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Off on holiday, AGAIN?

I’m at my desk daydreaming. A sea view can be a bit distracting but it beats the wall in front of my laptop at home. How is it that we are here? How have we managed to pull off running a business whilst travelling for 4-6 months of the year? I used to get frustrated that certain people in our lives would ask with incredulity, ‘off on holiday, again?’ Seriously, we couldn’t just holiday for all the time we are away! (Well, except when we went away in 2005 but that was our honeymoon! Maybe we didn’t do ourselves any favours, come to think of it, taking 8 months to do it).

We may be lucky in the way we can run a business from anywhere in the world, but we do still have to work, it won’t just keep going all by itself! I’ve chilled out a bit more now, I feel less compelled to justify our trips with a detailed itinerary of how many hours a week we will work. As Chris pointed out, for a lot of people packing a case and heading to an airport only means one thing- 2 weeks of blissful relaxation. He also cheerfully points out, ‘it’s not a holiday, it’s a lifestyle!’ blissfully unaware of how obnoxious that probably sounds to people who do just get 20 days leave a year. Maybe it does seem hard to imagine how we can genuinely manage to combine the two. Of course the downside is we are never really on proper holiday; we always check our emails, we will always respond to the urgent enquiries that full time employees can write an ‘out of office’ message to deal with. But we know that this is a pretty insignificant price to pay for being on a holiday to some degree for a good many weeks of the year. It really helps if you actually really enjoy what you do for a living; that way a day in front of the laptop doesn’t really feel like work at all!

All you need to run your business abroad

I don’t think we planned it specifically, but we were always clear on our priorities and how we would like things to play out, and this sort of guided our choices. Having a good idea of what you want your life to look like can be a starting point a lot of people can struggle with.

Within quite a short time of starting our relationship Chris and I would talk about wanting to work together. Back then we couldn’t see how it would work, me being a psychologist, him in IT. We would joke about our company ‘Psychological Computing’, not having a clue how we could mix these two skill sets. We also knew we wanted to do a big round the world trip, but with both of us in full time jobs at the beginning of our careers it as hard to see how that would fit.

The first thing to happen was that it suddenly just became really clear how we could do our trip. Have you ever had that, where the clouds just clear and suddenly it all falls into place? I took a career break, Chris quit his job and we headed off for 8 months. The new perspectives of being in different countries, and living a very different life helped us to decide to take the first risk. I would quit my salaried, secure, psychologist position and start up as a freelancer (something I had no experience of!). When we returned back to the UK neither of us had a job. We moved in with Chris’ parents and I started to reach out to contacts to see if I could get days of consultancy work. Chris took the first job that came along.

Fast forward a year or so and I was doing bits of contract work when the opportunity to start something we had more control over presented itself. Inspiration comes in strange places and this time it was a phone call out of the blue from someone who had heard of the work I do for the Fire Service. They were enquiring about something I didn’t offer, but I knew there was a demand. I started to think about it and got really excited about having ‘on-line’ products- a shop on the internet selling digital, information workbooks. This coincided with some marketing training I had signed up for and we had decided it might be worth Chris coming along to (despite him having to take annual leave to attend). This turned out to be a stroke of genius. Suddenly, Chris was fully immersed, getting excited by the possibilities, planning how to achieve it. Six months later he left his full time job. We agreed that we would give it six months of working together. That would minimise how much debt we could get into, and give us an idea of how sustainable us both being ‘unemployed’ was.

Boot Camp Training Event

It’s been over 2 and a half years now and as the cliché goes, we have never looked back.

We had our evening walk along the beach and this view summed it up for me. I love sitting in shorts on the sand in November, watching the clouds light up with the setting sun, seeing the colours reflected on the shore.

Suset on the Gold coast

This is why we live out of bags, have strangers live in our home, are tied to our laptops, have months away from our families, make difficult decisions, have financially scary months and days where the way forward isn’t so clear. Which brings me to some questions; what do you want? What opportunities are available to you? Do you have a plan?

What we do isn’t for everyone, but maybe there is a change of one kind or another that deep down you know is right for you. What would it look like? Allow yourself to dream for a while without limiting the possibilities with practicality. Would it mean you could spend more time with your partner?  Reduce your stress? Cut down on commuting or time away from your family? See more of the world? Expand your horizons or show your kids there are different lives out there to the one they have now? If the life you are living now is the best one you could have, that’s fantastic. If it isn’t, start hatching your plan of how to get there. It may not happen overnight, it may well take years, but at least you’ll be moving closer to it than you are now.

View from our office

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