For a brief moment this week, we were living the “location independent” dream: yup, we were sitting by the pool when our solicitor Skyped us to say that our investment property purchase had completed.
Let’s leave aside the question of why we had our laptops by the pool with us. And not mention that, us being us, we found ways to ruin the moment (Mish by being annoyed at a fat Frenchman for “having a phlegmmy cough”; Rob by feeling self-conscious about talking loudly into a laptop).
The significance is that the moment – despite its imperfections – validated the overriding point we bang on about: these days, there’s no reason to live a specific “script” set down by other people.
If we were living the “jet-setting business people” script, we’d have been sealing the deal while lounging by the pool on our yacht while a team of Michelin-starred chefs slaved over an omelette made solely from the eggs of protected species. If, on the other hand, we were embracing the “middle-class kids bumming around Southeast Asia” script, we’d have been wearing a lot more hemp and the call would’ve been from our weed dealer.
What chuffed us out the most was combining the two: we were on the roof of our of £6/night hotel with our smuggled-in smoothies (an extra 20p from the hotel bar? Forget it.), and simultaneously enjoying the culmination of a deal we worked hard to put together a couple of months earlier. In another couple of months, we’ll be back in the UK putting the next phase into action – meaning you can look forward to posts like “10 things I now know about dry rot” and “What stripping an asbestos-filled ceiling taught me about SEO”.
The downside of this cherry-picking from different lifestyles is that we never quite feel we fit in anywhere. Whenever we attend meetup groups, we find them “way too business-focused” or we complain that “they never do any bloody work”. And our clients keep asking when we’re back from holiday and ready to start work (so now we often pretend we haven’t gone anywhere – and we schedule our emails so they don’t arrive in the middle of their night). And the “Occupation” box on aeroplane landing cards tends to cause far more soul-searching than it was probably intended to.
No, deviating from the commonly understood scripts isn’t always easy, but it has its moments. Shame we have to ruin them.