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Returning home to the biggest ‘work’ lie

Our home is the UK, but is it the best place to be?


We’ve been back in the UK a couple of weeks now and there’s something we have noticed which we just didn’t come across once while on our Home Exchange adventure. And it’s come up so often already that it’s really made us pause and consider.


Everyone has to do things they don’t like, right?


Since being home it’s been really apparent how many people are unhappy with the jobs they have got, or are desperately looking for a job which they are quick to explain they are likely to dislike even if they are ‘lucky’ enough to get it. For those in work, too many are dissatisfied with the hours, demands or money. But they daren’t rock the boat because just behind them is a queue of people ready to jump into their slot with indecent haste given half a chance. The culture that has been created leaves a nasty taste and reminds us a) why we avoid the news media so deliberately b) why we chose to leave our families, home and familiar environment so damn often.

But even with all the negative influences, why are so many people not only willing to accept but prepared to talk themselves into desperately wanting something they already know won’t make them happy? Why are they clinging to situations which are making them miserable?


Taking risks to find greater contentment


One of the subtle differences about people you meet on the road and those that you return to is that the first group have taken some risks.

Is taking a risk worth seeing sunsets like this?


They’re not living a life of freedom and adventure because a genie granted them three magic wishes. They are there because they made difficult decisions, took choices that most people thought they were mad to even consider and took some major anxiety producing risks. The result? Of course, some of them have less money than they’d had in their old life. But instead they’re waking up with the sun on their faces, with a clean slate of a day ahead with which they can swim in a mountain side lake, find serenity in an incense filled temple or drink 50 cent fruit shakes while replying to emails from a leafy cafe. It seems to mean more than a fancy car which they have big monthly payments for, the ‘security’ of a stressful job and the sense that they are working all hours of the week so they have somewhere to collapse at the weekend in peace before the whole thing starts over again on Monday.

The contrast with people back home is that it seems like people are making choices because they have been worn down into believing that that’s just the way it has to be. I’m starting to really understand the term wage slave. It’s easy to think you have freedom, but unless you are really exercising that privilege, it seems a lot like you don’t.


Decisions based on fear often aren’t your best


So why do some people take those risks and others make their decision based on fear? Surely, there must be similarities in what they have to lose? Most people don’t have a big financial safety net. Most people have responsibilities. So why do some people risk all that for something better, while others retreat further into their shell of discontent? There’s a theory of motivation which describes how some people are more compelled towards pleasure whilst others main motivating force is the avoidance of pain. Are we letting an innate impulse for pain avoidance lock us into a more insidious discomfort after all?

It’s perfectly natural to attach a sense of security to things we actually have limited control over, a regular wage, scraping by, and a job when others don’t have one. As much as we might not like what we have now, it seems better than the unknown. But that thinking is flawed- sometimes the devil you know isn’t better at all.


Amazing times to live in


People are still waiting for others to give them jobs, for great opportunities to appear in the job ads or through promotion at work. But there are a wealth of opportunities to take a lot more control over your destiny, if your desire to change your circumstances is strong enough. We live in a time that offers us an unprecedented and remarkable opportunity to carve out a different life.

You CAN genuinely run an internet business from a beach


The internet has opened doors to which weren’t even conceivable to generations before us. At what other time could we decide we want to be travel writers- and do it? To run our own consultancy- and do it? To take off and travel for a year- and still earn a living? To decide ourselves what we can offer- and find the people we can help- without anyone else dictating how or where or what we should do? And we aren’t special; we are just playing at business, screwing up on a regular basis but learning as we go. We took risks, and whether we succeed or fail spectacularly, it’s down to us. It’s a good feeling.


See what’s really there


Within the unknown lies a wealth potential. It may not be easy, it may represent a long and difficult path, but surely taking steps towards something which might be wonderful is better than staying stuck in something you already know is not? If we insist on ignoring what’s at our finger tips and limiting our options, despite all the evidence to the contrary, we may as well still be living in a period where we truly didn’t have any choices. Irrespective of what everyone may tell you, now is NOT that time.


Are you changing the way you live?


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15 Responses to “Returning home to the biggest ‘work’ lie”

  1. Great post, Hannah. I think the employee mentality is just so ingrained – people I used to work with thought I was mad to start a business, and I have to admit, when the going gets tough, a steady job can be enticing! On the other hand, everyone I know, who has their own business, feels so much happier than they did when they were employees, and I know I wouldn’t want to go back.
    Julia Barnickle recently posted..What If Money Was No Object?

