For a change, I’ll keep this one brief.
We are now (at the end of October, 2019) three months in to our European travels with our (now) 7 month old daughter.
Importantly, we are now at the end of the main trip which also included my in-laws. I’m in transit from Europe (Paris CDG) back ‘home’ to Australia on my own, for 3 weeks of work; the rest of the family are en route to Edinburgh which also means my beautiful wife and our calm and happy baby will have two weeks there by themselves*.
If the 5 of us can survive transiting through Europe while successively coming down with a personal bout of gastroenteritis, then I think we’ve done alright! Though definitely tensions are strained and we’re looking forward to some time not changing locations every few days.
For Harmony and I, November will be tough as we’ll be apart for a few weeks; we’re looking forward to some time just the three of us travelling through the UK in late November / early December before making it home for Christmas.
Baby Flash continues to do amazingly well (gastro aside!).
Highlights from October 2019, a month spent entirely travelling as a family around Europe!
- I actually left our apartment in Nice, France for some walks around the city, and a day trip that took in Menton and Monaco. The highlight was a great lunch on the rooftop of the Fairmont Hotel, Monaco
- We flew from the Mediterranean warmth straight into Munich, Germany where it was definitely Winter! Landing on a public holiday low on baby formula wasn’t a great idea; heading to Oktoberfest with my father-in-law definitely was. I’ve been before, in a ‘big tent’ experience – this time we visited three different tents, and I experienced a lot more of the atmosphere. A great event, though the lack of variety in German beer bores me.
- Given accommodation prices in Munich, we quickly headed to Salzburg, Austria – and the cold weather sure followed us. Only a quick stop this time, enough to walk alongside the river (beautiful) and enjoy some knockeral (always sensational!).
- Cesky Krumluv in the Czech Republic was one of the few stops on this itinerary that Harmony and I hadn’t visited before, and we loved the small town. They actually have real bears patrolling the castle moat.
- Prague, Czech Republic is one of my favourite cities in Europe, and we had a great chat with a Scottish expat in our building who made the move her with her family 8 years ago. I could definitely see the appeal, as we wandered the parks eating trdlnik as a family. (Apparently Czech adults don’t eat trdlnik because it’s a children’s sweet – silly grown-ups don’t know what they’re missing!!)
- We had another excellent week in Budapest, Hungary, where friends of mine keep an apartment. Stopping by the Faust Wine Cellar for Bull’s Blood is a must do when in town; we did a river cruise on the Danube for the first time which was great.
- We were surprised there are no direct flights (in October at least) between Budapest and Barcelona, necessitating a visit to Vienna, Austria which we stretched to three days. The Vienna Christmas Markets that we visited in 2011 remain a strong memory, while this time around I spent most of my time working.
- We were fortunate to visit Barcelona, Spain in between the recent riots, and had a great apartment just across from La Sagrada Familia (which continues to develop, given our last visit here was 2010). Our bus was evacuated for a protest, which is fun with a baby strapped to you, but wasn’t really cause for concern.
- The very last official stop on our #GrandTour was home to the world’s best food, San Sebastian, Spain. Ignoring the gastro that struck me at the end, I was able to enjoy a lot of great food – and taking our daughter to their sensational Aquarium was absolutely the highlight.
- Lastly, after a 6.5 hour delay due to train strikes, we made it back to Paris, France (strictly speaking, Roissy-en-France, home to CDG airport) for final packing before parting ways. A quaint little town, it was nice to wander in the cold one day, and also (slowly recovering) to realise we’d booked on the executive level so had access to the lounge for some late night catch-up on business and life admin!
So yes, November will see me back in Australia briefly before I meet my two beautiful girls in Edinburgh. That’s primarily a chance for me to give my UK clients (and potential clients) some face-time, though we also have a wedding up near Pitlochry. Did someone say #Tartan?!
Income and Equity
Here’s something I know, but apparently needed to re-learn: there is a distinct 3-month journey from my business development activity to the client work that follows. If I stop my marketing and sales activity in, say, July 2019 … that will mean my revenue declines substantially in, say, October 2019.
Ever was it so.
October’s income was a paltry (by comparison) $6,800. My stretch target of $200,000 for the calendar year may be slipping ever so slightly out of reach. Equity wise we slipped again, only slightly, down to 44.50% of our target. I have a house revaluation booked for when I am home.
In my defence, we did see this coming. Back in mid-August my beautiful wife (and business partner) and I had a chat – do we ramp up marketing and sales, or give me more time to enjoy this trip as a family (knowing we would pay for it down the line). We chose to pay for it down the line.
The piper is calling. And that’s OK. (November will see me amp this back up … so expect February to look very nice again. Seriously, it’s that predictable!)
Activity: Clients / Marketing / Businesses
As I kinda alluded to in the previous section … I’m not doing enough of this. And that’s OK.
I will note that the big strategic review project I did for a client, examining their global Learning & Development program and making specific recommendations, was so well received that they have engaged me to run implementation in 2020. So that’s awesome – Review for show, Implement for Dough (both the client, and myself!).
Gastro sucks. I have an amazing wife. So when we both woke up to a vomiting baby, and I commented “I felt sick coming to bed last night”, she immediately said “Go into the spare bedroom”. I spent the rest of the night vomiting every 40 minutes, while she tended to Flash’s first proper illness. What an amazing woman, whom I love so much.
I am soooo looking forward to life as a bachelor for the next three weeks. Honestly, I can’t imagine any father would feel differently (among all the mixed emotions of leaving his family behind for a period).