I lay in bed on that first night, wondering how on Earth I was going to resume acquaintance with the backpacking lifestyle left behind a decade or two before. Now, I had a young family faraway in Australia, and here was I closeted alone, cheek-by-jowl with people half my age … or less! After my first encounter with one Singaporean hostel that seemed to pack five or ten people into each dimly lit, incredibly stifling room, I quickly moved on to find a place that offered single rooms; no window admittedly, but at least I had my own space: manna from heaven!


With the wonders of Singapore disappearing in the jetstream, I was starting to have misgivings. Just prior to leaving the island city, I had been offered a job by my boss to manage one of their TEFL colleges. It was very tempting: an assured salary (unlike the vagaries of classroom teaching) plus life in a city I had begun to love. Quite tantalizing, but in reality, impossible; months before it had been agreed that we would travel on as a family to England. The die had been cast!