How We Became a Gypsy Team

When you don’t like the situation you are currently in, take a break. Go on a little journey and ask life to show you the best option. It will answer.

We were living together in a shared house in Homerton, in Melody’s princess room in the first floor: on 15 m2 a huge white wardrobe with integrated mirror, and a kingsize four-poster bed with white roof. Gabriel was not happy to live in a small house together with 3 other people, and also Melody was fed up with that style of life.


He was still working as a freelance web project manager for a Viennese publishing company and she was making some money here and there with face painting and dance teaching. But even together it was impossible to find a nice little flat that would have been affordable. Prices in London were crazy.

And there was another problem: Gabriel didn’t like the city and insisted to go southwards. But Melody had found the life of her dreams in the UK, and a lot of friends. She was not ready to leave.

There was a huge dissatisfaction within me. I knew that I didn’t want to live like that – but also I didn’t know the alternative. You can call it a crisis. (Gabriel)

In this situation we decided to take a day off and start a journey into the unknown. We were heading northwards with the bicycles, with a big question in our minds – yes we were asking life itself where we should go. We were hoping to find answers in everything that would happen to us during this experiment.


Anchor & Hope, the origin of our inspiration

The first thing that was really happening was a huge argument about the right direction. Gabriel insisted to go through one street, and Melody insisted of knowing the way either. We were stopping and shouting at each other, making a huge detour in the end. But – we didn’t end the project like both of us were suggesting at some point – we had a delay, but we finally found the way together.

It was a beautiful day and we were cycling northwards along the canal. After several miles we made a brake in a nice pub by the water. We were looking at the narrowboats that were mooring along the canal. And suddenly I had a flashback.

I was remembering a scene from several months before. Melody and me were passing the canal by bicycle, and in this moment a narrowboat was taking a sharp turn into the canal. The driver was an older lady, standing upright at the end of her 60 feet boat like an old battleship captain, wearing a white lady-hat that was fluttering in the wind. The boat was long and the canal she was turning into was really small, with an even more narrow bridge ahead. While I was keeping my breath, she was holding the long tiller with her right hand – and a cup of tea in her left hand. It was an epic picture, something that can inspire you for a lifetime.

Suddenly it was clear what we are looking for. An adventure on the water. We got excited. We made plans. Melody remembered some friends living on a narrowboat, and called them up. Benois and Silvia, a french-italian couple, were inviting us for dinner on the boat, and we spent a lovely evening together, breathing in the atmosphere, and asking a hundred questions about everything. They were answering to our enthusiasm with patience and a good mix of pros and cons.

The only problem was that we couldn’t find any boat for hire in the biggest internet boating platform Apolloduck. We started to doubt if it was the right decision, or even possible at all. In the end we were just quickly posting an ad: “Couple searching for narrowboat to rent”. Honestly, how big is the chance that you get a reply in a market where so many people are searching for a boat to rent, and so little offers exist?

Exactly – If you are determined, it seems life is supporting you. Emma from Birmingham was answering, and she had a 52ft boat. We were looking at her pictures, falling immediately in love with the “Cockney Rose”, especially with the little illuminated stars in the corridor. And so fate took it’s course.


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