Sunday, 31 July 2011

Week 4

Meet Dougal...Isn’t he gorgeous?  Finally, after a long, long search I found my campervan!  I had a mighty long trip to collect him but he made it back safe and sound.  He gets his name from the Magic Roundabout character...
It felt wonderful to get rid of the “executive” car (if you can call an Astra that) and live life in the slow lane.  It adds to the whole "work detox" programme and it actually felt good to be driving slower and taking in the views rather than rushing everywhere. The best thing though is getting waves from fellow VW owners.  Without fail, every VW camper on the road acknowledged me!
This week has been full of highlights because I also had my induction at the Guide Dogs Association.  The dogs are wonderful - there is so much to learn but I LOVED working with animals and it confirmed that I am doing the right thing and am on the right path.
Another highlight was my Reiki 1 course which I did over 2 days at the beginning of the week.  The course was run by Trude Bacon ( who is a truly inspiring person and a wonderful teacher and coach.  I learnt so much from her and am keen to continue practising so I can get to level 2.  I will be ordering a massage table next week so I can practise on friends and family – I’ll post more details next week.
Next week is a busy one because I have guests staying with me (they arrive tomorrow) and I also have a “trial” camp with my nephew, Dougal and’s going to be so much fun...

Monday, 25 July 2011

Week 3

It turns out Monday’s are not so bad after all.  Last Monday, I received an e-mail from the Guide Dogs Association inviting me to come for an induction at the end of the month and to start volunteering on a weekly basis.  What a result.  I am over the moon.
I have to admit that progress has been slow this week – I have spent more time than I wished on my search for a VW T2 or T25 Campervan.  I have made some good contacts and await the “right” van coming my way.  Until then, this is the closest I’ve come to owning my own camper!
The detox continues and I try to ensure I do “something I love” every day so you can imagine my joy when I finally found a yoga class that works for me.  I fell in love with yoga (and what it does to the mind, body and soul) when I was living in the US and I’ve been searching for a class here ever since I moved back.  Finally, I found the perfect class - Julie Giles runs several power yoga classes in her studio.  Talk about a work out – every muscle in my body has been exercised.  I know I’m not the most flexible person but I probably never really pushed myself ... so when Julie adjusted my positions to allow my body to go that little bit further, it really felt amazing (and a bit sore) - almost like a release. 
Last week, I talked about continuing the dolphin spotting.  Well, the weather hasn’t been the best but I did manage out one day and failed to spot any dolphins.  Instead, I spotted an even rarer sighting in the North Sea – surfers! Check it out...

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Some of my Favourite Animal People

David Attenborough – a Nature programme is not a nature programme unless it is narrated / presented by this great man.  Fact!

Jane Goodall – for her dedication to the conservation of apes and her wonderful book – In the Shadow of Man.

Cesar Millan – The Dog Whisperer is one of my favourite TV programmes.  I think Cesar is solely responsible for putting the idea of animal psychology in my head.

Simon King – I was lucky enough to see one of his presentations.  What an incredible presenter, cameraman and conservationist.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Week 2

Another great start to the week.  My dog, Skye, had an appointment at the specialist orthopaedic vet to get her “sore bits” assessed.  She has a fissure in her left elbow and also has lumbo-sacral disease which affects her lower spine.  Both diseases require surgery but they are not bad enough at the moment to put her through any surgery so I’ve been treating her with medication and a reduced exercise regime.  Two years after the diagnosis, I have been told that Skye is doing great and does not require surgery in the near future.  Woo hoo!
This week, I asked friends to pop round and have a look at my mini charity shop and leave a donation for charity. I had visitors most days and raised a whopping £90!!!  I’m going to make it up to £100 and send it to SSPCA.  Thank you to everyone who donated – you are awesome!  Despite some clothes going to friends, I still had loads left over and dropped off 8 bin-bags full of clothes at the Red Cross this morning.  I have to admit that during the bagging up process, 7 items fell out of the bin bags and found their way back to my room...
One of the best things about not working is catching up with friends and family.  It’s been lovely having visitors all week.  Early in the week, my dad arrived with a trout!  Yes, a trout. 