    • Thanks Julia. I think if you have been self-employed for at least a year you will never go back to full time employment, no matter how bad it gets you will always come up with a new business idea! C

      • Hannah and Chris
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  2. Speaking with people about our decisions and our plans is always interesting. Often they share that they wish they could do such a thing but, once we get started talking about how they could actually, they quickly come up with plenty of excuses of how it couldn’t work for them. The ‘norm’ is so ingrained in people that they just cannot imagine anything else for themselves. I often say that we are living a big experiment whose conclusion won’t be known until the end of our lives. I know this though; I will NEVER regret taking the risk, I would most certainly have regretted not taking the risk. I, too, am avoiding pain, it’s just a different pain.
    Gillian @OneGiantStep recently posted..Monday Moment: Temple Offering, Bali

    • Love that “we are living a big experiment whose conclusion won’t be known until the end of our lives”, thanks Gillian. C

      • Hannah and Chris
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  3. Wow, this nails it. Great post!
    Lindy Coops recently posted..What if you were a Superhero? Write your own story, starting today.

    • Thanks Lindy!

      • Hannah and Chris
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  4. Great post, Hannah, and so true. I’ve had a similar experience to Gillian where as soon as you start demonstrating to people that they could travel, work abroad, etc. if they wanted to, the conversation quickly turns into a “Yes, but…” game. It’s the same whenever someone says “Oh, you’re so *lucky*!”, when actually it’s not luck: it’s design (that’s not to say I’m not grateful for the experiences I’ve had, of course I am). I totally understand and empathise with the struggles that come with leaving behind the familiar, but I know from experience that you do yourself a much bigger favour if you can just admit “Yep, I’m freakin’ terrified” than come up with a list of reasons why you can’t do it.

    • Well said Hannah, everyone can justify getting a new car but when it comes to spending the same money on changing their life you start hearing the ‘Yes, but…’! C

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  5. I have been working location-independent over six years and I in those six years, I have discovered new cultures, traveled, and met interesting people. Which, I find amazing considering I also have a six year old studying in a local school. However as you have said, it will not always be easy. In fact, it takes a lot of hard work to maintain this lifestyle. It was so hard that I considered going back to work recently.
    I went to the whole process of applying and interviewing for a job and I even got to the point of the Job offer. But, when I was about to sign the contract papers I had to back out. My system was rejecting the idea of going back to the traditional office setting.
    I find it amazing that once you get into this kind of lifestyle, it is very difficult to go back to the old way of doing things.
    Ted Evans recently posted..Portrait of a Freelancer

    • Thanks for sharing that with us Ted. We always joke that being location independent has pretty much made us unemployable, guess we have no choice but to make this work!

      • Hannah and Chris
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  6. Interesting post. I just wrote one today about figuring out what I want and don’t want and one of the things I realized now that I’ve been back from my year long career break travels for a year is that I like being st home and I like having a regular job. I did pick up some freelance work while I traveled and I contemplated trying to just work for myself and become location independent and decided it just isn’t for me. My chosen career and the skills I have are not conducive to working while traveling (or vice versa) and there’s nothing else I enjoy enough or am good enough at to try to make a living of on my own. Working a regular 9 to 5 job doesn’t have to be horrible. While there are things I dislike about mine now, I generally like what I do, like my boss and like having a regular paycheck and good health insurance. And it’s important to me to stay in one place to build and rebuild relationships, many of which were strained too much while I was traveling.
    Katie recently posted..Figuring Out What I Really Want

    • Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments on this

      It’s easy to get tied up in knots about things, especially when you work quite independently, but then having other people say ‘of course! it makes sense!’ suddenly makes things seem simple again. It’s such a BIG challenge to get to do anything vaguely laptop related at the moment (even responding to comments in a timely fashion!) – who knew babies take up SOOO much time!! So building travel into the lifestyle, business and family mix will definitely lead to both adventure and tantrums! Got to try though, eh?

      thanks for your support lovely people

      • Hannah and Chris
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  7. Great post! I left the dream job (and salary to boot) earlier this year when I realised it was someone else’s dream. It’s taking some time to adjust to this new way if thinking but I love the freedom to be able to make and take opportunities. I’m starting a travel blog and starting from scratch as I have no relevant experience but love the new challenge and am excited about what it could bring.
    Kirstine recently posted..Kathmandu- Swayambhunath

    • Thanks Kirstine
      Good for you, it does sound like an exciting time! The good thing about writing a blog is you can just figure it out as you go along. There’s plenty of advice abotu what works well and not so well online, but there is also no single formula to make a successful blog so keep experimenting and enjoying your new lifestyle. Keep us posted how you are getting on!

      • Hannah and Chris
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