Many years ago you could live and work all your life in your hometown.
Society, lifestyle and companies have changed their mission and vision.
As a recent article published in the Telegraph, former expats are actually returning abroad due to the disappointement when going back to their own country.
It happens that employers in countries such as New Zealand or UAE offer 12 or 24 months contract with a possibility to extend it. Ben Giles was employed in Dubai but when it was time to renew his commitment with his employer he opted out as he preferred to go back to Britain.
He is fully employed in London but regrets not having gone for the 'extra mile' alternative where he could have increased his experience abroad.
The United Arab Emirates are buzzing with new businesses and with a lot of people willing to return there for more work. However, be aware that with the drop in price of housing (yes, really...) some pay package have been affected as well giving the employer an extra and stronger negotiation position. That is the only downside to it.
The situation is identical in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Suhail Masri, VP of Sales at Bayt.com, a Middle East recruitment website, said: “The Gulf Cooperation Council region in general is very attractive to expats and welcomes professionals from across the world.” source
This new way of working is part of the 21st century. You could be working for a private bank in London but have the opportunity to travel to work in a branch at the other side of the planet. As a prime example Coutts opened an office is Dubai according to emirates24/7.
(From left): Edward Hobart, Rory Tapner and Abdulla Mohammed Saleh at the opening of the DIFC office.
This is how things are going these days. You should be willing to travel and work anywhere in the world and see it as a lifetime experience rather than a hassle or discomfort. It can be a real opportunity to actually travel and explore at your company's expenditures.
A gap year: it does what it says on the tin!
Some people do ask if there is something positive in taking a year off to go across the globe - rather than finishing all studies , which already cost a lot.
Here are some reasons why such a break can be a good decision:
1/ A personal adventure & lifetime experience
Twelve months off to travel the world then either work or be a volunteer abroad. Some decide to go really far and in a rather remote location such as Tibet, Peru or pick a green project such as panda conservation. It is probably just after your return home that you realise what you have achieved and it should have a big impact on your future life and at the way you see things.
2/ Discover exciting new cultures
Living a different life for up to a year is something interesting. Forget your daily routine and comfy bedroom, soft sofa and wide screen television. Raw locations, unusual experiences, new type of food and why not learn a new language at the same time. Going off the beaten track is the point. Being not time restricted, will give you the opportunity to know each place much better than a tourist, who can only access so many attractions and premises. It is also about stepping outside your comfort zone.
3/ Meet new people and friends for life
A real social experience too. Meet backpackers, you will see that all of them are in the same situation. Going from one place to the other, this means that you will meet like-minded people during your itinerary. That specific time will bring you incredible satisfaction by communicating and blending with individuals having the same goals. Making something from their lives. It is also about facing daily problems whether it is just feeling ill or requesting a type of advice for some legal and/or administrative procedures. Having a travel insurance for your gap year is that (little) detail which could improve everything, especially when facing a case of emergency: cover for mugging or just health worries. Thinking of unexpected scenario is how to prepare these 12 months.
4/ Add a uniqueness to your CV
There is not one similar gap year. It will bring changes to your attitude to life. Some people will come back more mature with a sense of being less selfish. This is what lacks in the traditional education maybe? Sharing a personal space, a meal, a seat or just a map is going to give a real feeling of collaboration. This is what it is all about. Taking a gap year without caring for others would be pointless. You can only learn from others to improve your already acquired skills.
With the on-going financial situation and difficulties for some families to go through the Winter, let's have a look at some tips for good savings on energy in the household and better financial planning.
Shrinking the bills is the aim without suffering by the lack of heat.
1/ Get your heating on when you are actually indoor – having the boiler running when the premises is empty means a waste of money. Make sure the timer is set correctly, taking in consideration the changes during Winter and Summer times.
2/ No need to overheat and then open the windows. Best temperature between 18°C and 21°C.
3/ Make sure your boiler is serviced regularly and if over 12 years old, it may be worth replacing it.
4/ If a room is rarely used don’t turn the radiator completely off – it will create more damage to it when switching it back on. Use the “frost” setting instead.
5/ Think of spending to save money later on by insulating walls and attics. A small draught can be unpleasant for the occupier but also for the wallet. Heating a space to lose the warmth within a few minutes is like pouring water in a broken glass.
6/ Regarding electric appliances: kitchen fridge should be around 5°C to keep food chilled enough without actually affecting electric costs.
7/ Do your washing (clothes) at 30°C – modern detergents are working well at low temperature too and you will then use 40% less power.
8/ Concerning the lightings swap your old incandescent light bulbs for an energy version which will save you money too when receiving your bill – various stores including B&Q have a good range of products to change the bad for the good, which will make you even happier.
9/ If you want to go a step further for longer life, opt for the newly LED lights: brighter for about 15 years of great clarity at night. The Energy Saving Trust estimate that changing one 50W halogen spotlight with a 6W LED could save up to £70 over the life of the bulb. Rather impressive.
There is actually a clear dedicated page you can check in order to improve all energy related issues in your home.
Everybody has at least one friend who likes to jump on a train or plane at the last minute - just to get the best deal for a fun time abroad or within the country.
Sometimes it is just a quick decision to go for a trekking weekend or exploring the surroundings on a mountain bike. Adrenaline drives people to discover remote places...as if there is something magic to get there before anyone else.
When a traveller decides to go away without having planned either the actual destination or what to take with him/her you can be sure that soemm extra purchases will need to be made when arriving or the essential "survival kit" will be forgotten on the kitchen table. By survival kit, it can be the soap/shampoo/toothbrush bag or passport/smartphone.
Going to a cheap break is always good but a check list should be done beforehand to minimise these awkward and stressful situations.
Last but not least, thinking of a single trip insurance policy. This little detail which could change it all.
As a prime example remember "127 hours"?!
Having not informed his friends & family, he could have died. Fortunately, he managed to cut his arm to be freed from that rock...but what a painful experience. Certainly, lifetime changing outdoor adventure.
Aaron Ralston gives us a great lesson of courage.
"...No one knows that more than 35-year-old Aron Ralston. In 2003, he had gone hiking, alone, near Robbers Roost – an old outlaw hideout used in the dying days of the wild west by Butch Cassidy. But while Ralston was climbing down a narrow slot in Bluejohn Canyon, a boulder became dislodged, crushing Ralston’s right forearm and pinning it against the wall..." source
In all situations everything is important and sometimes what we think is superficial - like ticking a box on a form - could have dramatic consequences.
Taking time to assess and anticipate what could happen is too often ignored. Something to remember in whatever you are thinking of doing in the future.
It would be too stupid to miss that box and regret it for the rest of your life.