Travelling in General

Over the years, as you grow in experience and your situation in life progresses the reasons for travelling change. Also the destinations. And the way of travelling.

When I think back many years, holiday travelling started with friends and tents. The cheapest way of transportation, the cheapest tin food and alcohol and near a beach. Time was not yet an issue. Money was.

Then, when I started my first business at 23 and had a lot of work and had no time for a holiday for 5 years. I did travel, yes. But on business. Every two weeks to Zurich for one night to meet clients, trips to Chicago to meet business associates from the CBOE to enhance networks an ties – but it was always quick, quick, quick since my office in Germany always held a huge work load for me that could not be delegated.

My holiday trips started when I changed my life, got rid of my three companies and became a lowly stockbroker at Merrill Lynch’s. The first time in my working life that I had a private life. That I could leave the office and NOT think of work any more. Of course, during the time I was at my desk there was no time for breaks and lunch and such nonsense.

It all fell into place when I returned from New York and worked in Frankfurt. As a “privileged” member of the Merrill Lynch family I had three weeks holiday a year (not just two as my colleagues in NY).

During the coming years I did not get to know a lot of the world as my dream destination was France. The Provence and Cote d’Azur to be precise. And that’s where we went several times a year. My girl-friend and later wife and I. We always rented a holiday apartment and spent our time at the beach and in the kitchen. Or fishing in a river. Me. With a rod and a couple of bottles of rosé. In the wilderness. Wonderful beyond description.

Cooking, drinking, nature/wilderness were my balance to the somewhat stressful (what a modern word – I never considered my work “stressful” – I just had to be able and willing all then time) broker life. And that’s what my holidays looked like in those days.

When I made the “ranks” and Merrill Lynch decided in 1984 that I was the right man to market our, back then ambitious, enterprise to Europe I accepted the call and relocated to the capital of the Dark British Empire.

My holiday habits also changed somewhat. Not the destination – it was still France – but the apartment rental, the fishing and the cooking stopped. Fancy hotels and even fancier restaurants were the norm then. But for a few days only – not for long holidays. No time for that as a “company politician”.

I did not like my job much because, for the first time in my life, I had a boss. He (in fact a “she”) was in New York in charge of International Marketing and despite that her husband was an actual brain surgeon we got along rather well. It was not only that, really. It was more that I hated to be a politician. Because that’s what everyone in the upper management of an international corporation is and has to be. I have always been the “rough” one. Saying what I think and doing what I say! My word is my bond…and so on. Dinosaur stuff! I abhorred this “sliming ” here and “kicking” there business of the corporate world.

So, eventually I took my hat. Merrill offered me as a farewell to be the manager of any of our International offices, my choice. Idiots. I would have been their slave then. No, I went back into the field and became an anonymous broker again (as we say in German: Schütze 13, hinter Strauch 14). I chose Stuttgart in Germany, where a year before I had opened a new office for Merrill Lynch. A brilliant, marvellous decision – like all the others I have made since then I never regretted for a second to have given up my corporate career. But, of course, before handing in my resignation I had already established “a hobby” with a friend and colleague, a Wall Street guru from NY and we had been making money hand over fist

The best years of my life! In Stuttgart. Not the most popular or well known place in Germany. But a marvel. I love the people there! Always grumpy. Never contempt – unless they get the very best there is – and at a very good price. My kind of people! And a higher density of first class restaurants there than in any other part of Germany and the other countries (apart from some places in France).

Now that I was a “fresh father” and money was not an issue and my Bordeaux collection flourished only time was a restraint for travelling. That’s when I got my pilot license. To make the max out of my limited time. Fly to the Cote d’Azur for a weekend – or wherever else in Europe you wanted to go. Another change in travel habits.

As my job was very people intense my dream holiday still was the wilderness – way from the people. This is what we all want, am I right? A holiday that is different from our everyday life. I had to deal with loads of people – so I wanted peace – the wilderness. My personal dream back then (1986-1987) was to go to Canada with some friends, hire a plane, take tents guns and fishing rods and fly into the wilderness along the rivers and lakes!

It never materialised. And you know why? Because my friends either had the money to do it but no time – or they had the time but not the money.

Something that you will find a basic law of life: People who have time don’t have money or vice versa. I managed to break these rules – by pulling out of the race. So, now, I have neither time nor money…

Goodness, what started here as a short “description” of the changes of travelling in the course of one’s life is turning into an essay that no one will read. I will go to a shop near our hotel now to buy more “Kirin Beer – Brewed for good Times” and my My will hopefully continue to sleep without waking up. When I am back I will tell you why YOU should structure your holidays differently to get the max out of them!!! Or so.

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