The Time Has Come, the Walrus Said…
The Time Has Come, the Walrus Said…
Cover photo courtesy of Joel Garlich-Miller.
“The time has come, the walrus said, to think of other things”.
I’m sure this title has piqued people’s interest. Instinctively, you’ve almost certainly understood that this piece is neither a short story nor a travel report. And you’re right. This ever so slightly modified Lewis Carroll quote is a favourite of mine, one I have reeled off countless times over the years. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever used it on these pages, so here we are, the occasion fits perfectly.
It’s coming up to four years since I launched Leighton Travels. During that time, Sladja and I have been working online whilst living and travelling across Cambodia, Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, England, Scotland, Georgia, Armenia and Greece. It has been an unforgettable period, to say the least, with so many incredible experiences despite the many challenges that come with digital nomad life.
Recently, we have begun to tire, mentally and physically. Both creeping into our mid forties, we know that we aren’t exactly spring chickens anymore. In fact, we feel like it’s high time to stabilise. Establish a long term base… make a home… recharge… reflect…. sort out the zillion and one things that need taking care of for the future.
The Time Has Come, the Walrus Said…
We have been on the lookout for a home for quite a while. A place where we can obtain residency while continuing to run our online business and live life on our own terms. It hasn’t been easy, to put it lightly. With The UK and Serbia ruled out for a variety of personal reasons, we had become quite disillusioned by the seemingly infinite array of obstacles that sprang up every time we found a digital nomad visa that looked promising.
Now, at long, long last, it seems we have made a breakthrough. Hence we’ve relocated, once again, and have begun the busy and stressful process of bureaucratic hell. From now until the end of the summer (and possibly beyond) we will be dealing with it all.
Registering our business… getting set up in the tax system… social security numbers. Medical examinations… short term accommodation… long-term accommodation. Notarised documents, copies of this, translations of that. Eventually, the actual residency applications themselves. It’s going to be intense. Moreover, there are no guarantees that we will succeed. But hey, we’re gonna give it our best shot.
Just a few weeks into the process the walrus quote hit me like a sledgehammer. There simply isn’t enough time or energy for me to continue juggling everything. When we started our school nearly two years ago there were barely a handful of students. Now there are over 30 and each day is an onslaught of lessons to teach, after-class feedback to give, schedules to tweak, parent queries to answer. Not that we can really complain! After all, these are the realities of a successful business I guess.
No wonder then that I have found it increasingly hard to keep up with the blogging. Not only the time and headspace for writing, but also for photo editing, blog admin, replying to comments and keeping up with other blogs on the WordPress reader.
With physical and mental exhaustion setting in, I’ve decided it’s time for a break. A creative rest if you will and a much-needed period of reduced screen time away from all things social media. I will definitely miss sharing my articles with you all and reading about your own adventures. But at the end of the day it feels like I have no choice, something’s gotta give.
I’m not sure how long this break’s gonna last. But in the words of Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’ll be back. A little later in the year, I’d say, with brand new travel reports and short stories aplenty. Your continued support of the blog has meant so much these past years, I do hope to see you again when I emerge from my creative slumber. Cheers!
The Time Has Come, the Walrus Said…
I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.
I’ve also written numerous collections of short stories about my life in different parts of the world.
In the words of Sheryl Crow…’A change would do you good’. Enjoy your break. You’ve created a beautiful thing here at Leighton Travels.
Good old Sheryl, ‘Everyday is a Winding Road’ and ‘All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fun’ also resonates. Cheers, Natty.
Good luck with your resting period, looking forward to the next blogs when you come back
Cheers, thanks to you and Natty for kicking off the comment thread.
We’ll miss you but it sounds like you’re doing the right thing. You have more pressing things to deal with in your life right now than this blog. It will be good to welcome you back once you’ve settled into your new life a bit. I have to say I’m very curious where you’ve chosen to base yourselves!
Thanks Sarah, I appreciate your kind comment. I suppose I have been deliberately vague as we aren’t a hundred percent sure if this is gonna work out. Hopefully, by the time I put out my end-of-year review, I can reveal everything with an accompanying success story.
