Monday, 15 September 2008

Going Places

I’m not great at switching off, especially when on holiday, especially when I have an idea to ruminate on or a book to write. The last six holidays I’ve been on with the family I have been pre-occupied by ‘Leap’, ‘Juggle’ and other bits and pieces.

Just back from a week in the north east of Mallorca where I was literally able to switch off - a real treat. Just one client ‘phone call in the whole week, plus I only checked emails at the local biblioteca a few times the whole week.

My two young sons made sure I did not get through my pile of books and papers to read. But I did get through a large chunk of Sean Condon’s ‘My ‘Dam Life’, a memoir of an Australian travel writer and advertising man’s years in Amsterdam. I have a love affair with the city and would love to live and work there for a time. So Sean’s book was an amusing insight into what’s it’s like for an expat trying to find his feet in the city (or more like trying to find an apartment, let alone his feet).

I wonder if Sean has read Alain de Botton’s ‘The Art Of Travel’? When I first read this extract a few years ago it seemed to sum up my passion for the city.

In one street lined with uniform apartment buildings, I stopped by a red front door and felt an intense longing to spend the rest of my life there. Above me on the second floor, I could see an apartment with three large windows and no curtains. The walls were painted white and decorated with a single large painting covered with small blue and red dots. There was an oak desk against a wall, a large bookshelf and an armchair. I wanted the life that this space implied. I wanted a bicycle. I wanted to put my key through the red front door every evening, I wanted to stand by the curtainless window at dusk looking out an identical apartment opposite and snack my way through an erwentsoep met roggebrood en spek before retiring to read in bed in a white room with white sheets.

Or maybe that’s just the romantic in me?

Either way as I said to my wife on the plane on the weekend, it’s great to know that we could go anywhere, just like that. I can literally work from any city or anywhere. So long as I’m close-ish to London to see clients. My business/ our family life is flexible enough to embrace change.

And regardless of where I go, that’s a very liberating feeling.

No comments: