Monday, October 26, 2015

'The Winners' Guide' by K.A. Hill


Blurb:

You're working longer hours, doing mundane and unfulfilling work - just to live within your means and pay your ever-increasing bills, taxes and debts? It feels like life is passing you by. You're getting older day by day and you sometimes find yourself thinking, what is the point? Is this really what life is about? The Winners' Guide is an avant-garde, inspirational true story of how an unhappy, uneducated young man finds himself stuck in a job he hates, working tirelessly just to make ends meet. Through an unfortunate chain of events and stroke of luck, he is gifted with knowledge that completely changes his life for the better, sending him on a breathtaking journey full of exciting twists and turns, romantic encounters, and incredible highs and lows. A roller coaster journey that would help him discover true love, success and happiness in the process.

Read an excerpt:

They say it’s all about timing.

One month later, Nice suddenly became a different town. I’d met some wonderful people, but they’d gone their own separate ways. I don’t care what anybody says, it’s not the place – it’s the people. I began to wonder if it was where I was supposed to be and the answer seemed simple: I’d go somewhere different and repeat the process.

I boarded my flight, feeling mildly disappointed to be leaving. In love with the French Riviera; the peaceful atmosphere stimulated my creative process, which in turn developed my ability to find happiness in the simple things: good coffee, luxurious farmers’ markets and the sound of classical music being effortlessly played by the talented busker in the square. The divine contentment I felt haunted me in such a way that any slight change in energetic frequency of my surroundings would leave me feeling discontented. But I’d made my decision to leave and was determined to see it through.

Arriving in Barcelona mid-afternoon, I left the cool, air-conditioned terminal building to be greeted by a humid heat, a stark contrast to the warm but breezy environment I’d grown accustomed to. Not much thought had been invested into my decision to move to Spain; I’d done it on a whim having spent numerous summer holidays there when I was younger. I was fond of culture and assumed it would all be much the same: laid back, relaxed, good food and Sangria. Little did I know it’d be like a busy day in Central London during a persistent heatwave.

The warm, muggy air made my clothes stick to my skin as I lugged heavy baggage onto the metro system, causing concern about the decision to leave tranquillity for this bustling sauna to linger in my mind. Perhaps I just needed to give it time, I thought, spending the next few days seeing the city, determined to give the place a chance. There was something misaligned, a subtle anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Had I been looking for a high-paced environment it would have been perfect but I needed somewhere more relaxed, somewhere I could be creative and focussed.

Deciding Barcelona wasn’t home, I searched the web for the cheapest flight available and Amsterdam came up first. Surely it would be more chilled out, I thought. Blissfully unaware of the mayhem that awaited, I booked the flight, and suddenly found myself on the plane just as the thrust kicked in.

‘Fuck, it’s going to be cold there.’ I thought, as the realisation that Amsterdam was geographically parallel to London sank in. Must soldier on, too late to go back now. Before I knew it, I was checking into a hostel as two exceptionally stoned chaps stared at my luminous pink t-shirt and Hawaii style short shorts like I was a fish out of water.

I was, but I’d waste no time in exploring the city, finding my way to Burger King for a Whopper with cheese and regular Coke (I asked for Diet) served by someone so high that health and safety would’ve shut the place down, before continuing onto the nearest Internet ‘caf├ę’, where I spent at least twenty minutes hopelessly flicking through the same browser tabs.

Barely able to string a functioning sentence together, I floated my way back to the hostel and climbed into bed and slept like a baby, waking up refreshed and ready to conquer the world. I’d spend the following days half-heartedly looking for an apartment only to realise I lacked the self-discipline required to avoid the seduction of the endless temptations lining the streets. Money was dwindling; gallivanting around Europe was costly, and considering my position I asked myself,

“Where am I was supposed to be?”

Giving up on my journey would have meant giving up on myself – it wasn’t an option. The inevitable impending financial collapse meant I might never have another chance to do this again. However, I recognised that these experiences were all just constant reminders of just how content I was in Nice. Why did I leave? Why did I fear not being able to meet new people, when I’d done it so easily before?

I made the decision; if Rose still had the apartment to rent, I’d catch the next flight back to the South of France. I sent her a text detailing my plans and she responded with the answer I’d been hoping for. Without any hesitation I booked a one-way seven a.m. ticket to where my heart was.

I awoke moments before my alarm, my subconscious mind clearly keeping me on track. Stepping out of bed, careful not to disturb my roommates, I clambered into my clothes and zipped up my suitcase. It was five fifteen a.m. by the time I’d begun my journey to the airport. Things were running smoothly, there was a tram stop just round the corner and I was certain I had plenty of time to catch the five forty-five a.m. train to Schiphol.

I should have known. Things rarely go the way we expect them to. It had slipped my mind to check the tram timetable and I’d made the incorrect assumption they’d be running at that time of the morning. Panic set in, the train station was nearly three miles away and there were no cabs, no buses, nothing.

My only option was to run like a lunatic, dragging my heavy suitcase behind me, desperate not to miss another flight. I arrived at the station with just five minutes to spare, selected the ticket, inserted my debit card into the machine and of all the fucking moments for my card to fail me, the blasted thing didn’t work. I’d been using this card for months without a single problem, what was going on?

I had no cash, my credit card was buried somewhere deep within my suitcase and the minutes were ticking away. I decided to make my way to the train and deal with it on board. I climbed the stairs onto the platform, glanced at the departures board to find the platform number and reached the train with just moments to spare. Of all the tens of thousands of trains in Europe at any given moment, this must have been the only God damn train I’d ever seen with a conductor blocking travellers from boarding without a valid ticket.

I desperately tried to explain my predicament to the unhelpful prick, but he just turned me away, refusing to acknowledge what I was saying. By the time I’d run back downstairs, unpacked my bag, found my credit card and purchased a ticket, the train was well on its way without me. The feeling of hopelessness sank in with the realisation that once again, I was going to miss another flight.

In all my years, I’d never missed a single departure, how could it be possible to miss two in as many months? What was going on? Determined not to waste any more time or money, I booked the next available flight, which was from Rotterdam at three pm. before promptly making my way cross-country, arriving at the airport at around one p.m. and waiting patiently for the call to depart.

Hours disintegrated into minutes as we edged nearer our departure time of three twenty p.m., but the flight-board still read, ‘Please Wait,’ and I began to wonder what the hold-up was. I couldn’t afford to miss the window of opportunity to move back into my old place. Anxiety rumbled in my gut, as twenty minutes later, the flight status changed to ‘Delayed.’

Spooked by the morning’s events I began questioning my decision, contemplating if I was supposed to be going back to Nice, and telling myself to think positively because everything happens for a reason. Just as I sent a text to Rose to let her know I’d be even later than I’d expected, the departure board changed to ‘Boarding.’

Finally, we were on our way. By this point, I was metaphorically shitting my pants, absolutely convinced the plane was going down somewhere over continental Europe. There was no turning back now, I’d already taken my seat and fastened my seatbelt. I couldn’t help but wonder what all this meant? Was it purely a coincidence that I was to arrive over eight hours later than I’d expected or was it a chain of events that just had to happen?


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About the author:

K.A. Hill (born July 22, 1988) is a down-to-earth, yet eternally positive, eccentric, daring and lovable Scottish author, entrepreneur and speaker, who has made it his personal life mission to inspire millions of people to escape the rat race, find their purpose and live their dreams.

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