How I can help Esc members
I love the idea of people escaping from the corporate world and doing their own thing. I offer my time to anyone who would like coaching/mentoring or just to chat. Also if anyone has ideas for which they need an IT partner, I'm interested in getting involved. Or just to offer general IT advice if anyone needs it.
I'm getting going with my location independent IT consultancy. I've just got back from a one month trip which, now I manage my own time 100%, I could fit in around my work.
Whilst not travelling, my day-to-day job sees me work with my clients to create websites or other IT solutions that will see their business grow. In addition I'm constantly using my contacts to find new clients in order to grow my business into providing me a sustainable income.
And of course, being location independent, I could pack up my laptop and relocate my office to pretty much anywhere in the world just like that :-)
Before I escaped...
I spent 9 years working in IT for two companies in London. The first 3.5 were for a film company, then I moved into investment banking. For the first few years I loved the challenge and the 'glamour' of City life, however, I reached a stage where I felt something was wrong.
I didn't enjoy my job so much any more and I felt a longing to do something more fulfilling with my life.
My moment of truth...
I've always loved travel and I still remember the excitement of the first time I went on a plane as a kid. Whilst at the bank I used to take a couple of very exotic holidays each year - e.g. Tanzania, Oman and Malaysia.
For the final couple of years of my time there, when I felt things weren't right for me, I had this idea of travelling in my head. I'd been learning Spanish anyway, and when my teachers asked I always said the reason was to travel in Latin America, however at the time it never seemed like it would really happen.
Then one day, after perhaps a year of struggling with these conflicting emotions (I want to go, but is it sensible to give up my safe well-paid job?) it suddenly dawned on my that the riskiest option is not quitting your job.
I realised I would only look back in five years and regret missing the most important opportunity of my life. Then the decision was made and a few months later, after bonuses were paid, I told my manager of my decision. I haven't regretted it for one micro-second since... best decision of my life!!
Planning for it...
Once I'd made the decision, I set a date for handing in my notice, then that was it. I knew I wanted to go to Latin America, but I didn't really plan anything more than that.
Once I'd agreed my leaving date I bought a one-way ticket to Sao Paulo (simply because it was the cheapest destination in Latin America) and made the other arrangements necessary - finding a replacement for my half of the rent, buying insurance and the necessary equipment.
Money-wise, I've always been a good saver, not drastically increasing my spending as my salary went up. I have some money in an account which I promised not to touch whilst travelling... it's still there, plus in my current account I had my fund for travel. I'm also lucky in that I bought a house in Watford, where I'm from, several years ago, and I have some rental income from that to help keep my going.
The worst and best bits...
Best thing: the freedom. I can be anywhere I want when I want. I can work when I want, so for some periods I might do 14 hours days, but then I can take a month off to travel when I don't have work on.
Hardest things: I spent 3 frustrating months submitting proposals, searching for clients, but with no luck. But I stuck in there and now things are starting to move in the right direction.
Also I did have a couple of panic attacks in the interim between making my decision to quit and actually doing it!
Don't over-plan. Just do it! It's generally impossible to visualise exactly where you're going to end up. Be thrifty so you have a nice emergency fund then just take the plunge.
Go travelling or whatever then worry about what you're going to do with your life later... I still don't know and maybe I never will. I'm just feeling what I need to do now and enjoying the journey