Today on the blog, we have company! Please welcome Colin Guest, author and UK expat who is giving us a peek into his adventurous life. Colin has done the “work hard, 9 – 5 boring job, live for your paycheck” existence, and by staying positive, jumping in the ‘driver’s seat’ and taking some risks, he’s learned that there is more to life that this! I’m excited to have him share with you a glimpse of that here, but you should definitely connect with him on his website: https://colinguestauthor.com/ and get his book to get an in-depth read of where his adventurous life has taken him.
From an early age, my working life as a joiner/shopfitter [specialized construction work] consisted of working on numerous projects throughout the UK. I was later employed on two projects overseas when an old company I worked for offered me a contract in Iran.
At the time, although I drove around in a brand new company car, I was not receiving the salary promised. As a result of talks with my new boss regarding this—to my surprise—he sacked me, something I had never before experienced. However, it made up my mind about accepting the Iran contract.
On going and signing on for unemployment benefit (a new experience), I later found my boss had claimed that I had resigned. I took the company to the Industrial Tribunal, where I won my case and received compensation. However, much more important, my reputation of being known as a good worker was protected.
The Adventure Begins . . .
In Iran, while employed as the superintendent of a large team of expat workers, we were forced to leave after a revolution broke out that led to the downfall of the Shah. It was a frightening experience. After that, my company then sent me to Qatar on a short contract where I survived a near drowning only by staying positive. After my time there I returned to work in the UK.
Several years later, a back injury caused me and my family to be placed in serious financial difficulties. As a result of thinking positive, I decided the best way out of this situation would be to work overseas.
This I did for the next nineteen years, working in fifteen countries spread through the Middle, Far East and North Africa. During this time I worked on several palaces, including two for the Sultan of Brunei and a number of five-star hotels.
As several of my contracts were married status, my wife accompanied me. The first being in Turkey, where we enjoyed the country so much we bought some land, had a house built, and moved to live there, which is covered in my book An Expat’s Experiences of Living in Turkey.
I have had a spoon thrust in my throat by an irate fellow worker in Saudi and survived. And I endured through two dangerous boat crossings and an earthquake in the Philippines.
But by working as an expat, it allowed me and my family to enjoy a far better life than we had in England. We were able to buy a house and new cars as well as spend holidays in exotic locations at little cost to ourselves.
On a contract in the Philippines, my wife and I lived in a fabulous company apartment with a wonderful live-in maid; we regarded her as one of the family. Our social life was fantastic, and for the first time in our lives we attended a number of glittering balls.
While working as an expat, I found myself involved in several new and exciting activities, including running on the Hash in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. At one time, this involved running through the jungle at night with only a torch to show the way. [note from Rachael: this is a running route, and for those unfamiliar with the term “hashing” it is basically a club of runners who run with the intent to work up a thirst and go drinking together afterward. More info: http://www.bristolhash.org.uk/wotis1.html; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers]
I also went through the jungle on two unbelievable, crazy Jash [off-roading] rides in a jeep, accompanied a flying doctor on a helicopter ride out into the jungle to see patients, acted in two amateur dramatic shows, and learnt to play golf in the Philippines.
My wife tragically died in 2007, and at the age of seventy-two I re-married a 69 year old Turkish lady with whom I am now enjoying a second happy life in Istanbul.
I wrote Follow in the Tigerman’s Footsteps: The Adventurous Life of an Expat, after living a way most only dream of, which is intended to show that there is more to life than a boring 9 – 5 job. I advise from my own experience that when things get tough, by being positive, you have the chance of getting back into the driving seat of life.
Although a memoir, Follow in the Tigerman’s Footsteps reads more like an adventure story. It is intended to encourage others who feel life is getting them down, by being positive, you are able to climb back up in the driving seat of life. Thanks to his style of working, he enjoyed a life most only dream about. It shows that there is more to life than a boring 9-5 job, and how you can travel to other countries at no expense to yourself.