Bert & Patty: Where Are They Now?
In the summer of 2009 we introduced you to three career break couples, including Christine & Paul Milton – aka Bert & Patty – from Seattle. Christine & Paul started their career break by getting married in the Cook Islands and knew from the start that they would end in Edinburgh, Scotland, where they hoped to settle down.
In between, we checked in with them as they offered some travel tips they gained on the road as well as sharing frustrations most travelers face on the road but rarely speak about. It has now been several months since they wrapped up their travels and settled in to their new life in Edinburgh. So we decided it would be a great time to check in!
As part of your original career break adventure, you always planned to end in Edinburgh, Scotland. What transpired in the months since moving to Scotland?
Oh, yes, our great adventure was to start in the Cook Islands with a lovely sunset beach wedding, travel for 13 months (talk about an amazing honeymoon), and then end up in Scotland. To our great surprise we quickly found a lovely apartment right in the city. We thought, “wow, this is easy, we will have jobs in no time.”
I (Christine) found a volunteer job right off and we both proceeded to job hunt. Right away, we started hearing gloomy reports about the economy and prospective job cuts for the next couple of years as a way to deal with the deficit. We were still hopeful. We heard many Scots talking about the job market and how difficult it was to secure a job and how many people were already getting laid off in recent days. Seemed like everyone was singing the same song. Never mind, we were determined to make it work in good ol’ Edinburgh. After all, we shipped all of our worldly possessions there—we were committed.
We got involved in meetup.com, met some nice people and enjoyed the city. We even bought bikes and peddled til our heart’s content. Still, we were hopeful and continued to job hunt but as the months wore on, we started to wonder if and when we would actually get a job and how long our savings was going to hold out.
Paul contacted his old employer to see what was going on and to his surprise, he was offered a job with a significant raise. Although we had our hearts set on starting a new life in Edinburgh, we couldn’t pass up the offer and I was a bit homesick so we thought it would be the sensible thing to do. We are excited to get established in Seattle and who knows, when the British economy starts rebounding, we may just find ourselves back in the UK.
What emotions are you both going through facing this move? Nerves? Anticipation?
I think the best way to describe our emotions is bittersweet. We really wanted it to work in Edinburgh but it didn’t work this time. And, it is nice to come back to a lovely city like Seattle for which we are thankful for the opportunity of Paul’s job. We are looking forward to reconnecting with our friends there and enjoying the natural beauty of Seattle. Paul has already started his job and is getting into the swing of things and I’m hopeful and looking forward to starting a new job as well.
What lessons did you learn during your career break travels that will help you with this transition back to the States?
We learned so much through our career break:
- The more we see in the world, the more we realize is out there to see
- Community is more important and fulfilling than money
- We like and work well with structure as well as being spontaneous
- Being together 24/7 is not as easy as we thought it would be
- Long term travel is a lot of work with a lot of benefits
- 13 months of travel goes very fast
- There is a whole community of travel bloggers out there that are pretty darn cool and have great advice
I would encourage people to experience long-term travel. It is a lot easier than you think. It’s like anything else, you just save up for it (which means going without for a while) but the payoff is great—so many rich experiences and memories. You will spend much more than you thought you would but what’s money when you are doing something extraordinary. Go for it!!
An update since this post was written:
We are settling in quite well – really happy to be home. We are excited to buy a condo and car and actually settle down for the first time in our lives.
Paul is loving his job and they are so happy to have him back – no great surprise there as it was a perfect fit. I’m looking for jobs as well and reconnecting with friends.
Life is good.