For those that don't know, I decided a while back that I'd like to jump off the treadmill for a couple of months and go to some culturally interesting places. And Australia. However, having that protestant work ethic that defines us Anglo-Saxon British types (despite not being a protestant) I had to find an excuse so that it didn't seem like two months of pure self-indulgence. Also, being a careful individual when it comes to matters of a financial nature, I was keen to look for travelling activities that would be mutually beneficial to myself and another party (translation: I'm a bit of a tight bugger and wanted somebody else to pay for me to galivant around the world).
So I put a proposal to the boss which went (roughly) along the lines of 'I want all my remaining annual leave in one chunk, I want several weeks of unpaid leave and I want you to pay for this training course in India on a subject that I'm very interested in. And not the cut-down nine-day course either, the full three-weeker'. Now at this point most managers (once they'd stopped laughing) would politely decline and put a black mark on the HR file but my boss said instead (again, roughly) 'Excellent idea, I'll cover the cost of the course and a return flight to Delhi, we'll stagger the unpaid leave so you don't take a big hit the month you get back and how soon can you arrange it?'.
A note to anybody reading this who manages people: if you want to inspire genuine loyalty in your minions, this is a VERY good way to do it.
So I volunteered for the golden handcuffs agreement on the course cost and signed myself up. So if I come back to Blighty preaching the cause of Microsoft SQL Server Business Intelligence solutions when I should be going on about Dal in Delhi, Kimchee in Korea or, er, Sausages in Sydney you'll understand why.
So, it's a few days in Delhi, a day in Mumbai to meet up with my friend Stephan, then we go to Goa for 10 days. He flies home and I go to Dehradun (in the foothills of the Himalayas) for the course. Then Christmas with my cousin and his lovely girlfriend in Busan, South Korea. Sydney for new year, a couple of weeks in Aus, three days in Auckland then back home to jetlag, work and cold weather.
I'll catch up with you soon but I think I have an appointment with the beach now, a deep-tissue massage later and then might possibly catch up with the crazy Spanish girls who kept us entertained until three o'clock this morning. It's tough, it really is...