Around three years ago I set myself a goal of financial and geographical freedom. I battled towards this goal on the three fronts I identified as most obviously necessary elements (liquid cash, investment income and pliable experience) and in the next few weeks I will reach… my immediate goal I suppose. I’ll walk out of work and not need to look back. I might want to look back, I might want to upgrade my car or I might simply just miss the cut and thrust of project management and fancy doing a three month contract. But I won’t need to work to pay bills. My remaining days will be (good fortune permitting) mine to invest my time only as I will, at my will, with my only obligation being to my own personal growth.
When people ask ‘what do you do Mr. McIlroy’, I’ll no longer have a handy answer. It will be a blight on most new social situations to some degree. I can’t say ‘nothing’ as it sounds uninspired, I can’t say ‘ooh, that’s a long story’ as people only want simple answers. If I say ‘I sort of don’t need to work anymore, I’m kinda retired’ they get angry and jealous. The simple answer, that in no way answers my situation, is that ‘I own my own private investment company’. But that would be like a professional footballer answering the same question set to him by saying ‘well, I kick a ball’. True certainly, but somewhat lacking in the sufficiency of its explanation.
So now I am free, what is the first thing I want to do? Time to hit the road my mate. A road trip around Eastern Europe will perfectly satisfy my most immediate passions. Game, the open road, sunshine and a never ending variety of tasty food, like pies for example. I’ll be travelling with my Bromigo, Bojangles. Our date of departure is tentatively scheduled for Monday the 3rd of June but it really depends on a few other things. Mainly, how soon I buy the car.
We don’t know how long or where. We only have a rough plan and we’ll take it as it comes. I am letting you know, because my days of ‘game’ are over – I am retired from that scene. I’ll leave game talk to Bo and Matt but if you care to read my pages then I’ll be regaling you, in the near future at least, with what will largely be a travel diary. A shot of escapism while you eat your lunch at your cubicle… And I’ll clack a few hot chicks from time to time.
So where are we going? Well. We have a rough idea. We’re aiming for 2 to 3 months. Our route is roughly as follows:
Part 1 is to head to Zagreb in Croatia and spend a month of our summer with a base there. I suppose that means we’ll drive down through France and then cut through Italy or Switzerland. Maybe do a few days in Slovenia before rolling into Z Town.
Part 2 is to head north into Poland and base out in somewhere like Gdansk for a month. So we’ll head up through Hungary, Austria, Czech Rep, Slovakia.
Part 3 is to spend a further month in Tallin, in Estonia. Again a drive north through Latvia, Lithuania and Russia I suppose.
Part 4 is very grey, but we think we may cross into Helsinki and high tail it through the Scandies back to our own shores.
We’re looking for a balance of city life and beach life, open road and setting roots, game and intellectual pursuits. While out there I’ll have some goals set, books to read, may learn a language (I speak Russian, but I may do a refresher course), some fitness, some piano playing, some stock trading certainly. Renaissance man stuff. My fingers will be in many pies. I mean that in every single sense. I love pie.
My favourite pies are probably savoury ones, so think meat and potato, spicy chicken. I like pies with juice – so pulled pork or steak and gravy. However, I also like pies that have fruit in them – with ice cream. So blueberry pie and vanilla ice cream with sugared pastry would be a good example of somewhere my fingers might end up. I don’t eat pie a lot. I do like it a lot though. Sometimes when I am on the football match with my dad, we’ll both get peppered steak pies at half time. Our team loses a lot so it really is a highlight since the pies are really very good. At the end of the day what would you rather have? A good team or good pies? That would be a tough decision for me because I love my team, but I also love pies.
Our trip though is less definite than my fervour for pies. It’s all currently rough expectations and guesswork. We’re leaving it wide open. We may change our minds at any point. We may even come home for a few weeks en route, leave the car at the airport and pick up the trip down the road. We’ll see. You’ll see if you care to read.