Would you give it all up?

When I was 19 I decided that life had just got a little bit too much. I had come out of an on/off relationship which was soul destroying. I had been manipulated into returning to this destructive relationship so many times and I knew I needed to get away.

I didn’t have any reason not to go, except for my job. I worked for a company where I was treated like family, they paid for my driving lessons and I could always rely on them for help with anything. It just wasn’t enough for me, I needed to leave.

I saw an advert looking for outgoing people to do a training course in Dunstable and sell holidays. It was the first step and I leapt at the chance and said goodbye to my friends.

My Mum was very negative about it and didn’t want me to go, my Dad on the other hand was keen for me to make my own mistakes and learn from them. They helped me pack a bag and drove me to the depths of despair (Dunstable)!

When I arrived in Dunstable, I was expecting to be staying in a shared flat, instead I turned up at a B&B next to 7 takeaways. I settled on an Indian and went to bed, where I was woken hourly by various sirens…this should have been my first warning!

On my first day of training, I found out I was going to be selling timeshare for canal boats, not quite the glamorous holidays I was expecting. I had said goodbye to everyone though, so I couldn’t go back, I would have to stick it out and learn to love it. I didn’t have to worry though, because on the 2nd day I was told I had been selected for a job in Tenerife (seriously 1 day’s training and they thought I was good enough…second warning).

I headed to the airport ready to see what luxuries awaited me. On arrival our group of “carefully selected” young adults were herded off to a hotel far from the main strip and excitement and with zero luxuries. We were to find our own accommodation the following day.

On arrival at the air conditioned basement of a Los Cristianos hotel, I was told how to sell the timeshare, basically don’t stop talking until they sign. I was then thrown in at the deep end and given my first group to sell to.

So it turns out I cannot sell ice to an Eskimo and I was pretty shocking at trying to sell a product to a family with screaming bored children and a frustrated sweaty man. It was not a surprise when I was sent to a different part of the company to deal with telesales after 2 weeks of not making a penny (commission only jobs, great!)

Telesales was a bit more fun, my name had to be changed (hmmm sounds ominous, but of course I did not question it), we got a basic salary and I made a few friends. I was still rubbish, but I felt better about it, I wasn’t forcing someone to buy something they didn’t want, or at least that is what I chose to believe.

The basic salary was not great, I had enough to pay my rent and get a Chinese takeaway, which tasted amazing after the third day of eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The other 4 days of the week consisted of a 25 cent roll and spaghetti with chicken stock for flavour. I got other jobs where I could, including hairdressing, which I had blagged my way into after helping a friend study for her NVQ, I was not qualified, but nobody’s hair fell out.

After 3 months, my Mum phoned me up to ask if I could come home for Christmas and as I would be there, why don’t I stay. I thought about my time in Tenerife, it had been crazy, fun, sunny, but I just couldn’t take it anymore, I was starving! I had dropped down to a size 6, if it wasn’t for my tan, I would have looked ill. I needed to go home.

Reading this you may think I regret dropping everything and leaving, but I would do it again. I learnt so much about how strong I am, how I can do anything I put my mind to (except selling timeshare), I learnt how to be alone. Sometimes life throws you an option, it might not be the right choice, but I’m glad I tried and failed rather than sitting here with regrets.

My life has moved on, I have responsibilities, I won’t be able to do anything that spontaneous for a long time. If you’re in a similar situation, with nothing to lose, my advice would be take the risk now, when will you next get the chance?!

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