This trip has been the best thing I’ve ever done. There’s not a single thing I regret other than booking that one hotel in Varkala with the flourescent light, pink walls and cockroach. Oh, and eating that raw piece of tofu. And maybe the Downhill cycle tour that was really uphill.

But seriously, if you think it might be cool to do something similar then here are some ideas and tips to get you started on your very own journey.

What’s the worst that could happen if you followed your dream?

Think about it. You could die. But you could die tomorrow. Today infact. You could walk out the door and get hit by a bus. So try harder. Go on be creative.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  1. You get  the poos  / rabies / yellow fever / malaria.
  2. All your money gets stolen
  3. You find out you don’t like travelling and miss friends
  4. Your child(ren)  turn feral, miss too much school, fail all their exams and become social misfits
  5. You can’t find work in the place of your dreams and end up begging on the streets.

Now mitigate those risks. That’s right. Here’s how…Pack some immodium. Don’t eat meat in India. Don’t pet dogs or stroke monkeys. Get your jabs. Take your pills. Buy travel insurance. Take travellers’ cheques and a spare credit card. Buy a return ticket. Get a skype account. Take noise cancelling headphones and some flashcards. Take a loan for a new bathroom (ahum) and set some of the money aside for emergencies (and do not spend on new clothes from Topshop).

Fact: The worst that can happen is that you stay and wonder what if? For the rest of your life.

What is it that you want exactly?

What are you looking for? What kind of a life do you want to be living? There’s no point thinking that you’ll move to Australia and suddenly be a different person, with no problems or issues to deal with other than what factor sun lotion to buy. You’ll be the same person with the same personality and the same problems just with a suntan.

I thought if I lived in India I’d become thin, beautiful and serene. I couldn’t even manage the thin. Manage those expectations.

The post-it exercise.

Buy some post-its. Or just steal some from work. Now write words on them for all the things you want in life. All the things you don’t like about your current life you’d like to change. (the 9-5, commute, more/less time for children, boyfriend…whatever). Now stick them on the wall opposite your bed. Create an inspiration board of all these words and pictures from magazines that represent what you’re looking for. (I stuck up pictures of pearly turreted chateau, infinity pools and beaches, maybe there was also the odd shoe).

The Christmas Round Robin exercise

It’s that time of year. Your mum is writing her Christmas round robin – the letter that makes you feel like such a disappointment because you’re not a lawyer and you didn’t marry an accountant.  This year though it doesn’t make you cringe, Why? What does it say?

Mine says something like ‘Sarah is now living in Bali with John and Alula. She has just signed a three book deal and sold the film rights for ten million. In the Spring she’ll be flying to LA for the casting sessions. Alex Skarsgard is going to star in the adaptation being produced by Alan Ball. She also has a full time nanny.’ You can tell  I have spent a long time honing this vision. Now you do the same. As Kevin Costner said, ‘If you build it, they will come.’

NB. update 2014: I have since sold 11 books and sold the film rights too (though for quite a lot less than ten million. I haven’t YET met Alex Skarsgard, but I have faith. We decided early on a nanny was a bad idea. But you can see that I built the vision and honestly, the reality was even better than the vision.

My next vision is that by the end of 2015 we will be living in a beautiful, sustainable small home in California in an awesome community. Alula will be in a fantastic school that she loves, John will be running really successful Green Design Camps, and I will be screenwriting and producing original TV series for major companies and that Hunting Lila will have just finished filming (with Alex Skarsgard). I’d also like a few more book deals… Are you listening universe???

The Fuck It Philosophy.

I talk a lot about this in my blog because the Fuck It philosophy was so fundamental in my own shift from thinking about it to actually doing it. Here’s why.

The human brain is great at creating worries. As soon as you solve one, another fatter worry appears in its place. For me my worries went like this:

If I give up my job will I ever get another one?

Will I lose all my friends?

What about a pension?

If we rent our house will it get trashed? (NB. The tenants did put up net curtains but they haven’t trashed it).

What if a monkey bites Lula and she gets rabies?

If I spend 24/7 with my husband and daughter for 8 months will I end up divorced and crazy?

I learnt to quiet these worries by following the Fuck It philosophy.

Whenever I had a worry I would just say Fuck It.

That’s it. Just Fuck it. It’s the best mantra there is. Who needs to do a ten day silent vipasana meditation retreat when you can just say Fuck It for much the same result?

