28 May My Dream Laptop Lifestyle
From PR to Career Coaching on the road to Italy
I’ve been following Nicola Cairnross and Judith Morgan’s preparations for the Own It! The Summit and couldn’t resist sharing my own cheesy internet dream and enter the competition!
I’ve long been envious of those people who have both moved and integrated into a foreign country, if only for a while. It’s one of those things that I believe really enriches your life, giving you memories that will keep you warm in your old age. I did it in my early twenties, living in Australia for a year, but somehow that isn’t enough. The culture was too familiar and, like everything else, I took it for granted at that age.
Today, I have a different dream and that is of a sensuous life of glorious food, robust wine and bone-warming sun in idyllic Italy. There’s something about Italy that feels like home every time I go there. The language sounds like poetry, even if they are just asking if you want to buy a cabbage, and the siesta lifestyle is, well, just me. With three teenagers, two of which are navigating those heady years of University, apprenticeships, first loves, bullying bosses and learning to be an adult, and one child still at school, I know it’s not going to happen quite yet. But, I have been making plans.
Every year I get a little closer. Each year for the past 7 years I have visited Italy, staying with friends and meeting people and hosts to show me around through Couchsurfing. I’ve visited Rome, Bologna, Verona, Milan, the South and this year it will be Sicily. My knowledge of Italy has improved faster than my knowledge of Italian, but, as everyone who has successfully learned a second language has said to me, you need to be living there to really become fluent.
My children are primed and aware that one day the family home may be sold and their mother on the other end of a Ryan Air flight, or that I will downsize and own something small in the UK while I spend a lot of my time over there. I have joined the ranks of travel bloggers with my own travel blog over at www.soothedinthecity.com . Whilst I am realistic and know that it’s very difficult to make a living from travel blogging, it’s so far brought me some money can’t buy experiences and I’m hoping that will continue as well as help me make contacts to ease my transition into Italy when I am ready.
I’m not sure whether to invest in an Italian property, or enjoy the freedom that sites like Airbnb bring, and move around. I think I will certainly do that in the first instance, so having somewhere back in the UK may be sensible. Also, I can’t see me cutting ties with my home country. Despite the lure of warmer waters and great food, I do feel very British and there’s a lot I love about our nation.
Money and earning that living is of course the big question. I remember years ago, I had just had my youngest child and had a Money Gym coaching call with Nicola. It was Nicola who very cleverly helped me come up with the idea of Do Your Own PR, my business that trained small businesses in how to do their own PR and marketing, and it was an idea that served me well for at least ten years. A s a business model that would serve me well in Italy but things never stay the same and I felt engulfed by the need to do something new and challenging. Playing around with travel blogging distracted me a bit but a grounding coaching call with Judith helped me think through how to earn enough cash to enable me to actually explore what I really want to do for a bit. That exploration took the form of going back to University to do an MSc in Business Psychology, a large part of which was career coaching.
And so I found the key to continuing to earn sterling but spend it abroad, as Judith puts it. At www.scarletthinking.com I now blend career coaching with helping people build their profiles, which, if you think about it, is the next step after career coaching but one for which my PR and marketing background is perfect! Now I can see the road ahead a bit more clearly, I can acknowledge the other, perhaps more emotional side of the lap top lifestyle.
For I have hit that age where my parents are delicate; my father had a fall earlier this year which resulted in a cerebral haematoma and it was a very scary time for us all. And, of course, my children are here, and one day there may even be grandchildren. I am entwined with other people in ways I would not want to jeopardise. I see friends of mine from outside the UK face that dilemma. My friend Karen has been flying back and forth to South Africa for the last 18 months to keep an eye on her seriously ill mother, and my client Debbie flies in from Spain to see her children and grandchildren at least once a month. I’m not naive to think that the laptop lifestyle will come without a price tag.
So, for the moment, I’m still planning and anticipating. It may be slightly frustrating at times, but then I have to remind myself that planning and anticipation are pleasures in themselves.