The Scene is Set

Money has changed hands and the sale is complete. I’ve just sold my family home to a man named Pavol who, I think, may have come from the Czech Republic.

I’m now officially homeless as well as jobless. Until a couple of weeks ago I was temping at the House of Commons, commuting, paying the mortgage but now possibly the biggest shackle to the daily grind has been broken.

Circumstances, events, coincidences have transpired to give me the greatest of opportunity to escape – and hopefully for good – the rat race that I’ve been frantically running for years.

Divorce has forced the sale of my house in Kent and the youngest of my two sons has just been offered a place at the University of East Anglia so would soon be flying the nest.


People that know me well may describe me as an organised and orderly individual but at this point in time my life is in chaos. The stars may have aligned but nearly everything I own is now scattered amongst numerous strangers, council recycling centres and charity shops. The complete contents of my life to date have been sold, given away, thrown away – very distressing – or squeezed into 35 sq ft of storage space.

There were two main causes for the chaos I now found myself in. Firstly, the job at the House of Commons had unexpectedly come up just a couple of months before I was due to complete the sale of my house. It was a great job but unfortunately, meant losing precious packing time to catching trains in and out of London five days a week. Secondly, our friend from the Czech Republic was insistent on the move date being brought forward by a couple of weeks. This had a further knock-on effect as I was due to complete the London to Brighton bike ride on the 21 June and any chance of training was now impossible.

Thanks Everybody

This would probably be a good point to mention that I’m not escaping alone. My trusty companion is Carole with whom I share the desire to see the world. For the moment I’m going to keep personal details about the other characters in this tale to myself for privacy and security reasons, this is, after all, a blog for the world to read – unlikely, I know!

I can’t thank Carole and my son enough for their help over the past few weeks to bring this day about. It’s been equally emotional for them too – even if for wildly different reasons – and I’m wholly grateful.

Pavol has been wandering around his new home for about an hour – even used the toilet – while Carole, my son and I are finishing cramming the last of our stuff into the back of Carole’s Mondeo and my Micra. Although his timing doesn’t follow the usual etiquette for the handing over of keys, I’ve managed to survive without being asked too many awkward questions.

I’d been through various plans of how I was going to escape but on this particular day the idea was to backpack around Europe staying at hostels for a few days then moving on. I’d start in the north – Oslo – then head south taking in as many famous cities and sites possible before arriving in Munich on 18 September to see the start of the Oktoberfest. After that was anybody’s guess!

I wanted to return to Munich; I felt drawn to Buddhist monks in Tibet; Machu Picchu would be spectacular; but they’d all have to wait as my grand tour was to start at home, the great British Isles.

The First of Many Beds

I was thinking about creating some new scale of marking time, this being day one of some sort of Colin calendar – Star Trek style star date, you get the idea. I’ll probably drop the time checks as well as they’re fictitious already and we’re only eight hours in.

Apologies to anyone from the publishing industry and/or those hot on their English, proof readers etc. Various elements of this tale have been/are being told after the events and I’m switching from wrong tense to wrong tense – I think.

We’ve booked into the local Holiday Inn in Bexley, locally known as the Black Prince. I thought we’d need a small treat after what I correctly anticipated would be a stressful day. A few drinks in the bar then off to bed.

So that’s the scene set for my great adventure and a perfect example of how to make escaping the rat race even harder. I may come back to various elements of the previous with more in depth details at a later point but, for the moment, let’s get this show literally on the road.