Sunday night ponderings.

I like Sundays. I know not everyone does. I often work from home on a Monday so I don’t quite have the same Sunday night blues as if I had to get up and drive to the office, although I have booked myself into spin tomorrow morning at 6.30am for some odd reason.

I also love living on my own. Today I have mainly been pottering around at home not really doing that much apart from my ironing and moving stuff around in a bid to convince myself that I am actually sorting things out and getting rid of stuff I no longer need (I’m not of course). I had a conversation with some friends last night about how spending time alone means that you think lots, or can mean you think too much and need distractions. I have realised that random things have been swirling around my brain tonight and so I thought I’d share them as I’ve been wanting to write for a few days now but didn’t really know what to write about so this seems as good as any to curb my itchy fingers for a bit. In no particular order:

  • Are cocktail sausages are an acceptable evening meal, and is eating a massive chunk of halloumi cheese in one go any way nutritionally beneficial? The excellent thing about living alone is that it actually doesn’t matter as there is no one else around to judge. Oh, and grilling halloumi smells like pancakes. Which is annoying as I now could eat a pancake with lemon and sugar.
  • Will I ever be able to watch a whole TV programme without doing something else at the same time again? Probably not. Stupid smartphones/internet and having the attention span of a gnat.
  • Why is the reason “I’m just not that happy” not enough for some people to change something? There doesn’t have to be a big thing, or a big reason. You can ignore the other excuses. You know, the “well, it’s mainly OK” or, “I can’t do XYZ because it will affect ABC”. Live your own life for yourself. If you’re just not happy, then that’s a perfectly valid reason to make a change.
  • I never used to like beetroot but the other month I was given some by Shelley and I realised it was actually pretty nice. I can’t stop eating it now. Perhaps I will turn purple. I’m pretty sure it’s classed as a superfood though, but I don’t want to google to check just in case it’s not and I’m actually eating my body weight in empty calories or something. I do that enough with alcohol and Maltesers.
  • DS Troy was the best sidekick to Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. The other two were OK but not quite the same. My boss at work, James, looks very much like DS Scott. This disturbs me a little bit and I still think of it every time I see him and sometimes send him screenshots of the TV if the programme is on. Ha.
  • Why are some people so obsessed with relationships? Either being in one if you’re not, about not being in one when you are, or in other people’s (or lack of). Some people find it hard to understand that I quite like being single and that I’m actively NOT looking for a relationship. Yes, still – I know it’s been a while now since I got divorced but hey, there’s no time limit. And don’t forget the 2 year ‘thing’ with The Marine, it’s not been that long since that finished, and he’s kinda hard for someone to follow. So please don’t tell me that I need a good bloke or that I must want company, I am actually telling the truth when I say I like my own company and I’m happy!
  • I AM going to do Dry February. Alcohol, even just a couple of drinks, can fuck with exercise and food plans, and sleep. If I’m going to get fitter (something I want to do over the next couple of months) then drinking isn’t going to help. And yeah, I know I probably should have some more refined ‘SMART’ goals about what ‘fitter’ actually is, but come on, this is me. That’s FAR too rigid. Let’s leave it fluffy and ambiguous.
  • Social media can be a twat sometimes. Or rather, people can be twats on social media. Same thing really, same outcome. Sometimes I hate it all and I realise that one of the things I loved and that did me good on my trip away was the break from it all. Ironic then, that I am writing this on social media. It’s a double edged sword. It can be so useful, great, educational, connecting and social. But also it’s a massive time, energy and attention zap, or I find myself being transported into different lives that look much more exciting than my own and it makes me start to think about what I want to do with my life. Or there’s so much going on I don’t know what to get involved with. So many things, not enough time. I find myself so conflicted thinking about how I want to live my life and the place of social media in that life. Sometimes living in a hut in the woods is so tempting, haha.
  • I want to get some pictures for my flat. I need two big ones, and I want one I want to be a painting that I commission. I wonder how you go about finding an artist?

There’s more but well, it’s all a bit dull isn’t it? Life can’t be all exciting all the time. Sometimes I love these lazy pottering days, they’re needed. Apart from the eating of the nutritionally shit food. That’s not needed. One day I’ll not be tempted to eat big blocks of halloumi. But man, it tastes so good….

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Working 9 to 5.

I tend to write at night. Not sure why. Sometimes the words don’t come any earlier. Often, they start after 10pm which either means I don’t end up writing what I want, or that I end up going to bed mega late. Tonight though, that’s not too much of a problem, because I don’t work on Fridays any more. Yes, I am a PART-TIME slacker now. More on that later.