Awww dammit I feel a bit gutted actually bud. I really enjoy reading your posts as much as anyone’s, always informative and entertaining and I’m always pleased when it’s your name in the inbox. Plus we really appreciate your comments on our blog posts and very much enjoy the fact that you follow us “properly”, if I dare use that word. Enjoy the break though, sometimes as you say you just have to not put that straw on that camel. Desperately trying to think of an appropriate music quote and equally desperate to avoid The Three Degrees…..but here’s hoping it’s not REO Speedwagon…..it’s time to bring this ship into the shore and throw away the oars for ever…
Ah Phil, your comment means a lot. It’s a really intense period now and with the amount of work that I put into each article, it’s just not sustainable. The break will also give me some time to (when I feel like it, on and off) build up the next series a little. Thanks for your own support, it has always been and always will be appreciated. See you on the flipside!
Sad to see you go Leighton and hope you come back to blogging
It’s good to let people know
You could do a monthly one though as I feel you will miss the connection
Where have you settled then
Best of luck in your new place anyway 😍
Hey Alison, thanks for the kind words. I will miss the connection, for sure, so maybe I’ll be back sooner than I think, who knows. Hopefully I’ll be able to reveal all in my end-of-year review. And, fingers crossed, we will both be residents by then.
Hoping for the best for you both xx
Good on you! Enjoy your time off. It’s important to take care of yourself.
Thanks Mary! Taking care of myself is definitely a big part of it, I need some rest. And it will finally free up some time to read Bill’s latest literary masterpiece.
Here’s wishing you all the good fortune in the world. Just don’t be too long. After all, I am the walrus, you are the walrus, we are the walrus. Goo, goo, a’joob.
Goo, goo, g’joob, Memo! It will be strange but hopefully lovely to sleep more, exercise more and indulge in more cinema and music. I also now have time to read ‘No Eyes’ by one of my favourite authors.
Enjoy your break! I hope everything goes with your residency application. I will miss your posts, but I’m sure that this (creative) break is much needed after four years of blogging. You have created an amazing library for travellers, digital nomads or simply people who enjoy reading about other lands and cultures. I always find you blogs to be entertaining and useful in equal measure. Great shots from your recent trips, especially the sunset one from Sarajevo.
Thanks Anoush, you are too, too, too kind. As with others, I can only say “cheers” for keeping up with all the blogs. Sarajevo was an amazing experience and already so long ago it seems. I’m not quite sure how time has passed so quickly.
oh leighton, what a pity, but a blogger’s gotta do what a blogger’s gotta do. i for one will greatly miss your biweekly publications. if i can speak frankly there is an awful lot of guff on wordpress these days but your blog has long been a shining light. i wish you every success in getting your residency and hope to see you back sooner rather than later.
Thanks Stan, you are a good egg. However things turn out it is definitely going to be an action-packed second half of the year. Take care, I hope all is well with you and Liz in DC.
Best of luck to you as you settle into a new phase of life. I’ve enjoyed “traveling” the world with you, and will look forward to updates in the future!
Thank you so much Sue, I appreciate that!
Enjoy your Walrus break Leighton. It is well deserved. I am sure you and Sladja will be up to the Tusk, so to speak. Allan
Ah, you did very well to scratch out a walrus pun, Allan. Thanks for reading, as always, and see you again on these pages at some point.
I wish you both the very best, and look forward to your eventual return. Not only have I always enjoyed your posts, but your style, as well as your words of support have been very much appreciated since I started my own blog. Where are you going to settle down! Have a successful journey to the future.
Ah Geoff, thanks so much. I must admit it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it is the right one. We have also enjoyed following your blog, particularly those stories of your early years, arrival in Lima and about how you met your wife. Keep on, keepin’ on.
I understand your situation, Leighton. I don’t have a full-time job anymore and, I find it hard to keep up with the blog, write new posts, and respond to readers. But I’m going to miss you so much! I truly wish you and Sladja the best and that you love your new home. Please let us know where you are and how you guys are doing, as we can communicate through other means. When you decide to return, I will be here to welcome you back with open arms!
Kellye, I kid you not but you actually made Sladja a little teary. Thanks for your (as always) lovely message and yes, I will be in touch soon to provide you with a few details.
Your post made me a little teary too, believe it or not. Hugs…
I’ll obviously miss your well written, interesting blog posts but I understand completely. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. I wish you well with your endeavours and appreciate you letting us know you’re taking a break. Take care. Marion
Thank you Marion for leaving such a nice comment and indeed for following my articles for… I believe it’s nearly three years or so now?! Keep on blogging, keep on travelling and keep on enjoying everything.
