Saturday, December 31, 2011

Feeling ready to go!

I had a quiet (well, perhaps not quiet in the traditional sense but lovely nonetheless) family Christmas at my Aunt's house this year. And my grandparents did an extraordinary job in finding me this book:

I've been flicking through it and, on top of recipes designed specifically for use in a VW campervan, it has all kinds of tips on how to prepare for travelling in the van, how to scavenge for food and how to have fun with eggs (apparently a cliff top is ideal for this purpose). So well done Nanny and Gampa!

I've also been looking into pet passports. I have an old cat at home. In fact he's lying across my chest purring right now, in a vain attempt to restrict my typing on the laptop. And it seems that I could quite easily bring him along on the European leg of the trip. But I've been trying to decide whether than would be fair... he's 16 years old now, an old boy who's really used to his home comforts. I can't help thinking that it's just too late to try and get him into the camping lifestyle. It'll break my heart to leave him at home for so long, knowing that I'm unlikely to ever see him again, but it surely has to be the best thing for him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Well today it happened

We were gathered into a corner of the office and told that five people from our small team were being made redundant. Of course there's the usual consultation period and so on, but it's basically been decided.

I immediately grabbed the boss and revealed my travel plans.

So now it's out in the open... and hopefully I can save someone from losing their job.

No going back now!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Feeling bad about work

I don't need to hand in my notice at work until the 9th January - my contract only requires 1 month. I could in theory tell my employers about the plan early but I don't want to cause any upset, so for now it remains my little secret.

The problem is I'm suddenly getting all this gushing praise from the senior management.

The CEO of my company, based in the US, has just sat me down to talk about 'how things are going'. He told me that there may be some redundancies announced in December but that they hadn't yet made their final decisions.

In the same breath, he told me that I would be 100% safe from those redundancies - that I'm very valuable to them and that I have an extremely bright future with the company. He observed that I seemed rather relaxed so I said, "there are always options", and he threw his arms into the air, crying out, "I know but please don't take them - please, please, stay with us here!".

So I chickened out of telling him.

I couldn't bear to stay working beyond my scheduled date but now I feel like I'm letting people down and, I suppose, missing out on opportunities. Is it possible that they'll actually guilt me into staying!?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Just ten weeks to go

When I was 16 years old, I wanted to leave school and travel round the world.

The world said, "No, do your A levels".

When I was 18 years old, I went to university to train as a nurse and travel round the world helping people in need.

The world said, "Get a proper job".

So the world and I had a chat about our issues and eventually came to a compromise. I would get a proper job, a 'career'. I would be Miss Corporate Bitch and I would be the best corporate bitch I could be. I would buy a house, drive a car, adopt a cat and do all of those things that the world expected...

...but it would have an expiry date. 9th February 2012, my 29th birthday, would be my last day of compliance. On this day, I will retire from my job, from the structure of 'normal' life and from the trappings of materialism. On this day I will be free.

And I will travel the world!

So that day is nearly here and I can hardly believe it. Suddenly, after 10 years of preparation, I'm entirely unprepared. So I have two lists to make: the first is a very sensible list of things that I need to do before the date comes round, and the second is a much more fun list of the things my new freedom will allow me to do.

List 1
Before the 9th February, I must:

  • Hand in my notice at work.
  • Hand in my notice at the flat I rent near work.
  • Evaluate all my monthly outgoings and cut the ones I'll no longer need.
  • Make sure the cat has a home (he's 16, I didn't think he'd live this long).
  • Sell all my wordly possessions on eBay or at boot sales.
  • Sell my car.
  • Get my campervan insured for long-term European driving.
  • Work out how to communicate with the rest of the world... mobile phones? Internet? Is it even necessary?
  • Book and host three parties, one in each location of the UK where I have close friends.
List 2
After the 9th February I will be:
  • Driving to my parents' house in Southern France for a visit.
  • Taking my 1972 VW campervan around Europe.
  • Visiting East Asia and India.
  • Learning about Africa.
  • Discovering South America.
  • Getting a working holiday visa in Australia (while I still meet the age limits).
  • Meeting my ex-boyfriend's Aunt in Canada.
  • Meeting hundreds and hundreds of new people, and discovering the worlds I've been sheltered from all these years.
Let the planning begin!