There’s a great book that explains it better than I can be bothered to. Read it.

The universe

I am a rational person. Kind of. My ex work-husband couldn’t believe that for all my ruthless logic and ruthless unemotional practicality (I’m great at firing people),  I am (not even secretly, but evangelically) a total believer in horoscopes and in the universe and its workings. I don’t make any life decisions before consulting Susan Miller of Astrologyzone fame. She is my Rasputin.

I believe if you are on the right path the universe lets you know and helps you on your way.

Witness: the day I decided to resign and started to worry about money and what I would do for some (having no skills whatsoever) I met a woman who happened to be a journalist. She insisted I should just write.

‘But I can’t just BE a writer.’ I said. I was thirty one and had never published anything.

‘Just do it,’ she said as though she couldn’t see what I was procrastinating about.

So I started the blog that very day and sent the link to her the day after and she sent it to the editors at the Guardian. On the third day I had been commissioned to write a feature. I was a writer.

Co-incidence? Maybe. But I like to think it was the universe. You disagree and roll your eyes? Well how about this then? Some time last summer I was swimming and trying to work out whether I could actually make money from writing and I thought to myself, Stephanie Meyer has made millions, if she can do it – Fuck it! So can I (nothing like the power of self- belief). After ten more lengths I had the kernel of an idea. Four months later I finished my first novel.

I wasn’t sure if it was any good though. And the moment I started to doubt myself the universe helped me out again, showing me I was on the right path. I got off my flight to Mumbai, the first leg of the journey and was staying with my sister in law. Staying with her also with an American girl. A young adult book reviewer, editor and writer. What are the odds? I think you’ll find they are slim. Thank you universe.

I spent three weeks in Goa with her. We even shared a bed (not like that). She edited my book and gave me such a boost when I was on the verge of giving up.

Every time I start to despair I would get another sign – an agent, an interview with Grazia, and then finally A 2 BOOK DEAL with a huge publisher. And suddenly I can live anywhere because I’m a WRITER. NB update. Writers earn next to nothing so actually can’t live just anywhere. But what is awesome is that I’m not working for the man. I’m free and I would never go back to working for anyone now.

Lessons to be learnt here:

  1. Self-belief takes you places.
  2. Find your passion – don’t just decide to become a speculator on the stock market because it will make you rich. I tried that and got bored after two days. It has to be something you love to do. Otherwise the universe will ignore you.
  3. Start telling the universe what you want. Every day say ‘I want to be a writer’ or ‘I want to be a yoga teacher,’ or ‘I want to live in Australia,’ or ‘I want to find something else to do that I love.’ I guarantee if you ask the question enough you’ll find the answer. You have to have your ears and eyes open though for when it comes.
  4. Read every month. Serious.
  5. If you’re still stuck on what you actually want to do try for help. They’re great. And they actually have proper tools to help you. Other than advising you to read your horoscope.
  6. Stop procrastinating or you’ll get nowhere. Take a step. Even a tiny one. Even the post-it exercise. Get the ball rolling and it won’t stop.
  7. Stop saying you are going to write a book one day and just do it. Books don’t write themselves.

Money, Money, Money

You can’t just say Fuck It on this one. Unfortunately. You’re going to need some.  The universe does suck like that.

Ideas for money:

–          Sell things like shoes and your husbands records. But don’t sell your body or your house.  If you are lucky enough to own a house you could try leveraging against it if you can. But leverage only what you can afford to pay back each month.

–          Rent your house. This needs to cover the mortgage and the bills.

–          Start saving – don’t eat out so much, ebay old clothes, buy Lambrusco instead of Malbec. Ok don’t do that but don’t have that second pint in the pub. Take your own lunch to work. If you really want this trip you’ll save.

–          Sell your record / shoe /stamp collection

–          Take a mortgage holiday for 3-6 months (do this BEFORE you resign)

–          Don’t resign – see if you can switch to contract work or whether you can work remotely for a few months.

–          Figure out what skills you have. We’ve met people earning money whilst they travel, in the following ways:  aerial art (trapeze), flame throwing, yoga teaching, shiatsu, massage, writing, teaching English, nannying, teaching in kindergarten, flyer distributing, dj-ing, designing, web building, marketing, clothes designing, chef-ing.

–          If you have circus skills you’ll be well placed to live in Goa.

