As each step of my application moved forward with the ever-increasing spells of waiting, I found myself scrutinizing why I was stepping out of my comfortably defined life. Not just the effects of my departure for myself, but the effect it would have upon my wife and two-year-old son.
Since we arrived in Orkney some 4 years back and investing all of our savings into the cottage, cash had been short, and the restoration of the cottage absorbed cash faster then sea time at the local fish farm could heave in. Combine a toddler, restorations, a small holding and ever increasing.
Main reason, well, main quantifiable reason was because we need the additional income. There is a distinct lack of employers and employment opportunities here on the island of Orkney and working away from home is the best way to bolster cash flow. Fundamentally, I want to provide a better life for my son, and better household income, combined with 3 months off will go a long way in providing the lifestyle and upbringing that he deserves.
Perhaps, deep down and not as widely discussed as much as finances, was my desire to get back into service. Maybe a bit of a midlife crisis, maybe slightly institutionalised into the forces mentality. 10 years of being married, and my wife has always known I’ll be back in one uniform or another.
There is also so much to prepare before packing up and taking off to the opposite end of the country, not preparation of self – 12 years in the army has led me to have several backpacks packed and ready to go. More so, preparation of the house and a proper hand over of my roles and responsibilities to the other half, and working my way through a substantial snag list of jobs to do around the house.
*Note to self. Must fix the toilet seat.
So above are my reasons and motivation for working off island, but what attracted me to the RFA? The appeal of being back in service is indeed a factor at play, but, I did have several other options open to me ranging from the MPGS, CNC, SAS (I hear your cries of laughter, but I am referring to the Scottish Ambulance Service) and quite a few other letter combos.
The RFA stood out to me as I have previously worked with them when I was in 17 Sport and Pastime Regt, so I am somewhat familiar with their operations and quality food served on board. This familiarity wad reassuring compared to looking at other shipping lines such as Maersk.
A big draw as well was that they offer a 4 month on, 3 off arrangement which would tie in really well with our homeschooling concept that we have planned for our boy. Other options would offer a 2/2 FIFO, and getting from Orkney to anywhere would eat into the down time, so a bigger continuous chunk off is better for us. All those holidays we could have!