Do What You Love interview – Michelle Schroeder-Gardner


If you’d love to boost your income, create a budget, or find a way out of debt, today’s interview with financial expert Michelle Schroeder-Gardner could be just what you need. Michelle is a personal finance, travel, and lifestyle blogger who is passionate about helping others create a life they love by earning, saving, and living more. Since she started her wildly popular blog, Making Sense of Cents, Michelle has featured in The Huffington Post, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, US News, and many more publications besides. Here she shares the secret of her success. ~ Rachel


1. Tell us a little about yourself…

I have three college degrees, including a Finance MBA. I used to work as a financial analyst, but my personal finance blog, Making Sense of Cents, quickly grew on the side and I left my day job for my blog. I had a ton more fun working on my blog than I ever did as a financial analyst, so making the career switch made a lot of sense. Me and my husband sold our house last year and we now travel full-time in an RV with our two dogs. I never thought that this would be my career, but now I know that this is my passion. We are super happy with life and can’t believe how great it is!

Our RV and Jeep setupOur RV and Jeep setup

2. What was the catalyst for starting your blog to make money and document your debt repayment journey?

I started my blog in August of 2011, after reading a magazine article about a personal finance website. I got hooked on that website and everything just exploded from there. I didn’t create my blog with the intention of earning a living – it was just a hobby. Then I realised how much I loved doing it, so now I am a full-time blogger! It’s funny how life can change so drastically.

3. Tell us about how you got debt-free: what did the process involve? What did you prioritise? What challenges did you face? What big lessons did you learn along the way?

After I graduated with my three college degrees, I had a lot of student loan debt. Even though I have worked since I was 14, and I worked full-time throughout high school and college, I didn’t really save any money for college. My dad passed away when I was just 18 and I have lived on my own since the. I didn’t receive any inheritance or insurance money (that’s a question I get asked a lot!) and I was dumb with money; I made a lot of financial mistakes.

However, my blog changed everything. It allowed me to throw myself into the personal finance blogging community, and learn about my financial situation, which helped me to improve it.

I realised that I wanted – and needed – to pay off my student loan debt early because I didn’t want it hanging over my head for decades. So, I typed up a blog post and made sure that my readers held me accountable to my goal.

I didn’t want to write a blog post that said “I failed” so I tried my hardest. In the end I was able to pay off my $40,000 student loan debt in just seven months. Mainly I did this by finding ways to make extra money. I did pretty much anything and everything on top of my full-time job as a financial analyst, including mystery shopping, taking surveys, blogging, staff writing, and more. I was working 100-hour weeks, but it’s amazing to know that my student loans are gone!

Me working at a campground!Working at a campground near Mount Evans, Colorado. It was a great working spot!

Now I make money through partnerships and advertising on my blog, affiliate marketing, blog coaching, website management, and more. Right now, affiliate marketing is the largest piece of the puzzle and I’m hoping that will keep increasing.

4. What inspired you to start sharing your ‘Online blog income reports’ to show how you earn over $30,000 a month blogging?

I love publishing income reports, and seeing other people publish theirs is what inspired me to do all of this. Knowing that it really is possible to make money online and follow your passion inspired and motivated me and now I like to show others that anyone can live the life they want, make more money, pay off debt, save more money, and so on.

Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn’t think side jobs were worth the effort and I thought the only way to significantly increase your income was through raises at your full-time job. If it weren’t for others publishing their monthly income reports, I don’t know if I would have ever tried side hustling. I want to show others that it is possible to make money legitimately from home and highlight the benefits because ultimately it can help people to change their life.

Blog Income ChartMy blog income chart

In my monthly online income reports, I share a ton of information. They are usually over 3,000 words! I share exactly where my income comes from each month, how much I make, how my business is doing, and what my business goals are.  I also share lots of tips with my readers, answer featured questions, and more besides.

5. How has the path to financial freedom led you to live a happier, more creative life doing what you love?

The path to financial freedom has DEFINITELY led me to live a better and more creative. I am now in control of money, and my life, whereas I wasn’t before. I am the happiest I’ve ever been!

MoabHeading off on a float trip in Moab

6. What advice would give your younger self about managing money? What big lessons have you learned?

My top piece of advice would be to start a budget. Seriously, everyone needs to have one!

