Home for Christmas

(You can read last month’s update herenext month’s here.)

Family

When I left you at the end of November, I had just returned to the UK to see my beautiful wife and happy baby after 3 weeks living like a bachelor back home in Australia.

Our #3Drifters #GrandTour continued into December (see Travel, below) before we finally made our way home almost 5 months to the day since it began on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Of course, even that didn’t last long with Christmas, almost a week on the Gold Coast again, this time reunited with our travel buddies Harmony’s parents.

The newborn child we left with just after her 4 month vaccinations has returned as crawling, solid-food eating, own-bedroom sleeping, bundle of joy that our doctor has placed in the 90-95th percentile for height and weight.

All that pasta? At the very least, that was reassuring that she is developing strongly, hitting all of her milestones, and while we may not have had the sleep and food routine that home life would have created … who wants to live in one country, amirite?!

Lastly, Flash’s first Christmas. What do you give the child who already has the world?

In our case, several awesome-looking toys that had been living in her room since birth, and yet never played with!

Family Travel Around Europe
Since I am not sharing photos of Flash online, settle for this gift we got her grandmother

Travel

This Monthly Update blog is going to be so much more boring when we stop touring the world! If. If we stop.

In December we:

  • Left Scotland, catching the train from Edinburgh – great city we are thinking of living in for some time next year – down to Harrogate, a spa town in North Yorkshire where friends of ours live.
  • From Harrogate, down to London by train (with a brief stopover at Leeds Central. They were literally celebrating the launch of direct Harrogate to London trains the day we travelled, so we hadn’t booked one).
  • 8 nights in London, staying on the Spitalfields Markets and catching up with some of our London Life friends.
  • The dreaded journey home by plane – London – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi – Brisbane, all flying Standby!

A week in London reminded me why I love that city: the pace, the action, the cold climate. It was a real joy to be wandering the streets again, jumping on a Tube to get around. This was a work trip for me and the primary reason for me returning, so it was also full of sales meetings and client meetings (I have some clients whose businesses are based around the UK). Great to spend time with them in person, especially if we move here for a period of time next year.

Naturally, it only took one day of rain with a baby to remind me why we’re not planning to live in London again!

I enjoy flying, and especially flying long haul distances. This time would be quite different, however. On our trip over here Flash was not yet properly rolling over – she was content to lie in the bassinet or one of us for the journey. Now she’s crawling and much more eager to move around. Yikes!

Turns out she was just (I’m talking a centimetre) short enough to fit in the infant bassinets. So that was a help for a few sleeps, but she certainly wasn’t going to lie there.

The Etihad crew were (as always) sensational. I know they say they want a hold for their own pleasure, but I’m sure it’s also to help give us a short break – plus I love talking to international flight attendants. There’s no deep live story – but how does a Serbian fluent in English work for the official airline of the United Arab Emirates? Someone do a podcast on that!

Business Class helps of course. We ended up re-routing via Sydney to ensure we would get Business on the longest leg of the trip. This meant another flight at the other end (though weirdly, we got home earlier because we caught the morning Sydney flight instead of the once-daily Brisbane flight of an evening).

No more uninterrupted movie marathons for Jacob (though I did manage a couple on that flight). Between alternating Flash, having our meals separately, and our extensive flying experience, we both managed a little sleep, some downtime, and gave Flash an ok experience as well.

The jetlag hit Harms and Flash really badly. I was fine as usual, and straight back in to a really busy work week. While we are keen to base ourselves overseas for a stint next year (with less moving around than 2019’s trip), there’s no doubt the trip home was a bad experience for the most important girls in my life.

This sign at the Abu Dhabi airport was meant for us!

Income and Equity

Another brief report in this regard. Indeed, I only invoiced $6,800 net for December, tied with October for me worst months of the year and barely half what I earned last December.

The reasons for this have been well documented in past posts. Importantly, January looks much, much healthier.

On an Equity / Financial Independence front, most of the holiday spending has now been accounted for. In fact, we ended 2019 with our highest ever net worth – $805,693.63, or just over 45% of our way to target.

Overall though, a disappointing year financially. For December our NW grew by ‘just’ 0.56% (we aim for 1% per month) and we were up ‘just’ 9.71% for the year (aiming for 12.6%). And this was a good year on the stockmarkets – just a lousy year for our property investments, plus an expensive year for us personally with baby, maternity leave, and world travel with me working part-time.

These are the financial metrics though. 2019 will undoubtedly go down as one of the best years of my life, and I am absolutely living my best life right now.

To earn a smidge over $200,000 for the year – while welcoming a baby, visiting 21 countries, working part-time, concluding a business partnership, and more … that’s fairly outrageous by anyone’s measure!

Activity: Clients / Marketing / Businesses

Weird to have a month with more ‘on the ground’ activity in the UK than in Australia. I remember November & December 2010, shortly after we arrived in London to live … with no clients and limited connections.

Our home in London 2010-2012. Enough snow to cancel our Viennese Christmas plans; not enough to hang around for a proper White Christmas

What a difference a decade makes! Not only is my largest client based here, but mentioning my visit in my last newsletter lined up a number of other sales and opportunity meetings.

And back home in Australia, the month ended with a rush – just one full week before Christmas, and my regular monthly clients to all see in that time!

Coaching and Advisory can be an exhausting profession – being emotionally and mentally present for anything a business owner may need you for – and this is especially true over many consecutive days without rest, with two jetlagged lovelies back home!

Learnings

Could I live in London again? I actually reckon I could.

And not just for the Pub Crawls. This was the day I completed the Monopoly Pub Crawl of London IN ORDER. I failed at the Circle Line Pub Crawl, so must return!

We arrived in London at the wrong time (from a social perspective) and left at the wrong time (just as the economy was picking up). So we have mixed memories. As someone who would never want to live in Sydney, the appeal of London surprised me … perhaps it’s all the theatres!

Would I live in London again? Probably not.

A man cannot step in the same stream twice, for it is not the same stream and he is not the same man. Plus, if we were to move to the UK again, Edinburgh is definitely top of our life.

A pre-Brexit stint in Paris or Prague perhaps? Now that could entice…

There are also definitely some lessons about long-haul travel with a toddler that, frankly, I’m pretending to ignore. Flash has now done 12 flights (by 9 months), and even though we will never attempt a whirlwind tour like this again there’s still every change she could double that in 2020.

Speaking of which … see you then!

Walking through the park in Harrogate, Yorkshire 2019

1 Comment

  1. Monthly Update November 2019 | Jacob Aldridge on April 6, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    […] (You can read last month’s update here; next month’s here.) […]

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