By March 2009 I had started testing out ideas and concepts to really get me away from an office setting and allow me to do what I truly loved: whitewater kayaking.
I had not really discovered video work or filmmaking at this point but I was dabbling in it. Mainly I just wanted to enjoy my life at the age and shape that I was in. And really, I was a pretty good kayaker and I knew I loved it.
The test: Leave work and fly to Ecuador. Bring all the tools I had put in place to test out if I could do the following:
- See if I would be able to work my job from a totally foreign environment to what I was used to. Keeping in mind that March is a traditionally slower month for me.
- Utilize tools such as VOIP phone, NEAT mobile scanner, email, virtual fax, etc. At that time iPads were not available (that went to the next level of changing everything for me). Shoot me a message if you want more detail on the process I use to work remotely. I have honed this in quite well over the years.
- Start learning and practising Spanish in a mostly non-English environment.
- Kayak everyday
- Travel alone and start to appreciate the benefits of travel.
The kicker was that I did not tell anyone that I was doing this. Therefore the traditional vacation style planning was not in force (email autoresponders, voicemail notifications, etc) I even did not let my assistant know. I simply said that I would working from another area and that I would do all my work, correspondence, etc in the mornings and evenings.
So that being said, a typical day looked like this:
- 7am wake up and work, email, etc
- 8am-9am breakfast with Spanish teacher. ($5 hour goes a long way in Ecuador vs $40 per hour for Spanish lessons in Ottawa)
- 9am-1030am follow up on work items
- 1030-5pm Head off to the river and kayak most of the day
- 6pm Dinner
- 7pm-9pm Work, email, etc as well as practise Spanish and do homework
- 9pm-socialize if there was something fun going on. Otherwise, I really welcome early nights when travelling especially with full days.
The interesting part of this experiment is that I discovered more than that I could make work happen from a remote area and the world did not collapse but that I really liked how I was in these environments. Something opened up in my head to the possibilities that there was more out there than this world I had been in for most of my 20s. At that point I would say I took a major turn in the sense of what really started to drive me. It was no longer money and making more sales. It was experiences, finding creativity, learning, etc.
This really made my sales career start to move to the backseat as I worked towards more automation in order to find a way to pursue a lifestyle that was much more rewarding and full. It really began my path toward discovering my dormant creativity and leading me to eventually moving away from sales and the financial world entirely to adopt a creative lifestyle.
More to come…