7. How much revenue does your business make? How much does it cost to run your business?

My income is through the roof this year. I earn over $70,000 a month blogging, and I forecast that I will be earning six figures a month before the year ends. It doesn’t cost much to run my business. I outsource certain things such as technical blog management, editing, and so on, which ends up costing around $1,500 to $2,500 per month. I do all of the writing, marketing, etc. myself, but I have everything running smoothly so it makes for a very low-cost business.

8. You now live in an RV and run your online business on the road. What are the best bits about having the world as your office, and what do you find difficult?

Full-time RVing is a TON of fun and I can highly recommend it. The best thing about life on the road is that we see new things every single day. We can also stay in and work whenever we need to. We have flexible schedules, which is an amazing thing.

In the past year, we’ve spent time in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Illinois, South Dakota, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Tennessee, and more! The United States is such a great place to travel full-time and there are so many different things and landscapes to see.

Beautiful ColoradoBeautiful Colorado

The most difficult part is not knowing if you’ll have internet. While we pay for two different wifi services, and campgrounds usually have internet, it’s never 100 per cent reliable. This is especially true when you’re in the middle of nowhere. However we love traveling and don’t see this way of life ending any time soon.

9. Talk us through a typical day in your life… 

My typical day varies since we RV full-time. Sometimes I wake up and work all day long and other days we go for a long 8-hour hike with our dogs or go Jeepin.

My family after climbing a mountain at 14,003 feet!My family after climbing a mountain at 14,003 feet!

That’s the wonderful thing about working for yourself and being location independent: I can wake up and decide what I want to do!

10. What advice would you give anyone who wants to take control of their finances but isn’t sure where to start?

Whether you start a new passion on the side of your full-time job or if you drop everything to follow your dreams, do it! But, do it responsibly and realistically.

My top piece of advice would be to subscribe to a few personal finance blogs. There are tons of great personal finance blogs that can help you with your personal finance journey, plus the advice is all free! There are different personal finance blogs for different kinds of people, so it’s easy to find one that suits you. Taking control of your finances may seem scary, but if you put your mind to it, it really is possible.

Joshua Tree National PArkJoshua Tree National Park

11. What does this year have in store for you in terms of growing your business, and your personal life? 

It’s a crazy one. I’ve launched my first online course for bloggers, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. This course teaches bloggers and online influencers how to increase their affiliate income, build a loyal following, improve traffic, and more. I also have a great work-life balance, especially when compared to last year. I’ve finally, almost, mastered work-life balance and am really starting to learn how to better manage an online business and my life.

In terms of my personal life, that’s still up in the air. My husband and I are thinking about buying a sailboat and travelling on that, but in the meantime we’ll continue RVing.

For more information about Michelle visit her website or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.


Do What You Love interview - Michelle Schroeder-Gardner DWYL FREEDOMSEEKER OUTNOW 1 650X300PX LR


Transform the way you work and play with a big adventure this summer


Summer is here and that can only mean one thing… it’s festival time!

If you fancy dipping your toe into a brave new world of adventure over the coming weeks and months, take a look at our pick of the best 10 festivals on offer in the UK and beyond…

EXPOAll set for the Stay Wild Expo


When: August 26 – 28, 2016

Where: Portland, Oregon

Cost: Free – just fill out a form to register your interest in workshops

Organiser: Stay Wild

Perfect for: Anyone who is passionate about getting out to the wilds.

What to expect: A cool outdoor gear show, food and drink, brands, field trips and workshops including everything from wild swimming and cliff jumping (now sold out) to crafting scents, yoga in the woods, adventure writing, making a chair, weaving a basket from ivy, shaping a surfboard, outdoor photography for women, surfing, a motorcycle trip to the coast and back, more maker things, bird watching, travel by bike to fly fish and more! More info and tickets.

Base+Camp-71Basecamp Festival


When: September 2 – 4, 2016

Where: Sabine Hay, Peak District

Cost: Last minute tickets now £139.95

Organiser: Explorers Connect

Perfect for: Those looking to have new adventures with like-minded people

What to expect: A welcoming, relaxed and non-pretentious vibe. By day, exciting off-site activities like mountain biking, kayaking and climbing, and on-site activities like climbing, slack-lining and cool workshops. By night, the chance to meet explorers, hear adventure stories, enjoy great food, dance to live music and indulge in fire pit chitter chatter. More info and tickets.

