Tag: Edinburgh

The times they are a-changing

Bob Dylan wrote this song and published an album with that title many years ago, ‘The times they are a—changing’.

As many of you, if not all of you, we as a family spent a lot of time evaluating things during Covid. From what we could do to the house, increase and change living space, to extensions. Are we living in the right area, will Brexit affect us, and what is the way forward? How and where do we want to spend the next 10 years of our lives. These questions and more went through most people’s heads during the pandemic.

My wife and I did the same. Given she is from Scotland, and that’s where we met many years ago, in Aberdeen, and I am from Germany, there could be two obvious choices.

To a cut a long story short, we made up our minds. Edinburgh it is. Back home for the wife, free universities, and a possibility to join the European Union (if ever so small). A city called ‘Athens of the North’ (although some say Paris), not much bigger than Brighton, on the coast with some amazing outdoor activities, lochs to explore and mountains to climb. We are all excited, although it took the boys a few days to get over the initial shock but they took it very well. And of course, we are close to the mother in law too. Germany just doesn’t seem to be a possibility for any of us to move to.

My biggest question was around ‘can I continue my career’, and it turns out that my current contract is very happy for me to move. Given the changes in the way we are working and companies being more open to remote working, and I am confident they will not change, location is less of an issue in the future. As a matter of fact, it hadn’t mattered whether I was working from just North of Brighton or Land’s End for the past year. Whilst I believe that I need access to the next job’s HQ, it might just be enough to do so every couple of weeks. If you look at our US friends, they work remotely for many years. And it works. My biggest fear was to not be close to London. All I am changing though is the access from 90 minutes door to door on a train, to a plane (maybe 2 hours all in) or early train (4 hours) – and the certainty that this will be less often. So I am sold, besides there are some very interesting start-ups and companies in Edinburgh too!

Plus, and I look forward to that, there is the chance to stay a few nights in London as I did in other European cities. This always allows for nice dinners, activities and enjoying a city properly. Something I haven’t been able to do in our current location as late night trains weren’t reliable.

Now the search begins. Which area to move to? Which house? Temporary accommodation? Schools, school intake? It is going to be a stressful time. With the lockdown easing, I cannot wait to spend some evenings back in the Scottish pubs, sample the local ale. Even for me, after many years in London and the South, it is a homecoming. I cannot wait.

And we have settled on an area for now, South Queensferry, and plans are firming up.

Will it all be better?
Will the grass be greener?

No, of course not. And to be honest, house prices are not too much different to where we live now. However, there will be some things that are better, some things that are worse. As always. Anywhere you go. At least we still got the same super markets, take-aways and language, so it will be very similar 😉

What I am looking forward to?

It’s the independence from London. A new beginning, new networking, and the access to a city with a culture that resonates with me. London got a bit too big and too far away from where we lived. As a close friend of mine said when we moved out here, it’s a long way out. And it is, particularly with a unreliable train service. I felt I didn’t have access to London as much as I would have liked. For the past 12 months I have been sitting in a room in front of a camera. This room could have been anywhere, but soon will be within throwing distance of mountains, outdoor, and the sea. We can pop up to my MIL for tea, see family and make new friends. The boys will have access to excellent and free education.

And I can’t wait to see an opera. Silly, because I don’t even like operas. But I could, if that makes sense. And then take a taxi home. Living quality just moved up a notch.

Our house in Hassocks is on the market, and the journey has begun. Come and buy, Hassocks is one of the 10 most sought after areas in the country!

We cleared out years of stuff, despite having done that already a year ago. It’s the ‘second round’ where you go a step further in terms of what you keep. We made cash on eBay and local selling sites. It’s liberating, and soothing to be honest. I find that anyway. It’s that time when you evaluate what’s important.

Anyway, here we go. Wish us luck. It might be quite a journey until we settle into our new place and got it the way we want. Time will tell they say, and we are confident we made the right decision.

And that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

See you around!
Volker

Sunday Column (439)

Hello friends. I noticed that, if I am awake early on Mondays, that this is good writing time. So I am on another flight. Just about 16 hours after I disembarked my last. Yet the last one was for fun. My wife took me to Edinburgh for the weekend. It was amazing. Not only did you not have to worry about the kids but could do all the grown up things kids are not interested in. Culture, sight seeing, castles and whisky tastings. Plus, my wife took me to a restaurant, allegedly the best one in Scotland, the Witchery, where I ate the best steak I ever had in my life (and I had a lot), and I discovered the most interesting and tasting Italian blue cheese I ever had too. What a great weekend. Thank you again.

