My most devastating conversation with my boss at the time went something like this…

Me: I’m happy to work whatever hours it takes to deliver on deadlines. I work on planes, in hotels, on weekends. Its how I work best. I don’t need to micro manage my team, I set them up from wherever I am. I’m happy to work and live like this but I also need to fuel my creativity and energy with some personal travel. I want to know if I can work intense blocks and then have time out.

Boss: No one in my senior management team will ever be allowed out of the business for more than 10 days at a time.

Me: There was no room to reply. I just walked out feeling shattered.

I stepped outside, took a breath and had a conversation with myself.

Me: That’s it! I’m dumping the executive management path if that’s what life looks like.

I had a great career. I lived it. Loved it. Gave it my all. I was never a 9 – 5 gal, with all the travel it was impossible, so life and work became one. I set my own pace, working whatever hours needed, but became frustrated because the real me also liked to travel to get off the grid. And not just for an executive style mini-break. I needed to immerse myself in a place where I couldn’t speak the language, that had a level of cultural shock, loads of outdoor wonder and the landscape had to be devoid of shopping malls.

A week later, I flew to Jakarta, ready to explore Indonesia. I travelled by bus, boat and bemo like a local, jungle trekked, met some orang-utans, climbed some mountains, and met people from around the world. I ended up in Bali.

That ugly conversation helped me set my life up to “Work From Anywhere”. I spent the next 20 or so years bouncing between Bali, Australia and wherever my job took me around the world. Whilst I wasn’t permanently on holiday, I definitely brought my type of holiday vibe into my life more often. My “commute’ was an overnight flight from Bali, grabbing a shower at the airport before arriving at my desk at the same time as my co-workers. It became so normal for me. The real me.

PS. I didn’t have to quit. The wonderful owners stepped in, set me free to travel for as long as I needed with the promise of a job that worked for me on my return. (Phew!)

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Karen Willis

Founder at Sharing Bali
Karen is the co-founder of WFA.Life, Karen lives a Working from Anywhere lifestyle when shes not looking after her guest at her Sharing Bali Retreat in the hills above Ubud.
Experience Maker. Chasing a dream. Inspiring others to do the same. If I can, so can you. Living in a Bali village. Wearing silk sarongs. Cantik the Pomeranian always at my side.
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