‘I can’t stop competing’

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Jaclyn and Heidi shock
'Will the BIg Lap stop me competing?'

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
I am really trying to wind down after retiring from a pretty stressful and competitive career. My wife Tamsin and I have been travelling full-time for the past couple of months and I am beginning to annoy her … and myself! I just can’t seem to get out of the ‘it’s-me-against-them’ corporate mentality. I find myself saying things to Tamsin like: ‘Goodness, look at that battered old van. How can those losers possibly travel in that?’ And she’ll say: ‘Well, they’re having a better time than you are,’ and I can see that she’s right. And when we do get invited to Happy Hour drinks, I find myself banging on about how successful I was, or how well I can do this or that. I can see people’s eyes roll – including Tamsin’s – but I can’t stop myself.  Will I ever be as mellow as other travellers?

Well, you’ve made a great first step in seeing that it is you who is out of step with the rhythm of life on the road, Gordon. It is incredibly hard switching from one highly ingrained lifestyle choice to another, and it generally takes time to make the adjustments. It’s great that you’re not too proud to admit it’s you who’s been getting it wrong. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be proud of what you have achieved.  But you need to know when to put ‘Career Gordon’ away in a little box and brig out ‘Grey Nomad Gordon’.  I’m assuming you’re an intelligent man and, as such, will soon adapt. Talk about cheap fuel, great campsites you’ve found, and interesting adventures you’ve had. Oh, and also try talking to some of those ‘losers’, as well. They may be different to you but success can be measured in different ways, Gordon.

Stop being such a hypocrite, Gordon. If you don’t want to be a spoilt, arrogant, boastful bore around the campfire, then just stop being one. If you were as successful in your career as you claim to be, then you must have displayed an awful lot of discipline as you climbed the corporate ladder. How about using some of that steely will the next time you feel like saying something stupid? It’s easy. Just don’t say anything at all! If you are after hero worship for your career achievements, then you’ve made a big mistake in taking the Big Lap, Gordon.  News flash! Most grey nomads don’t care! And remember, why would the person with a battered second-hand van who has probably accumulated an awful lot of happy memories over many years putting those scratches and dents on it, possibly be jealous of your gleaming, new relatively unused one?


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