1*3FNlGKIg8kGEo7YrndL7iATwo hundred 21st Century Careerists at Escape to the Woods, 2015


When: September 1 – 4, 2016

Where: Clayton Organic Farm, East Sussex

Cost: £110 (camping) or £190 (glamping)

Organiser: Escape the City

Perfect for: go-getters, connectors and entrepreneurs who want to escape the day-to-day routine, reconnect with nature and accelerate and celebrate their 21st Century career.

What to expect: A chilled-out vibe by day with inspiring talks, creative workshops, games, and workouts in the woodland. When night falls, enjoy casual chats around the fire pit, open mics, soulful music and dancing under the stars. Food is a highlight here and you can sup everything from real ales to cocktails to quality coffee and take your pick from the pop-up organic food stalls. More info and tickets. 

SWOutdoor FestivalHaving a wild time at South West Outdoor Festival


When: September 23 – 25, 2016

Where: Heddon Valley, Exmoor National Park

Cost: Free though some activities have an entry/booking fee

Organised by: The National Trust

Perfect for: Everyone who’s looking for a fun, action-packed weekend, from young children to adventurous adults. You can even bring the dog.

What to expect: A new outdoor festival which offers something for all ages and levels of skill, experience and fitness. Go hiking, biking, trail running, open water swimming, camping, or stargaze and forage for wild food. Build your own adventure weekend or chill out in the wilderness of the West Country. More info and tickets.


alpkitImage credit: Alpkit 


When: September 23 – 25, 2016

Where: Bakewell, Derbyshire

Cost: £60 (Indivdual ticket) £150 (Family ticket) + optional extra

Organised by:

Perfect for: The whole family.

What to expect: Active and energetic days with a host of onsite activities, including mountain biking, paddle making, fell running, biathlon and slack lining. There’s also great live music, interesting lectures, adventure films, home-baked cakes and a nice big area with hay bale seats. The evening entertainment which includes talks in cosy yurts and the storytelling workshop with a man named ‘Creepy Toad’. More info and tickets.

mainstageMain stage, Women’s Adventure Expo, 2015


When: October 8, 2016

Where: The @Bristol Science Centre, Bristol

Cost: £35

Organiser: Sisters Rebecca Hughes and Tania John

Perfect for: Women (and men!) who are looking for a hefty dose of motivation, resources and information to take on the world, or even the local park!

What to expect: A laid-back, informative and inspiring day packed with spine-tingling tales from leading female explorers like Anna McNuff, Mollie Hughes, Lois Pryce and Sarah Outen, and thought-provoking workshops on adventure writing, planning for independent adventure travel, adventure psychology for women. Chill out in the evening with a craft beer or two on Bristol’s harbour. More Info and tickets.

Andres RobertsWilderness expert Andres Roberts enjoying the great outdoors


When: October 10 – 16, 2016

Where: The Amiata, Southern Tuscany, Italy

Cost: £745 (flights not included)

Organiser: Andres Roberts

Perfect for: anyone who wants to connect to the land and the natural rhythm of life and explore the questions, challenges and intentions around who they are and what they are here to do.

Expect: An unforgettable experience with three nights spent alone in the wild. You will camp around a beautiful mountain cottage which will be used to prepare organic food and shower after wild excursions, long walks, great conversations and thought-provoking exercises. Activities include workshops, dialogues, T’ai Chi or Chi Gong practices, awareness practices, wisdom teachings. The wilderness ‘solo’ is inspired by ancient and indigenous practice and guided in a gentle and supportive way. You will choose where to spend 72 hours alone in the wild in a marked circle inviting whatever lessons and insights nature helps to bring. More info and tickets.


JCP_8253 JCP_8687

8. YESTIVAL: The Say Yes More Festival

When: October 21 – 23, 2016

Where: A field near London – secret venue announced later this month

Cost: £155 – £165 depending on how early you book

Organiser: Dave Cornthwaite and the Say Yes More team

Perfect for: Anyone who is looking to change direction in life, to plan for the future, to feel differently about their life right now.  Families are welcome.

What to expect: A joyful, uplifting, energy-boosting weekend of positive vibes, inspiring talks, deep discussions, enlightening moments, relaxed workshops, country walks, group hugs, late night dancing and early morning workouts. And you’ll make lots of new friends. More info and tickets.


