Wake up around 10am after a late night preparing stuff on my laptop and phone. I debate the merits of technology – it may save a lot of time, but you also have to spend a lot sometimes to ensure that it will all work and that you have everything on it when you’re on the road. I smile as I realise that it’s my first day of my sabbatical and that the next three months I don’t have to think about work at all. After fourteen straight years of ever-increasing thinking of work, I’m pretty chuffed with myself at the decision I made back in December. My internal bank manager, frowning, is ignored as the rest of me gets in holiday mode.As the morning goes on, I begin to worry that I got too much to do. I decided last night to book a hotel overnight at the airport to avoid any rush or delays that navigating the M25 might cause, especially given the type of weather we’ve had recently. With no-one available to give me a lift to the airport, and as a train would be a hassle and not insignificant cost either, I decide to book a cab. Might as start the sabbatical in some style and comfort! That sorted, I meet a mate for hot chocolate with the works (“I invited you for coffee, not ice cream!”) and then go off and get a haircut. The hours soon rush by, and before I know it I’m hungry, still not packed, and have lots more things to sort out before the 9pm pick up.
Geri has realised that something is up, and that I might be going away. I think the suitcase gave it away, though she did consider diving in. In a desperate attempt to get me to stay, I find a dead mouse on my carpet. She must have gone out for more, as she rushes in again and looks at me to ask if I want further goodies. Confused, she watches as I grumble, wrap it up and throw it away, spoiling any potential playtime she had planned as a backup.
I look at my two suitcase I own and decide to take the smaller one, determined to fit everything in. Somehow I manage it. Result number 2: it’s not over 20kg. Worried that I’ve forgotten something, I resign myself to being finished and lug the case downstairs. Moments later, right on time, the taxi arrives and I bundle into the car. The night is quite clear, and the waning moon beams out high to my left as I leave home. Usually a friend, it may become my enemy in Norway if it dares to block out the Northern Lights. The driver’s a jolly chap, and although I’d prefer to relax and daydream quietly, he’s a talker. I realise that I should be socialable, and he turns out to be very nice. Credit crunch, holidays and footy pass the time and after what turns out to be a pleasant journey I’m at Terminal 4 in no time.
I open the door to my Yotel cabin, and almost hit my nose on the far wall; compact and bijou doesn’t even come close. Still, I knew this pod-style was like this when I booked, and the bed with the TV at the foot of it is pretty cool. Free wi-fi is utilised by my laptop, and I’m MSNing, Facebooking, emailing, iPhoning and surfing just like home. It’s good to get away.