I visited a friend at the weekend – who I met at a travel writing and photography workshop in London, several years ago – and told her I thought of her as an “intrepid” traveller.
She disagreed – if only because she often travels in a group, rather than on her own. I suppose what makes me think of her as intrepid is the places she goes to, rather than how she travels. She has crossed deserts, mountains and glaciers, and her latest plan is to spend a couple of days on Easter Island following a visit to Patagonia.
I have always admired the more adventurous traveller. Another friend, who I worked with in my first computer programming job, went to work in Lanzarote, then toured Australia, before going to live in Belize where, as I’ve just discovered, she still lives, nearly 20 years on.
At the time, I admired her audacity, and I felt distinctly envious. However, the more sensible side of me couldn’t help thinking: “she might regret it when she’s older and doesn’t have a pension.”
How sad is that?!
I don’t mind not being that intrepid or adventurous myself, but I’m glad that there are people pushing the boundaries – like the growing community of location-independent entrepreneurs, running their on-line businesses from hotels, villas and beach huts in all corners of the globe.
It’s thanks to them that the likes of me and you now have the facilities to run our own businesses remotely – even if we choose to only do so for a few weeks of the year. As Jeremy Clarkson once said to Dame Ellen MacArthur, in an interview: if it weren’t for the explorers, we would still be living in caves!
Exploring the Inner Frontier
But we don’t all have to be explorers. Except, perhaps, of our own Inner Frontier.
If we only did the things we were comfortable with, the human race would never advance. It’s important, therefore, to always be testing our boundaries – to strive for things we think we aren’t capable of doing.
However, I also believe there is merit in allowing our Inner Frontier to settle for a while – rather than to keep pushing for something bigger or better. In business, in particular, there is a tendency to think that, unless you’re earning a million dollars / pounds a year, you’re not really in business – you have a hobby.
Whilst that may be true for some people, it devalues all of the businesses that have been set up to enable their owners to have a particular lifestyle – whether that be as a digital nomad, an ex-pat, or someone who spends half their time on their business and the other half creating art.
When I started working for myself, I wanted to find something that I would be happy doing until I drop. I’m not in line for a large pension (ironically!), and I would probably get bored if I had nothing to aim for – nothing to achieve. But I want my work to be an enjoyable part of my life now – without the stresses I endured in my corporate career.
Choosing a Lifestyle Business
In the same way that I admire people who get involved in more rugged travel, while preferring to stick with the more on-the-beaten-track destinations myself, I have great respect for people who build a business empire, employing other people and generating wealth for a larger community.
Nevertheless, I’m content to run a lifestyle business that inspires me, gently challenges my Inner Frontier, and affords me the freedom to do what I enjoy.
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