Friday, February 15, 2008

Train Set

My peacenik, traveller's lifestyle is getting chipped away bit by bit every week nowadays as I am drawn inexorably to become part of the "establishment". This week I got my own personalised business cards. It's a far cry from my travels when I was toying with the idea of getting a card printed for myself then: it would have said "Erik - Travel Bum", and then given my website. Of course it never came to pass as I was always thinking that my trip would be over soon and that anyway, cards were far too pretentious. Now I'm going to join in the oh-so formal ritual of the-exchange-of-cards every time I meet someone for work. In some ways I feel a bit like an intruder in this corporate world - like I don't really belong and that sooner or later someone will find out and set off the alarm.

I used to be quite jealous of my brother and his jet-set job that would send him to far-flung exotic locations (such as Borneo, California, Norway and the unfortunately named Dutch town of Ahs) for work projects and get put up in swanky hotels (although, to be fair, to be classified as a swanky hotel in my book all you need is hot running water). But all that changed this Monday when I got sent on my first business trip. I was sent to Tetbury, where our company has an office, to do some training on some of our computer programmes. As soon as I heard about the opportunity I immediately went for my atlas (or, to be more precise, Google Maps) to find out where exactly Tetbury is. I was a bit disappointed to find that it was a small, rural market town about 100 miles west of London on the edge of the Cotswolds, but you have to start somewhere I suppose. Some things I still cannot bring myself to do, most notably with expenses. So, on the way back to London, instead of getting the taxi to the bus station in the next village I got the last bus to the station and waited an hour until it arrived. The taxi would have been, to my mind, too profligate and wasteful (both financially and environmentally) that I couldn't justify it to myself, despite the discomfort of having to wait. My colleagues tell me it won't last, but I feel that if we, who are better educated about the environment and our impact upon it, can't make the conscious effort to mend our ways then we're doomed to failure.

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