When: October 21 – 23, 2016

Where: East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

Cost: Free but you have to register online.

Organiser: East Gippsland Marketing Inc.

Perfect for: Anyone who wants to immerse themselves in nature.

Expect: A full weekend of adventure events including mountain biking, trail running, and paddling. The aim of the festival is simply to bring together adventurers, and their friends and families, to celebrate the world of adventure in one ultimate festival. And, to do so in a naturally magic, untouched, adventure playground. More information and tickets.

he Australian Adventure Festival will include  for locals, Victorians and internationals who love the outdoors. Covering Lakes Entrance, the Gippsland Lakes, the Colquhoun State Forest and plenty of other East Gippsland gems, the festival will be a showcase of what the region has to offer.

The festival program is made up of events for all abilities, and for those wishing to watch on in year one, the Patties Foods Festival Hub will be the place to be on Sunday, October 25. Events, entertainment, activities for the kids and sponsor activations will mean that there is no shortage of things to see and do. The Patties Foods Festival Hub will also be the prime location to watch the finish of the One-Day Adventure Challenge.

BANFF Image courtesy of Ines PapertBANFF FestivalImage courtesy of Ines Papert


When: October 29 – November 06, 2016

Where: Banff, Alberta

Cost: Ticket prices vary

Organiser: Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Perfect for: Book lovers, writers who love adventure

What to expect: A showcase of the year’s best adventure documentaries and writing, talks by big names of the outdoor world and the chance to participate in a variety of workshops and classes, plus explore ground-breaking exhibitions galore set within the country’s first national park and surrounded by the towering Rockies. If you can’t get to Banff check out the yearly tour, which travels around 240 locations across 36 countries. More info and tickets.

Where will you be heading for your big adventure this summer?

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning…


This is a guest post by Alastair Humphreys. Alastair is an adventurer, blogger, author and motivational speaker whose expeditions have included cycling round the worldwalking across India and rowing the Atlantic. Alastair was named as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for his pioneering work on the concept of micro adventures. He has also written five books about his adventures. Find out more here.

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning... Alastair 2

In 1935 a young Englishman named Laurie Lee arrived in Spain. He had never been overseas; had hardly even left the quiet village he grew up in. He was searching for adventure and chose Spain simply because he knew one phrase in Spanish – ‘un vaso de agua, por favour?’ His idea was to walk through the country, earning money for food by playing his violin in bars and plazas.

The book Laurie Lee wrote – As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning – is my favourite travel book of all time. It made me fall in love with Spain – the landscapes and the spirit – and with his style of travel. He travelled slow, lived simply, slept on hilltops, relished spontaneity, and loved conversations with the different people he met along the hot and dusty road.

For 15 years I have dreamed of retracing Laurie Lee’s footsteps, following his route and seeing his Spain with my own eyes. I knew that it would be a fascinating journey. It would make a lovely story, both as a book and as a film.


But there was one massive obstacle standing in my way. I cannot play the violin, nor any other instrument. A large part of the appeal of Laurie Lee’s experience was that he was singing for his supper, living from hand to mouth, with little idea of when he would next earn some money to buy his next meal. For my own story to feel authentic, I needed that uncertainty in my walk.

And so, for many years, my fantasy about undertaking this journey lingered as nothing more than a dream.

This year I decided to do something about it.

I bought a violin at Christmas, and began learning to play. I have never played music in front of an audience, and it is one of my deepest fears.

I am appalling at the violin! It promises to be a hungry, and deeply embarrassing journey!

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This week I head to Vigo in northern Spain to begin following Laurie’s route, on foot, through Spain. I will play my violin to earn the money I need for food. This is clearly preposterous, as I am so bad. It’s terrifying.

But is the essence of adventure not to seek out that which scares you? To risk failure and uncertainty? I will not carry the safety net of spare money or credit cards: it is the violin or bust.

You can follow my journey on InstagramFacebook and Twitter*.

I am more excited and more frightened about this adventure than anything I have done for many years. That is a good start to an adventure.

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* – Twitter is not the ideal place to follow this trip as each story will get chopped to 140 characters.

