Yay- a post baby Location Independent trip!
It’s been ages since our last blog post (why did no one mention how demanding that baby of ours was going to be??) Luckily our location independent shenanigans have not been entirely curtailed….
This spring we relocated ourselves, our business and our squirming child to Italy for 6 weeks. Why? Well, why not? We received an offer from an intrepid Italian family, keen to get their first house swap under their belt and spend 2 months in the UK learning English.
When we saw the panoramic mountain vista, ‘grand design’ architecture, surrounding 19th century stone farmhouses, sweeping views across the idyllic small town of Morbegno…and found out that it would be pretty much ok to eat pizza every day, we were sold.
We loved waking up to this view everyday
Of courses the road works at the end of our drive were a minor hindrance; (ever tried reversing uphill around a JCB which you find incomprehensibly parked IN YOUR DRIVE?) But nothing that we couldn’t manoeuvre round (well, for Chris anyway. When I tried I nearly burnt out the clutch and set fire to the brake pads. The smell lingered for hours).
How we worked
More than ever before we have achieved the sort of balance that location independent business owners often enjoy in potential rather than reality. But a 10 month old baby will really put a stop to those 12 hour days on your laptop.
One of the benefits of home exchanging is the local connections, and our hosts kindly found us not one but two local babysitters who fell in love with Eve and amongst other activities, gave her guitar lessons and sung to her in Italian. But even with those 2 child free days a week, that only left a maximum of 2 hours a day for the rest of our work.
Luckily, our attitude shift began shortly after the arrival of parenthood, and being away from our usual support system has only cemented it. Whereas before we would put vast energy and enthusiasm into new campaigns, new angles, new ideas, now our time is shaped by three things; will it make money? Will it increase our exposure? Is it worth putting our daughter in childcare for? This simplicity has made a huge difference productivity-wise. There’s no compulsion to jump head first into creating a webinar which will take hours of hair pulling for rubbish results; we’re not hooked by the latest must-have social media gimmick. We’re simply tackling tasks in a systematic way, with a 6 month strategy (mapped out over lake-front pasta and midday beers) in the back of our minds. It’s working. To quote the LI boys hanging out in Chang Mai- we’re getting shit done.
It’s often the case the work turns a corner when you’re away. Maybe it’s because you are out enjoying new cultures and scenery instead of sweating over each email and decision. Either way, for us, new-ish projects are gathering pace (we had 6800 likes on one Facebook post, and hundreds of new sign ups one week!)
Our Cabin Crew website is growing rapidly
And an old business has had interest from a competitor and a partnership deal is looking promising. All the more evidence to remind us; we know we don’t have to stay at home to run our business, but it also seems like we don’t have to stay home to get better results.
Getting time to explore
So with our (ahem) compressed work hours we’ve had plenty of time to explore Lake Como (turns out George Clooney and Richard Branson DO like the finer things in life), we’ve strolled through historic towns, hiked valley trails, lazed in villa gardens, breathed the mountain air and eaten a lot of pasta. And its good pasta- it’s worth a visit just for that. We even squeezed in a day on the slopes with some late spring boarding, shaking snow from our gloves as we stomped past a bikini clad sunbather outside a mountain top cafe.
Getting to explore Lake Como
So how has the trip been for our new family?
Travelling with a baby is great. We go places we wouldn’t have before, we talk to people we would never have met, we laugh at things we probably would have otherwise missed. Her routine is the same as it would be at home for eating and sleeping, but in between she is exposed to enough new environments that her eyes are permanently like saucers. Lately she’s been learning to wave; back in the UK there’s no avoiding the pretentiousness of a baby who will only respond to ‘ciao’!
For adult time we’ve also enjoyed breaks courtesy of www.luxuryandboutiquehotels.com (plus an opportune visit from the in-laws). The Grand Hotel in Tremezzo was just the sort of decadent luxury you want for a night responsibility-free, and the Villa Honegg in Switzerland pretty much defies description (you have to take a look!)
So what next? A summer in the UK, a quick trip to Spain, then in the autumn some exciting new plans are shaping up nicely…
What would inspire you to exchange your home for a trip to someone else’s?
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