Forget five-star travel and the hotel life; when it comes to holidays as a soloist, Fredy Namdin prefers the simple things in life.
Back in the days of my corporate years, me and a colleague of mine often talked about holidays. These discussions spanned from possible holiday dates and destinations, to all the different food and drink we would enjoy during the trip.
We strategised about the best possible ways to capitalise on these holidays.Should we take it before Christmas? After New Year? Or maybe mid-year?
We took into account costs, the best weather, airlines, any special events, and so much more. It was almost an obsession for us.
I started a company more than ten years ago. Well, we acquired it but in my defence the company was in a very risky position, one bad move and there would be nothing left. We did quite a turnaround to make it into a strong and healthy business. And boy it took time to do that. I never knew acquiring a business could take so much work.
As with other businesses, things were never smooth nor stable for long. We experienced highs and lows, joy, heart break, excitement, and many other indescribable feelings.
“I just want to lie down on the sofa, relaxing, with a cup of coffee in my hand, and the most delicious Scotch Finger biscuit by my side.”
We worked so hard for the business (especially in the first few years). I remember those nights when the kids would sleep in the car because we had big orders to fulfil the following day. The worst was when the phone rang in the afternoon with an urgent request, and we knew we had no choice but to abide, because it was one of our major customers – another all nighter coming through. Who said owning a business means answering to no one? We quickly figured out that we were answering to more than 500 people (read: bosses). And these ‘bosses’ could be more demanding than our corporate bosses (not always).
Nevertheless we were happy. Things turned around and we made good money. We started to improve (increase) our spending. A new car, a new house, even a new coffee machine. Life was great.
“Hi Fred.” Eddie said to me. ”How have you been?”
“Hi Eddie, what a surprise. Well, I am doing good, man,” I said.
Eddie is a friend from my previous life. He is the one I discussed holidays with back in my corporate days.
“Where are you working now,” Eddie asked.
“I run my own company.” I replied to him. “We distribute industrial products.”
“Wow, I remember back in BankEast you always wanted to have your own business,” Eddie said.
“Yeah, it’s a dream come true.” I said, trying to remember what I really said to him back then.
“Thanks, what about you?”
“I work in South Bank Institute now.”
“Sounds like a good place.”
“Yes it is, and guess what, we are going to Bali again this year.”
“Yup, the third time this year.”
This guy is so lucky, I thought to myself. I haven’t got the time to do all these holidays this year.
“Ok Fred, I need to rush,” Eddie said. “It’s great bumping into you.”
Despite our best effort we could only take holidays during Christmas and New Year. That would be around 10 days per year. We compensate this by making it in such a way that we only work short hours during the year. Practically we structured the business around our kids. We want to spend time with them so we work short hours but somehow we end up with only 10 days break per year.
In all honesty, I never thought about it before meeting Eddie.
It’s not like we need multiple holidays anyway. Ten days break is long enough – or so I thought.
But I just couldn’t let it go. Eddie gets to take multiple trips to Bali and I am just stuck here in the warehouse? What a crappy lifestyle I have now. Surely there must be something I could do to make my life a bit better?
As I drove home I was reminiscing about the time when I too was able to take multiple trips per year. What a great life it was. I remembered the cubicle where I sat. Eddie was sitting just across my desk (hence we talked a lot to each other). The best part was in the morning when I would use the company’s coffee machine to make my delicious morning coffee. Lunch was not too bad as sometimes we had to rush things, especially when there was a big tender due.
Big tender, what a nightmare.
I must have made more than 1000 spreadsheets over the course of my career as an analyst. Oh yeah, and those headaches, splitting headaches. I was consuming pain killers like candy. I had a box or two on my desk and took two tablets per day. If I kept going the way I was maybe I could purchase them at wholesale price based on the volume I went through.
And my boss, OMG, she was the most discriminating, intimidating, back-stabbing $%&6%^.
You know what, maybe I don’t need those holidays.
Life is good as it is now.
We are happy, our business is growing, the wife is happy (very important), and I have my own coffee machine at home (also very important).
You know what, I have a great life.
It’s simple, not glamorous, albeit it’s the best for me.
I just want to lie down on the sofa, relaxing, with a cup of coffee in my hand, and the most delicious Scotch Finger biscuit by my side.
That’s all I need.
I just want to lie down.
By Fredy Namdin
— as originally appeared on Quora and FlyingSolo