NB: Working and Visas. To tell or not to tell. People do work without visas in every country. But there are consequences – big ones.  There were a LOT of people working in India without a visa to do so. But if you get caught you’re in trouble. In Bali they fine you $25,000US and chuck you out the country. Not worth it.

Ideas for making your stay cheaper.

Your biggest outlay is accommodation. Here are some ways of reducing that outlay:

–          Couchsurfing

–          Stay in hostels

–          House sitting

–          Friends and Relatives, preferably ones you like who have swimming pools.

–          If you stay longer it’s generally cheaper.

–          WOOF – some organic farm thing. But you have to work. On a farm. Nuff said.

–          If you go out of high season it’s even cheaper

–          Rent a local’s house – it will be much cheaper than anything owned by an ex-pat or advertised on the internet. In Bali a local house would be 50% cheaper. Our pink house on the beach in Patnem cost £200 a month.

–          Don’t book a long term stay from the UK. You will pay a lot more. Wait until you get to a place and decide you like it, then ask in the local shops and the taxi drivers if they know of any houses or rooms for rent.

–          For city stays couch surf or if you can’t find then try for cheap hotel deals or

Very cool websites

The Art of Non Conformity


Round the World Tickets

The Four Hour Workweek

17 thoughts on “Want to do the same?

  1. connie says:

    omg!! love it!! love grazia for leading me to you! and will no doubt be handing in mynotice within a yr!! good luck, cant wait to read all about your adventures!! have fun and stay safe xxxx

  2. Jenny says:

    Not often I am glued to a blog page the whole way through – very inspiring! Esp loving the fuck it Philosophy! Such great advice!

    P.S. Did you have creative writing training? or just go for it!

    1. boublog says:

      Thanks! No I’ve never ever had any creative writing training. Other than writing lots and lots of fundraising applications and funder reports, which already seems like another lifetime ago. I met someone who was doing a masters in novel writing and my jaw hit the floor – I had no idea you could even study something like that. I would never – Fuck it! Just do it.

  3. Sab says:

    Sarah you’re freaking me out. Not only am I too an astro nut (yay for Susan Miller, she almost won me the lottery. Leo, btw) but also a paid up member of the F- It club. + Have a vision board. Which may now involve being cast opposite Simon Baker (yes yes Alex S is hot but… Oh Simon) in your adaptation.

  4. Lauren says:

    Hi Sarah, I’m so jealous of what you guys are doing! You are having the dream life that my boyfirend and I would love! We came back from a years travelling in January and are finding it hard to get settled back in to London life and would love to just go and move to Bali! If we could live anywhere it would be indonesia, we love it there, any tips on how to make it happen?!

    1. boublog says:

      Hi Lauren
      Yes it is a bit of a dream life and we’re so lucky. There are so many people here from overesas and all doing different things. You don’t say what you guys do for a living – we’re lucky because we can both work remotely and earn pounds/dollars/ euros. earning rupiah here isn’t fun. So we are in a position that makes it easier than some people. I didn’t know what I was going to do when I left though – and somehow I’ve ended up writing and being paid for it and realising that it’s my dream job. Somehow I’m a big believer in taking the leap and as long as you are resourceful and resiliant enough things work out. We’ve both worked hard at making contacts, developing networks and pushing for work. Having a child has made it much easier as we have a ready made network through her school. And I’ve started volunteering too to expand my networks. I would suggest coming back for 3 months on a social visa that you can sort from Singapore and trying to figure it out once you’re here. I’d be more than happy to help answer any other questions!

      1. Lauren says:

        Hi Sarah,
        Thanks for the tips! I work as an HR Assistant and my boyfriend before we went travelling managed the Debenture scheme at one of London’s sporting grounds, however he has not been able to find similar work since we got back. He has though just completed a freelance journalism course, he enjoys writing but is unsure how he could make enough of a living out of it. As for me I do not know what I could do to earn money out there with my experience and this is obviously key to making it work! We just need to put our heads together and come up wth a plan!
        I did not realise that you could get a 3 month social visa so maybe we should look in to that idea.
        Thanks for your help! We are enjoying your blog updates – Ubud is such an amazing place, so jealous!

