Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Last 2 years Part 2 - Finding my place

One of the first things that I did on arrival in the UK was to head down to Schumacher College in Devon for a course: Strategies for Creative Social Change. This was a deliberate plan, and my arrival in the UK was timed around the dates of this course with the aim of connecting with like minded people and finding out about initiatives in the UK that I might want to get involved with. It was brilliant course, I met some great people and ended up volunteering at the college for a few weeks.

I did think that I would like to live in Devon, but I found that I actually preferred the Fens! Crazy I know, but after a life time in the desert and the flat lands of Cambridgeshire, I have grown to love big open landscapes, and Devon just felt claustrophobic. Also, the whole reason behind returning to live in the UK was to be close to my parents for a while, so really Devon was not the place for me to live. It is however a beautiful place to visit.

It took me a while to come to terms with the idea, but eventually I realised that March, the town where I went to school, was actually the best place for me, for a while at least. After you have lived in the desert for 10 years, this little old market town is actually quite a pretty place. It that has all I need, property is cheap, it's close to my parents, and has a good road and rail connections when I want to escape.

I also spent some time trying to find myself an interesting career. Everything just seemed so boring after the work I was doing in Central Australia and nothing really caught my attention. I applied for a couple of teaching jobs, but when I found out more about the the UK education system I withdrew. I tried to get involved in my dad's farm, started to investigate setting up my own business and looked in to creating a social enterprise but all ideas were met with negativity. I had forgotten just how pessimistic and negative attitudes can be. In Australia people seemed so much more encouraging, and everything was possible, but here it seemed I would be better of banging my head with a rock!

I tried to find my inner Aussie and ignored the rest of the country for a while. I bought a house and set to work renovating and eventually I found a job that didn't require selling my soul. I work part time as a maths tutor and am really enjoying it. I have also started a one year course at University College London to become a 'proper' specialist maths teacher. I am thinking that in the future I can work from home as a private maths tutor. The ideas of running my own business and social enterprise live on!

Once I had finished the house and got used to my new job I faced a new challenge. For the first time since I started working for a living in 1988, my work did not consume my life. I now had weekends, and evenings, and days off!  Suddenly I was one of those 'normal' people, that work to live rather than living to work. After a brief time of wondering what other jobs I could do, I realised that this meant I had time for a life, so I set about making one!

As a result of all of this I am quite a different person to the one I was 2 years ago. Instead of working too hard, sleeping too little and being totally consumed by my work, I do my 25 hours a week and come home. Having never had 'a life', it was a bit hard to know where to start, but after a while I began doing those things I always wanted to do. I have created a garden, made chutneys and jams from my own produce, and started a worm farm. I spend more time with my family, knit, and go for walks. My most exciting recent addition is my 3 chooks, Vera, Amber and Speckled Hen.

Now that I have managed to catch up on the last 2 years in 200 words, I will endeavour to keep you up to date...

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Last 2 years... Part 1

So, it's been a while... but I am guessing that most people that are likely to read this know that I left Alice Springs at the end of 2008, on a road trip with my pal Sue, who came out from the UK to share an adventure southwards, down the Stuart Highway to Adelaide and then along the coast to Melbourne.
White Lake

At this point I still thought I was going to live in Tasmania, thought when I look back now I don't think that was ever the case. I think it was just a lie I was telling myself, as if I had accepted the fact that I was moving to the UK and leaving Australia I don't think I would have ever got on the plane. 

I did get on the plane though and my first stop was Ho Chi Minh city to catch up with my friend Ehpriya. Then on to Cambodia where I did the predictable temple tours. I LOVED Cambodia. It became my new favourite country, the people are so lovely and the food was delicious. The temples were quite impressive too!

I then went to Thailand for 10 days of fasting and detoxing at Samui Detox. A brilliant place that I would thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in improving their own health. I was so impressed I actually went back again this year!
From there I travelled to the UK - arriving mid February to a country covered in snow. Quite a shock to the system, particularly as I had anticipated being greeted by my mum and some warm clothes. The snow meant they were unable to collect me from the airport so instead I made my way by train, across central London wearing as many of my hot country clothes as was possible, all on top of each other! I must have looked a sight - fortunately it was 2 am on a Friday and no one that I encountered was sober enough to notice.