and the idea of heat and biting insects was enough to draw a line under that idea.
If I was going to find adventure, I’d have to go it alone! As always, my family was completely supportive of my needs – as long as I didn’t drag them along with me. This time, I had enough faith in their love to allow myself to go.
This blog is the story of how I rediscovered my adventurous self without compromising my family, my home, my work, or my lifestyle.
From Middle England to the World - I’ll have my cream tea and adventure too!