How To Run Away and Join the Circus
2014 was the year that I ran away and joined the circus.
I surrounded myself with people – a freak show of sorts – who were brave enough to swap success for happiness. I followed the carnival, trapezing from here to there. I found that I could work less, spend less, and live more.
The rat race keeps us all running, but towards what? Running away to the circus, for me, means escaping the norm to do what you love.
So, how to find your circus….
Do you have a secret career?
That one ambition that you never tell anyone about. When you were a kid, you might have declared it proudly to whoever asked. Now… Not so much.
A confession – My secret career has always been to be a writer
A reality check – I have always understood the impossibility of this.
So, in January, when I graduated university, I applied for dozens of jobs. Jobs at art galleries, recruitment firms, museums, charities, international organisations. There were some really great jobs out there but in hindsight none of them gave me the space to do the thing I really loved.
And I didn’t hear back from any of them. Not a single one.
When my mum suggested that I give freelance writing a go I was equal parts apprehensive to curious.
The turning point – being a writer is not impossible.
The Internet is often portrayed as the most prolific serial killer of our time.
At last count, the internet is responsible for the death of human interaction, ethics, culture and, of course, journalism.
As I began to search for work as a freelance writer, I came across a surprising reality: The internet creates a space for us to do what we love.
Finders Keepers – On finding that Dream Job
As a freelancer, the internet gave me the opportunity to work my own hours, wherever I found myself in the world. A quick list of some places that I have worked this year:
- A crowded train in Vietnam
- A tea plantation in Sri Lanka
- Shakespeare’s bookshop in Paris.
- By the lake in Sweden.
- On the Beach in Sydney
- In the markets of Morocco
Websites such as bloggingpro and flexjobs put me in contact with jobs in the UK, Canada and the U.S. The image of the nomadic writer is nothing revolutionary. But the traveling philosopher? The wandering chemist? These websites can connect you to remote work in all sorts of surprising fields.
The Freak Show
I admit, I’m a bit of a skeptic. As I travel, I see bars full of people ignoring each other, focusing on the screen in front of them. There are so many hostels that are booked out but they are silent, except for the tapping of keys. Ping – A new message.
A wifi connection does’t necessarily keep us connected. Social media can’t substitute a social life.
Yet the internet was where I found my freak show, a whole community of people who had redefined their idea of success to run towards what made them happiest. When in doubt, I look to Brooke, Alex and Geneva.
And you. If you’ve made it this far through the post, I’m guessing that you are the sort of person who understands. You know that in order to be extraordinary you have to be different. You’re probably entirely bonkers. But as Lewis Carroll would have it, all the best people are. So welcome to the freak show. I hope you find your circus.
Feel free to comment below. I would love to hear all about it.