Zippin’ up my boots, heading back to my roots, yeah! That famed tagline from a timeless classic by Odissey, man they don’t make them like that anymore… After almost 30years of traveling I now find myself almost fearful of having just made probably one of the biggest decisions in my life, and at my age? At a time when most people are slipping into the twilight of their careers I now find myself lining up for what I hope will be my last geographical move in a base location scenario. Since leaving school way back in 1982 I’ve gone about zippin’ up my boots and heading to Berlin, France, Djibouti, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Yap Island in Micronesia and its neighbour the Republic of Palau, South Africa, Bali and Japan as my key bases during the past 34yrs of my life. Whilst a couple of those locations were military associated they were still what I termed as ‘home’ given that I had no cement base as such in my native UK. When I think back at the adventures gleaned from those places, the friendships made, the experiences of life I realise I’ve been truly rewarded in that sense. Plenty of zippin’ been going on, and now a move which could be the biggest and most important zip of all.
I’m currently based in Japan. To cut a long story short I don’t speak Japanese, I’ve been here just over two years in which time, some will say, that if I truly wanted to I could have learned the language. I guess I could have, if I really wanted to. Alas I didn’t. Sadly, and it’s such a weird position to be in but my young son, Joshua, has a greater Japanese influence given that he’s at Nursery school where even at 4yo they have one English Lesson a week but that isn’t enough to stem the massive Japanese language influence in his life. Whilst, Terue, my wife and I talk constantly to Joshua in English and whilst he does understand, react and respond, in very limited English, he has long winded and humorous interactions in Japanese with the rest of the non-English speaking family members. I’m missing out on my Son’s childhood because at the end of the day quite simply I don’t understand him. It is just too weird to be able to comprehend outside of this very real situation but just imagine how that tends to feel. Wild.
Further to this there are the ongoing Earthquakes in Japan. I can’t get used to them, at any given time a little wobble here, a little shiver there. Too many and crazily unsettling. I guess some people simply get used to it. Any little motion gets me wide eyed and looking for the door. With this in mind I always think of Josh at his Nursery during the day. It’s a facility located on the ground floor with some 30 or so additional stories of concrete above him in the metropolis that is Yokohama. Enough said. Fukushima and the associated ills also gnaw away at our mind. Whilst the government suggest all is well they have been known to be somewhat ‘economical with the truth’ in the past and as such we are simply more attuned to wanting to get the heck outta dodge sooner rather than later.
Recently I’d been courting an offer from a company, a great bunch of folks in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, in Oregon to be precise. An offer to do what I love and get paid relatively well for it seemed like the good times had finally come. Alas it was something we had to turn down, and I’ll probably be kicking myself for a while to come, once we’d really munched into the longterm implications of the deal. I simply want to make the right move, one more time, a move that will benefit my family purely from the perspective of security, education and social acceptance for the long term. And thus the decision has been made, we’re heading to my native UK in the early stages of 2017. My goal is not however to revisit the shores of the English Channel in my hometown of Bournemouth but to head North, North beyond the border to the hills, lochs and land of ‘Nessie’, yup, we’re zippin’ up and heading to Scotland. Och Aye!
Why Scotland? Scotland for me offers itself as a continuation of the adventure. Its topography suits my imaging and in addition is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, nature and open wilderness. From Highlands to Islands it seems to ooze a magnetism with regards to its coastlines and craggy shores. I’m under no illusion that it can also be an inhospitable land, a land with maddening midges in Summer and frustrating weather in Winter, some would say year round, but that in itself is part of the attraction. And I’m drawn to it. Thus I’ve been in touch with a number of entities, putting feelers out with regards to going about the initial landing in that strangely attractive land.
In all seriousness though it will not be a move without its potential pit falls. Josh has dual citizenship so that is not too much of an issue. Terue, my Japanese wife, on the other hand as a non EU Citizen means that I have to meet certain criteria before I will be able to sponsor her spouse visa. The workaround ‘loophole’ explained in that blog post has since been closed. It will be a journey that I hope will not have too many bumps in the road but one we are willing to endure given the positives it offers in the long run for Joshua. So this is the beginning of that adventure. As yet I’m looking around the mid segment of February to initially head back into the fray as it were with Terue and Josh planning to join me at the earliest towards the end of March. Any time spent away from the family is hard time in my eyes, alas given the stipulations of the visa application and sponsorship procedures we will have to go through for Terri it will not be the only required period of separation. Watch this space for updates.
Oh, and if anyone know anyone out there in the Wilds of Scotland who may be on the lookout for a professional content media option in either a provisory role or indeed something more permanent why not send them here to see if any of my skill sets appeal to their needs. Rest assured, as long as these boots be a zippin’ I’ll be keeping you up to speed on the adventure.
Oh go on then…