Well it’s the afternoon of the 2nd of January 2010 and I’m sat in my flat listening to the new Transformers (The Score) Soundtrack, kindly recommended to be my Jimi Simpson.
The music of course providing wonderful inspiration for the coming year – a year in which I’ll make a number of big changes; the main part being leaving my job of the last 6 years, renting out my flat and travelling to Africa to cycle with one of my best friends; Dan Harrison, the man behind www.BetterLifeCycle.com who is already cycling from London to Cape Town.
Where I start and how long we cycle together is a bit of an unknown, but it could be Cairo to Cape Town!
To give up my job in the middle of a recession is a little crazy I agree, but the time is right and the opportunity of a lifetime awaits – perhaps now or never.
A New Year, a New Beginning
Technically of course the New Year starts on the 1st, but I had a hangover. Not that I delayed the start due to accidental binge drinking, rather I planned it that way – so no accident! :)
So here we are; my first blog post about my intentions for this year and beyond. Wow; I can’t begin to tell you how unplanned I am at the moment – the idea has been lurking in my head for a good few months now, but only officially committed to over the relaxing Christmas break spent with the family.
I don’t have a bike, I’ve never been to Africa; I haven’t cycled in well over 10 years and I don’t quite know where I’ll start or finish. But I am slightly mad, so that’s a good thing I reckon!
The biggest change and event to come will be handing in my resignation to Bird & Bird LLP; I started there as an Analyst Programmer and leave as a Business Analyst.
This blog post will of course not be published until such event has taken place, for very obvious reasons!
But…my plan is to go for a Coffee with Karen Jacks, who’s the Head of IT Services and general rock of the department. She (along with the then Applications Manager, Damien Behan) recruited me and has been immensely supportive ever since, so it is only right I explain to her openly and honestly what my intentions are, before formally handing in my notice.
I plan to give her the first copy of this blog post – so what you’re reading is in part my notice, only Karen get’s to read it first – I thought that was a nice way of doing it.
Either way, it will be a sad moment.
The closing of one chapter, the start or another…
The most common question I’ve already been asked (and expect to be asked) is why on earth am I doing this? The answer lies not in a single big reason, but a compendium of smaller justifications.
The opportunity presented by Dan already being en-route on his epic cycle ride from London to Cape Town is golden; it’s the perfect opportunity and one I’m well aware that if I don’t take, I’d almost certainly look back on in 5/10 years with enormous regret at not doing. I am of course very conscious of gate crashing Dan’s adventure, but we’ve both talked about that on numerous occasions and agree that doing this leg of the journey together would be rewarding beyond both our imaginations…such an exciting prospect.
If I’m honest, I’m also quite tired; physically, mentally and emotionally. Just like a car needs a service and oil change; so do I. Kind of like a computer needs a defrag (those who know me will know that’s an analogy I use a lot – but it’s the only geeky comment I will put in here I promise!).
I believe I do a reasonably good job at work though – a place where I’ve met and worked with a multitude of wonderful people who I’ll miss, that’s for sure. But that’s also a good thing; I’ve been there 6 years now and have an opportunity to go out on a high; for colleagues to become friends and safely close that chapter of my life and move on.
I don’t want to simply go from one job to another however as I don’t believe that would be right for me to do; I need to do something completely different and challenging first. Something that involves me doing things I’ve never done before, in places I’d never imagined being – in a way in which I thought only “those mad people on TV” do. So, cycling the length of Africa with everything I need on the bike sounds like just the ticket!
I’ve also been in my flat for nearly 4 years now and over this time have made a number of changes to it…big improvements believe me, no more is it a 70s Swedish pine palace! With interest rates being so low and likely to stay low for at least a year, renting out the flat seems like a very attractive possibility and will hopefully provide me with the funds I’ll need out in Africa.
The planning starts now…
So that’s the rough (very rough!) outline. I have no idea how this will pan out, so do watch this space. Listening to a Hollywood soundtrack as I type you’d be forgiven for thinking this is all a bit of a pipe dream; but it’s something I’ve been weighing up for a good few months now. You’d also be forgiven if you’re thinking “you really don’t know what you’re in for”! You’re right; I don’t, I have absolutely no idea and I’m taking a risk. But that’s the beauty and that’s the challenge; nothing is ever easy so it’s just time to get on with it.