I’m sat in my back garden this morning savouring two things, the uncharacteristically long spell of warm sunny weather and my mug of coffee. This is a daily ritual for me nowadays. I wake early so I have time to meditate on the day ahead, set myself goals and reinforce the habits of how to react as I come face to face with a multitude of people and situations. It’s interesting how we in the UK are known as either a nation of tea drinkers or beer drinkers. I don’t think that’s the case in today’s world.
I’d say that coffee defines our generation of free thinking, highly motivated go-getters. We are connoisseurs of the perfect blend and using our tradition of exploration and a sense of adventure, travel far and wide to obtain it. Coffee is a great analogy for the modern global traveller and high-octane individual. I certainly feel it embodies who I am nowadays.
I spent the first decade of my adult life in the British Army and travelled the world doing my job and it didn’t matter where I went, I always wanted to enjoy a great cup of coffee to start the day. I remember walking into an American camp somewhere in the desert and finding an oasis of air-conditioned calm amongst the bustle of a very large and very busy military base. It was a pop-up coffee shop and I was instantly hooked. Why wasn’t Britain like this, with such an emphasis on coffee-shop culture rather than the local boozer. The Danes did it, the Aussies, pretty much everyone apart from us. But from that moment I knew I wanted to be part of that modern environment.
Since that day I’ve watched with joy as coffee-culture has swept across the UK. Every high street is awash with coffee shops and as the pubs close with alarming frequency, coffee shops become the place to go from everything from business meetings to somewhere to talk through your problems with a trusted friend. And why not? People are calm, they are respectful, and you leave feeling ready to achieve your dreams rather than ready to smash up a bus-stop.
I spend a great deal of my time helping other veterans manage the transition from military life to the civilian world, a process which tests everyone who has to face it. Life is completely alien on the outside and it takes time, thorough planning and brutal honesty to achieve. All things which require a clear head. That’s why we tend to meet for coffee and create a plan of action. We leave feeling motivated and ready to make things happen.
I have such joy meeting other ex-military personnel who embody that same spirit which at once produces a brave travelling soldier or determined entrepreneur. One such chance encounter led me to the team at Contact Coffee who like me understand the need for a strong healthy mind and body and what our two organisations strive to achieve are variations of the same theme. A desire to utilise the strengths and experiences developed in the military to help others.