So today I’ve been thinking about writing, but I’ve not been sure what to write about. The topics have changed depending on what’s been going on today. And there’s been a fair bit today actually. Things that have happened, things I’ve done, feelings and thoughts I’ve had, news I’ve heard and conversations I’ve been involved in. SO MUCH for my tiny brain to take in.

Mainly I realised today that I’d just finished my 4th week in my new job. FOURTH WEEK. Really? Not quite sure where that’s gone actually, still feel like a newbie, still feel like I’ve only just got there and still don’t feel like I’ve got my head around anything. Luckily I’m not the only new person and so I don’t feel so alone, but I still mainly feel like I’m swimming through a murky lake underwater without my glasses, unable to see anything or the other side. It’s not a particularly great feeling, and I guess one of the reasons why people don’t change jobs that often. I was only in my last job just shy of 18 months, but I’d got to the point where I knew what I was doing, was doing OK at it and everything is nice and comfortable and easy(ish). So of course, time to throw myself into a new organisation, new role with no idea of what was to come eh? Be the new person again, get to know a new culture, new role, new people, new ways of working, new systems, processes and technology. Now, I love change probably more than a lot of people, but I kind of forget how fucking draining it can be. Yes, throw anything at me and I’ll generally just get on and do it, but it’s bloody exhausting too you know? Especially as I wasn’t really looking for a new job; I quite liked my old one. But, when you get offered an opportunity too good to turn down, you can’t say no right?

Incidentally there’s been a lot of talk about the transition curve at my new job, as I’ve joined to help implement some new tech as part of a HR transformation project. If you’ve not seen it, it’s basically the stages of transition that people can go through following a change. Actually really interesting, and useful, especially a week or so ago when I was having a bit of hobo-wanderlust wobble moment, which I’m thinking now was perhaps just a reaction to the change (well, some of it). Using the curve has helped me calm the fuck down, for at least a little bit longer. The head is winning over the heart right now.

transition-curve-e1327358138202Anyway, one thing that I am LOVING about my new job is that I’ve gone down to a 4 day week. Yes, I am skiving work on a Friday every week now. And I love it, and wish I’d looked at doing it in previous jobs a lot earlier. I have a 3 day weekend. And it’s bloody brilliant.

On hearing of my new slacker status, there are two things that people say to me:

One – “You’re so lucky, I wish I could do that” and two – “what will you do with your day off?”

Well, number one people – YOU CAN. You just need a couple of things really – firstly, be willing to take a pay drop. Yes, working one less day means a day’s less pay funnily enough. Circa 20%. Even though I did get a pay rise with my new job, it wasn’t that much more, and also I have to pay fuel costs now (I did actually apply for a 4 day week at my old place also but didn’t get it). So I’m down a fair bit each month, yes. BUT – and here’s the important bit – I value my time more than material things and money. I worked out I can still pay my bills, and still have fun money, just not as much. But I now get a whole extra day each week to have a better work life balance. And that is so much more important to me than having the latest handbag*. Second, it helps to have a flexible employer, one who will recognise work life balance as important, especially if there are no childcare reasons (a lot of people/organisations view part time working for someone with no kids a bit odd), and a role that is able to be done on less than full time hours. I know I’m lucky in that respect.

“Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.” ~ Prophecy of the Cree Native American Tribe

And number two people – I haven’t quite figured out what I will do with it yet. So far I’ve spent them catching up on stuff I’d been putting off and didn’t have time to do in the evenings: tax return, car in garage, food shopping (we all know how shit at having food in the house I am), that kind of boring but necessary shit. But really, my only plan was just to make sure I don’t waste it. Eventually I want to spend it doing something useful, either for myself or other people. Or both. And work on projects I’ve been thinking about but never had time to do. Maybe one day projects that might make me a bit of cash. To make up for the shortfall.

Work is necessary, I have to pay my bills right now. But to me it’s not something that should be hated or endured. I’m lucky in that I also actually quite like what I do, life is way too short to dread getting up in the morning, and 5 days is too much of a chunk out of the week to spend it doing something utterly boring or hateful. But I like what I do outside of work too. I don’t think what I do now is what I want to do long term, but I haven’t got all that figured out yet. I’m not sure I ever will but over the last couple of months I’ve figured out a hell of a lot more stuff than I have over the last 2 years. So I’m on the right track, which is a pretty good place to be.

