Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I want to do when I grow up

The thought of this sabbatical has set my brain racing. The papers are in, they're signed by Popeye and me and waiting on the signature of a big wig in Sydney, but there's a very real possibility that as of 8 October, I'll be walking out of Tin Can, String and Whistle for nearly seven months.

The next question is what am I going to do once 8 October rolls around? Thankfully the first five weeks of this sabbatical are taken. I'll be in Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, Holland, Spain and England. Technically the sabbatical wont kick in until the first of November, the time before that will be paid holiday. On that date I should be swanning around Madrid.

That's the holiday I'm taking with the free airline tickets I won back in January. I'm fully accepting of the fact that the whole marathon is not going to happen now. The pain in my side is still there, greatly diminished, but it flares when I run. I've lost two months of real training. There is no way I can let myself cover 42.2 kilometres at a jog pace. 20-30 kilometre at a walk/run maybe. We have to be realistic. Though I'm annoyed at being a bit broken in body, I'm being philosphical about it. The universe doesn't want me to run - I have to deal with it. However, it has fired me up to run a full marathon sometime in the next two years, with adequate training. A marathon is still on my bucket list.

Anyway, that leaves me returning to Australia in mid-November, without a job, with some money in the bank and the opportunity to do something else. Part of the terms of my sabbatical is that I don't do anything that may constitute a conflict of interest, so that means no working for competitors - but other than that. I'm free to do as I please, work where I want, go where I want to go.

Realistically, I'll get out there as soon as the jetlag subsides, find some short term contract work in IT, testing systems, writing doco, maybe even training, of which there is always stuff out there.I'll end up working the bulk of the sabbatical. The change will be good for me as things are rather stale and unsettled around here at the moment.

In the ideal world I would spend these six months writing, start that novel, get some articles published, set myself up as a proper writer. However, I need to pay the rent. And rent where I live aint cheap.

But I will let myself dream big for a bit.
There is also a part of me that says that if I won the lottery I'd pack everything in, sit the GAMSATs and try and get into Medical School. Yep, Doctor Panda. I'm quite happy being a holistic healer peddling reflexology, massage, reiki, aromatherapy, Reference Point Therapy and tarot - but there is this little voice that's always wanted to be a doctor. Pity I'd never be able to cope with the general public.

If not medicine, then architecture - but as I'm a failure at physics, that's probably not a good idea.

Training as a Personal Trainer has crossed my mind more than once over the last few years - I could spend some time doing that. Or go back to uni early next year and get my French back to scratch - or pick up another language - I love learning languages.

If I dreamed big or took a few risks I could go training. I could ping my friend Jonathan in London to take me on as a Shakespeare tutor for a few months, working with young actors to get soliloquies up to scratch.

If there was more of a market for it I could read tarot, heal, rub, chant and do everything else I do on weekends for a living - but the work, though lucrative as beer money, won't pay the rent. Also, if I do more than two clients a day over an extended period I get burnt out.

If I had half an ounce of courage I'd go for some outrageous job, just for the experience. Grave digger (squeamish around death) , pole dancer (chubby pole dancer with no grace - roight), trainee proctologist, bike courier (don't have enought tattoos or piercings for that)... just try something completely out of the ball park. They reckon these jobs are great fodder for writing.

All I know is that this change will be wonderful - I just have to make it that way.



The Plastic Mancunian said...


So you're heading on a bit of a tour are you? I'm so envious (apart from the England bit - but that's where I live so I know what it's like here :0) ).

I really wish I could just take a sabbatical and escape out there somewhere. I am sick of the rat race and would dearly love to travel more and more. I have to make do with one or two trips year sadly.

Anyway - good luck on your trip and I'm sure everything will work out - you lucky thing.




Kath Lockett said...

I think you're being very brave....and right. You're doing the right thing and you never know where it might lead you.

Do a barista course, so you can make coffee and get writing ideas in your head based on the characters you meet. Tutoring high school kids in subjects you're good at? Council worker - Sapphire would love to drive those tiny sweets sweepers around the footpaths...... Receptionist at a brothel? Masseuse?

JK said...

What a fantastic thing to do. What an adventure, there will be plenty of writing fodder over those 7 months whatever you end up doing. The barista idea is not a bad one - you meet all sorts of characters in a cafe; Y and I always say it's a microcosm of life, and you see EVERYTHING.
Architects don't need physics - it's a common complaint by builders they have no concept of such things...

Enjoy it all

Pandora Behr said...

The making coffee would be good - but even I'm realistic enough to know that I HATE the general public with a passion. Three years in a department store while at Uni will do that to you.
But thanks for the good wishes - I know the change will do me very well indeed.