WHY I DECIDED TO CLOSE MY OFFICE DOORS IN BARCELONA AND GO TO BALI
Before I get started, let me ask you a quick question:
– Why do you do the work you do?
(Please, give yourself a minute to think about it before proceeding)
It looks like a pretty innocent question, right? Still, most people are unable to come up with a clear reply. Many people will claim: “It’s what I studied at school and then got the job and you know …”, or “just because it’s the job I found and somehow I need to make money”, or “I applied and they hired me” … Only a few will really give a from-the-heart answer “I love what I do”, “It’s my passion”, “I truly enjoy it” …
According to a Conference Board Study conducted in 2014, a frightening 53% of Americans report not to be happy with the job they do.
So well, one fine day, I asked myself that very question I just asked you: “Why do I do what I do?”
I ran a marketing and creativity company with a partner and –even though it wasn’t really going that bad– I was totally stressed out and working like crazy; over 14h a day, seven days a week, no holidays, meetings, business travels, … We fought to get new projects, struggled with clients to get paid in time before we had to borrow from the bank yet again in order to pay our taxes, our people, and ultimately, make a living. That’s what selling services looks like in my country and in many other western countries right now – why was I surprised?
But I had stopped enjoying work I love and I couldn’t find a real reason to get up in the morning anymore.
When opening my eyes to a new day felt like a punishment, I thought this is it. I could not go on. I didn’t think it twice; I was going to quit. I mean: quitting it all.
I let my partner know about my intentions, finalized the projects I was working on and I bought a ticket to fly to Bali. I didn’t know much about Bali, let alone Indonesia. A friend had told me about a small place called Ubud. I checked it out on the map and it looked far enough for me to try and leave everything behind while I took some time to think about what was coming next.
So, on the 28th of May 2015 I landed at Ngura Rain Denpasar Bali International airport with one goal: to rest my bones completely for 90 full days. I ended up calling this trip my mini-sabbatical in Paradise. I needed to find my inner Goddess again, the one that I knew defined me: A curious, happy, creative creature, always ready to learn, explore and share. I wasn’t even the shadow of my previous self and that had to change. (Feel free to read my post “Ganesha, the God of New Beginnings” for more insight on how I felt about this change).
I took my self-imposed sabbatical seriously. For 3 full months I did nothing else than breathe, eat delicious food, sleep long nights, read, do heaps of yoga and meet new and exciting like-minded people, whilst learning about the culture and traditions of the island.
When posting photos or comments on what I was up to in my Facebook account, or when talking to friends back home or in other places, I got the same line over and over again: “Oh wow, you’re so lucky! I wish I could do that”. To which I steadily and consistently gave the same reply: “Guess what! Actually, you can do that, too. Just make a decision and stick to it”. There is no such thing as luck: you make your own luck with your actions and with your choices in life. Obviously a move like this means gathering some courage to walk away from your comfort zone and risking the uncertainty of the unfamiliar, unknown and unforeseeable. And yes, it is scary, but only like any other good thing worth trying in life.
It was at Hubud Coworking Space, in Ubud that I first heard the concept “Digital Nomad”. A Digital Nomad is a person who works remotely and (usually) chooses to do so from a destination where the climate is more benign than in his/her country and also -very important- where the money that they make in western currency stretches 4 or 5 further the minute they land. This way, they can indulge themselves in a slightly more sophisticated livestyle, while enjoying all the side benefits of living in Paradise.
That was it! I needed / wanted to become a Digital Nomad Entrepreneur and stay in Ubud as much as I could!! For that, I needed to come up with a plan I could execute, once my sabbatical was over and just “do it”!
When you’ve been gived a curios mind, it’s always hard to convince “it” to go on a full-mode rest… I started ruminating, disregarding my sabbatical, although I tried to keep it low-key and did my best to enjoy my well-deserved free time. (Read my post “Kindled Mind: When the amygdala meets the neuro-cortex while on a sabbatical in Paradise” to get more info on what was going through my mind)
This is how, on the 30th of August, I was due to fly back to Barcelona and my head couldn’t quite accept the idea. I started to feel very anxious again and I felt the fear of having to face the craziness of life in Europe creeping up my spine, all the way to my heart and soul. But, I had no choice (I had already committed to giving some training back home), and so I surrendered to it and boarded my flight with the intention to stick to my plans and to be back in Bali within 3 months, already with a clear plan on how I was to make enough money to live my chosen lifestyle.