But the next step is a break. To step off the treadmill and have a fucking rest. Not necessarily physical rest (what I’ve got planned in South Africa isn’t really what most people would call relaxing, ha!) but rest from the mind fuck that is Life. Headspace, a change of scenery and some time out. I want to stop the world and just get off for a bit.

And see penguins. On a beach. They will never fail to make me smile.

 

*as if I could give a shit even if when I did work full time…

 

 

Great things.

Over the time I’ve been away I’ve been pondering the things that I think are great about travelling.

The main one is time. Having loads of it. It’s not until I started travelling that I realised how much time is taken up by work, having a house and other general life stuff. Although, I’m a person that generally likes to be busy. It’s not that I can’t be (remember my 10 day silent retreat in India?) but it’s just how I like my life. So, when you have all the time in the world, sometimes it’s hard to fill it, or feel guilty at just having so much time to relax. But, it’s something I know is precious, and I know I’m lucky to have the chance to experience it, so I’m making the most of it while I have it.

Then of course there’s the obvious. No having to work! No having to get up at a certain time every day and put on those clothes that define you as being part of the corporate rat race. No having to deal with office life, politics or just the mundane day-to-day. No bits of challenging stuff to think about or have to deal with and no stuff to get stressed over. OK, granted, travel brings it’s own challenges and stresses but, well, they just don’t feel like work. Oh, and yes, no work does also mean no money but can’t have one without the other…!

So no work generally means no routine, as I guess so much of daily life is structured around work. What time you get up, what time you have your lunch, what time you go home etc. Travelling means you can pretty much do what you want when you want. All the time. Maybe not when there is a bus/plane/rickshaw to catch, or an event to go see though 😉

One of the best things for me is to not have an alarm clock. I can probably count on one hand (OK, maybe two) the amount of times I’ve had to set my alarm. The rest of the time, I just wake up when I wake up. Do not underestimate how great this is. It means that generally, even if I’ve had a crappy nights sleep (which, is most nights – I can’t actually remember the last night that I slept the whole way through without waking up) I wake up feeling quite refreshed, and don’t really get that mega-tired feeling during the day. Must be because I don’t wake up during a deep sleep cycle. And of course hand in hand with this is the fact that when travelling, you can always have an afternoon nap if you want (circumstances permitting). Not that I do very often, but every now and then, usually after either a night out or a particularly shit nights sleep.

Freedom and flexibility. When you travel you have it in spades. Especially when travelling alone. If I want to do something, I do it. If I want to change my plans, I do it. If I want to spend all day surfing the internet eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon then I can do it.*

Doing/seeing/experiencing Cool Stuff. Well, goes without saying really. And by this I mean generally everything. The sights, the people and the little things. Pretty much everything is Cool Stuff when you’re travelling. You have time to really see and experience it all. So, from the big sights like the Great Wall of China or the Taj Mahal, to the people watching in a coffee shop in suburban Melbourne. Or the cooking with a local family in India, and experiencing life with a local family in rural Zambia.

The people. I can’t not mention the people, because that’s made a lot of my trip. All the people I’ve met along the way. From the brief encounters to the friendships made, they’re all great. Even just people watching. Watching how they interact with each other, watching how real life is lived right in front of your eyes. I think I’m a naturally chatty people person, so for me it’s been awesome to meet all these wonderful people and see what life is like in so many different places. It’s opened up my mind and I’ve seen how other people live, which has inspired me and made me think about how I want to live my life. And yes, it’s not quite the same as before.

And last for now, but not least, there’s the education. I’ve learnt so much in these last 9 months than I have over god knows how many years before. About so many different things. About history, war, culture, religion, countries and people. About myself, who I am, how I deal with things and how I view life. I’ve learnt about life and living in general, sport, nature, children, kindness and generosity.  Whoever said that travel was the best life education was spot on. At least for me. I could never have learnt these things from books or TV or the internet.

There’s probably loads more great things, in fact I know there is, but these the main ones on my mind right now. I really didn’t know what to expect when I started my trip. I’d read travel blogs, and read posts similar to what I’ve just written, but it’s hard to relate if you hadn’t done it yourself. And now I have. And now I agree. But everyone will be different.

And yes, of course there are downsides to travel. It can be stressful and a hassle. Busy and exhausting. Hot and grubby. There are times when I miss home, friends and family. But they’re few and far between. The great things rule above all.

I wouldn’t change this experience for the world. I can safely say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve only got a couple of months left now, and I’m going to make the most of it. Make the most of all these great things.

