Hot! Living The Dream

February 2011 starts like any other morning, with a stop at the local coffee shop and a meeting. But this chat with a gal looking to leave her corporate job for independent consulting and some IM conversation with Bago In The Woods remind me how wonderfully exciting it is not just to dream the dream, but to live it.

For each of these two, the dream of flexible work schedules, calling the shots, climbing or traveling didn’t become a reality overnight. The consultant-to-be has been cultivating her networks and slowly setting up a business structure for months. Bago put in his time getting the experience at his job to break away as a contractor.

And like any unknown, taking the final step outside of the comforts of routine to make it real is as challenging as what’s on the other side.

Ten years ago I took the plunge and started my own company. I never lie that I was incredible naïve and have been incredibly fortunate. I’ve sweated out the start up years and landed some truly great (and stable) clients. But once you’ve taken the risk and succeeded, it’s hard to rest in a comfort zone for long.

My new dream started nearly five years ago when I got off the train in Finale, Italy. As I waited for the hostel to open, I wrote in my journal how magical the village felt. Someday I would live there. This was before I met anyone, before I climbed, and before I spent spring nights in the hostel/castle listening to the sea.

Maybe it was the gelato, but I fixated on the idea of an outright move to a foreign country. I studied Italian. I returned to visit and climb. I knew, though, that it would be years before I’d have the resources to actually live there.

But just like a climbing route whose direct path looks impossible, sometimes you just need to shift perspective. I couldn’t live full time in Italy right now, but maybe I could live there for part of a year?

My plan was in motion. I spoke with my clients about the wonders of our tech age to be able to work from abroad. I asked my family to take in the cats. I turned in the X and learned to love my bike. I looked into the bureaucracy of an extended stay visa.

It hasn’t been an instant process, but everything is falling into place. In one month I will board a plane for Milano and live my dream. Am I scared? Heck yeah. But even in the toughest times, I’ve never been disappointed at the chances I’ve taken and will continue to tell anyone who asks: Do you homework, make your plan, take the risk, and live the dream.

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