Wishing you all the best during your creative break. Have fun!
Thanks Heidi, I appreciate that.
Oh I’m so sad, we’ll miss you. But I completely understand. This blogging hobby takes up so much time. When I first saw the title and your name I read it as ‘I am the Walrus’!!! My association with you and the Beatles is strong. Have a wonderful break and hope to see you back.😊 Maggie
Ha ha, thanks Maggie. Maybe I am the walrus, who knows. Cheers for your support, I will miss reading everyone’s blogs, including your own. One of these years we will definitely be doing South America and your library of articles will serve as a reference point I’m sure.
Sorry to hear that you’ll be taking a break from blogging. I’ll miss reading about your adventures and crazy stories. Best of luck with your hunt for a house and dealing with all the paperwork to move somewhere more permanently. It’s all very exciting, but it also sounds very stressful. Bye for now. Linda
Thanks Linda for your unwavering readership these last few years. We have enjoyed your own blogs very much and will be checking straight back into everything when I eventually return to the blogsphere. Cheers!
Glad to hear. Hope everything works out!
The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings
Tis time for Leighton and Sladja. Recharge, take a breath and come back refreshed once you are settled. Sending love to you both. x
Thanks so much, I’m hoping to have good news for you all come the end of the month. xxx
So many of your experiences have given me a good laugh. I’ll miss that but understand just how much time it takes to write a good article and you have many of those. Good luck with your new/permanent location and I look forward to more tales after you are both rejuvenated.
Thank you Mallee, what kind words. I know that it will take me a while to mentally ‘check out’ of the blog, but hope that soon enough I can embrace this break fully. Take care.
I will miss your posts Leighton, but i can totally understand too! To be honest i sometimes wonder how you can post and write so much! Blogging can be so time consuming, there isn’t enough hours in the day! I wish you and Sladja all the best with the new move and future endeavours. As we all know time flies so before we know it I am sure we will be reading you again! Take care!
Thanks Anna. You’re so right about time, it is scary how quickly it passes these days. I will try to make the very most of this break and come back stronger. Mostly I’m just looking forward to more sleep/music/movies/reading etc when I can outside of the teaching schedule and the residency process. I hope all is well in your world.
We’ll miss you, Leighton! Although I’ll be sad missing your insightful and introspective posts about your expat adventures, I also understand that life happens, and it’s important to tend to it. I hope everything goes well with the changes and adjustments to you and Sladja’s life, and just know we’ll still be here whenever you return! Stay in touch…
Rebecca, you are a star. This means a lot, especially from one of my earliest readers. When I return, I’ll be finally putting out some of my more ‘recent ‘adventures. I hope you and your partner have an amazing summer in sunny L.A.
Now that’s ironic … I start reading your post with so much excitement and anticipation, but the longer I read, the sadder I get! I will miss your humorous stories incredibly … but understand that this break is necessary. Good luck with all that lies ahead, may it be a blessed time for both you and Sladja. And yes, hope to run into you again some time and somewhere in blogging land.
Oh btw, that’s a beautiful photo of the two of you at The Acropolis in Athens!
Cheers (for now) and take care 🍻. Corna & Berto (South Africa)
Corna, blogging wouldn’t be as rewarding as it is without the interactions of people like you. You are part of a special core that makes Leighton Travels worthwhile. I will definitely embrace this break to the full and build my physical and mental strength back up. When I return, I’m sure it will be with bells on top. Take care, both of you, and “see” you again sometime during the summer.
Best of luck mate it’s what we’re trying to do but without the work and sorting that out is hard enough and you’ve actually set up a professional looking site which is way beyond my capabilities. Hope you both find somewhere to settle down, stay happy, will no doubt hear from you in the future.
Cheers, Gary. Is Malaga still your preferred choice? Hoping it all works out for you guys too.
At the moment yes but I reckon a year to sort everything business, transfers, visas etc
Oh Leighton, I will miss your entertaining blogs, and thoughtful comments on my posts. You do have a lot going on and sounds like you definitely need a break. I’ll be watching for your return! All the best to you as you and Sladja transition to a permanent home and grow your business.
Thanks so much, Tricia. with the way time seems to flash by I’m sure it won’t be too long before I return. Take care, have a great summer and say hi to Terry for me.