Not exactly the one in the photo....When he left, I had to figure out how to fillet it.  YouTube helped but I still ended up with a pathetic (albeit tasty) result.  I know what to do next time though.
I would say that this week has mainly been about detoxing, enjoying the garden and the sunshine and doing things that I love.  I ended the week by doing a bit of dolphin spotting on Sunday.  We missed the dolphins by about 15 mins but saw some spectacular views. 

My mission next week – continue the dolphin spotting and dedicate more time to the campervan search...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Week 1

What an exciting week!  My first day of freedom was 4th July.  So I started my week by having a work detox with a session of reiki.  Trude Bacon was recommended to me through a friend. I really enjoyed my reiki and could feel almost weightless as my work stresses left me behind.

The second thing I did was cull my wardrobe.  I have stuffed my clothes and shoes into every nook and cranny in my house.  It was time for a major clean-up.  All items will eventually go to a charity shop but I wanted to give my friends the chance to rummage around so my spare room is now a little charity shop in itself. I have laid out all the clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, scarves, jackets and have asked friends to help themselves and leave a donation to charity in return. 

In order to stop over indulgence in “fashion” in the future, I want to challenge myself to avoid buying any new clothes or shoes for the next 6 months.  I will allow myself to buy from a charity shop but I want to prove that I can survive on a much lower income and test my resolve in case I end up being a student again.

Another great achievement this week was my visit to the Guide Dog Training Centre. I applied for voluntary work there and fingers crossed something comes up.  The centre is really well run with enthusiastic animal lovers – it would be amazing to work with like minded people and get motivation and ideas from them for my new career.

I also applied for voluntary work at the SSPCA and am on a waiting list.

The rest of the week I enjoyed doing the normal things at a slower pace...walking my dog, enjoying nature, visiting friends etc. The best thing is being able to sleep and wake up with my body’s natural alarm clock.  I feel so much more refreshed and alive! 

Oh and the last word on this week goes to my sister in law who helped me set up this blog.  Thanks for the advice and support.  Let me know what you think.

The Next Step

My rough plan to tackle the next 6 months is this:

  • Detox completely from my previous employment
  • Get some voluntary animal work on my CV to show my commitment to this career change.
  • Research my options of studying – I am fascinated by animal psychology so would love to learn more.  Get in touch with lecturers and see which course is most suited to me.
  • Research animal sanctuaries, rehabilitation centres in the UK for job opportunities either voluntary, short term or long term.
  • Buy a campervan
  • Use campervan for a mini road trip round UK to speak to any contacts I made in the above research, face to face.
  • Get a university application in by the end of the 2011.
  • Find a way of getting paid animal employment to help fund any course I end up doing.

Monday, 11 July 2011


I think I always loved animals. I remember my grandpa was an animal lover and he is possibly my greatest inspiration. I’d like to dedicate this blog to him...he is no longer with us but I know he is guiding me on this new path and I feel truly blessed to have his support.  I hope he would be immensely proud of me.

We always had dogs when I was growing up so it was only natural to get my own dog when I felt settled.  Skye was born in October 2003 and she was in my hands at 8 weeks old.  It was love at first sight.

My other passion in life is apes and in particular, orang-utans.  Perhaps it was watching David Attenborough documentaries as a youngster that made me fall in love with these great apes.  I was lucky enough to do an 8 week volunteer programme through Travellers Worldwide where I worked at the Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok, Malaysia.  It felt wonderful to be helping a truly magnificent creature.  Their very presence is humbling and my 8 weeks were the most rewarding and emotional of my life.  I was incredibly proud of what we achieved at Sepilok but leaving there made me want to do much, much more for our fragile animal world.


Hello and welcome to my blog.  Thank you for taking the time to read my posts.  My name is Julie and I have set up this blog to chart my progress whilst embarking on a complete career change. 

I have worked in the oil industry for the last 15 years.  It has been good to me and I have been extremely fortunate along the way.  But as I approach "middle age" (I hate that expression) I have decided to do something drastic and follow my dreams.  THIS IS MY MID LIFE CRISIS MOMENT!

So, on the 1st July 2011, I left my comfortable, cosy job with no other work prospects for the near future.  I have given myself 6 months to come up with a plan of action and find myself a career working with animals.  I will chart all my highs and lows on this blog.