Culturally Curious – exploring Cambodia


This is a guest post from Claire Le Hur who is cycling to China with her fiancé Stuart Block. The couple started their journey in East Africa and followed new ‘silk roads’ charting the journey of key natural resources as part of an exciting new education project. Claire is riding a bamboo bike, built by an African social enterprise, and Stuart is riding a tandem and he’s keeping the back seat free for those they meet en route. The dynamic duo are raising money and awareness for two great educational charities. You can find out more about their big adventure here.

Claire Le Hur

We saw three different sides to Cambodia, the smallest yet most interesting country in our Asian odyssey. The first side was the remains and memories of the huge and powerful Angkorian Empire 1,000 years ago. The second was the memorials and stories of the terrible Pol Pot regime three decades ago. And the third was a country desperately trying to escape its recent past and powerful neighbours and rebuild itself. Our group ride with United World Schools (UWS) really bought this hime to us. It made us realise how lucky we are and what vitally important work UWS and Beyond Ourselves in Zambia, do. The week we spent with UWS was incredibly humbling.


Do What You Love interview – Belinda Kirk


Today we chat to an amazing woman who’s on a quest to get people to live more adventurously…


Belinda Kirk has walked across Nicaragua, searched for camels in China’s Taklamakan desert, the so-called Desert of Death, discovered rock paintings in Lesotho and was skipper of the first female crew to row non-stop around Britain, in a punishing 2,101-mile, 51-day voyage.

belinda row

Credit: onEdition Sir Richard Branson posing with the the SeGals and The Misfits grabbing the Virgin Trophy. Both teams set off from Tower Bridge in London to row non-stop, without assistance for 2,010 miles around the treacherous waters of mainland Great Britain to win the Virgin Trophy and up to £45,000 in prizes. The crews are not allowed to receive any outside assistance, or pit-stop in ports. They will carry all their food for the journey and use a special on-board water maker that turns sea into drinking water. The race has been organised by the Anglo American Boat Club, whose president is William de Laszlo, skipper of the team that set the round-Britain rowing record in 2005. Will de Laszlo came up with the idea of a non-stop round Britain rowing race to raise money for Help For Heroes. Though only two crews are racing in GB Row this year, a race with as many as 20 crews competing is already being planned for 2011. for more information please contact: Mike Ridley, Press Officer Mobile: 07836 376 943 Email: For further GB Row images please visit: If you require a higher resolution image or you have any other onEdition photographic enquiries, please contact onEdition on 0845 900 2 900 or email This image is copyright the photographer 2010©. This image has been supplied by onEdition and must be credited onEdition. The author is asserting his full Moral rights in relation to the publication of this image. All rights reserved. Rights for onward transmission of any image or file is not granted or implied. Changing or deleting Copyright information is illegal as specified in the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. If you are in any way unsure of your right to publish this image please contact onEdition on 0845 900 2 900 or email Info@onEdition.comSir Richard Branson posing with the the SeGals (all-female team) and The Misfits (all-male team) grabbing the Virgin Trophy, 2010. Both teams set off from Tower Bridge in London to row non-stop, around the treacherous waters of mainland Great Britain to raise money for Help For Heroes and win the Virgin Trophy and up to £45,000 in prizes. Image credit: onEdition

An expert expedition leader, she has managed remote trips for outdoor survival gurus such as Ray Mears and Bear Grylls. In 2009, her passion for adventure inspired her to launch Explorers Connect, a social enterprise which connects people to adventures, team-mates and adventure industry jobs. She’s now establishing Britain’s first national day of adventure encourage everyone to spend more time in the great outdoors while raising money for the Youth Adventure Trust, a charity which uses outdoor adventure to help vulnerable and disadvantaged young people develop the hope, skills and confidence to face the challenges in their daily lives.


Happy simple living: what we learnt from getting back to basics


This post is written by our Senior Editor, Rachel Kempton.

Life is a journey. Fill your tank with joy.

IMG_3780I love the word adventure. It conjures up so many great images… like embracing the great outdoors and roaming free in nature, sleeping under the stars, cooking on open fires, stargazing, doing things you’d never normally do, and making magical memories along the way.

My husband, Mike, and I have been talking a lot about adventure recently and doing something that gives us the opportunity to change up our normal routine, slow down and live more simply. And inspired by adventurer Alastair Humphries, who regularly shares travelling tips on our blog, and Ben Fogle, who we interviewed just a few months ago, we decided it was time to organise our own little adventure.

