Running Away to Join The Circus
My brother recently informed me that quitting my job, leaving London, packing my bags and going travelling, looks like I’m running away. Wow, he knows how to press those buttons! If like me, you voted to Remain, wished with all your might that Trump wouldn’t win and were a huge fan of Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood and David Bowie (amongst so many other greats) then you’ll agree that 2016 has been one shocker after another.
Throw the decision to close your company, the death of a close uncle, total soul-shattering heartbreak and finding out your Dad has a 7cm cancerous lump on his kidney into the mix, and you would forgive me if I were running away. You would understand why I’ve been counting down the days to January 1st. I get goose bumps just thinking about that glorious day. I’ll probably cry at midnight on New Year. Surrounded by people kissing and cheering and me just sobbing with relief in the middle of the dance floor. Happy New Year 🙂
However, I’m not running away (although I am joining a circus but more about that in a later post). It was over a year ago that I knew I would be leaving 3beards (but not that the company would be closing altogether!) – the travel bug kicked in again and I started mentally planning my next trip. Canada perhaps? My ex snowboards and sails, I adore the sea and mountains, we could have had the best of both worlds. Even aside from him (thankfully) I wanted to see more of the world. Join a tall ship crew deliver from UK to the Caribbean. Horse trek up Machu Picchu. Pop up to NYC and Boston to visit friends and maybe go see Silicon Valley along the way. The world was – and is still – my oyster and I wanted to tuck in long before 2016 reared it’s ugly head.
I Have Tech: I Want Babies
Aside from potential emotional escapism and a thirst to travel there is a very strong reason why I want to leave the constraints of a fixed office.
Yep, whilst some will gasp and exclaim “professional suicide”, at this open confession, I’m happy to admit, in a blog about my future career, that I want a family. Rather than hunker down in a safe, sensible, maternity-paying job, I am making a conscious decision to take a different path. About two years ago my sister and I were out walking her dog. She expressed how much she loved being a full time mum to my gorgeous nephew and highlighted how lucky she was to have been able to give up work. She also mentioned that she felt uncomfortable about buying herself things even if she needed them. If it was her money she’d get the shoes (for example) she needed in a style/colour/price she wanted, but instead as it was “her husband’s” money she felt guilty buying anything more than a pair of shoes that fitted her practical need. If she bought him a present, it was with “his” money. Over the subsequent years my thoughts have returned to this conversation many times and with the knowledge I too want to be a stay at home mum I started to explore ways in which I could “have it all”.
At the same time I was surrounded by startups, entrepreneurs and developers reinventing what work looks like and creating opportunities for people that desire something different to the nine-to-five. I told myself for a long time that I wasn’t a developer and that I couldn’t do what the so called “digital nomads” did because I didn’t have a digital skill.
I’m not sure what changed but I realised at some point that unless I removed myself from the continuous flow of “shit to get done” typical of the startup world and tried my hand at remote freelance working, I’d never really know what I could achieve. The dream has become a future where I can travel the world or be at home with my kids and still be earning an income. I appreciate (especially after this year) that things do not go to plan but a dream is a goal and it’s something to work towards.
10 Steps to Having It All
Sadly, there is no fool-proof guide to having it all and nor do I believe this magical state even exists. However I do think foundations can be laid for a scenario in which I have more options when the baby-making time comes around. I am not jumping naively into the euphoric nirvana of digital nomadism – it’s part of a long thought out plan.
A few years ago I did General Assembly’s Digital Marketing and have been able to put what I learnt – and a lot more – into practice whilst running 3beards. I’ve had to adapt to communicating between designers, developers, accountants and all that falls between (usually me!) and adopt the necessary vocabulary. I’ve curated newsletters, set up Google forms, used Zapier to improve processes and searched for tools to solve my problems as they arise. I made this website. I am confident in a digital world and if I don’t have the solution I know where to find it or who to ask for help.
I have built up a fantastic network and many of my contacts got in touch when I announced I was becoming nomadic. Some wanted to work with me, some made introductions or said they would spread the word, some simply said congratulations. I have the skills I need to do the work I’ve been offered whilst I travel. I have the time I need to explore which areas of my work I most enjoy and to grow my experience and expertise. All I need to do now, is go.