Lethargy

This evening I am very tired and would very much like a nap, preferably the mid afternoon kind although I’m a bit late for that. It’s great to find that you have an accidental spare hour or two in the afternoon in which to sink into a hazy, sunny type of unconsciousness that feels like it goes on forever. I’m not such a fan of the lethargy that follows when the time comes to actually function again but I never learn my lesson.

I’m lucky in that I have the type of job that makes this possible. It’s a very restrictive job in many ways but as I live at work it does make sneaking away for a couple of hours easy sometimes. On the down side, it’s actually impossible for people not to find you if they try hard enough but usually they don’t.

I’ve had the type of day that feels like it’s gone on forever but I can’t think of any single productive thing that’s happened. I’m a military musician and had to sit through a necessary but mundane rehearsal this morning for upcoming events before a hurried lunch leading into an over-tiring half hour or so of circuit training. After this I had about twenty minutes to completely shower and change for the fourth time today before a mess meeting. The whole event has succeeded in making me suspect (as I often do) that I’m far too old to continue in this field, especially as there is a whole day of parade rehearsals looming up horribly tomorrow. I’m now nodding off in my second job as a security guard, dreaming of my bed again.

That said, I do really like my job. I love to play my instrument and I’m in a job where I can do this every day. Although I have some responsibility this really means that I get more freedom to do things my way; something I had an issue with in my younger years in the forces. Because of the way our units are structured there is also a lot of opportunity for a lot of different job and skills, so even if life seems a dull for a year or so it will never seem the same for long. The same goes with postings and hierarchy – in some ways no two years are the same.

The people factor is also a big one for me. I love to do my own thing and I am completely at ease in my own company, but being surrounded by people on a daily basis means I never really get lonely. Working closely in a team of forty plus people can seem really overwhelming at times, especially if we’ve been away for a few weeks together, but I’ve had some amazing experiences and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. The people I work with really are an amazing bunch of individuals.

A colleague and I with some new friends from St Petersburg in 2013

The huge downside is that we have absolutely no say over our time off, although we do get a fair amount of leave. Even week to week our schedule can completely change which is inconvenient for me as my house is a good two hundred miles north of London and the rail companies make a lot of money from last minute changes. It’s difficult to justify paying external rent in London and living at work can be pretty grim although the opportunity to live right in the middle of the capital is amazing. There is also the constant threat of being posted to a band in another area, which is basically a completely different type of job. These bands also have their plus points but it’s not a job that I’d like to do again.

So here I am, still completely conflicted about when to take the next step. I’m really in an extremely enviable position in which I have no real responsibilities, I am generally happy in my job and I’m also excited about the future, but I’m terrified of making a decision that I regret. There is definitely an element of fear in there, I’m used to a steady wage and I’m 100% familiar and comfortable in my workplace. My old self would probably take this as the very sign I needed to get out of my comfort zone, pack my bags and head towards my next destination…

This Week

So it’s Sunday and the day that I have to get on a train back to the big smoke and resume my working life.

I’ve lived in London for the majority of time over the last seven years. It’s an amazing city full of beautiful things, places and people but I currently yearn to live in my North Eastern flat full time, take life a little more slowly and surround myself with the lovely people that I’ve chosen to make my friends over the years.

Or do I?

I love my life generally but I have always had a huge restlessness and belief that the ‘next step’ should be taken imminently. My current plan is to become self employed, base myself at home and basically travel and live across Europe (to start with) for extended periods of the year. The van life dream is real to me and, I think, obtainable but it will take a lot of guts and work on my part. I’ve always worked for large organisations after a couple of drifter years after college so I’m not sure I have the confidence or skills to put myself out on the freelance market without a substantial financial safety net. I’ve also been in the same profession for the last thirteen years and so I don’t have any first hand experience of the current job market.

This said, my varied career history surely must lend itself to freelancing. I’m used to figuring things out, I’m organised and do relatively well in whatever field I find myself. I’m au fait with technology and can use/learn it quickly. Although I love my colleagues, and in fact they are probably the biggest reason I don’t leave now, I am very happy in my own company and love being on the road.

The difficulty is that I really do love my current job. It was something that I always aspired to and eventually did despite much concern from my family and friends. I believe that everything comes to a natural end and due to ill health and age I suspect that this is fairly imminent, although there is nothing yet to force my hand. My workplace is about to undergo another change; maybe this is the time to cut the cord.

So the big question is am I still daydreaming or should I put my notice in, brave the leap and put all of my energy into creating this new amazing life in my head. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve bought a little Romahome and plan to get out in that as much as my schedule allows to see if I really can hack life on the road. Maybe if I look hard enough I might actually find the happy place that is so defined in my mind.

These are my breakfast musings. This week this is where I am. Next week it may not be so.

The Beginning

I am a traveller when I can be, exploring life and aiming to make a living on the road. I plan to chronicle my thoughts, experiences, encounters and most importantly take many, many pictures of my evening meals for your perusal. This isn’t really the beginning – that was forty odd years ago, but it is the beginning of something, so thank you for joining me…

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Lewis Carroll