To my own surprise, the landing “home” was very smooth and I adored being back among my people, in my lovely country, enjoying the privilege of owning a cozy house up in the hills of Girona, right in the heart of the gorgeous Costa Brava, Catalonia.
Now, it was time to get hands on it!
At this point I already knew a few things: (1) WuWant Marketing & Creativity (my previous entrepreneurial adventure) was not what I wanted to do anymore, (2) I wanted to free myself as much as possible from a fixed geographical location, (3) I was determined to make more money per hour so, last but not least (4) I could work only a few hours a week and still make a decent living. Hey!! We never were promised this would be easy, right? … but surely it’d be worth a go!
I had heard about the New Rich before, though never paid much attention to it as I was too busy working my butt off in the western social recognized slavery system than most of us have come to think of as “normal”. Now, it dawned on me, was time to read all I could about the it. The first book than landed in my hands was the bestseller “The 4 hours work-week” by Tim Ferris.
The New Rich are individuals that place more emphasis on their lifestyle and happiness than on making heaps of money. They choose freedom over being forced to remain tied to their work place having to renounce to a fulfilling life shared with friends and family, due to their stressful and over-the-top demanding jobs. They favor a more simple life in an effort to stop feeding the neo-liberal system that socially forces them to stay stuck in a ridiculous consumerism pattern of “I need more”, “I want more”. The new rich seek to work very few hours a week, creating businesses that allow for plenty of free time while income comes from passive money and companies that, somehow, run by themselves through delegating, instead of controlling. Being a new rich comes together, often times, with becoming a digital nomad so, yeah! I was on the right path!!!
Tim Ferris and other authors, like the sadly recently deceased Scott Dinsmore – founder of the platform Live Your Legend – talk of the value of ideas and how these, in themselves, aren’t enough and how it is a must to “land” them and implement them. They also talk of concepts like efficiency versus effectiveness; of the fact that our goals are strongly conditioned by our environment and how it is in our power to modify that, surrounding ourselves with people that we admire and / or inspire us, leaving aside toxic people (we all have examples of those in our lives) that just suck energy out of us while never bringing in any. They also talk about concepts like the Pareto Law, which says that 80% of our results come from 20% of our actions, and of the Parkinson Law that explains that the time we need to accomplish a task is totally up to the time we decide to allow for it. Ultimately, they talk about my favorite concept: Passion!!
I totally agree with them that passion is the main fuel for most of us who are itching to chase our dreams, wherever they take us. Passion keeps us going when, sometimes, the road gets tricky, uphill or crazy winding … Because, think of it: many achievements along History were thought to be wacky or impossible before they were first accomplished! So, passion helps us believe we can and we will, if we want it bad enough.
And I wanted it bad enough, that’s for sure!! So, only a month after I landed in Barcelona, I already had a new project in the make. A project that was born out of my desire to do what I love and that I know how to do well while at the same time,it would fulfill the four requisites I had decided should be the Credo of my new lifestyle (I mentioned these before in this post). My passion is based on all the self-knowledge I gained while on my mini-sabbatical in Ubud, when, against all the odds, I allowed myself to breathe and gain mastery of myself again.
MunBau.com went online on the 11th of November of this present year, precisely on the day I -after only two months in Europe- landed back in sweet Bali.
I am not shy to admit I am profoundly proud of it, and that I simply know it will work because, for once, I followed my heart, instead of trying to sustain a lifestyle in Europe that did not even make me happy.
Like the great yogi Les Leventhal wisely states in his totally recommended book “Two lifestyles, one lifetime”: “before finding your balance, you need not be afraid of losing it”.
And remember, the only thing that limits your possibilities is your imagination, so just dare to dream!
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Come up with those 3 things that annoy you most of your present work life. Take the time to come up with a first little action for each one of them, in order to start changing them to a condition that makes you feel a bit better about them. Please feel free to post in the comments here and share, so we can all benefit from it! 😉
Thanks a lot!