Alan's Blog




Memories - a Million Dollars and a Second Life

"Well Al, you may not have any money, but you have a million dollars-worth of memories”.

So spoke Marc, my dear friend from New York, speaking on the shores of Subic Bay in the Philippines. How right he was – and is.

This was during my ‘second’ life, as I call it.

My ‘first’ life was very conventional – school, apprenticeship, work, marriage, kids, divorce, work.

My ‘second’ life was, and continues to be, anything but conventional – I’m pleased to say.

My first life began in June 1949 – when I was born, and continued until 1996, when I started to think about beginning again with a ‘second’ life. I worked out a plan for much of 1996 so that I could start my ‘second’ life early in 1997 and the plan worked well.

Between my first and second lives there was a period between January 1990 and January 1996 where I was in a type of no mans land. January 1990 was when my first wife decided she wanted to do her own thing – and that didn’t include me. I quit my job and, 3 months later, found a new job. That was a good start, but the doldrums of being in no mans land soon set in. Not a fun place to be. By 1996 I knew I had to change my life before I jumped off the cliffs. So, I set about doing so.

My inspiration came from reading the centre pages of a publication entitled Overseas Jobs Express long before the internet became the place to search for jobs. There I read of a young man who’d gone to teach English in Columbia in South America.

“Wow”, I thought. “What an adventure that would be”.

The article also gave me the information I needed to take the same steps as he did, although I headed not for Columbia but the Philippines – firstly on holiday in January 1996, then, in February 1997, to live there.

Before heading to the far east, I had to get through my plan for 1996, the most important objective being to qualify as an English language teacher – as job insurance – there is always work for English teachers. Little did I know how useful that would be and what doors it would open when working in other countries.

I completed and passed the Trinity College Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (Cert. TESOL). Five weeks of gruelling hard work – that’s all it took – and takes, as you too can do the same if you want to change your life – or start a ‘second’ life like I did.

I travelled to the Philippines without a job to go to – found one when I needed to, then, later another and then another. When I ran out of jobs, I married my second wife and off we went to Kuwait, then, in sequence, UK, Qatar, Philippines, Kuwait, Philippines, UK, The Netherlands, UK. Of course, you can choose a different route in your global travelling adventures as there are jobs available almost all over our planet.

Memories? Millions of them – worth far more than the million dollars my friend spoke of.


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