I’ve read some inspiring stories. Stories of people who have sold their worldly possessions and just got up and left. Squeezed their life into a suitcase and got on a plane not knowing what was to come. There’s something about just getting rid of your musty life and your clutter and being untethered to a physical place that excites me… It always has… I read these stories with awe. There’s great guides online about how to be location independent and the benefits that such a lifestyle brings… Surely this is the way to go? So, there I sat dissatisfied in some mundane job or trapped in the sticky and clingy confines of bills and burdens… I thought if only… Lucky them!
Then we had our first child. The best thing to ever happen. However, I always thought that, once you have a child, your likelihood of making any such exciting and consequential decisions were strictly off-limits. It’s funny how we have these preconceived notions of what’s right and expected, as if milestones in life need to be connected with a matching lifestyle context and age-appropriate reference. I thought that only conservative, well thought out and carefully calculated risks were allowed and one must ‘settle down’ as quickly as possible. Any decisions that progressively skewed your life’s trajectory beyond the conservative confines of societal expectations were no longer allowed. Such changes in the course of your life were only reserved for those in their early twenties with financial freedom and no commitments.
Then I had a revelation… This is all bullshit! Life is dynamic, in flux and can’t be carefully planned and orchestrated no matter what stage of life you find yourself at… Society does well to try to brainwash us about what’s right at what time, but really it’s all just a load of crap. I shouldn’t fear this or judge myself, I should embrace it and sail confidently into the new unknown… To take the road less travelled.
I never thought that, at 34 with a child, I would make the decision to sell everything and go. I never thought that such a ‘reckless’ decision would actually make sense. I pondered the idea before and entertained hypothetical daydreams of just changing our life dramatically. However, the hypothetical, conservative third-person in my head would always have a heart attack, so I shook away such ridiculous thoughts like an etch-a-sketch erasing a boldly drawn line by a careless child… But, as time went on, finances dwindled and the prospect of full-time work in Sydney became unlikely, this crazy idea started to creep across the line from flippant to logical. I told others of my ideas to pack up and leave Australia. I expected shocked responses and comments from friends who joke and call me a gypsy or a nomad… But instead, I received support and logical advice as others, (outside my head) concluded that it makes sense.
So here we are. Selling our possessions, putting the rest in storage and moving to the Philippines. Essentially, my job in the customer service industry doesn’t really exist in Australia anymore. Off-shoring has pushed all senior management and even executive roles to other, cheaper countries. No one wants to pay an Australian expert to travel back and forth to Manila and Mumbai managing the quality of global customer service. There are perfectly suited locals for the job. Yes, there are Australian companies here who need local support, but when you’ve spent your career travelling the globe and teaching people in other cultures how to communicate with customers, working for a local bank doesn’t excite you. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with such jobs… But the reality is that wouldn’t interest me long-term (and no such jobs even exist anyway!)
Some nights I spend, eyes glazed, scrolling through LinkedIn… And the other night something strange happened. I updated my search to ‘Manila’ instead of ‘Sydney’ and all the jobs that disappeared in Sydney a couple of years ago suddenly appeared in their hundreds… So in terms of work, the Philippines makes sense.
Despite this, of course, writing and photography are my passions and the one constant that I’ve continued through all the corporate ups and downs. Through everything, roadlesstravelled.me has remained my creative muse and outlet of expression, imagery and storytelling and will continue to do so! Surely the cheaper cost of living in the Philippines, as well as its proximity to all of Asia means that I’m sure I can produce more interesting content working out of Manila than I can in Sydney… So… Here we go again.
I wrote a blog only 6 months ago before we moved back to Sydney. It was about change and the stress of moving as your life is temporarily turned upside down as your possessions go in boxes and your voice begins to echo off blank walls and spaces… However, I’m trying to approach this as an adventure, a new chapter, and exciting expat phase that will bring more opportunity rather than just ‘another move’…
So as the house empties again and boxes are packed, I only hope that the Philippines is kind to us and that this next chapter brings excitement, prosperity, adventure and wisdom… Wish me luck and stay tuned!