Later in the week I got a belated birthday present. Two actually. One was the picture of a Buddha my youngest drew. I love it. I even got two copies, one for each office. How sweet is that? The other a book of pictures and quotes collected by my wife from my closest friends. It was very emotional to read the impact I can have on lifes. I love you too guys, and this is only the beginning. 40 is the time you turn up the heat, put your foot down and enjoy the wind in your hair. Because you can. Because you don’t know how much longer you can do it either.

So as I wander through the airport on Monday morning, I am tired. Of course I am. The cold I had is still lingering around. Maybe it is more of a hay fever. The weekend was exhausting. I am happy though and that’s what matters. I am trying to think how we best plan our holidays over the next year(s). Also, I am listening to my podcasts again. This time it is all about passion. That someone should not necessarily want to be like someone else, but everyone is an individual. Realising you don’t want to be Steve Jobs or Anthony Robbins is the first step to realise that you are not like them. As I have learned over the years, it is about what you can take from any of those individuals and how you can put it together to form your self. The podcast guest suggested that you shouldn’t quit your job and start working on your passion. A passion is still what you do in your own time. And if that takes off from a side project, so will be it. Those podcast paired with the book I am reading about evolutionary coaching just make a lot of things come together. What an amazing life we are living, and slowly it all seems to make sense. The dots are connecting more than ever before. Wow.

Discovering your passion as something like ‘helping others’ and ‘developing others’ is great. That’s what I did. And if you as a reader of this blog or someone reading my productivity book is interested in what my opinions are, then please share and get engaged. I am just someone with some strong opinions on certain topics. I believe I know how to set up a productive work life scenario and work efficiently for others. I believe I am mentally strong and have a good working routine. A routine that allows me to cope with the workload and life load. And whilst doing all that, I still have a lot of fun. I cannot see myself being the Jim Rohn or Darren Hardy or Anthony Robbins but I can envisage to offer seminars for lifes’ little tricks in years to come. Not in my 40ies though 😉 And one of the reasons is that once I stopped university, I started learning. Life experience, personal development books and so on. Experience of others that helps me to go through life. And that experience is something I’d like to pass on. But I am far from perfect and yet have many years of (life’s) training to come. Embracing this makes it even so exciting. Evolution at its best.

Bad news this week are coming from Manchester. A terrorist attack killed teenagers and hurt a lot of people. Terror at a ’teenager event’. 22 people died. A 22 year old was named by the police. I am speechless. Those kids had their whole life ahead of them. A 22 year old, someone who just started out in life, what did he know? Was it hatred or religious reasons or just someone being confused. At time of writing I am not sure, but in the end it doesn’t matter. It is awful. My thoughts go out to those affected. And it impacts things in London. Fear of attacks, disruption and anger. United we stand. We will get through this, terror will never win.

In other news, as I still recovered from the weekend, I took it easy this week. A lot of work to catch up on, not too crazy tbh, and I managed to even fit in two saunas. I got a haircut in Hamburg (never as good as home) and caught up on a lot of catch up TV. I haven’t done that for a while, so a relaxing and very productive trip at the same time. Some me time to catch up on important things, testing my new Asics trainers which aren’t as good as the Nike. My pain creep back up running in the Asics but not in the Nike trainers. The weight of the shoes, the way I run in them etc. So the Asics are going back. I might still try some Ultraboost, but at least I am getting back on track. I even managed my first 10K in ages on Friday. Somewhat I haven’t been in a good place with running and the 24 hour race is coming closer with only eight weeks to go. So I better find the right trainers and the right mojo to make it. It’s going to be epic. It must be. Another wall to climb, to break through and move forward from.

When waiting for my plane on Wednesday I was wondering why those trips are so draining. And my conclusion is that you cannot do both of your jobs 100%. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I enjoy what I do. I chose my job to make it successful and be there fully, giving my best and make sure I have an impact. But by doing two jobs, it seems as if I do one or the other, and both only 90%. That is just not satisfying to be not as good as you could be because of restrictions you cannot change. Not sure that makes sense. Nevertheless the support from my boss, HR, colleagues is overwhelming. A great place to work. And so much more to learn and walls to climb. I definitely put my ladder on the right wall here.

However, I enjoy things as I used to. It is a cracking challenge, lots of fun with some really great people and amazing tech. Things are good, and I am not complaining. I am just tired this week, that’s allowed sometimes too I suppose. As the week moved on, my tiredness turns sleepless due to the heat. I am up most nights at 4:30. So I fit in the above 10K, a cheeky 5K and time with the boys before school. Challenging at times, but hey, isn’t that fun. 40 – life is only just beginning. Only now got I the tools to break through those walls. Keep them coming.

From my corner of the world, have a great week ahead. Enjoy the bank holiday weekend! Sun. Summer is almost here. BBQ. Family!

What else to live for?
Volker