A photo of a passport and travel documents

The Final Countdown

After months of planning and preparation, the bags are packed, a bunch of meetings and site visits are booked, and the work handover is largely under control. All that’s standing between me and the Churchill is a day of work, and three flights.

People keep asking if I’m excited. I am. Very. At the same time, it’s a strange feeling stepping out of a reasonably consuming full-time job for a couple of months to single-focus on one thing. I’ve always enjoyed being a generalist, and the daily variety that comes with a role in regional development – but I am genuinely looking forward to the novelty of being able to (turn off the work email account and) focus on a single task for a couple of months.

One of the biggest learnings from the past few months is how absorbing the planning process can be. Booking (even loosely) a couple of months of travel, accommodation, meetings and activities is no small task. I probably underestimated this. A couple of pieces of advice that I’d freely give anyone looking to undertake their own Churchill:

  • Schedule time for this planning. It can feel like a part-time job sometimes, and when you work full time, you notice it.
  • In my experience, the workload ramps up the closer you get to the departure date.
  • If your life is dictated by your diary, get in early and block out chunks of time in your last couple of weeks of work to tie up any loose ends.

I at least feel that I got that last point right, which makes stepping away from work a much more relaxing feeling. All that’s left to do now is finish off the handover, tidy my desk and set the out of office message.

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