I saw a quote on social media about a week ago that has resonated with me ever since. This quote put into words the feelings that I had been having of late, in a way that I just could not quite do. The quote read: Build a life you don’t need a vacation from.
Since resigning from my full time job five weeks ago, this has been my sole objective. Creating a life that I do not need to take a vacation from. This is different to trying to create a life that is one big vacation. I am aware of the hard work that will be involved and am happy to make sacrifices, however the constant focus remains that I want to enjoy my life so much, that I never utter the words I need a holiday ever again.
How will, we, Chilli and I, achieve this seemingly overwhelming task?
- Simplify and learn to live with less
This was already underway before I quit my job. We had decided to dramatically downsize our house, our belongings and our lifestyle in order to save up enough cash to head off overseas in mid-2015. I’m not going to tell you that it was all roses and rainbows. I am a class-A hoarder and the first few days of trying to downsize my wardrobe and archives were not fun. However once I started, I found I could not stop. We still had a week left in the ‘big’ house and I had already sold most of our furniture, we had donated most of our clothes to charity shops and successful garage sale took care of the rest.
We moved into our pint-sized new house with less ‘stuff’ than I had when I first moved out of my parent’s house. It felt great. We know that to undertake the lifestyle we wish to, we need to be able to fit everything we own into a few suitcases. We’ve still got a long way to go to get that point, but I no longer fear the prospect. I’m now looking forward to living with less.
- Understand that cash is not king, happiness is
This has a lot to do with leaving my job. My reasons for staying were in the first instance loyalty to the organisation. However once that was no longer reciprocated, it was the steady paycheck. The decision to leave a full time job without a back-up plan is not something that I would have ever dreamt of doing before… but I can now say is one of the most liberating and important things I have ever done.
I was raised to believe that commitment and hard work are rewarded above all. Why did we need to work hard? For the money. As a child I saw parents working in jobs they hated just to bring home a paycheck. They had kids, a partner, mortgages, car repayments, holidays and new TVs. I often wondered whether this need for new, big shiny things came from unhappiness of their jobs, or if they actually set out to get a high paying job to be able to buy these things? As an adult I understand that it’s both, and I want to remove myself from the cycle.
Anai and I may have a different outlook than the rest of the world, but we strongly feel that doing a job you enjoy for half the money is worth a lot more that doing a job you hate for double the money. My professional ‘desk’ job left me craving the intimacy and humility of the service industry that I had left. I do not need a lot of money to be happy, but I do need to a lot of happiness to live a rich existence.
- Realign our understanding of what a job is, and why we do it
Why do you go to work? If you answer is ‘for the money’, then you may as well stop reading here, you’re not going to like what is coming. We plan to live in a manner that allows us earn enough income to cover only what we cannot barter for. We plan to work for accommodation and food, housesit, give workshops, act as tour guides – anything we can to use our skills as payment, instead of paying with cash. Not as dramatic as this Heidemarie Schwermer who has lived of nothing for 15 years, but a milder version of this.
We also plan to make income from only those things that we enjoy. I enjoy writing, talking to people, marketing, reading, going on adventures and managing events. So I plan to create an income source from these things. There is nothing more infuriating than the mindset ‘it’s just for a little while to earn some money’. You’re not doing yourself or your employer any good. Best to realign your thought process before you find yourself unhappily chained to your desk with golden handcuffs.
- Become more nomadic
Stationary equates to stagnant. Smelly. The need to escape. The itch.
The move to a more nomadic lifestyle will allow us to move on when we start to get that itch. Being able to pack up everything we own and just move towns is the key to this new lifestyle. We both have a passion for the hospitality and service industries, that combined with deriving an income from the things we enjoy – writing, talking to people, reading, going on adventures and managing events etc, will hopefully allow us to do this seemingly impossible task. Only time will tell though whether this is a sustainable lifestyle choice.
- Having a holiday mindset, all of the time
Why is it that when we’re on vacation we’re happy to entertain ourselves, or do nothing but read a book all day, yet when at home, we have a constant need to be entertained? On vacation, we will happily set out on adventures using public transport, walk to the next town to grab milk and bread or take a walk after dinner. Why do we not do this when we’re at home? Half of the joy of being on holidays is doing these things that we really enjoy, but just don’t do when we’re at home.
We are breaking the habit. I ensure that I take a day to read a book in the park and don’t feel guilty about it. I jump on the train and head to the closest beach, just to feel the sand in my toes. I drink fresh juice because it’s what I like to do on beach holidays and sit in the park at lunch and stretch. Whatever it is that you enjoy about being on vacation, make it be a part of your daily life.
- Being prepared to work harder than we have ever worked to achieve this goal
If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. Lets hope this is true. This new lifestyle is going to need a lot of commitment and work, i.e., you don’t build yourself a career overnight, neither a reputation in the freelance world or blogosphere. Hard work is fine. This is what we want to do. This is how we want to live our lives. We’re not going to let a little bit of tough get in the way.
Check back in with us in 12, 18, 24 months time and see how we are going with sticking to these principles – for more great ideas about kick-starting your new life, try these reads:
We will be writing about how we’re getting on, where we are, who we’re meeting and what we’re doing here at the colourofshunshine.com blog
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