UK or Gambia

UK or Gambia, what’s the difference? When I lived in the UK I think I had it pretty good. Nice job, nice car, nice house, nice things etc!

Mostly, I accumulated stuff: clothes, CDs, gadgets – and for the most part, I thought I was happy. Yet it would be fair to say, after spending 20 years in The Gambia, that all the things I’ve mentioned so far have become unimportant to me. Sitting here today, I want to try and explain the difference between then and now and why now I’m content with what I have.

Footsteps eco-lodge Gambia | 6 of the best photos competition | 2017 finalist Mark Gray
Image by Mark Gray
Traffic Queue
Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary on Unsplash

Let’s look first at a typical week in the UK

I have to get a good start to the week, so I’m up super early. Monday is always a long day or I’m playing catch up all week. It doesn’t matter how early I hit the road, it’s always busy by the time I reach the M25 and I’m already wondering if I should have left earlier.

It’s raining as usual, but it’s warm in the car. The office in Uxbridge is not far away now and I’m early for the Monday morning meeting, so all is good. The office is already buzzing and there are smells of fresh coffee which is great as I’m a caffeine addict.

The meeting is much like all the meetings, an emphasis on targets and how important it is to meet them and also what’s in it for me when I do. Back in the car to start the week proper. And the rest of the week is spent in much the same fashion, working to meet targets, car, office, home. Repeat.

Thank Crunchie for the weekends! They really only consist of one day don’t they? A Saturday. This was the day to look forward to. I get to spend time with family, friends and hopefully get to spend it outdoors. Maybe a bbq, or a trip to the beach?

This is what we all work for, this one day off. A drink or two in the evening and Sunday was all about having a lie-in, the one day you don’t feel guilty for still being in bed at 10am. It’s also the day for washing, ironing and catching up on the stuff you don’t have time for during the week. Cutting the grass and, of course, eating too much Sunday dinner. Early night tonight because Monday is always a long day or I’ll end up playing catch up.

Of course, up to now I have been writing about my own personal experience. But, as you read this, I’m sure there are similarities between my past life and your current life.

Saturdays are important to us all aren’t they? Because they represent little holidays!

It’s Saturday every day in The Gambia

For me, it feels just like that. Gambia has a fun way of reconnecting you with the important things in life. Such as, talking and listening to people you meet. Greeting everyone with a smile. Asking “Ibe Nyaadi?” which means “How are you?”

This is how you will you feel when you visit The Gambia. It’s Saturday everyday. Wake up at sunrise to the sound of birds. Smell the aroma of breakfast being prepared by happy people. And smile at being asked “Ibe Nyaadi” because you feel happy and connected.

Remove your watch, you won’t need it.

The Footsteps Dogs
Walking the dogs!

The biggest difference is being outside. Inside is for sleeping and getting ready to go outside. When you’re under the sun, feeling its warmth, breathing fresh air and not recirculated conditioned air, you feel alive. This what you have been missing.

Go walking with nowhere to go, take our dogs because there’s little in life so rewarding as exploring with man’s best friend. And food and drink tastes so much better when you’re in good company.

Do you deserve 7 back to back Saturdays?

Of course you do! 😎

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