This is how we made it happen…


Remembering the Tsunami and rebuilding Thailand


This is a guest post from Claire Le Hur who is cycling to China with her fiancé Stuart Block. The couple started their journey in East Africa and followed new ‘silk roads’ charting the journey of key natural resources as part of an exciting new education project. Claire is riding a bamboo bike, built by an African social enterprise and Stuart is riding a tandem, keeping the back seat free for those they meet en route. They will also be raising money and awareness for two great educational charities. Find out more about Claire’s big adventure here.

Claire Le Hur

Kind Buddhist monks, stunning temples, beautiful art, nice drivers (except in Bangkok), picture-perfect beaches, rice, dogs, cock fighting, funerals, inspiring stories and finally, some cycle tourists. Our month in Thailand was eventful, colourful and bursting with creativity manifesting in different ways.


Do What You Love interview – Colin Wright


Ever dream of living a life less ordinary? Then meet a man who is doing just that. 

Colin Wright is an author, entrepreneur, minimalist and full-time traveller. The world really is his office.

After living a corporate lifestyle in Los Angeles replete with a townhouse near the beach and so much excess income he owned eight computers, seven years ago he sold almost all his belongings and took a leap into the unknown.

He now moves to a new country every four months and has readers of his blog, Exile Lifestyle, vote to decide where to go next. Since 2009 he has lived all over the world doing everything from building brands for other companies in LA, to consulting on branding from the road, and building brands for himself. He has also started, and run, nearly a dozen medium, and small-scale, businesses in industries ranging from sustainable product design to subscription-based publishing technologies.

Now Colin makes a living by publishing books through a publishing company called Asymmetrical Press, which he co-founded with fellow authors, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus from The Minimalists. He also speaks around the world at schools, conferences, events, and businesses, and teaches classes and workshops.

The most important thing to know about Colin? He is fiercely devoted to creating a life that, in his own words, “leaves every option on the table.” ~ Rachel

Colin Wright standing

Commit. Leap. Begin.


This is a guest post by adventurer, author and motivational speaker Alastair Humphreys. Find out more about Alastair here.

Alastair Humphreys

The first time that you begin moving in an unconventional direction is the hardest beginning. You don’t yet have confidence in yourself. There is no roadmap to guide you. It can seem overwhelming. Once you accomplish something and know loads of people doing similar things to you, you wonder what all the fuss was about. You realise that you are not alone, you are not the only mad one. There are mad folk all around you!

Think back to your nerves on your first day at junior school compared to your confident sense of belonging by the end of term. It’s true for me today now that I know many people who have cycled across continents or written and published books. It’s not as hard as we thought it would be. But before you join the gang it can feel intimidating, exclusive, not for you.

Leap. Commit. beginn.

Before the first beginning, we need heroes. Heroes to inspire us, cajole us, and get us so excited and certain that this is the path we want to take, that we are able to overcome our nerves and doubt and ignorance and get going.

Back when I was dreaming of my first adventure, I didn’t know anyone who had done adventures themselves. I had nobody who could help and encourage me. I wish I could have met someone who could say to me, “Hey, I did that. It wasn’t too hard.” That would have been invaluable.

Instead I turned to books, jammed full of timeless heroes. I read adventure books for vicarious thrills – all those great explorers in ecstasies of masochistic suffering, just like I wanted. I was reassured that other people felt like me. It’s a lovely, warm, exciting feeling – belonging without paying your dues. So lovely, in fact, that there’s a tendency not to actually bother taking any more steps. And this is when you need the hero who makes you squirm, who tells it to you straight and uncomfortable.