      2. boublog says:

        Hi Lauren,
        It’s surprisingly easy to stay in Bali. Though it costs. The social budaya will set you back about $700 a year each plus every 6 months you have to run to singapore and back. The Kitas is better. costs almost the same but you don’t have to do a visa run. You need to find a sponsor though or set up your own company.
        Email me if you ever need a contact – you need to get the social visa before hitting Bali – either in KL or Singapore.
        As for finding a route to employment, if you have enough cash for 6 months living then I would say come and figure it out. there are opportunities but generally you do need cash to finance them upfront. Writing certainly isn’t paying my bills yet!
        Good luck with everything

  5. Singh says:

    How much does it cost to live in Bali. I am thinking of an exit strategy from my current work and follow my dreams. Ideas comes pouring in and then disappears in thin air as if I will loose everything.

    1. boublog says:

      How long’s a piece of string? depends on where you live and how you live? minimum rent would be about $300 a month. You need to pay for your visa each month $65 and then you can’t work here (at least not very easily – certainly you can’t do any job that a Balinese person can do so you’d need to set up your own company at a cost of several thousand dollars if you wanted to work) and you need to fly out every six months to singapore (which costs a few hundred dollars if you stay over) to renew your visa. If you shopped in markets and cooked yourself and went out rarely you’d probably be able to get by on a few hundred dollars a month. We probably spend about $2500 a month for 3 of us, on rent, school, pembantu, flights, car, eating out, petrol and visas and weekend trips to the coast etc.

  6. Claudia says:

    OMG – what a fantastic site! I found it totally by chance (by trying to find info on Percy Pigs of all things!) have been glued to every page. I LOVE the Fuck it mentality and am so desperate to adopt it! I’ve thought about doing this so many times and found it so inspiring to find your blog and read about your adventures. Thanks so much for sharing your fantastic and helpful tips on how to approach it and for your contageous enthusiasm! Best of luck in your adventures and kuddos for jumping on following your dreams!

  7. Angela says:

    Hey, great site…I’m having a few days of flux (I was looking at Astrologyzone this morning to try work it all out! ..Just a full moon -22nd), ..but changes are happening in my life…I do think we can have everything we want- I did a vision board the other day- was awesome and loaded with bicycles, asian trips, animals, man/husband/bub, health living etc etc- loved it, and found lots of things falling into place…I was about to book a trip to partake in yoga retreat (as a graduate teacher) and then 10 days in Bali, but have been dilly dallying as I think the retreat is a little overpriced (don’t tell my teacher I said that!)…and I’m not sure what I would get up to in Bali- I was very excited at first as I had chanced about a great school and approached the director (via email) to see if I could be an assistant teacher- sounds promising, but nothing set in stone….and its in Seminyak and I’d rather be in Ubud..

    If you have a couple of minutes, I would love any of your ideas on yoga teachers/schools I can assist with in Bali, or other cool experiences you’d recommend…I will book flights this weekend… Im 35, backgound in enviro mgt, but love yoga, the ocean, health/wellbeing etc and want to move towards combining sustainability and health….

  8. Jordan says:

    Fantastic 🙂 I have dreams of moving away one day, or even just travelling, and I’ve often wondered ‘how hard would it really be?’ This has shed a little light on the situation (although, I’m sure there’s a hell of a lot more research to be done of course…) You sound extremely positive, (realistic too) I need one of you in my house for the days when we all get up on the wrong side of bed 😀

    1. boublog says:

      thanks Jordan. You can do it. Somehow once you’re travelling everything becomes much simpler and clearer. You find that opportunities open up along the way, just by being in a different space and meeting people doing similar. I couldn’t believe how different the world was from the other side – full of entrepreneurial people doing exciting, creative things and making their dream happen. It’s hard to see that when you’re stuck in the daily grind. But without a doubt, single best decision I ever made was leaving. My life is infinitely more amazing. The hardest step was making the decision to leave. Everything else flowed after that.

  9. lauren says:

    I’m new to your blog. I’m this close to moving to Bali…. My boyfriend’s parents have done it. We love it. I’ve been searching for a normal person’s blog about moving to Bali….can you make any other recommendations??

    1. boublog says:

      hahaha I’m not sure if that means you don’t think I’m normal.
      what other recommendations are you looking for?

  10. lauren says:

    Yes, just re-read that. Doesn’t quite make sense. We are interested in professionals trying to do their thing in Bali. I am an architect and my partner is an artist. We go to Bali a lot but find it hard to talk with reasonable people who live there who aren’t retired oldies or delusional people on the run.
    All the best Sarah!

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