The plan

In less than a week I fly to Buenos Aires. Then Bolivia. Then Peru. Then Colombia.

I thought if I was going to run away I had better do it properly.

Old-fashioned romantic notions of joining a travelling circus or stowing away on a ship to discover a new world paved with gold seemed a little ambitious, but I had no intention of taking the grown up and responsible step of immediately finding another job and maintaining a healthy bank balance.

For too long I had watched life sashaying past me, casting flirtatious glances and blowing me kisses as I sat immobile at my desk, unable to take up her whispered promises of adventure.

So on walking out of that monotone office for the final time I decided to scratch the itch which had been growing more insistent as my 20s slid past. To go travelling.

“You’re very brave”, a number of friends told me, trying to disguise their obvious concern.

“I would be too scared to leave my job and start all over again.”

It is a peculiarly London affliction, the terror of losing that steady income, of starting afresh at the bottom of the pile with less cash rolling in each month, and it is an understandable fear. Londoners have to run to stand still. Most people living in that great buzzing metropolis are so busy desperately trying to maintain their position on the fast revolving treadmill of long working hours, ever rising prices and manic, almost competitive, socialising that they are terrified to stop even for a moment to take a wider view and consider their choices.

People toil away for years in jobs which make them miserable because they feel they have no other option.

But this fear of temporary unemployment, of throwing in the towel on the makings of a successful career, is unwarranted, I think.

Yes, a pay cut is likely, yes job applications are a pain in the arse and yes, you are unlikely to step immediately into your dream role but happily in Britain there are still plenty of jobs out there – and life is too short to do something you hate.

So here I am. Young, childless, mortgage-less and right now job-less. I have nothing tying me down.

If I do not seize this opportunity to take off and see a bit of the world I may not have another opportunity for 20 years, I told my anxious friends.

So on Monday off I go to the home of tango and gauchos, where the late summer sun is still warming the grasses of the Pampas.

And after all, in the words of that wise old cove Harold Kushner: “No-one ever said on their deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.'”


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