What am I doing now?



After an amazing cycle tour of Japan and a few winter months in Ireland looking for new jobs/life… here we are back in Bali?! Let me explain…

As the one with a fairly specialist job role, Deirdre was applying for lots of jobs based in Europe. I had narrowed down my career path to counselling or systems analysis depending on training options near where we would be going. Rather different, yes, but equally reasonable to me.

During this time, Deirdre got a call from her old employer to beg her, with healthy incentive, to come back. Her boss was leaving and they were having trouble finding suitable replacement. This was not what we had envisioned and while at first my head screamed “no”, I knew that for Deirdre this represented a much better opportunity than what else was on the table. With a fresh perspective, it could be opportune for us both! While I cannot work in Bali, the cost of living is lower than Europe (especially as rent is paid for us) so my time studying to retrain will cost me less and afford us more time together than if I studied in Europe and had to work evenings and weekends to keep afloat.

So, here we are in Bali. Deirdre is a director with a sustainable fishing organisation, and I am remote studying for a Diploma in Counselling with AIPC. My hair is chopped for the heat, my bike is with me so I can keep training and exploring. I like the early to bed, early to rise lifestyle here. The mangoes and sunsets are pretty awesome too!



A new life awaits. Deirdre has returned from her job in Indonesia and I am leaving my work in Belfast. Call it the ‘seven year itch’, or having clarity about direction to develop and lack of opportunity within current role, but it is time to move on.

But first, this short intermission: we are making the most of this clean break to have an adventure that you cannot fit in to a regular two or three week holiday. We will be cycle touring Japan for 3 months from August through to November. We are looking forward to ramen, unique natural scenery, onsen hot springs, and just spending a good chunk of time together after the past 18 months of geographic separation.



I am back from a wonderful two months travelling and spending time with Deirdre. From parties, wedding, and family affairs in West Ireland, to a week in Bangkok, driving a scooter up a mountain in Kupang, and hanging out in Bali (with added visitors) the time was well spent, but went in all too quickly. Parting is never easy, no matter how well I accept it.

I landed straight back to two job interviews with the college and a collective sigh of relief when I walked into the bike shop on Saturday. Work is good, so the 2017 savings will be back on track shortly. I do not have the energy or focus for side projects after the disruption of the summer (it played out a little differently than I expected).

Exercise might help with the energy and focus. The cyclocross season is back in full swing with a packed race calendar every Sunday until mid-January. I started bike and run training as soon as I landed. After 2 years doing hardly anything, the first race kicked my butt, but I made sure to finish and was far from last. The races are short and intense so they really get the juices flowing!



The work at the college is the usual mix of reward and helplessness, listening and learning. Some long spread out days, not getting home until 21:00 half of the week. Glad to have my bike again to zip between campuses, and also glad to have started back at my part-time job in Chain Reaction Cycles for some extra income. A young member of staff says I have been away for a year yet am still teaching them new things. Nobody tell him I am still learning… but seriously, they really should have taken me up on my offer to design a training program!

I have also begun registering with temporary work agencies as I have about 9 weeks without paid college work to fill… this is new to me, but hoping something comes of it to keep the cash flowing.

The house I am staying in is perfectly located for my jobs and is in a safe and quiet area. I am enjoying free access to the resident’s gym. Most of my belongings are still in storage, but I grabbed a few extra boxes when getting the essentials and have been busy selling on eBay. For a minimalist I am still discovering new levels of ‘letting go’.

I should really finish this website. I have a small project for someone else to finish but waiting on their input. There is an additional small project for myself to be knocked out, and a seemingly massive one that will involve learning to program again/properly this time…when I’m not trying to earn money, eating and sleeping. I could have done these last year, but I was having a break. If you want something done, give it to a busy person; and if you want something done right, give it to the busy version of yourself…not the one casually studying birds and ants on a tropical island.

Finally, thank goodness for Whatsapp! The ability to stay in touch daily helps a lot to maintain a close relationship when separated by 10,000 miles and 7 months. Our plans for the summer are coming together, but 2017 remains a mystery. There is talk of a possible bike tour around Asia… watch this space!



Back to live and work in Belfast for this year. My partner Deirdre is continuing her work in Bali but my tropical time-out is over because the coffers need restocked. I am sliding straight back into my student support role at Belfast Metropolitan College and will just have to wait until the summer holidays to spend more time with Deirdre in Bali. Time to get the head down and work/save.


The ‘now’ page was conceived by Derek Sivers. Learn more.