Running to Spain or running away from the UK?


My old boss gave me some great advice having been approached to join a different part of the business – Lee are you running away from this job or are you running to a job you really want?

He was right I didn’t want the job I was applying for,  I just wanted out of the situation I was in. It made me sit up straight – what a great question.

I thought about all the years from being a child how i’d always been desperate to move to Spain and I applied the same question to this up and coming journey. Am I running to Spain or am I just desperate to leave the UK?

I remember waiting for a school bus as a 13 year old, not only hating where I was going but I resented being soaked in the rain for a journey I just didn’t want to take reflecting on how great the family holidays were in Spain.

Even as a young teenager the weather, the Spanish talking loud late through the night, the food, the relaxed way of life, the romantic Barcelona and Real Madrid tops hung up outside the beach shops, the smell of sun tan cream, the staying out till late in the buzzing bars – even as a teenager I knew this was the place for me – I was obsessed with this way of life.

Not only was I obsessed with Spain I despised the UK. I hated homework and particularly the rain pouring down in the summer. I begrudgingly went to college followed by a career in the Travel Industry thinking it would help me on my goal to spend more time in Spain.

In reality it was a sales job and if I wasn’t receiving grief from poor customers who had their holidays cancelled at the last minute from money grabbing Tour Operators, it was an ever watching manager regular questioning you on your sales targets.

I could of been working anywhere. It was a low paid UK office job where I had to flick through holiday brochures day in day out for some other bugger to visit lovely destinations whilst I was stuck in various gloomy North West towns. It was like being on a diet of rivita and rice cakes whilst selling poppadoms and lamb Bhuna’s with only a sniff of the good times. Life was not good.

Fifteen years on I was working in a Bank as an Engagement Manager. What the hell is an Engagement Manager? Well without going into to much detail in fear of boring you, it was a sort of career / life coach for employees who weren’t happy at work. I was the Mary Poppins / Dick Van Dyke of the bank.

By then I had studied coaching techniques on how to train the brain to think positively about life for the benefit of your own mental state. I’d convinced myself that Mondays were in fact a great day (Do you know they have exactly the same amount of minutes in the day as a Friday or a Saturday!) I eptomised a can do attitude with an unbelievable positive spirit and encouraged others to follow suit. To my colleagues I was such a happy go lucky kind of guy (some thought I was deluded) ready to spread the magic dust that would try and lift someone from being fed up to optimistic within a simple conversation.  Little did they know of my years as a teenager hating Mondays so much!

I have used this positive technique for many years and I’ve been able to convince myself for the last few years that I wasn’t desperate to leave the UK but in fact just looking forward to moving to Spain. Another country, a new journey, a different challenge, an adventure, that is, until now!

Now dont get me wrong, those years of self coaching have done me the world of good. It really has helped me to understand that you become what you think about – if you think miserable things you become a miserable sod, similar if I choose to live every Monday like it was the last Monday of my life, you begin to become a positive person, always looking for the good in life.

I have however accepted that I cannot live a lie anymore – I need to leave the UK.

The country pubs, Cornwall, Cotswolds, family weekend trips to Anglesey, love them all but I dont love living in the UK. I remember landing back in the UK from Spain with my wife and daughter and it immediately struck us how grey everything was compared to where we had just been. Lacking their daily dosage of vitamin D even the people looked grey like a chameleon changing with its environment.

The constant traffic lights, roadworks, traffic jams, the cut throat rat race culture, the buy whatever you don’t need to cheer you up to mask all reality, hearing the same stories about companies extracting the last bit of blood from employees before sending them home like zombies, the blame culture where its always some other buggers fault – at best it’s a life of existence.

So, am I running to a situation or from a situation? Without sounding like I need to take the splinter from my arse from sitting on the fence it’s both, but I’d highly recommend to reflect on the advice.

Spain here we come!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Phillip Dunn says:

    Great article Lee. Everything you say is both sensible and very true. As I drive around all day I notice that people only have 2 expression s on their face, they either look as miserable as sin, or they look like they just want to kill you. Best of luck to Gail, Olivia and yourself. I look forward to seeing you next week.


    1. Lee says:

      Thanks Phil. Very much appreciated. Look forward to catching up before we go on Friday and probably see you in Spain no doubt in a few months!


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