But one last thing. By writing all the above, I don’t mean that there aren’t great things about not travelling. Life, however it is lived, is by it’s very nature, great. So, when I get back and settle in one place once again, I still will have a life filled with Great Things. They might not be the same, but I know that however I live my life, it will be awesome. Because I will make it so.

 

 

*Not that this actually happened, oh no

The little things.

Travelling makes you appreciate the little things. So many of my normal day to day things are at home back in the UK. Things I’d consider now as luxuries, although you might call them essentials. I can’t lug everything around in one backpack. It’s 60 litres, and I was determined not to take anything that I didn’t need, or to fill it to the brim. Pack light, that’s the idea. And it’s worked, it’s OK to carry around. Probably a bit too heavy, but there’s nothing I can get rid of now. I’m into my 6th month of travelling now, and have got packing and unpacking down to an art (although to be fair, I never really unpack as such). I know where everything is, and where it goes. All the pockets have their own purpose. It all balances out, to make carrying it easier. I can walk a few miles with it on, in the hot, hot sunshine (although, it’s really not pleasant) and can spot it a mile off on a boat, bus or in an airport. Everything I need is in my rucksack. Amazing the relationship that develops. My whole life in one little bag. All I need to get about. I keep it dry with it’s raincover. I tuck the straps away when it goes on the bus. I brush it down when it gets dusty.

But I kind of digress. This blog post is to mention the little things. The little things that matter. The little things that you really notice and appreciate when on the road. Which, I like. Because, back in what some people would call the ‘real world’ (although what is the ‘real world’? Another post for another time, that) you wouldn’t give these things a second thought. You’d take them for granted. Hell, of course I did. Which means they’re all the more special now. And make me realise what, in general, people take for granted. For perhaps what a lot of people don’t have to start with. Because, in a developed country, we’re so very lucky.

So, what are my little things? There’s probably more, but this is what I can remember now. I’ve spent the afternoon drinking Bia Hoi in Hanoi, so I’m bound to have forgotten some. But, you’ll get the idea.

1) Clean clothes. Oh, clean clothes. The smell of clean clothes. Now, I’ve not been walking around like a stinky student all the time, but, when travelling, you do wear clothes more times/longer than you would do at home. FACT. Then, when sending them off to get cleaned, the thought of getting a pile of clean clothes back is just HEAVEN. Especially if they come back smelling of lovely clean laundry. Which, again at home, if you use lovely smelling washing powder and fabric conditioner every time, is a given. Out here, not so much. Most of the time they’ll come back clean, but not smelling of well, anything. So that odd occasion when they smell of washing powder, well, it’s like I’ve just got a huge fat amazing birthday present.

2) A hot shower. Again, sounds like a given. But, some places advertise hot water as an extra. So, I’ve stayed in places that have had COLD showers. And I mean cold, cold, cold. Most have been just cool, and some luke warm. I’m in my 6th month and I’ve only stayed in ONE place that has had a HOT shower. A proper HOT shower. And yes, you might be thinking “but you’re in a hot place, you don’t need hot water”. Well, no matter how hot you are, you try having a freezing cold shower at 6am in the morning and tell me how you get on 😉 Oh, and this also combines the ‘decent shower that’s not a trickle of water’. When I get one of those, it’s like having a power shower. Bliss.

3) Going to a toilet that has toilet paper provided. Sounds odd perhaps, but a lot of Asian toilets don’t have toilet paper. Either just a bum jet (have mastered this but not the art of how you’re supposed to get dry without toilet paper – I might be missing something), nothing or a bucket of water and a scoop. Remembering to take toilet paper everywhere is a bit of a pain in the arse (ha!) and if I’m out on the beers, generally doesn’t last the whole day/night (I have the bladder of a gnat when drinking beer). You also can’t flush paper down the loo, so it all goes in the bin. It’s kind of second nature now, but when I started off I’d have to remember every time, and I really didn’t want to end up blocking an entire Asian sewer system. I needed the toilet today walking around Hanoi and stopped in a posh office block. It was a proper western posh type toilet. With toilet paper, proper sinks, soap and hand dryers. Ooh, it was just lovely. I probably spent longer in there than I should have.

4) Free soap and shampoo. This doesn’t happen that often, as, although the kind of places I’ve been staying at have been decent, it’s on the clean-but-basic scale and so they’re the kind of places that are lucky to come with toilet paper and a towel, let alone any complimentary toiletries. But, sometimes, even the cheapest places (£1.66 a night the cheapest so far) have some free soaps. This is good, because this is Free. Shower gel and shampoo is expensive, even in cheap as chips countries like India and SE Asia, so every little helps. That one free soap is probably a glass of beer in Hanoi. Probably. That’s my justification.

