“That is seriously your life? You are literally living the dream. That’s insane”

As I write this in late 2012 I am overwhelmed with gratitude and awe at the amazing year it has been. Since putting happiness first my income has soared and my life has literally become a fairy tale.

Trust me when I tell you, it wasn’t always this way.

I had plenty of opportunities to turn back.

To take the safe path.

To shun my dreams.

Don’t ever, ever think going for it, going after what you really want will be easy.

But it will always, always be worth it.

A lot people put off travel and enjoying life until “that day” when their business reaches a certain point, or god forbid, they finally retire.

I used to be one of them. I worked and worked, with the dream of one day “making it” and then being able to make happiness a priority and start travelling the world.

I sacrificed nights out with friends, dating, and time with family all because I had to “work harder” to make it…only then could I finally start enjoying life.

Blinded by my own insanity, this seemed like a sound and rational plan at the time. That was until my business imploded and left me  standing in the wreckage wondering about all the years I sacrificed everything for some future time that wasn’t even guaranteed to happen.

I’d pushed back so many passions for “after I make it”: Travel, learning new languages and worst of all, quality time with friends and my family.

The need for an income forced me to quickly get back on my feet and start a new business. Yes, I briefly considered bowing out of the race and applying for jobs, but I couldn’t shake the thought “All the sacrifices I made, all I’m left with are the lessons I learnt about myself and business, what a pity it would be to waste those by working behind somebody else’s’ desk”.

So in December of 2010 I began working as a freelance copywriter. It was at that same time I made a commitment to never again put off happiness and living a life of incredible memories. Standing in the rubble of my former life this lesson was drilled into my soul.

Fast forward to the fall of 2011 and I was still I was still struggling. I’m talking Pursuit of Happiness around the 60 minute mark struggling. I can still vividly remember having to choose between a tall coffee at Starbucks, where I could sit and work for a few hours, or heading to the Marketplace IGA and buying pasta for a few meals that week.

I remember meeting with prospective clients at Blenz coffee and praying they wouldn’t order anything fancy because I had another meeting after that one and only had $7. Thinking about it, perhaps that’s why I have such a hatred of “coffee meetings”.

Fast forward a few months. Financially I’d been doing a little better but I really hated life. It’s now winter and I desperately wanted to be somewhere sunny…anywhere but cloudy Vancouver! For years I had dreams of escaping the depression inducing cloudy skies for sunnier shores, even if just for a month or two.

It’s early December and time for my annual meeting with Big Brothers where I had volunteered as a mentor for the past 3 years. At the meeting the coordinator asked if anything would be changing in my life that might affect my match. I told her I would probably be moving to Costa Rica for part of the winter. She said “Oh, didn’t you say you were going to do that last year?” In that moment I realized I was repeating the mistake of delaying happiness and I hadn’t even realized it. Perhaps you can relate to this!

A few days later, fuelled by half a bottle of red wine and a desire to live true to myself and my word, I booked a one-way ticket to Central America with less than a months living expenses in the bank and no steady income.

It was a huge risk…and it paid off. My business grew, my happiness increased and I had the most incredible year of my life.

And through it all I’ve learnt some incredible lessons. This site is my place to share them.

Along the way there were hundreds of reasons to turn back. As I said, awesome things are never easy.