All of my assignments since joining PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting over ten years ago (most of which have been with IBM of course since PwC sold their consulting business) has seen me living in hotels at least three nights most working weeks. Until my last assignment that is. For the last two and a bit years, I have been able to reside in a flat rented on the Marina in Swansea (the photograph shows my view from the patio doors of my flat).
Now, whilst Swansea would not be my first choice of a second home, it is no where near as bad as so many make it out to be. This view might be coloured that by the relief of being able to live in a flat. Some people prefer hotel living, not wanting the hassle of a second home to sort out (you have to rent in your own name and pay all the bills associated with such a property), but I liked it on several grounds:
- cooking – no more hotel food, mostly unhealthy and certainly boring after the second time through the menu;
- clothes – I can leave things around, no need to clear everything out every week, and stay an extra night with no hassle;
- freedom – able to live as I wish, including watching programs of my choice.
I am sure that it is no coincidence that my improvements in health, considerable weight loss, and general all-round wellness brought about over the last year have been in large part down to living in a flat rather than a hotel.
The flat has also been the source of a few cheap holidays. Several times, I took some time off work and had my wife stay with me in the flat. Occasionally, my daughters have also joined me. We have enjoyed travling around the area. The photograph shows an over the top painterly effect tone mapping of an HDR shot overlooking Langland Bay in the Gower near Swansea. Light was not promising so decided to have a play as I was not going to be able to get a nicely lit landscape. Another time maybe (or maybe not, now).
The flat was around 5 miles from the client location, but IBM ran a free bus service, and there were lots of public bus services near by. I tend not to get on well with buses, especially small old buses with poor suspension. I often felt sick, so mostly drove in each day. Not very environmentally friendly, I know. I did switch to a Prius part way through the assignment though. Once I started going to the gym regularly after Easter 2011, I had to take the car anyway as the gym I used was no where near the flat and I wanted to go there directly from work.
It was good living in a city, although it felt rather too small to be called a city. Must be a Welsh thing. Reasonable dining around, plenty of entertainment (including theatres, comedy clubs, and cinemas) and, of course, plenty of shops. There are a good few museums and art galleries as well, which I confess to having mostly ignored.
The next assignment will no doubt see me living in a hotel again, at least for a while. I think I can now survive a Marriott/Hilton again for a bit and will do no harm to restock the hotel points for family convenience. Hope I can get a flat again though.