Although the last few years have been beyond my expectations, It wasn’t until I opened up a little – to myself and to others – about where my life was going, that it began to finally sink in that I needed to readjust my focus. Travel has and will be a big part of my life from here on end, as long as I am fortunate enough to do so. But coming home from being on such a roll, to slowly jolting to a complete stop, wasn’t easy to get my head around – I enjoyed my freedom and I never wanted it to end. However, as the old cliché goes, all good things must come to an end and I can now officially say, with a heavy heart, that this stint of travel is now behind me but someday, I will be back for more. For now, I’m here to stay and, in truth, I’m okay with it.
Give or take a few months, I have been working in hospitality for ten years, most of which has been full-time. For someone in their thirties this is quite long, but for someone at the age of twenty Seven, this is far too long. Through a string of broken promises to myself, I have stalled on getting out for a long time. But to be fair, I can’t knock it: through hell and high water, minimum wage boosted with jars of coins, ‘DARREN’ marked tip bags and the money saved by getting my hands on as much free food I could handle, has gotten me round the world and back: fact. But since coming home, I’ve never been so cynical and dissatisfied with what I do and to some extent, what I don’t do. As the months have passed, I’ve found myself going backwards and to be honest, I have become somewhat unhappy. Alas, here I still am, serving tables, wasting time and becoming more and more impatient day by day, as the constant demand of tourists chops me down, down, down. This is not where I want to be.
As for my own personal development? I wish I could tell you the answer. I desperately need to do something different with my life, and I have to push that forward in the New Year as opposed to just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. It’s only a matter of time for me. However now, more than ever, it’s important I use that time wisely – December, 2012.
I spent the majority of January getting increasingly frustrated with myself. I ploughed through job sites for ten minutes then got lost in You-tube watching videos of drunk racists on public transport for the remainder of the hour. Add in wrestling, Gumtree and a thousand and one articles on ‘career changes’ and you can begin to build a picture of what 2013 had met me with. It wasn’t until the tail end of January that enough was enough: Petra had been carefully nudging me along but I was still somewhat hesitant. It wasn’t until we went out for dinner with my mother one evening that I received that final nudge that would help me progress forward. I mentioned at dinner that I thought about going into support work. I explained that I needed a job that would still involve working with people but wouldn’t be so thankless. Like a moth to a flame she zoned in, as herself and Petra began systematically breaking me down and building me back up with encouragement, praise and approval as I played with my sachet of brown sugar and listened intently as I stared into my coffee cup.
The following morning, I applied for a position as an ‘Assistant Support Worker’ at a local unit in Leith. The job would involve working with adults with difficulties ranging from homelessness to depression – every tenant is different in terms of their circumstances. This would be the first job out with hospitality that I’d have applied for in quite some time. I held out little hope, however I was open and honest in my application, just as my company was at dinner the night before. Perhaps support work would be my calling. I didn’t know. But at least now I knew it was time to find out. I was finally ready.
Around a week or two later on a break from work, I came home for lunch and found myself standing in the usual scatter of mail. Amid the take away menus and bills, I found a brown envelope marked in my name. It was stamped from the job I applied for. I promptly opened it there and then and began to skim read. I was invited for an interview. Excitedly, I confirmed my attendance and looked forward to the day.
The interview soon came and went and all things considered, (lack of experience, the high amount of applicants and little knowledge of the line of work) I felt like it went well. In fact, I don’t think I could have done any better if I was to do it again today. A positive, encouraging experience but I didn’t hold out hope in getting the job.
I was setting up the restaurant on a Monday morning – as I do every Monday – when I got the call. I had gotten the job that I was so sure I didn’t get. I was overwhelmed by the news and unashamedly cried when I got off the phone. I felt flattered, shocked and grateful that someone had faith and was willing to take a punt on me. I’m a somewhat emotional and personal person (no shit I hear you saying…) and that phone call, really did mean the world to me. This would be the start of a potential career, the start of something new and the end of an era.
As I carried on half-heartedly aligning place mats with cutlery, I instantly felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders. I wanted a change so badly and I guess my reaction reaffirmed that. I was struggling with the idea of not traveling again for a while and although for now I may be grounded, in a strange way I felt like I was on the move. This was one step forward and the beginning of a whole new journey. A journey that was completely unexpected.