Since returning from Africa (teabagsandtoiletrolls) things have felt different. I can’t really put my finger on anything in particular but for me it’s been an increasing sense of restlessness and dissatisfaction. Lots of things have contributed to these feelings but mainly it’s been my working environment and my age. Life at work has become unchallenging for me and at times rather draconian for a lot of the staff. I’ve always been very vocal in my abhorrence of injustice and bullying but this now appears to be standard practice in a lot of educational establishments. In the past I’d been in a position to fight this sort of behaviour but as a supply teacher, no matter how much experience I have, I can only observe. Back stabbing and scapegoating seems to be the norm and integrity seems to be very much out of fashion in the world of “sponsored academies”. Local Education Authorities (LEAs) may have had their faults but they didn’t pay bonuses to directors!
Originally the plan was for Sam (my partner), Kris (my closest friend from the Africa trip) and myself to walk the Te Aroara trail. This is 3000 km from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Isalnd of New Zealand. We wanted a challenging adventure but something that was considerably safer than Africa. We began to plan the trip almost as soon as we got back from Africa and although for various reasons Sam changed her mind about going, Kris and I were both very keen. However, things at work took a turn for the worse and as said I didn’t feel able to stay. So New Zealand was reluctantly abandoned, until hopefully another day, and a permanent change of lifestyle took its place.
In my mid twenties I went to Valencia for 6 weeks to study Spanish for my degree and completely fell for both the country and the people. Since then I’ve never stopped hoping for some way to get there. Sam and I kept talking about Spain and had been on the verge of buying a little retreat when along came Brexit. Not knowing how this would effect us we backed off. However, as we all now realise, nobody has any idea what is going to happen once the UK leaves the EU but the Spanish government are definitely not going to make life difficult for the largest single group of foreign income living in Spain.
Rather like my age (50) was a factor for quitting my position and going to Africa 5 years ago, being 55 means I can now take my teachers pension early. Also, I still don’t feel old but understand if things are going to change I need to get on with it and now is the time! Between Sam and I we can buy a place in Spain, have enough income from renting our properties in the UK and pension to begin a whole new life where we decide what we do and when. This is most definitely not retirement as we both have lots of ideas about generating more income but it is most definitely a change of lifestyle.