Finally Living the Dream (The One Little Question That Changes Everything)
Today I woke up to the sounds of soft Latin music playing over the crashing waves just a few meters from my room. After a fresh pressed vegetable juice and breakfast I came to the cafe for an Americano and some work. Right now sitting on the cafe balcony overlooking the ocean, rumbling thunder and storm clouds gather for a good afternoon rain (it's a good thing since everything's pretty dusty around here -- the streets could use a good bath).
For a good 3-4 years I've been waiting for this time -- working hard to get to the point where I could finally live this dream. And, well, here it is now... with just a few caveats. I'll try to give you a better picture of what I'm up to here, living and working from wherever I happen to be in Central America -- currently El Tunco beach, El Salvador.
I run my business from out here (developing interactive media projects and websites for conscious companies) with the help of a good support team back home. I'm also a transformative business consultant, and apparently a writer too -- along with playing my beloved ukulele, this writing and sharing is my great creative joy.
It is, in truth, a very good lifestyle, with more continuous enjoyment overall than I've experienced in years. But I'm not about gloating or painting a glossy picture here -- to be fair, there are definitely downsides to this life. For instance, the constant issue of security...
Carrying around an expensive laptop, along with the requisite passport and money stash in some of the most dangerous places in the world -- it demands vigilance, yet there's a tendency to go soft after a while and let down your guard. What happens the minute you let your guard down too low, or stop paying attention -- bad things, like some sweet stranger you befriend walks away with your camera an hour later, or you end up stranded in the middle of the biggest lake in Central America with a bunk kayak.
The other big downside is internet connectivity issues -- some places you get an awesome connection, while other times you're at a hotel where the wi-fi is going out constantly. Or the power cuts out right when you're about to click publish on a new article.
But for the most part it's really amazing. And when you get a good internet connection, it's solid. That's why I plan to settle down in a good apartment when I reach Costa Rica.
The best part of it all, though...
I think my favorite part of the whole thing is the sense of freedom. I'm free to be myself, and do what I want. Every day I wake up and think to myself, 'what will I do today?' I know that I have work to do if I feel like doing it -- most days anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours. I also know I have as much time as I want to do absolutely nothing, and that's the best feeling in the world.
I could easily work for 12-14 hours a day and knock off a bunch of work, but that's what I did for 3-4 years already. I did it then because I had to (or at least I thought I did). Now, if I only have the patience for 30 minutes of work one day, I know there's a good reason. Maybe I need to rest up for a home run tomorrow. Or maybe the work for me that day is actually to get out and explore -- experience something truly important, or meet some people who will change my life. I consider this to be important work too.
And I think that's the point of this writing today -- this is where I am, and I've worked my ass off to get here, but maybe the really great thing about this whole adventure is the fact that my whole life has become my real work. My great work. In the past, I had my great work -- my so-called "amazing work" -- and then I had my "work work." And the two were in constant conflict. Running my business, satisfying clients, and keeping the business above water was the hardest work I've done in my life, and there was hardly time for my "amazing work." It was hard hard work. Gradually over time I worked at making it better and better, chipping away at the rough edges, learning the ropes and always striving to improve the business processes and practices. And one day, I broke free from the belief that it had to be hard work.
I decided to make it work for me.
Since that day, it's gotten better and better, and soon after I was able to make this plunge -- this great dream I've been working at for years -- to live and work from anywhere in the world.
Since that time, the work has become more and more mine -- more and more like the way I would want it to be if I could choose: Better and better projects; clients who appreciate the value of what I provide, and are happy to pay what it's worth; clients who ask me to invoice them early so they can pay me right away. I love that the experiences I'm having with this work is as wonderful, or even more gratifying than any of the great experiences I'm having on the road here. My whole life feels like it's part of this bigger picture now -- this project to live in alignment with my truth and my mission.
But the point here is this -- I decided to take this business I had created for myself and make it work for me no matter what. And then I took the necessary steps to do that. Not to push myself and the business as hard as possible to make it work -- but to change the business and make it work for me and my lifestyle, for what I want for myself in this world every day. In essence, to make it really mine.
And the key piece of the puzzle there is the decision. No matter where you are, and what you're doing -- it's that decision to make it work for you, with who you are at your core, and what you want to have in your life today, no matter what that might take.
For me that meant hiring an experienced interactive project manager last year, even if I couldn't afford it. Just making it work somehow -- with the understanding that this was what it would take. And it was the best business and lifestyle decision I've ever made.
For you, it could mean anything -- the smallest little adjustments in the way you approach your life and work can change the ENTIRE picture for you.
So, here's the one little question for you that can change everything:
What's THE thing in front of you, smack in your face, that just isn't working for you -- and what would you change to make it work if you could? Guess what...? You can. It's totally 100% possible. In fact-- you must! For you, and for us all. Now, please.
What would you like to know about living and working abroad, and anything else? Feel free to ask any question or share your experience in the comments here at Google+
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