In May 2014, after nearly 10 years working for the same company, I took a voluntary redundancy package.
The timing was perfect – our youngest daughter had just completed University and we were fast approaching the point of an “age and stage” decision – specifically, “where to live, where to work, how to improve the balance in life”.
Since moving to the UK from South Africa in Jan 1997, we had lived in zone 5 in South London and I had commuted into central London for most of that time. One and a half hours door-to-door each way daily when the public transport worked well, occasionally many more than that. Seventeen years later, I didn’t want to work out how many days of my life I had already spent commuting.
So when the prospect of a package arose, I instantly put up my hand and started making plans. My long suffering wife agreed that I could take a six month “sabbatical” and just do a few things that I had wanted to do for a long time but just didn’t have the opportunity to do due to life simply getting in the way. I started planning my #epicsummer14 which involved 6 phases:-
- Fly to South Africa to visit my Dad, spend some time in Franschoek (our second favourite place on earth) and join our friends on safari for their long weekend 50th birthday celebration
- Fly to Sharm-El-Sheik to learn to scuba dive – my lovely wife offered to pay for me to do my PADI, something I have been wanting to do for many, many years.
- Ride to Romania with my friend Peter on our motorbikes in order to ride the Transfagarasson Highway and on from there to Split in Croatia where Peter and I would part ways
- Spend a week in Split, Croatia, where my wife and two daughters would join me, the week culminating in the three day Ultra Music Festival where we had secured VIP tickets
- The solo ride back from Split to London, time to contemplate life, the universe and everything, or more specifically, “what to do next?“
- Hiring a car and spending 10 days driving the Amalfi Coast in Italy to celebrate my lovely wife’s birthday
And so it was that while most of my work colleagues were agonising over their fate as the redundancy sword hung precariously over their heads, I would calmly describe my plans for the next few months and their response was always the same :-
“oh f*ck off and stop telling us about the great summer you are about to have – you’re such a TWAT!”
As a result, I decided that when the time came to chronicle my escapades, it needed to be on a URL that could be abbreviated to TWAT and since I love to travel and when I can I also love to spend time on two wheels, TwoWheelsAndTravel was born.
Just to take it that one step further so that it would sail over the heads of most non English-as-a-first-language countries, I decided to use a phonetic version of the spelling, hence “tw@” became my logo.
So now I can have:-
- tw@ in Africa
- tw@ underwater
- tw@ on a bike
- tw@ ………..well anything really
After all, a twat is really a term of endearment used between mates ……….(isn’t it??)