I’m looking forward to your return. Will do!
I will miss your blogs, but you’ve got to do what’s best for you in this season of life. Blogging is supposed to be a fun hobby, not a chore or something you have to do. I can understand the want to have a stable home base, you’ll finally be able to decorate for the holidays 🙂 Best of luck with everything, I hope it goes smoother than expected!
Thanks Lyssy. I’m sure that once we get through this hectic period I’ll be able to return with more time and and a more relaxed state of mind. Thanks for your support, see you later in the year.
I feel like kids going on summer break haha, saying Have a good summer in your yearbook 🙂
Leighton, sorry to bother, but thinking of travelling to Georgia in July. Could I ask you a few questions by WhatsApp or email. I would be very grateful. Apologies for writing this as you are about to take a well deserved rest from the blogging world.
Hey Geoff, of course I’d like to help if I can. I’ll be in touch shortly. Have edited out your personal contact details from this message, just to be safe.
Thanks so much….. I look forward to hearing from you.
Best of luck navigating the bureaucracy, and I’ll look forward to more travel reports from you when you return!
Thanks a lot Diana, have a great summer!
We’ll be missing your stories – but hopefully only temporarily. Wishing you success in all your endeavors.
Thanks so much. It’ll definitely be temporary, not sure I could ever give up blogging. Cheers!
“…of shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings” a great quote for sure and very fitting for this time when it’s time to talk of other things. You and Sladja have so much on your plate and so much to figure out as you embark on this new chapter of finding home. Sending you all my well wishes, crossed fingers, and virtual hugs from Tennessee in all the figuring out of the next little while. I hope your break gives you the space and time you need and that the paths will open up before you. Cheers Leighton 🙂
Thanks Meg, really appreciate your warm wishes. I hope you guys have an absolute blast in Paris, you have been waiting on this for such a long time. Love to you all.
Love to you and Sladja too 🙂
Best of luck, Leighton! We will miss you here! Looking forward to re-connecting once you are settled down and back!
Thanks so much! Have a great summer. 🙂
A well-earned break! Wishing you two all the best with the madness of bureaucracy and you can bet I’ll be back reading your brilliant articles upon your return.
Thank you Erin, it’s lovely to hear from you. We both recognise that you’ve been a long-term reader, which we really appreciate. I hope all is good in your world, wishing you an amazing summer, wherever you decide to spend it.
Hey Leighton, I hope everything works out and you will be back recharged and reinvigorated when you feel ready. All the best! Rich @ Shortwalkslongpaths
Thanks a lot Rich, appreciate you reading and taking the time to say hi.
Congratulations on listening to yourself and taking a break. I recently took an almost one year break from regular blogging as well due to an extensive home renovation project and now that I’m back to blogging I definitely enjoy it more than I would if I had tried to force myself. I hope you’ll enjoy your new home!
Hey Petra, thanks for the encouraging words, it helps a lot. Well done for listening to yourself too, I hope you have managed to craft something of a dream home. I hope… touch wood… that a month or two should do the trick for me, but let’s see.
Thank you. 😊 Take as long as you feel you need, the blog will wait and there will always be people interested in your stories.
Hi Leighton- I add my name to the list of many who will truly miss your presence in this blogging sphere. I am so inspired by your travel writing and have loved reading about your adventures and unique perspectives on this beautiful earth of ours. I wish you and Sladja a smooth transition during this new journey of setting down roots and cannot wait to hear more when you eventually return! 😊💕
Hey Laura, thank you so much for your lovely message. Two weeks after my hiatus and I am admittedly enjoying having a bit more free time to attend to everything that needs dealing with. I hope you’re doing well and that you have some exciting summer plans.
Aw Leighton, I will miss you temporarily but it sounds like real life really needs you right now and a break sounds what you need. I hope everything works out with your move and that you and Sladja enjoy creating your base, wherever it may be. That’s far more important than blogging ever will be 🙂
Thanks so much Hannah. We certainly do have a lot to sort out and it’s a long path that lies ahead. But hopefully it will all work out in the end. We had an amazing time over the last three years but it’s time to “get real” for a bit, if you know what I mean. Appreciate your support of LT these past few years, I hope to reconnect at some point in the summer.
