It is. Absolutely. You don’t need a huge amount of money saved. And it could be the best thing you’ve ever done.
At the start of 2008, I was working in London, working really long hours, yet spending a large part of my day dreaming about how to escape. It wasn’t a bad job by any stretch but it didn’t exactly light me on fire. Even though I was desperate to get away, I would tell myself that I’d clearly gone mad thinking I could move to a small beach town somewhere exotic and go surfing every day. But by the end of that year I’d done it. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. And it was easier than you might think.
If it’s something you dream about but you can’t quite get up the motivation to make it happen then read on, this might give you the push you need.
This approach is not for everyone. If all you want to do is surf every day and get drunk every night with a bunch of your mates then you’d better stop reading and start saving now – that’s going to be expensive.
But if you want to move somewhere to concentrate on your surfing and integrate into the local community, you really can. With some planning, an open mind and quite a lot of hard work, there’s no reason why you can’t do it whilst making a living and learning a hell of a lot, on top of meeting some awesome people and getting to surf killer waves every day.
Reasons why it’s possible…
It costs a lot less to live than you think
Both in terms of saving money before you make the jump and what you’ll need to live on afterwards. With some proper budgeting, you can make significant savings. I’m sure you’ve read all the advice about whether you really need that cup of coffee every morning or the expensive TV subscription. But really ask yourself if you do. For my last nine months in London, I walked everywhere saving over £100 a month on a tube ticket. I also stopped going to the gym because I was walking so much, and saved another £50 a month. It really does add up and it’s surprising the amount you can save.
People love meeting people who do interesting things
For the most part, I always find that other people are always really interested in meeting people from other places, learning about their lives and how they ended up doing what they’re doing in their small beach town that most people have never heard of. If you approach people with that same interest and openness, it’s often a lot easier than it appears to settle in to a new place, whether that’s a physical space like a new town, a new industry, or even the blogosphere. If you help people, other people will want to help you and you will find it much easier than you think to make friends and new connections and find ways to make a living.
Most places, even the most remote, now have internet access
Which means you can work online in order to make a living, whether that’s as a freelancer, being someone’s virtual assistant, writing your own blog or selling your stuff on etsy. You can now work from wherever you want and move around whenever you feel like it. The internet is what makes this sort of lifestyle possible and easily achievable. I’ve never met half of my clients and Skype has replaced many face to face meetings. Plus you don’t feel so far away from home, and can still easily speak to family, friends and colleagues.
It won’t damage your CV or chances of finding employment
If you do decide you want another job, or even something to make sure you pay rent whilst getting started, it won’t be the huge gaping hole on your CV you’re worried about. In fact, if you can show you’ve done something positive and managed to make a living off your own back, that’s a really good thing for potential employers or clients. It gives you something to talk about, and you’ll probably have learnt far more than you would have by staying in a safe job that doesn’t really inspire you.
Reasons why it’s a great idea…
If you don’t, you’ll always wonder what if
My favourite quote is from Mark Twain, and I hold this quote solely responsible for every big/crazy decision I’ve made since I read it. It struck something deep down inside me and changed my life by making me take action instead of just daydreaming and planning…
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things that you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
People are tired of hearing how you’re going to quit your job, go travelling and surf every day
There is nothing worse than listening to people moan about their jobs or their life in general, when they do nothing to change the situation. We all know someone like it, maybe it’s you, or a colleague or a friend, who just goes on and on about all their grand plans to leave their job, set up on their own, tell their boss to stick it. But they’ve been doing it for years, and you know full well they’ll never actually do it. Don’t be that person. Make that decision, stick to it, and go and do something awesome…
It will help you grow as a person
I really believe that pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, spending time with different people and experiencing different cultures is vitally important in shaping you as a person. It helps you realise what’s important in life, and makes you appreciate what you have. I think both travelling and working for yourself should be mandatory education. Big statement I know – but it teaches you so much about yourself, and almost everyone I know that has done this wouldn’t have changed it.
Should you do it?
If it’s something that you’ve always dreamed of and it’s within your reach then probably, yes. As I sat on the plane to fly out to Central America for the first time, not only was I crapping my pants, but I had no idea how much it would impact my life. I honestly thought six months would get it out of my system and allow me to come back to London, settle down into a ‘good job’ and get on with life. How wrong was I?
Nearly four years later and I am much happier and more self-sufficient. It helped me realise what was important to me. It inspired me to move to Nicaragua for a time, then move closer to the sea in beautiful Cornwall, and to commit to travelling and surfing abroad regularly. And it inspired me to start Mellow Waves, and help other people realise that they can follow their dreams, surf and travel regularly, whilst making a decent living and making positive changes to their lives and the lives of others.
If you’ve already made the jump, how did you do it and what inspired you to make the decision in the first place?