I have been offered two pieces of advice as part of working away in Newcastle.

The first was from Simon. Simon and I met for a coffee just before I started. I had watched with interest the way he managed working away from his family. So I asked to catch up to find out how he made it work. Or didn’t at times.

“Fill your nights up with things to do” was the most telling thing he offered up. That, and finding the right balance of being productive in the office and awake at home.

The next piece of advice came from A.

“You don’t have to drink every night in Newcastle” as I dramatically turned down a glass of wine last night, knowing I am likely to have a drink at a work social tonight. Dry days and all that.

I am therefore left with two contrasting viewpoints. To fill my nights – but not with booze. Does that even make sense?

So, do I go with the view of my darling wife whose every word I hang off. Or Simon, who picks up new parkrun locations like I pick up expense receipts at the moment.

The truth is, it’s hard to fill my nights and not be somewhere that booze isn’t a dominant option. If I go to a restaurant, a beer or wine with dinner is appealing. If I go to a gig as I did on Monday night, it’s almost natural to go to the bar before the performance.

I almost dropped in on a performance of Hamlet last week, but knew I would have ordered intermission drinks (plural) to avoid the horror of being on my own. A billy-no-mates magnet for someone looking to chat.

I’d like to go to museums and galleries, but they are usually shut by the time the end of day siren is sound.

So what do you do when you are away with work for long periods of time?

How do you stay out of the bar and your hotel room, without succumbing to the inevitable solo night out of a 40 something – with a taste for the affordable things in life?

Send me your ideas.

Chris Written by:

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