Time passing slowly

I finish up at my Australian job in exactly a month’s time. I’m beginning to experience that excited little knot in my tummy (rather than the usual tension knot) and I’m finding that thoughts before sleep are about my life in London – walking along the Thames, meeting people in local pubs, checking out The Globe Theatre again, sneaking into Fashion Week…

The travel plans are coming together, with flights and stop-overs booked. I was most pleased to discover the Hong Kong Airport has a hotel connected to it, so when we arrive very late at night we merely have to wander down a hallway to sleep. Then back again for our early connecting flight. Got to love that kind of Asian efficiency.

We’ve been hunting around on real estate sites getting excited about what tiny little studio space we can call home for an exorbitant amount of money each week, but it’s hard to commit to an area or what’s on offer because we don’t know exactly where we’ll be working. I aim to freelance for a bit (and am stoked a clever psychic I know, Tina, says there will inevitably be some cool work in store), and Cooper already has a place within a recruitment company but is interviewing for a specific school spot over the coming months. Tonight he is scheduled for three job interviews with schools from around London. He just got off the phone with a Principal touting a very Pommy accent but who is not only Australian but born in Ipswich, same as Cooper! Chuffed that his interview went well, Coops is crossing his fingers for this year 4/5 gig at a lovely little school near London-town, but similarly relishes the experience he’s just had on a lengthy phone interview – it will always come in handy for next time if he misses out on this gig.

I’ve already jumped the gun a little, scouting around for flats in the vicinity of this school – or between there and London (within half an hour to London and close to a tube station). It would be cool if Cooper scored a job in this quaint area, so central to the city. Once he is placed though, we’ll know which area we’ll be calling ‘home’.

Cooper’s just met another teacher at his current school who has ‘done the London thing’ and she raves about the experience. She (like my journo mate, Nicole) has passed on useful tips including websites like gumtree.com where you can seek short term accommodation enabling you to search for something more appropriate in the meantime. Nicole (my aforementioned friend who is a budding Finance journalist in London, and old pal from way back in the Lifeweekly Gold Coast days) has been a wealth of knowledge, helping me with everything from industry job links and websites to areas where we should seek to work, live and party.

I’m dead keen to start getting my resume out there – although I better get cracking and update it. So far we’ve sorted out a few mundane items like suitcases, air tickets and stop-over hotels. I really need too check into what insurance we need to take out, order my contact lenses and cancel unwanted accounts. Augh! Must put those on a list… I have several of those running simultaneously right now.

I’m excited to cosy up in front of the computer and gaze out at the grey London sky, dreaming up all sorts of words to put to paper that I can share through magazines or the Internet. I’m looking forward to living and writing again. I’m moving to London from a sunny environment, sometimes is only sunny on the surface. Grey skies to me will not necessarily be depressing, but rather inspirational and liberating. This adventure is not the stereotypical ‘gap year’. There will be no pause in life while we ‘hang out’ overseas. It’s going to be an adventure, for sure, but this chapter is about learning, growing, networking, evolving in our lives and careers. Moving to London is about adding to our repertoire of collective skills, so that when we come home (or move anywhere we choose in the world) we’re even more educated, excited, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial than ever before.





A break from the mould

Am I having a midlife crisis and more importantly, what does that mean? Being a responsible journalist (okay bIogger, what’s the difference these days?) I did my research and consulted Google. After a few taps of the keyboard I was greeted by the following definition: a period of personal emotional turmoil and coping challenges that some people encounter when they reach middle age, accompanied by a desire for change in their lives (MedicineNet.com).

The part that resonates with me is the bit about a desire for change and maybe a little bit about being middle aged.  If I want to take a break from my life in Australia and live overseas, does that mean I’m suffering a period of emotional turmoil? Most guys my age who experience this feeling of uncertainty either go out and buy a sports car, or hook up with a girl 10 to 15 years younger. I have to be honest, both of these options sound appealing; especially the sports car. I’m sure many of you thought I’d opt for the younger girlfriend. No chance with Sarah reading over my shoulder.

I’ll be honest life is great – I have a wonderful fiancée (Sarah) of almost 10 years (and she’s quite happy still being my fiancée), and a baby boy named Harry (our blue healer puppy of almost 9 years). So why do I feel dissatisfied or disheartened with my journey through life?

Sarah and I recently returned from an overseas trip and the moment we touched down on the tarmac it dawned upon me. This is as good as it gets. Small trips abroad every couple of years to scratch an itch that just won’t go away. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, spoiled or even selfish but, why do I have to conform to years of debt, children and the routine of life. Is there a time limit to when we have to be mature, sensible and financially secure? Can’t I relive my youth and run away? Or am I being irresponsible? So many questions to ponder and who is qualified to answer them?

I decided to consulted the thoughts and opinions of those I respect and value; family, friends, several bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and the local cab driver chauffeuring me home.  

At first the discussion centred on gossip, financial security, owning a home and the obvious question all engaged couples are asked (especially by mums) what about children? Time to open another bottle of Sauvignon Blanc; don’t you just love bottles of wine with screw cap lids?

Several hours and a couple of bottles later the conversation suddenly takes a more favourable path. Before I continue, I must mention that all of my friends are married with children, paying off home loans and are all engrained in the cycle of life. I must also state they are all blissfully happy; well most of them anyway and I have know doubt in the future I’ll aspire to be like them.

Back to the conversation, which I must say was making me feel more assured and excited about my decision and less concerned about the label bestowed upon middle aged men by society. Suddenly the diplomatic words of advice were being replaced by responses of support and encouragement with an underlying tone of envy.

By the time we’d collectively finished the final bottle of one of Barossa Valley’s finest, the support was unanimous and overwhelming. ‘You’d be mad not to go,’ they laughed. What’s stopping you from taking a break from life and jetting off they all argued? Suddenly the spotlight was back on me. I always liked being the centre of attention.

I still felt I needed to consult the one occupation that many would deem society’s therapists, or to a lesser extent – community sounding boards.  I hear a car horn beep from outside. I say farewell to my friends and hop into the taxi where I’m greeted with a friendly g’day mate, were you heading? I’m glad you asked…