Monthly Archives: February 2013

It’s funny how life continuously tests your limits.

Most of us were told that if we studied hard, we would get the job we expected; and yet, when it comes to today’s work life, nothing really seems to go as planned.

Hiking from Seaford to Eastbourne, UK

Each time I start to feel a certain confidence and security, the ground begins to move again, reminding me that I live in a World that is not predictable anymore.

A degree no longer leads to a job. An MBA no longer guarantees a generous salary increase. And a career in banking is no longer a stable choice.

This is really not how I was told it was going to be.

Chamonix, France

I’m a devoted planner. I began working on a 2, 5 and 10 year goal a few years back, when I was going to graduate from University. These goals from back then haven’t changed significantly, but my strategy has taken a U-Turn. Instead of working backwards from my perfect job, I choose a direction I like and work on it. There’s no guarantee my perfect job will still exist 10 years from now – but a direction never will. There will always be the need for a planner. A leader. A negotiator.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to accept that you’re vulnerable to future developments. That you can’t plan and control your way into your dream job anymore. There’s no straight line to becoming who you want to be, but instead, a rocky path full of strong curves without warning signs.

These rocky paths are part of the adventure. But staring at the strong curve without seeing its end makes me nervous and unsettled.

My old self would have a plan lined up. My new self, though, wants to test my sense of adventure.

Walking on Lava, Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain)

Am I capable of walking the entire curve while enjoying the path, without worrying about what’s at the end of it?

Anyone living in London knows (or will soon learn) the importance of balancing your fast-paced city life with something else to maintain sanity. No wonder many Londoners retire to the country side over weekends – I can’t think of any better way of disconnecting from the city’s buzz, than with a home-made meal accompanied by a full-bodied red wine, a thrilling book and a real fireplace.

That’s how I had imagined the weekends in the english country side – and this couldn’t have gotten any closer to my reality.

My first visit to the english country side was on the snowiest day of the year. My destination? Ramsden – a tiny little village in Oxfordshire. Attracted by their award-winning public house, The Royal Oak, we drove one and a half hours towards the north-west from London.

The land was covered in a sugar white coat of fresh snow – turning the otherwise common surroundings into a fairy tale land. As soon as we got off the highway, roads became narrower, icy, less trafficked and, consequently, more adventurous.

Sheep in Oxfordshire, UK

Sheep in Oxfordshire, UK

Sheep were staring at us as we attempted not to lose traction in one of the road’s many curves.

Ramsden, Oxfordshire, UK

Ramsden, Oxfordshire, UK

We did arrive at Ramsden, eventually. The village is a beautiful Cotswold village tucked away off the beaten track. It might not be large, but it has class and style. Every house is built individually. No two homes are the same, but all of them share something in common – the use of stone in construction.

Ramsden, Oxfordshire, UK

The Royal Oak is a popular meeting place for locals, and an attraction for the occasional strangers like us – the ones that are willing to drive hundreds of km for fantastic food and genuine beers and wine (including rare beers from independent breweries!).

The chef uses local suppliers whenever possible, which also allows them to have fantastic daily specials. The pheasant – my order – was incredibly juicy and tender; and was dressed with an orange-infused gravy that complimented its taste perfectly. Although plates were of reasonable size (and you’re probably ok with one), we didn’t drive all this way to not order one of my favorite deserts – red fruit crumble.

Brunch at the Royal Oak (Ramsden Village, Oxfordshire)

Brunch at the Royal Oak (Ramsden Village, Oxfordshire)

With our tummies full, we took a short walk around Ramsden, visiting their church and war memorial, but soon felt our frozen feet and headed back home into our noisy (but heated) flats. It was a great way to experience a little adventure, inhale fresh air and slow the otherwise hectic pace.

Important Information:

Have you been to the English country side? How do you escape from the city?