I am currently sitting in a very cute cafe in Canggu, Bali on a hot, sunshiny Sunday afternoon sipping on my tasty, fresh beetroot juice across the table from my lovely husband Luke. For the past two years we’ve had a running joke between us that one day, when we sell our stuff and take off we will know we have made it when we get to Bali, the creative nomad paradise. We even had a hashtag we used when we were dreaming or excited about the idea #beatittobali. Despite having not ‘arrived’ on any major level in this lifestyle, we are here, in Bali!
We launched our blog Sutton + Grove in November 2016 and in the first year we made over $10K and gained an amazing community of like minded bloggers, friends and businesses. Going into our second year we have traveled to almost 15 countries, been paid to document behind the scenes stories of the wonderful workers who make some of the clothes we wear, reviewed some gorgeous eco hotels and have plans to carry on.
How EXCITING does that all sound. I’m sure you may be sitting there reading this thinking some not so happy thoughts about us, ha. I get it!
Well here’s the thing, let’s rewind my life to the summer of 2015. I was living downtown Vancouver, BC (I am Canadian by the way) in a very cute heritage style apartment. I had a very hopeful and exciting perspective on life since Luke had just gotten a good job in carpentry and I was ready for the first time in a couple years to go out and get a real 9-5 job, something I hadn’t had since we were married in 2012. I designed a great resume, compiled a huge list of jobs I would like related in Marketing, Graphic Design and non profit and started to send them out. After the first month of not hearing back from anyone I began researching and tweaking my resume, broadened my interest in job possibilities and sent out a new batch of potentials. This continued for 3 months, then 6 months, then 9 months and finally 12 months with no luck! Near the 3 month mark I started sending out resumes daily to new job possibilities, which became my new routine; wake up, check my email, have breakfast, send out at least 10 resumes to new jobs and then repeat the next day. I had quite a few interviews over the year, a few less second round interviews but zero job offers. I was not dormant either in my pursuit, I reached out to every family connection, had tons of coffee dates, asked people to critic my resume but still nothing!
That year was probably one of the lowest places I’ve been in my life. Every level of hope, joy and creativity was sucked daily from me and I felt embarrassed and like a complete failure.
After our year lease was up, we ended up moving to a smaller town and I finally got a job as a real estate assistant. This job lasted five months, and it was during that time, working for someone else after fighting so hard to get a job and failing that I began to realize I just did not want to work for someone else anymore!
So I quit my job, started Sutton + Grove and have been HUSTLING for work ever since.
Without getting deep into the irony of this story what I want to point out is one residing message that kept screaming back at me over these years: JUST DO IT. I was so miserable during that year of job hunting but the reality was I was too scared to try and do something for myself. I’ve had a DREAM book full of creative ideas built up over the years but I never stepped out and initiated anything in there because I was afraid of committing to my own idea and staying accountable to following something through to completion.
It takes guts to make ideas and passions come to life. It takes creativity, insight, hard work, reaching out, but most of all commitment. Everyone can start something, but following through is a whole different ball game.
You also have to open your arms to failure even if it hurts and sucks at times! I don’t know how many pivots I’ve made over these past two years based on new obstacles, ideas or failures that have showed up.
We can all present a beautiful image, that second paragraph up there sounds exciting and can make people envious but the thing that separates those who can write that paragraph and those who can’t are two things: taking action on unpursued passions/interests and sticking it out through continual pivots. You do that and everyone can write their own second paragraph that they can feel proud of.
Is the dream life living on the road as a digital nomad, maybe, maybe not. Whatever your ‘dream’ or passion is you just have to step out and start working on it.
Luke read a book recently that we would HIGHLY recommend. It’s called The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. It’s basically a documentation of different stories of people who challenged themselves to creatively pursue their passions. One person walked across the United States, another wanted to learn to cook and made a new meal from a different culture every day for a year. Some of these passion quests turned into careers, some just gave them new purpose and joy in life.
This trip we are on right now we planned for a year. We saved up strategically for months, sold 90% of everything we had and took off on the road. It has turned out to be SO different than we expected and my interests and passions have been developing and morphing as we go. This was a challenge we set out to do and I’m proud we have been able to walk it out, despite the pivoting we’ve done along the way.
So, what I will say to you is if you have a passion or dream, JUST DO IT and start making it happen. Stop getting jealous of other’s stories and find a way to make your own unique story something you can be proud of, even if it is right in your own backyard! Whatever it is for you, take action in the smallest way, stick with it and do not be afraid to pivot!