Enter Mark Twight [shortened slightly]:

What’s your problem? I think I know. You see it in the mirror every morning: temptation and doubt hip to hip inside your head. You know it’s not supposed to be like this.
Aren’t you sick of being tempted by an alternative lifestyle, but bound by chains of your own choosing? Of the gnawing doubt that the college graduate, path of least resistance is the right way for you – for ever? Each weekend you prepare for the two weeks [holiday] each summer when you wake up each day and really ride, or really climb? You wish it could go on forever. But a wish is all it will ever be.
Because… Monday morning is harsh. You wear the hangover of your weekend rush under a strict and proper suit and tie. On Monday you eat frozen food and live the homogenized city experience. But Sunday you thought about cutting your hair very short. You wanted a little more volume.
Tuesday you look at the face in the mirror again. It stares back, accusing. How can you get by on that one weekly dose? Do you have the courage to live with the integrity that stabs deep?
The life you want to live has no recipe. Following the recipe got you here in the first place:

Mix one high school diploma with an undergrad degree and a college sweetheart. With a whisk blend two cars, a poorly built house in a cul de sac, and fifty hours a week working for a board that doesn’t give a shit about you. Reproduce once. Then again. Place all ingredients in a rut, or a grave. One is a bit longer than the other. Bake thoroughly until the resulting life is set. Rigid. With no way out. Serve and enjoy.
But there is a way out. Live the lifestyle instead of paying lip service to the lifestyle. Live with commitment. Tell the truth. First, to yourself. Say it until it hurts. You live in the land of denial – and they say the view is pretty as long as you remain asleep.
Well it’s time to WAKE THE FUCK UP!
So do it. Wake up. When you drink the coffee tomorrow, take it black and notice it. Feel the caffeine surge through you. Don’t take it for granted. Use it for something. Say “no” more often. As long as you have a safety net you act without commitment. You’ll go back to your old habits once you meet a little resistance. You need the samurai’s desperateness and his insanity.
Burn the bridge. Nuke the foundation. Back yourself up against a wall. Cut yourself off so there is no going back. Once you’re committed the truth will come out.


Heroes, then, can make stuff happen for you. But I caution against measuring your own success against their success. Think carefully and realistically about how you define success. Don’t measure success against your peers’ success either. Just because you’re going forwards doesn’t mean I’m going backwards.

I am an adventurer. If I measure my adventures against Neil Armstrong blasting to the moon, then I am a total flop.

I am an author. If I measure my sales against Bear Grylls’ sales, then I’m a failure too.

If you are an entrepreneur, best to not measure your bank balance against Richard Branson’s.

Sane painters or musicians do not compare themselves to Da Vinci or Mozart. Nor should we.

Measure yourself instead against an earlier you, and against the earlier you’s hopes and dreams.

I recently found my first ever Amazon listing, when I’d just self-published my first book. The cover photo had clearly been taken by me: the camera flash glared off the cover and you can see the pale blue bedroom carpet around the book. I laughed out loud at my incompetence when I saw it (have a laugh here).

But back then I was thrilled: I had written a book! I had published a book! It was on Amazon: people may buy it. They might even read it! That was success. I hope that in another few years’ time I shall have done and created things that make me more proud and satisfied than the things I am proud of today. That too will be success.

Today, I am doing what I love, on my own terms. That feels like success. (Be sure not to muddle success with the even-more elusive ‘contentment’!)

But even once you have escaped towards the life of your choice – for me one revolving around adventure, independence and writing – you have not ‘arrived’. You never arrive. The horizon always moves. That is really, really important to remember.

A couple of years ago, my ‘career’ was pootling along quite nicely: certainly beyond my dreams when I began my first adventure. I was doing enough big adventures to both feed the rat (the primal urge to do crazy stuff and test the limits) and pay the bills. I was writing books, giving talks, and paying for my life doing stuff I enjoyed.

There is a pretty simple formula to making a career as an adventurer:

Do a massive adventure. Make sure people find out about it. Write / Speak about it well. Get Money. Repeat.

But then I broke the cycle.

Commit. Leap. Begin.

I stopped going on massive adventures. I started doing microadventures.

Instead of cycling round the world I walked round the M25.

This felt like a big risk, professionally.

But I had come to believe that you don’t actually need to travel to the ends of the earth to live adventurously. I had seen that although many people love adventures, few actually have them in their life. I wanted to change that.

So I began cycling round suburbia, sleeping on hills, swimming in rivers, and banging the microadventure drum. It was a gamble. But I followed a hunch in my gut and I was emboldened to do so knowing that, if it didn’t work out then I could just go back to what I was doing before. Few decisions are really irreversible. We should try to take more decisions lightly.

