September 29th 2008

Hands up all you Wayfarers who have been so impressed with a spot that you’ve visited on a Wayfarers’ walk that you proclaimed you could spend the rest of your life there. Now keep your hand raised if you actually did it. Not many I guess, but one who did was Andrea Schaffell who sold up her home in Washington, DC last April and moved into Leyburn (pop 2000) in the Yorkshire Dales of northern England in May 2008. Los Angeles-born Andrea has done 16 Wayfarers walks since 1997 including the Yorkshire Dales twice in 2002 and 2005. 'Yorkshire really made an impression on me,' she said. 'I just love the countryside with the gentleness of the hills in September and the big rolling views, plus the lifestyle of the people. They generally seem happy and enjoy what they are doing, and they are certainly friendly and welcoming.' So much was Andrea impressed that when she got back to the States from her first visit she inserted a clause in her will to have her ashes scattered in her beloved Dales. Then it occurred to her that she could do even better than that… Having worked for 14 or 15 years for Turner Broadcasting System in Atlanta, GA as a financial controller in the entertainment segment with time spent in London and Hong Kong, Andrea’s career took her to Washington, DC to join Lockheed Martin in Corporate Shared Services including VP Financial Services and then VP International Services supporting the company’s operations in 53 countries, a number of which she visited. It was a high-pressure life and eventually Andrea felt the call of the countryside and decided on a drastic change of direction. 'Leyburn drew me to it,' she said. The market town is small and rural and not too far from cities such as Newcastle and Leeds where she intends to seek an outlet for her professional skills. Leyburn is in Wensleydale near Jervaulx Abbey where Wensleydale cheese is said to have been 'invented', and only a couple of miles from Middleham, the racehorse training centre of northern England. Andrea rents a house in Leyburn at the moment. She has bought a car and has successfully taken the theory part of the British driving test. 'I think I’m the only American living there so I’m still a bit of a curiosity at the moment.' Any regrets? 'Absolutely not. It’s a nice town to settle in and from which to explore the wider area. I’m looking for a long-term commitment to the place and that includes buying my own house. It also means I won’t need to take a 3000-mile flight to the start of my next Wayfarers walk.'

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