Having got a ticket for the Glastonbury festival in June 2023 I thought I’d repost this – John ‘Croz’ Crosby and I went in the 80’s – exactly when this was I don’t know – it was that sort of festival!!! Happy days and we were both still students!
HOW DID I GET HERE
Born into an “average” family, only ever holidaying at my Grandparents house until I was 12 years old, moving house once when I was 2 years old, was I destined to follow a “normal” path ?
When I was 12 years old my father applied to be seconded to Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. for 3 years. We moved there as a family and this became my new life, (remember there was no internet/mobile phones in 1975).
Three years exploring America, and then back to the UK and our average three bed semi. I decided then that I wanted a more exiting lifestyle than I had been destined to follow, I wanted to travel and I set about choosing “O” Levels, “A” Levels and a Degree that would allow me to leave Britain.
At University, in Cardiff, I found pubs in a big way and decided Cardiff, pubs and the possibility of becoming a student landlord (student accommodation) were my way out of a conventional lifestyle. I finished University and got a job with the Council, a good employer to have when applying for a mortgage, and purchased a rundown property which I set about turning into “student accommodation”. Nearing completion of my first student property it became apparent that in order to purchase the house that myself and girlfriend (now my wife) wanted, I would have to sell my “student accommodation”.
Whilst working for the Council I learnt surveying, and reconfirmed my belief that I belonged outdoors. I left the Council to work as a surveyor in the Open Cast Coal industry, leaving there a few years later to work as a setting out engineer with a house building company. I believed that the job of a site manager should be my next move. Four years of that job proved that I was wrong, and I quit with nowhere to go. I believed that I could however manage a small “infill” development on my own, and set about acquiring some property/land.
The search for property/land proved to be another major turning point in my life, we found and purchased a children’s day nursery, this was to be our family home as well as our business. We ran this for ten years, however the increasing “interference” from Ofsted and other external sources began to limit our ability to provide the environment our children, parents and staff all enjoyed. We were in the process of winding the business down and trying to get permission to redevelop the site when we met a small company who were interested in buying the business off us, and renting the property too, so we sold the business and moved out.
It was whilst running the nursery business, within our family home, that the need to get away, just for a change of scenery, had become apparent. I could neither afford nor justify holidays so I got involved with event work, through an employment agency. My first job was supervising litter pickers at the British Grand Prix. I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and simplicity of the work, and have been doing this type of work for about fifteen years now. I’m aware that I am fortunate enough to have an income from renting property out, but it is amazing how little income one needs if one doesn’t have huge debts and is prepared to sacrifice some of life’s luxuries. I’m fifty five years old now, and spend my summer mainly working with students, their carefree attitude, whilst annoying at times, is also quite refreshing. This new way of living sees my wife and I living in the smallest house we have ever lived in but, we spend on average three months of the year travelling abroad, on quite a tight budget, but when your life is not very stressful you need less luxuries.
I hope this helps you if you are thinking of reducing your workload, I can thoroughly recommend it if you think it’s for you.
As an aside, and I don’t know if it’s relevant but, my Grandfather semi-retired early at 58 and moved from Manchester to Cornwall, my Father retired at 56 and my Uncle retired at 52. Perhaps it’s in our blood to give it a go then retire early.