You dream of location independence – but where does your partner fit in?
You want to work more flexibly- but where does your partner fit in?
A stumbling block for many people who want to experience a more ‘location independent’ lifestyle is their partner. Travelling overseas for extended periods can definitely work better when you take your loved one with you- (unless you were hoping to leave them behind!)
So how can you make this work?
You might not have the answers now but that won’t always be the case
If you want to work with your partner but are unsure how, don’t worry. You don’t have to have a fully mapped out plan. Just have an idea what it is you want eventually and every decision you make will take you a little closer to it. It’s like knowing you want to lose weight or get fit; every choice will have a consequence in relation to that goal (e.g. fries or salad? Stairs or escalator?)
When Chris and I first got married we talked about how great it would be to work together but couldn’t quite see how it would work. This week we have talked to another couple who felt the same, yet both in both cases there was a way round the obstacles we had initially struggled to see past.
Laure and Terence on Vahine island
Work with what you’ve got
We met Laure and Terence on a tiny island resort in French Polynesia which they have been running for ten months. With all the appearances of a dream job, they work very hard but also benefit from living in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Like us, Laure and Terence didn’t have a clear plan which brought them to this idyllic destination. Both of them have spent the last ten years gaining experience in the hospitality, tourism and business industries, and the career decisions they made meant that when an opportunity to run the Vahine Island Resort presented itself, it all seemed to fall neatly into place.
How do you create a lifestyle which allows you to explore the world with your partner?
- Accept that it may take a while
It took four years from Chris and I deciding we’d love to work together before we started to spot opportunities for us to make this possible. If there is a long term goal, sometimes the shorter term decisions may not seem like they are supporting that, yet they are. For Laure and Terence their career choices were leading them in the right direction, even though up until that point some of them kept them physically apart. Keep the vision in mind and don’t worry about the small details. Your career choices may not even seem like they are complimentary, but over time it may become more apparent that they are.
- Be open to opportunities
When Laure saw the advert in a tourism journal she jumped at the chance to apply, despite not being that sure that they had enough experience. All their different career decisions had led them to the point where they knew they could do the job, but it still seemed a little too good to be true. They applied anyway.
It’s worth taking risks sometimes, giving things a try. Sometimes it may seem like other people get all the breaks and that opportunities don’t come up for you but it’s amazing what you see when you start looking and you start saying ‘yes’. If it doesn’t work out you will learn a lot in the process but maybe it will work out really well. Nothing is forever and if you take a wrong turn just steer yourself back on course. But if you don’t set off, you’ll never get anywhere.
- Figure out what you are both good at and play to your evolving strengths
The great thing about being part of a team is that you don’t have to be good at everything. You can share the load. At Vahine Island Terence is technically the manager but with his training as a Chef and Michelin starred kitchen experience it makes sense for him to spend the most time in the kitchen. Laure takes over the customer care and managing her team because she speaks English and French fluently and has a welcoming and friendly approach. When you start to look for ways to earn a living on your own terms you may find that the roles you expected evolve over time. When we began our company Chris handled customer support and we outsourced web development; now we outsource customer support and Chris develops our websites himself.
- So how do people manage to work, live and travel together?
So what is the biggest challenge for working with your partner, particularly when you are travelling overseas without your normal support network? Often it is where to draw the line between work and personal time. Work conversations spill naturally into downtime, and when you share your goals, objectives and plans it can be difficult to put them to bed, even for a while. Living on a tiny island and being on duty for so much of the time makes this even more of a challenge for Laure and Terence. The solution for them is to prioritize time together completely away from work at least once a week. That’s where they can remind themselves how to be a couple and put their work roles to one side for a few hours.
Are you both paddling in the right direction?
Had we not been open to opportunities we would never have
- Live in the ‘now’
Recently we have been asked ‘how long do you plan to continue to live and travel like this?’ and despite being pretty big planners, we really don’t know. Laure looked equally as stumped when I put the same question to her. ‘It’s difficult to predict, I live very much in the here and now. It depends very much on what opportunities come up. Until then it is hard to say’.
- Have a big vision and the detail will figure itself out
It might sound a little contradictory but I think this is the key; have a bigger plan, a wider vision for your life, but within that focus on the here and now as your actions and decisions guide you along the path. That way you can enjoy what is right in front of you as the journey unfolds, rather than missing it as you storm, head down, towards your end destination.
Could you picture yourself here?
Laure and Terence do a wonderful job managing a beautiful, happy, welcoming place with delicious food, luxury surroundings and genuinely helpful staff. The only disappointing part is when you have to leave- lucky for Lauren and Terence they don’t have to!
What are you and your partner doing about creating your dream job?
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