I was 26, newly married, a qualified and ambitious project manager but it’s safe to say my commute was sucking the life out of me. Big time.
I travelled over 2 hours each way and often took 3 different forms of transport to get to my project support role in a non-profit. I was the lowest paid person on staff, was the first one in and still didn’t manage to make it home before 7.30 most nights.
Needless to say my home life wasn’t particularly inspiring either. By the time I got home from work it was all I could do to flop in front of the telly while scrolling on Instagram, looking at other people’s travel pics. I was living for the weekends, spending Friday to Sunday partying and the mix of my work life and home life left me burnt out and depressed.
I became totally obsessed with the idea of travelling. I’d spend all my spare time on Pinterest looking at the best travel destinations or watching YouTube videos of people travelling and working from their campervans, living that digital nomad life.
In spite of our already mounting debt my husband and I took out a new credit card and bought a van to convert. We spent all the spare time we had on turning our van into a home on wheels and making travel plans for where to visit first.
Our ferry was booked for April 1st and I’d already handed my notice in months before we were due to leave. We were busy planning our leaving party and putting the final touches to our van, yet a month before we were due to leave with our one way ticket to Europe we had only managed to save £50. With only one paycheck due before we left our travel plans looked to be in pretty dire straits…
Looking back now, it would have been easy to postpone our ferry to try and save more, but I refused to postpone my dreams.
I’d read about freelancing and was intrigued. It seemed to me that this could be my answer to finding location independent work to help us stay on the road for as long as we wanted. I spent that final month at home doing research, refining my offer and coming up with a plan to find clients, and, the week before we left, I secured my first freelance client!
Fast forward 10 months and my husband and I have driven over 6,000 miles, visited 16+ countries and have had the time of our lives, from skateboarding around Berlin’s Tempelhofer airfield, snorkeling in Montenegro to adopting our Greek rescue puppy Luna, it was the most life changing experience possible.
But, it is so much more than that too.
I’ve now got a full book of freelance clients, earning double the hourly rate I used to earn when I commuted to London for my 9 to 5, which gives me the freedom to work less hours, from wherever I want and to pick hours which suit me. I get to choose the work I am involved in, so I work on projects which are of interest to me, which are aligned with my values, or which allow me to learn new skills or be creative. Not a bad gig right?
When I quit my job, miserable, uninspired and desperate for a change I never thought that the life I have now was a possibility. I wondered if I’d struggle from month to month without a regular paycheque, I thought I’d be coming back to the UK to hunt for a job, and trying to explain the 10 month gap on my CV even deeper in credit card debt than when we left.
Freelancing turned my life on it’s head and completely changed my perspective. I realised that I could be the master of my own destiny, that I didn’t need to wait until I was 60 and retired to live how I want to and that I could work less hours and still have an amazing quality of life and income (we even managed to start paying off our debts while we travelled!).
I’m often asked by friends how exactly I get to live like this, and people are always looking for advice on how to do the same. I whole heartedly recommend freelancing to anyone who is looking to escape the confines of a 9 to 5 role. My only regret is not doing it sooner.