Tomorrow I leave for a little R&R in France. I’d like to sit here and write out a detailed itinerary of what I’m going to do, but the truth of the matter is I rarely plan these things beyond picking the country and the location. I pack the essentials – my outdoor gear, my mountain bike, a load of books, and my laptop. What else is there?

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      I’m self-employed. I do work as a business/personal coach and freelance trainer and sometimes consultant. The money is good. And of course, I have the flexibility to choose when and where I work.

      So how’s New York? I’ve been in self-exile over here in Europe for the last 5 years (I’m from New Jersey).

      1. Self-exile in Europe doesn’t sound so bad at all. [Where are you currently, pre-France trip?]

        New York is truly wonderful. I’ve been marvelling at the beauty of the end of summer here recently. It’s endless and expansive and logistically impossible and totally serendiptious. I spent the day at Coney Island having crazy adventures this weekend, and felt really lucky to live where I do. I think living in this city is like living in a comic book, when works, if it works, if you make it work. Everything’s sort of amped and hyperspeed and even going to the Grocery store (especially as my local grocery store is Fairway…ever been there) is an adventure and it’s all in saturated color and doesn’t make nice quiet sense, but it’s always epic, somehow.
        I’ve also been spending a lot of time on the roof of my building, which has an unbelievable view of the city and the Hudson.

        So New York is good. I’m exhausted and overworked and underfed and very happy, which is think is the way of being young and living here.

        How’s Europe?

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            At present I live in England in a wonderful little village called Southam, which is located in what the Brits call the West Midlands. I’m essentially about 30 miles or so east of Birmingham and about an 1 1/2hr drive from London. I moved to England almost 5 years to the date. I came over for what was meant to be a 6 month assignment on loan from Merrill Lynch to help do the equity and investments training for a joint venture they were doing with HSBC Bank. Well, 5 years later on I’m still here. It’s the usual story; boy meets girl; boy falls for girl and is willing to go into self-exile to be with her. Besides, I had lived in Europe previously (Germany) and was quite happy to stay. I find the lifestyle here a lot more relaxed. And it’s great to be able to escape to so many different worlds in a matter of hours.

            Ah New York…I’ve spent a lot of years in New York, mainly upstate. I’m a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. As a cadet, we used to descend on New York City for nights of debauchery and mayhem and a little bit of culture. My last assignment in the army was at FT Drum, NY up near Syracuse.

            Coney Island brings back memories of being lost and terrified. As a little boy I wondered off to far from my mom and found myself alone in a great big world of strange sounds and strange smells, and strange people. I spent an hour wondering around looking for mom. And then I remember her telling previously that if I ever got lost, I should go back to the last place I remember and stay there and wait and not talk to any strangers. So that what I did. Eventually they found, sitting on a bench watching the sights.

            I haven’t been back to States for 3 years now. I must endeavor to come back for a visit some time soon.

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