It started when we moved in together. We were happy to be together, under one roof, but felt restricted. Something didn't feel right. This "thing" hadn't ever really felt right.
In the past I dealt with this issue by saving (sometimes borrowing) some money, packing a bag and running to Southeast Asia. Career, family, mortgage... they could wait. Each time I'd come home with renewed enthusiasm, having spent the previous few months meeting interesting people and living a pretty carefree existence.
This enthusiasm invariably waned, usually, after a year or so in a job, in an office, staring at a computer screen, daydreaming of Southeast Asia.
Then I met Jane! (I say met... we had actually met at university six years previous to this meeting. So when I say met, I mean fell in love with). Jane shares my sense of cowardice towards "growing up" that's induced by the prospect of waking up one day and realising that I spent my life in a rat race and it's all too late. What's more, she also had a burning desire to travel and see the world.
For months into our courtship, we fantasised about moving to all kinds of exotic places and leading fairytale lifestyles. It took a while, but we moved in together. It was bliss, our own (rented) flat in North London where we could come home to each other at the end of an exhausting day at work. I worked in retail and Jane was, and still is, a teaching assistant in a school.
We booked our first real holiday together... to Thailand! She had never been and I wanted to show her the country I had fallen for time and time again.
In two weeks we measured the streets of Bangkok, relaxed on the beaches of Koh Chang visited the Elephant Sanctuary (a lifelong dream for Jane) and absorbed the slow pace of life in Chiang Mai. That was all it took. We were going to come out to Thailand and teach and live free from the constraints of the society back home.
We were rebels with a cause and we got to work reading and researching. All was going well and we even moved out of the flat to live with our respective parents to save up our magic beans.
Then one day in the spring of 2012, a letter arrived. I still have mixed feelings about this letter. It was an acceptance letter in response to what was a half winded application wrought with self-doubt, for a place on the PGCE programme at Middlesex University.
As two adults in love and in their late twenties, this letter triggered something completely contradictory to what we felt before. We were both inexplicably filled with a yearning to put down roots. Suddenly, we're thinking about how many kids we might want; we're saying things like ‘property ladder', all the while justifying this sudden change of direction by telling each other that we could travel during the school holidays.
The year that followed was one of the hardest I have had.
The PGCE drew from me my will to teach, and at times, to live. It drove me to tears and overwhelming bouts of depression. However, I came out the other end as a qualified primary school teacher with a massive amount of respect for the profession.
The love and support Jane showed me over the course of this time sealed the deal and I popped the question. She said yes (Well what she actually said was "yes, OK, just get up, you're embarrassing me).
During the entire length of my PGCE, Jane and I didn't live together. I graduated in July 2013 and we still don't live together. In fact, during our 4 year relationship, we have only lived together for 9 months!
Why? Simple; we grew up in London and the cost of living is ridiculously high so we stayed at home with our parents. Granted, the price of a life here doesn't stop most people, but we've always been the type that likes to work to live, not the other way round.
As I stood on the verge of starting the search for a permanent teaching job in order to commence my NQT year, that old familiar feeling of wanting to pack my bags and run came creeping back.
I told Jane and we said we would have the summer holiday in Cyprus we had booked and think about our options there. Two weeks of sun was all it took. A week after returning from holiday, Jane had enrolled in a part time CELTA course at Southgate College and I started doing supply work to once again, save those magic beans.
This was less than two months ago and yet it seems like a lifetime. We said we will be flying out to Bangkok around March next year to give us a month or so to travel around before finding work but my god does time go slow when you want it to fly!
I spend my evenings drawling over job postings on Ajarn.com, searching for condos in Bangkok or Chiang Mai. I think I've memorised all the regional guides and I've run out of blog postings to read on there!
But as agonising as the wait is for me, my heart goes out to Jane. She works in a school full time, only to have every spare minute she gets, taken up by what seems to be a degree in English grammar, squeezed into 12 weeks of evening and weekend classes.
I can understand how she is unable to daydream of Thailand the way I do as she just can't look past her next assignment or observation. Leaving the house when it's dark and coming home to do more work when it's dark doesn't help. I had the same blues during the PGCE so I completely sympathise.
Still, suffering or no suffering, this time we are doing it. We are Thailand-bound and excited, if somewhat distracted for the time being.
Sun, smiles, a detachment from most of what and who we know. New friends, new haunts and new experiences. A different perspective on life.
Success or failure, this foray into the relative unknown will shape the rest of our lives. Our bond is strong and we will stick together no matter what.
Roll on March 2014!!!... seriously! Is it time yet?