It’s late March in Brighton UK and it’s cold. Still cold. In fact it’s been cold since November and everyone is rather sick of it now. Lengthening days maybe, but it’s still well below zero at night, the sky is as grey today as it has been for months and whole swathes of the country are still buried under snow while TV newsreels show footage of dead, frozen lambs on loop somewhere up north.
Add to that my approaching 40th and the loss of my father last year, followed rather quickly by one of my brothers, and you start to see why I might want to make a change and do something different.
But that’s probably not enough to explain why two days ago I handed in my notice on a well paid, full time job with good benefits and pension, just as the UK hovers on the brink of a triple dip recession. Or why in August my partner and I will fly to Rio and work our way through to Santiago. On to Auckland, Sydney, before arriving in Thailand for Christmas. After which there’s a big blank section that ends with a flight from Singapore to London via Helsinki around 8 months later.
A classic, simple Round The World itinerary. A gap year classic taken by hundreds, if not thousands, of British teenagers every year before heading off to uni.
Except I’m not a teenager and I’m not on a gap year. I’m 39.
Some of my friends (and quite a few of my work colleagues) are saying mid life crisis and maybe they’re right. But maybe they’re not! It’s hardly a tattoo or a motorbike.
I’ve been travelling for the last 18 years on and off, ever since I studied French and Spanish at university and spending 9 months living in one or the other. But since then it’s been a weekend here, 2-3 weeks there and a lovely month in India after being made redundant. And by doing that I’ve ticked off most of Western Europe, Hawaii, New York, San Francisco, Australia, Vietnam, Peru, India, Kenya, Hong Kong and Mexico.
But that’s never been enough so now I sit in meetings at work all the time knowing that in a few months I will be turning my back on security and routine and heading off to the unknown.
Now let’s talk tattoos…..