Thursday, 12 April 2012

Going Home.....

Yes, just five days to go to the short spin to the flight line here at Camp Bastion, and the flight to Dubai and back to “the real world”.

Its a great feeling flying into Dubai, the flight transits through Kandahar and then turns south west, over the southern Afghan desert, over Iran and across the Persian Gulf, and then the outskirts of Dubai become visible, the manicured villas, the sky scrapers, highways and fly-overs, still a desert but a world away from Afghanistan. The airline also serve beer on this flight, it will be the first one since Christmas.....small pleasures.

On this occasion, I’m taking a detour on the way home to Copenhagen for a few days for work, as our HQ is there, good opportunity to see “Wonderful Copenhagen” again as it’s a city I have been to a few times and a country I lived in for a period nineteen years ago, so looking forward to seeing it again and in a sign of the times, I’m catching up with another family member over there living a working in the city for the last year, I will be back “on the old sod” on the ground in Shannon on Sunday 22nd April next.

In the this last deployment here, I have missed my son’s Oisín’s birthday, Paddy’s Day and a family trip to Germany to see family last week, not to mention, my own birthday. These are important things that slip through the net when you take on work like this and are away from family for long periods. It is tough but I believe the focus and priority must remain, as none of those important events would have been much fun back home if we were still struggling in the current economic conditions back home.

So three weeks at home to look forward to, an opportunity to spend time with the family primarily, looking forward to doing breakfast and the school run (music to Laura’s ears no doubt!), connecting with the fantastic neighbours we have at home, people who have been ever-present over the last ten months to help out at home, everything from looking after our dog, cutting grass, lifts to school to the all important cup of tea and a chat, and indeed the odd glass of wine. Ireland’s great qualities of community and neighbourliness is alive and well in Ireland and its fantastic to see, and from my point of view, I’m incredibly grateful to them all for the support they have given us, thank you all and looking forward to catching up with ye all soon.

Friends also to be met with cups of coffee, pints of Guinness and long chats to catch up on their families, work and how Munster are doing at the moment !

It’s also an opportunity to re-connect with business contacts, meeting up with the many small business owners I have worked with over the years, sharing their successes and current challenges and helping if I can and indeed vice-versa,  I am keenly aware that I need to look at what is happening back home with a view to looking at opportunities to return home permanently. I am a true believer in staying connected with all of the broad and wide business network I had built up over the years as it is more likely that these are the people that will provide the introductions and opportunities for me in the future and my route back home. In my years in business, I have always carried a “Givers-Gain” philosophy to business as it has served me well, there is nothing more motivating for a business person to help you if you have made them a crucial introduction that has led to business for them.

I am also interested in the “mood” of the country in terms of economics and politics, the recent publication of the Mahon Report has been a reminder of the appalling standards of Governance and “Gombeen” culture that has prevailed and been tolerated by our Political elite for so many years back home and I hope a timely reminder that we must get away from this and forge a new way ahead if we are to stage a substantial recovery in the years ahead. Irish people by their nature are hard working, resourceful and entrepreneurial , and I hope that an environment can be provided to allow this to develop and thrive as that is the how we can rebuild the country.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to walking in my own front door, sharing a meal with the family, sitting on a comfortable sofa (not many here !), and weather permitting, having a Barbeque on the deck with neighbours and friends, with a cold beer !!!