Monday, 18 March 2013

A time of transition: 2000-2005

On holiday in Sicily in 2001.
By 2001, I had been promoted at work and was now news editor of the magazine I worked on. This involved being in charge of a team of seven reporters, managing the stories they were working on, editing them and deciding what went where in the magazine. It was a busy, stressful job but I thrived on it; finally I felt like I had become a real journalist. I loved the thrill of excitement when we beat our rival magazine to a scoop, and ferreting out industry secrets. We worked hard but also partied hard; particularly around Christmas, we were out virtually every night at great restaurants and glamorous agencies.

Meanwhile The Doctor was also working hard; he'd joined a South London-based training scheme, which had precipitated our move from Highbury to Clapham, where we bought a run-down Victorian terraced house. At weekends, we worked on doing up our house, and travelled whenever we could; the new low cost airlines meant that weekends away in Europe were relatively cheap for young professional couples without kids. We went skiing every year and in the summer, had fun holidays with friends such as renting villas in Italy.

Looking glammed up on my 30th birthday

These were happy years, but there were also troubles in our wider family life; my father remarried, but unfortunately it did not work out, and meanwhile my father-in-law was miserable after the death of his wife. Christmases were especially hard; without mothers to hold the family together, families particularly suffer at this time.

In 2003 I turned 30, and around this time I think I began to feel restless. Some of our siblings were starting families, but we did not yet feel we were ready. Meanwhile, many of our friends had spent years working abroad, or had gone travelling for a year, and, probably spurred on by my childhood abroad, I wanted to do the same. In truth, my hectic lifestyle was also starting to pall a bit; and sometimes I felt like The Doctor and I were like ships passing in the night, particularly when he was on call for the weekend.

By the Mekong river in Laos, one of my favourite places on our fourth month round the world trip
So in late 2003, I resigned from my job and The Doctor arranged a sabbatical. He had always wanted to do a PhD, and now he had a chance to take a break from his training and study for a few years. Before that started, we booked a round the world ticket with Trailfinders and, on New Year's Day 2004, set off on a four month trip. Our destinations included Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam; Australia and New Zealand; Tahiti and Easter Island; Bolivia, Chile and Peru, and finally Belize. I wrote about it here, so I won't go into all the detail again, but it was a fantastic, eye-opening trip which I am so utterly glad we took the time to do.

We got back feeling refreshed and energized, and I started to establish myself as a freelance journalist, working from home and writing for a wide range of different magazines. But by now I was also impatient to have a baby. My sister had had her first child, and some of our old friends were also starting families. 

By the end of 2004, I was pregnant with Littleboy 1. A whole new chapter was about to begin.


Metropolitan Mum said...

I envy you a little bit for the time you had together before the Littleboys entered the scene. I only knew my husband for a year and a half when I fell pregnant. We wanted a baby, we were 32 and 35, it was the right time in our life. I just wish we had met earlier.
Oh, and you look like a doll :)

Iota said...

I feel we're nearly up to the point where I first got to know you. When I first found your blog, both boys were born, but they were small. So we're nearly there!

Your life amounts to so much. You've done so much, been so many places. I'm rather in awe of you, actually!

About Last Weekend said...

Love this tale, I was thinking about transitions today. First: you looked so young in the first photo - so glam and pretty in the second. That mention of Trailfinders brings back incredible memories, remember when they were the only game in town on Ken High Street (and I think in Earl's Court. Sometimes I wish the days away and long for those times I traveled, that beer on the table and the hazy glow of the river makes me very nostalgic.

Melissa said...

Life before children - those heady glamorous days. I remember them well. Yours sound pretty awesome - what a fun life you've had.

Actually, your life is really similar to mine, even down to the two boys. Looking forward the motherhood years

Expat mum said...

Ah yes, Trailfinders. Hanging on the phone for hours while they looked up prices. It's so much easier now with the Internet.