5) A decent night’s sleep. Staying in aforementioned basic-but-clean places generally means it’s a lottery on whether I get a good night’s sleep or not. For a variety of reasons: crap mattress (too many springs, too hard, no mattress, too soft), no soundproofing between rooms (Laos, I’m looking at you – lovely to look at but noisy as hell wooden houses), snoring dorm room mates (not stayed in that many dorms, so luckily only had to throw something at someone once), time differences (messages on my phone causing it to light up like a, well, a very lit up thing), having to get up very early for buses or trains (hasn’t happened often) and just general being-in-a-new place restlessness. I can’t remember the last time I slept the whole night through, so to get a night where I only wake up once or twice is pretty sweet. A whole night would be lovely. Maybe. One day.

6) Proper food. By proper food I mean food that I used to cook myself, or proper, healthy food. Maybe you’d class it as western healthy food. Or maybe just vegetables. When travelling I’m at the mercy of what’s out and about to eat. And OK, there’s a lot of fresh stuff available here. Exotic fruit, fresh [raw] vegetables. But, a lot of them need a kitchen to cook. Or a knife or other kitchen implement to eat. I miss eating stuff like just scrambled eggs with chilli flakes and spinach. Or fishfinger sandwiches. Or porridge and banana. Or salmon with just salt and a bit of broccoli on the side. Or raisins, which seem to be like rocking horse shit in South East Asia. So when I come across somewhere that does something resembling something like this, I might get a little bit excited.

7) New toiletries. Like a new shower gel, toothpaste or shampoo. Using the same thing all the time gets boring. Like wearing the same outfits day after day (clean or not). Packing lightly means less choice so something new in the day-to-day, no matter how small, can make a huge difference. When I get to Australia I’m going to throw some stuff out and buy some new clothes. Nothing too fancy, or expensive, just basics that are needed. And, oh, I can’t WAIT for that day. Although I do wonder whether I’ll have a tough time deciding what to wear when I get home when I get back to all my old stuff. Too much choice?

8) Not having to wear my hair up. I’ve got long hair for the first time in years. Years and years. In fact, I don’t think it’s ever been this long. Although, it could do with a trim, that’s for sure. Pretty much all the places I’ve been bar Zambia have been so hot and humid I couldn’t stand having my hair down and stuck to my neck; so, up it goes. So, as it’s getting a bit cooler, there’s been a few mornings where I’ve worn my hair down. What a treat! Oh, and the other thing is I can now wear my hair in a plait. I can’t remember ever being able to do this.

9) Getting messages. I love getting messages. People saying hello, or asking how I am. I always have, but even more so now I’m on the road. I know some people don’t think they have anything to say, or they think I wouldn’t be interested in ‘real life’ (there it is again, what is ‘real life’? I’ll blog about this soon) but that’s not true. I love hearing about what’s going on at home, or what people are up to. I always have been, so why wouldn’t I be now? As many new things I’m seeing or experiencing, it’s always nice to hear from a friendly familiar face. As most people know, I love to talk. To chat. And with sketchy wifi, I don’t always get online that much, so don’t assume I’ll always see stuff that’s on Facebook. Best to assume I’m not that up to date.

10) Using something up and not having to replace it. Like my malaria tablets. Every finished packet is one less packet that needs to go in my backpack. I’ve always loved having a bit of a clear out so I guess this is is just an extension of that. Every now and then I’ll go through my stuff in my bag and make sure I’m not carrying anything I don’t need to. Even though I know exactly what’s in my bag and where, I’ll still do it. Just in case. You never know, something might have crept in there while I was asleep. Maybe a gecko. Or some extra toiletries.

11) Having clean feet. I’ve pretty much had dirty feet since Zambia. Flip flops, dusty countries and lots of walking don’t always go together that well. Of course they get clean in the shower. But, 5 minutes later they’re filthy again. In fact, this could apply to not just my feet. Clothes get dirty. Covered in dust and dirt. Sitting on stuff, or having nothing else to wipe your hands on. Spilling stuff on yourself (this might just be me). Clothes getting covered in suntan lotion, mosquito repellent or tiger balm. Being rained on. My backpack is dusty as hell from the last two bus journeys. My coat smells like wet dog. There’s no time or option to be precious about stuff, although that’s not me anyway. Never take expensive or nice stuff travelling; it won’t stay that nice for long.