Good luck to you and Sladja with all the bureaucracy. Hope it all works out for you both and you’re successful with your move! Life’s more important than blogging. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and look forward to reading more about your adventures at some point in the future.
Thanks for your warm wishes, it’s amazing how the blogging community can come together, as this comment thread shows. Have a great summer, I look forward to reading you and sharing my own work later in the year.
Find healthy ways to cope with stress. Exercise, meditation, and spending time in nature are all great ways to manage stress. Bureaucracy can be frustrating I’m sure you will come back stronger.
Agree with all that and hoping that will very much be the case at the end of the long road ahead. Cheers!
I hope that you guys have a wonderful rest and reset! I am looking forward to reading about more of both of your travel adventures in the future again!
Cheers Allie, “see you” later on in the year!
you have a great blog, good luck with your plans for this year.
Leighton, yours is one of the blogs I always find interesting and well written, and I’ve enjoyed keeping up with your itinerant lifestyle. I completely understand your pivot to finding a place to land that works for you, your lady, and your business. And congratulations for building a growing online school! I’ve also cut back on international travel these days, just doing road trips and reprising older stories. I’ll miss your blog and can’t wait to find out where you will create a home. Best of luck!
Thanks Ruth for your warm words and for all the articles you’ve taken the time to read over the years. Road trips and old story revivals sound not too bad at all, hoping to reconnect with you in the summer!
Looking forward to it!
Why did my heart skip a beat when I read the title? Haha. I’ve always been inspired by your travel reports and stories. It’s been exciting so far to journeying around the world through your words and pictures. Congratulations on your well deserved break and the growth of your business. Best wishes to you and Sladja as you settle into your new residence and looking forward to reading your future travel reports.
Hey Amarachi, thank you very much, your words mean a lot. Wishing you a productive and fulfilling few months and looking forward to reconnecting in the summer.
Blogging is a lot of work. It takes lots of time to research and create consistent content, to market that content to your audience, networking with other bloggers, and all the back end pieces that go into maintaining a website and social presence. It can also be incredibly time consuming. Therefore, I can understand your decision to take a break from it all. I am gonna miss reading your well-crafted travel stories, Leighton. Wishing the best of luck to you and Sladja from the bottom of my heart. I hope everything goes according to plan. Take care! Aiva xx
Thank you Aiva, I really appreciate your warm wishes.
Not going to lie that I am bit sad about this, but also happy for you! It’s so hard sometimes to make choices such as these, realising that we do need a break. Afterall the only constant in life is change. I have been thinking the opposite for myself – my twenties were spent working and working, going up that career ladder… and now that I’m on my first year of the thirties I am wondering if I should take a break, and dedicate time to travelling, blogging and photographing. It is scary, but everything worth it in life is.
Wishing you and Sladja the best for the next few months 🙂
Thanks Nic, it mean a lot. I think you should follow your heart, we only live once and all that. By the way, what I would give to be back in my early 30s! 😉 I wish you a great summer, looking forward to reconnecting later in the year.
I think you’re doing absolutely the best thing. You can have everything, but not at the same time. I’ll miss your posts but look forward to catching up again in the hopefully not too distant future. The blogging world is brilliant but real life and the people closest to us must always come first. All the best to you and Sladja, take care.
Cheers Helen, I’m already feeling the benefits of reduced screen time and less stuff to do during this already hectic period. Thanks so much for joining the thread, hope you have lots of cool stuff planned for the summer.
amazing you have visited 30 countries. this is my dream. thanks for amazing blog
Thanks for reading!
C’est la vie! You’ve shown great talent for writing through your blog, and it will serve you well in the future. I also appreciated your ability to get to the bottom of people to find out more about them and the country you were visiting, and that will stay with you too. Blogging takes up a lot of our time and energy, and I admit that it’s sometimes difficult to find the right balance; there’s so much more we would like to do. I wish you every success in your new pursuit and, like many others, I’ll be happy to see you start writing again. All the best Leighton!
Thank you so much. Time flies and somehow I am already three weeks into this blogging ‘break’. Not sure when I will return but have been tinkering with a new series on and off when I have felt like writing. I suspect I shall extend my break beyond June and into July but let’s see. Hope you have a great summer planned with some trips to look forward to. Cheers!
Congratulations on your successful business! And everything else, including creative endeavors, can wait. Take all the time you need, inhale new experiences, and exhale new stories for all of us 🙂