By the time you read this, I'll be on my summer holiday, to which I've been steadily looking forward, with increasing anticipation, even though, this time, I'm not leaving the country. I don't really mind that, but I confess to feeling pangs of envy earlier in the week, when I met up for a farewell drink with a mate who's about to head off on a two month vacation. He's an Australian (you could probably have guessed!), who's been working over here for a couple of years, and is now heading back home...very slowly, largely via Turkey and Sri Lanka, the latter being his ancestral home.

The concepts involved here are staggering: two months holiday! That alone is enough to boggle the mind of wage-slaves like myself, who have to cope with 24 days a year. I yearn for the student life, with three months off in the summer, when you could head off for a month round Europe without a second thought. Now, I'm reduced to bean-counting my time off, desperately trying to make it stretch the entire year. And there are large chunks of the world which *require* more time to see them than I have. If I was to "do" Australia properly, I'd be left with Christmas Day off. Maybe. And there are entire continents like that: while I've largely done Western Europe (being accessible in a Bank Holiday weekend), Asia, Africa and South America remain entirely closed books.

There's a long-term plan to deal with this. Unsurprisingly, this does not involve working in my current job, for my current employers, in my current habitation. It involves turning freelance and raking in huge sums of money on short-term contracts for six months of the year, then swanning the globe in style for the other six.

I appreciate one or two minor details need to be worked out before this scheme is put into effect...

Now, it would be possible to do it from here in Tulse Hill, and that remains one option. However, with a girlfriend living in America, and probably several years away from being able to move far, there are other important factors to consider. And then there's the fact that I've had enough of London. Supposedly, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. But I'm not so much tired, as bored of it. Eleven years working there in the same company, ten years living in London, seven in the same house; it's a very comfortable rut, but a rut none the less. I feel the weight of "responsibility" pressing down on me, and know that the windows of opportunity to change become smaller and less frequent the further I get down the line. For example, that's now seven years worth of junk I'd have to pack were I to move house...

The next window opens in about a year's time, when a bunch of ludicrously cheap share options the company gave me kick in. That would provide a good foundation, and so also a good time to grasp my courage and ship out to Chris in America -- after all, in addition to being closer to her, I can't think of anywhere else that's English-speaking and fond of British accents! :-) This is despite my suspicions that living in America would be very different from visiting it: braving serial-killers, tornadoes and rattlers on an almost daily basis. However, as my Australian friend pointed out, it's always the same: when he was coming to Britain, people told him to be careful of the IRA, and that's coming from a land where every living thing seems to be venomous. It's just a perfectly rational fear of the unknown.

Of course, it's quite possible that nothing at will come of this, and that my dreams will remain just that. But on the other hand, every avalanche starts with a single snowflake...

Hope your week is as excellent as mine is going to be. I'll be back in a fortnight or so.

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