Just the little things. They can mean a lot. You can keep your expensive material stuff, I’m not interested. And I’ll not take some of these things for granted ever again. My top little thing? Clean laundry, for sure. You just can’t beat that smell. It’s up there with cut grass in the summer or fresh bed sheets. I was quite a simple creature before I went travelling, I suspect now I’m even more so. It won’t take a lot to win me over or make my day. And that’s just how I like it. Marvellous.

News.

It’s all news to you. My blog that is. Not really to me, of course, I’m the one living it. I’ve been thinking about my blog over the last few days though. About why I’m doing it, what I’m writing, who I’m writing for and what it means.

I seem to have fallen into a little bit of a trap of just writing about where I’ve been and what I’ve done in a very matter of fact way, and I really don’t want my posts to be like that. Since I started this blog at the beginning of the year, it’s been a place to write about my thoughts and what’s in my head (my thought bubbles), or about what I’ve been up to or how I’m thinking or dealing with stuff that I need or have to do, or just how I go about daily life. But not in a stilted, informational way. When I started my blog I wasn’t writing for anyone else but me, although I know a few people read it. Since I’ve been travelling it’s obviously a great way for people to keep up to date with what I’m up to and where I am, so I guess subconsciously that’s how I’ve been writing it. But I feel like I’m losing the way I like to write. So, I’m going to try to get back to writing how I want, and about the stuff I like to write about. But, don’t worry, I’ll still write about the places I’m visiting.

I think some of the problem is that I sometimes don’t have a huge amount of time to write. Now you’re probably thinking “Really? You don’t have a job and are pretty much on a permanent holiday and have all day every day, so what’s the problem?”. But that’s not really the case. I can be out and about most of the day, then maybe out again at night, or have stuff to do (admin days), and then some of the time I just don’t fancy writing. If I’m not in the right mood I find it quite hard to find the right words and put them down on paper (or computer, you know what I mean). Especially getting into the matter-of-fact way of writing – it’s not a style I like and I find it a bit boring. It’s less writing about what is in my head and more trying to recall what I’ve been up to over preceding days/weeks (which, when you’re quite busy doing new stuff all the time can be hard work; all the days merge into one and I forget what I did, and where, and when).

Blogging is a funny thing though. There are so many different types. I’ve thought about it, and I write this one definitely for me. If it entertains others and they enjoy reading it then that’s good as well. I know it’s a great way to keep my friends and family updated, but it can feel a bit like a window. A window that behind which is my life, my travels. A window that everyone else is looking through. Observing. But, never knocking at the door, or never wanting to open the window to speak to me. To say hello. To let me know what’s going on behind their windows. It’s a strange feeling. I like interacting. I like chatting and speaking to people. I want to look in other people’s windows, but I want to open the windows, to lean in and ask them questions or to just have a chat.  And in turn, I’ll answer questions, or have a chat.

So I’d love it if you want to leave a comment. Or ask me a question. Or just say hello.

Keep in touch. It’s good to talk.

Familiarity.

Today is my last day walking to and from work from up the hill in Lincoln. It’s just over 1.5 miles each way, and I pretty much walk the same route every day at roughly the same times (an attackers dream really, not ideal :/). So this means I can see the same things and same people most days (we’re all an attackers dream). Like the chap who walks his two dogs every morning on Yarborough Road. The school kids walking or biking up the hill – there are about 5 of them. The woman walking to work, sometimes on her own, sometimes with someone. The guy who is a friend of one of my friends who bikes up the hill in shorts, even in the winter (and who always looks surprised when I wave at him). The man with the Schnauzer in the park. The lady with the two dogs in a pushchair in the park. The two women who bike up the hill every day. The girl that I met at a party once, who I think works at the Uni, and who walks down the hill so fast I often think she might fall over.

Even though I don’t know their names or anything about them (apart from the guy on the bike, his name’s Mark and he’s a manager of a gym), they’re all familiar. Humans are creatures of habit and routine. Like when you’re on a training course and sit in the same seat each day. Or park in the same(ish) space in a car park. Or sit at the same spot at the dinner table. It’s easy to do, and natural. I do it.

So, I shall miss these familiar people that I see every day, even though I don’t know them. But, there will be new people and new sights on a new walk to work for the next few months. And then lots and lots of new people, sights and no routine. Which is good. Because, after all, familiarity breeds contempt. And who wants that?