Moving to Canada

It was an ordinary weekday morning, early into 2011 that my life changed direction.  A letter appeared on my desk at work informing me that I had been chosen for redundancy.  A week before I had a conversation with my dad about buying my first house and getting onto the property ladder, that conversation seemed painfully ironic now.  I was a Civil Engineer back then, working 4 days a week for a respectable consultancy firm south of Manchester and attending lectures 1 day a week at a university north of Manchester.

I guess the upside of my redundancy was I had more time to spend on my final year.  Some of my lectures had learned of my redundancy and advised me to move to Australia after I finished my degree.  “Engineering is very good over there at the moment”, they reminded me on a regular basis.  After several months, the idea of moving to Australia began to sink in and soon after graduating I found myself with flight tickets to Sydney.  In order to move to Australia I had to break a promise I made to someone, but that is another story maybe for another day.

I spent a year in Australia on a working holiday visa.  Before I left I had visions of me walking into a lucrative engineering job, renting a nice flat in downtown Sydney and generally living the life of a well-paid engineer.  The reality was I found myself living in a run-down cockroach invested house and working at a call centre answering phone calls from disgruntled Groupon customers.  A stark contrast but in some ways this life was better.  It was during these days that I became obsessed with 2 new hobbies, 2 new interests that somewhat became the focal point of my life.  Travel and photography.

 My day job, sort of.

My day job, sort of.

I returned to the UK and got my old job back at the respectable consultancy firm.  It seemed that I could continue where I left off back in 2011, continue working, get onto the property ladder and put the year in Australia down as a long holiday.  But things were different now.  Travel and photography were both constantly on my mind.  I managed to stay in the UK for a year before I found a reason to go overseas again.  Central America was the next destination.  A friend was traveling down there from the US so I handed in my noticed and flew to Cancun to meet him.  I stayed in Central America for 7 months travelling my way from Mexico to Panama with Panama City being my final destination.  Journey to Panama City was the name of the travel blog I attempted to write during this time.  I have a lot of unpublished writing that I plan to condense into a photo/travel book at some point within the next 1000 years.

Central America is where I cut my teeth as a photographer.  I had been steadily progressing in photography ever since I bought my first camera in Sydney but Central America was like a photography boot camp, a never-ending array of photography sights and opportunities from outstanding landscapes to firelit beech raves.  After 7 months and dropping a couple of stone due to food poisoning I returned to the UK.  I official reason was I came back for a friend’s wedding.  Two of my friends who I introduced to each other decided to tie the knot.

 Semana Santa (Easter) - Antigua, Guatemala.

Semana Santa (Easter) - Antigua, Guatemala.

 Beach rave - Utila, Honduras

Beach rave - Utila, Honduras

I stayed back in the UK for 2 years where I spent time being Civil Engineer Mike.  The 2 years were good for me, I had a job that I was progressing in, I was doing photography part time on the side, I had continued salsa dancing which I first discovered a love for in Central America and this introduced me to a whole group of new friends and I was also living in a nice flat in the city.  My life back in Manchester had become better because of travelling and photography.  I was tempted to stay, but I knew I had to go.  I can always come back in Manchester; the city isn’t going anywhere and there is an age limit on working holiday visas.  So, it was now or never.

 Onward, once more.

Onward, once more.