And so far, the microadventure stuff is going really well. To my simultaneous irritation and delight, my book about arsing around close to home is selling far better than my books about slogging my way to the ends of the earth! It’s a small success that’s come from being willing to experiment, to pivot and change tack where necessary, and to lead rather than follow.

The popularity of microadventures, I think, is partly because the concept transfers to whatever it might be you are dreaming of doing in life. It’s not just about jumping in rivers.

The strongest idea in the book is “5 to 9 thinking”. (I suspect, by the way, that it is no coincidence that this idea is also the simplest one…)

Our 9 to 5 lives, convention dictates, impose a lot of restrictions on us. It prevents us living as adventurously as we might like. But what if you turn that thinking on its head? Instead of being limited by the 9 to 5, why aren’t more people liberated by their 5 to 9?

When you leave work at 5pm, you have 16 hours of glorious freedom before you need to be back at your desk again. What adventures could you have in that time?

Here’s an idea. Jump on a train out of town. Climb a hill. Watch the sunset. Sleep on the hill, under the moon and the stars. Wake at sunrise, run back down the hill, jump in a river, then back on the train and back to the office by 9am.

What an opportunity! What an escape! A genuine burst of adventure in the middle of the working week.

Try to see the opportunities everywhere, not the constraints. Look at the possibilities not the barriers.

Finally, here’s my call to arms: go and jump in a river. If you don’t have a river, try a cold shower.

How will this help your own plans?

Because jumping in a river is a metaphor for life and all the cool shit you aspire to do.

Daunting to consider.

The first step is the hardest. “Don’t do this!” cries your rational mind!

But you know you must leap.

You leap.

In moments, the shock passes and you start to get used to it.

Once it’s done – you realise it wasn’t too bad after all. In fact you feel great and are delighted to have done it.

So, go for it.

Jump into your river.






Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision”. ~ Peter Drucker

‘L.E.A.P.’ is a mini ten-part course designed to help you find the courage, commitment and focus to make a major leap this year, and see it through, to get your closer to doing what you love, for life.


What a difference eleven days makes


Before I boarded a plane to Costa Rica 11 days ago I was wired, stressed out and, frankly, knackered. Eleven days later, following some dreamy time alone in paradise, primarily to write but also to slow down, get quiet, unplug, reconnect, soak in some sunshine, do yoga and eat well, I feel like a different person. Of course a tan always helps, but the thing I can’t help noticing is the inch-long ever-present furrow above my brow has completely disappeared. In just 11 days. My skin is clearer, my eyes are brighter, and I have lost at least half a stone in weight. What a difference eleven days makes.

We know it makes a difference when we are good to ourselves. When we make an effort to make time for the things we love, to make space for nothing, or for something. And yet day after day, week after week, we push on, ignoring the impulse to rest and rejuvenate. What is wrong with us?!

This time was a real gift. While I was away it was my 39th birthday, and I cannot think of a better way to begin the last year of my thirties. It was a wrench to be away from family, and I am sure Mr K has changed more than his fair share of nappies this past week or so, but I know I am going home a better version of myself.

It also helped that I was taken care of so very well.

And while here I had one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. You’ll have to wait until the book comes out to read about that, but I know it was only possible because I was here, ready, open.

It’s not easy to find the time and money to get on a plane and fly to Costa Rica. You have to call in a lot of favours, plan ahead and perhaps even work more before leaving to enable that time away. But it is so worth it!

This week I urge you to gift yourself some time, even just 20 minutes for a walk, or an hour for a yoga class, or perhaps a day to paint or go and explore somewhere.
Woman running

And if this has really struck a chord with you, and you need some real time away, in nature, you might want to consider doing something impulsive and booking yourself a plane to Italy next week. My friend Andres Roberts of Way of Nature UK is co-leading a retreat in the Tuscan countryside called ‘Let go and relax’.


I was supposed to be going myself, but a bereavement has meant I cannot be there at this time. So there is a spare place, and Andres has kindly said someone in the Do What You Love community can have it at 15% off. This amazing retreat includes a 24 hour solo in the forest, which I know will be transformational. If you think this is for you, just drop Andres a line and he’ll make it happen.

Whatever you do with your YOU time this week, soak it up, and then plan some more.

Pura vida,


PS All this month on the blog we are discovering how it’s never too old to do what you love. If you missed it, here’s an interview with Nick Christian, who wrote his first book aged 70.