Seeing the world and paying the price

Travelling doesn’t necessarily change your life

On Sunday, I saw my father for the first time in ten months. He’s been travelling around the world in the style of a gap year student, and has returned to some decisions about his future. It was odd (and good) seeing him, as I’ve probably been more in touch with him over the last ten months, through email, than I had been over the past ten years. It got me thinking that I am always amazed when I meet up with friends who’ve been travelling, as the experience never seems to have changed them as much as I expect, or they anticipated before their departure. Maybe it’s my perceptions, and I’m just seeing the things that are familiar while missing all the new insights these people have, but I don’t think so. Or maybe they slip back into old ways with old friends, revealing their different thoughts, perceptions and approaches to the world to other people. But again, I don’t think so. My feeling is that the time to do the big travelling, if you really want it to change your life, is before you’ve established your adult personality – making the gap year after leavling school ideal. At this age you’re thinking about who you are, and what the world is all about, in a far more open way than is possible once you’ve been establishing your personality in the world for a few years.

Rome rip-off

I’m mid-fight with an online hotel booking agency. In September I went to Rome with my mother and tried to book a hotel room online in advance. They failed to get back to me quickly, so I phoned the hotel and asked if I had the room. I was told not, so cancelled the online order and my mother and I booked another, far more expensive, room elsewhere. On my return from Rome I discovered I had been charged a cancellation fee for the room that I had been told I couldn’t have. I phoned the hotel in Italy at great expense to be told, after quite a heated discussion, that it was the fault of the online booking people, not the hotel. At which point I started to deal with NBPORTAL.COM. They have been terrible at getting back to me and taking the issue seriously, and now I’m wondering where to turn next. I strongly advise against ever using this company as their software seems to be ineffective and their customer service is diabolical. I only regret not getting out my Italian phrase book and picking up the phone instead of placing my regular faith in the Internet.

Get a job

For the past few days I’ve been working for my mother’s company, Jessica Kingsley Publishers (check out the wonderful web site). She’s needed help with marketing, and I’ve needed some work, so it’s a mutually beneficial scenario. It’s odd, though, working with family. My sister runs the production department, so there are three of us in amongst the staff on about 20. I haven’t been in a normal office environment for quite a while, and it’s taking a little bit of adjusting to. Job hunting is progressing and I have an interview next week.

Sharing a house and then… not

Sarah was back last week as the show she’s been touring with reached Dartford, letting her commute from home. It took a couple of days to adjust, but then it was great having her back. And now she’s gone again, but only for a week, after which she’ll be home having teeth pulled and (I hope) painting the sitting room.

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