Goodbye London Routine, Hello New World!

granola-with-fruitAfter nearly 10 years of working in the same building, living in the same borough of London, I’ve got into some comfortable habits. Six days a week, I wake up at 6:30am, eat breakfast and go to the gym at the top of my building. With the granola and fruit in my stomach, I try and burn 800 calories in the space of an hour. After taking the elevator back down to my apartment, I shower and change, leaving for the tube station at 8.

baristaOn the way to the station, I stop off for my Starbucks. If it’s a Monday, Thursday or Sunday, I’ll be served by Michaelangelo who’s Italian and gorgeous. He’s the only barista there who knows my name – so three days a week I’ll have “Maddie” written on my cup instead of any number of variants. After leaving with my Grande Soy Sugar-Free-Vanilla Latte, I briskly walk to the tube, grabbing a copy of the Metro on my way through.

When I get into work, I’m usually the first one in the office. I greet the exiting cleaners with a ‘good morning’ and trade my Metro for a copy of The Sun with Jeff, who does the floors. By the time I’m sat at my desk with my paper, coffee and inbox open, it’s 8:45 and I’m ready to start my day.

hostelIt’s a solid morning routine, but one that’s started to grow old in the last couple of years. I’ve been swapping newspapers with Jeff for over half my time at the company, the cumulative minutes and hours we’ve spent in that brief exchange probably comes to nearly a week. Yet, all I know about him is that he’s married and has been buying The Sun ironically, to joke with an uptight Marketing Executive for 6 years. I hope he doesn’t think something is going to happen. This lady’s heart is forever dedicated to a certain Italian coffee-maker.

Soon I’ll have to bid my myriad of acquaintances goodbye. I’m serving out my last week in work, starting next Monday my comfortable routine will be no more. In a month’s time, I will have grown accustomed to sleeping in dormitories with a dozen strangers and I’ll be waking up in cities where I won’t know where the nearest Starbucks is, let alone the language to order in.

I’ve got 6 months of time to fill. My company were kind enough to let me go for half year, a ‘micro-sabbatical’ they called it, granted to me for the decade of good service I’d provided them with. For my colleagues who already have families, I’m going through some kind of crisis. I’m just taking my chance while I can. The older you get, the more you fear change. The idea of acting out of your set routine can become a launch pad for unease even panic.

I’m just shaking my life up, whilst I can afford to. I could travel through the finest of Hotels and dine out at the best Restaurants, but I’m not going to. I want to seek out the seediest of Hostels, discover the food stalls that the locals frequent and drink beer every night. I’m going to spend half a year without needing to wear heels or make-up. I’m going to measure my life in unquantifiable units of enjoyment, rather than calories and minutes spent on the treadmill.

I just hope Michaelangelo doesn’t miss me too much!