‘Tis the season for a good book: what’s been your favourite read of 2016?


What better way to relax after all the excitement of Christmas than to light your wood burner, settle into a comfy armchair and get stuck into a good book. If you’re wondering what to read next, help is at hand! Here’s a round-up of the Do What You Love team’s favourite reads of 2016 – books that touched our hearts, made us think and inspired us on many different levels. Getting your read on never felt so good!

Credit Kelly HoppenImage credit: Kelly Hoppen


How to make it in the world of digital nomadism


In January 2014, Natalie Martin decided to quit her comfortable corporate job in London and go backpacking in India. It was a trip that changed her outlook on life for good and gave her the confidence to kick off her writing career by self-publishing. Since then, her debut novel, Together Apart, has become a No.1 bestseller on the Amazon charts and Love You Better, her second full-length novel, became a bestseller on release last October.

Despite having a base in both London, UK, and Germany, Natalie is always on the move. As a digital nomad she has lived and worked in Japan, India, Thailand, Cambodia, and a host of European countries, and this is just for starters. According to her, the adventure is just beginning. Here Natalie shares her inspiring story and explains why remote working is the way forward…

ProfilePicture_credit_JanografPhotographyCredit Janograf Photography

It’s almost four years now since I left my comfortable life and well paid job in London to make the world my office. I’ve wandered around Cambodia’s magical Angkor Wat temple, glammed it up in Monaco and listened to the Dalai Lama at his temple in Dharamshala, northern India. I’ve had the time of my life but I am not special. There was nothing to set me apart from anyone else in my pursuit for happiness. I was not, am not (and probably never will be) rich. When I left my job, I had just under £3,000 in my bank account. I had no job to come back to or degree to fall back on. All I had was the feeling that I didn’t want to work in a rigid structure and a choice, although it didn’t feel like that at the time.

BagsPackedBags packed and ready to go… laptop included!

Before I’d even thought about leaving my job, I came out of a long relationship and decided to take up French. I’d always loved the language, especially French film. Meanwhile, my career was approaching a crossroads: either I studied for a promotion or looked elsewhere. With no idea what to do, I stumbled upon Workaway, a site connecting volunteers with hosts to exchange skills in place for accommodation worldwide. I felt inspired enough to apply and instead of taking the usual two week summer holiday, bunched up my annual leave and headed to southern France.

I’d barely managed a Wagamama lunch alone before this but there I was, meeting new people and basking in sunshine all day long. I’d never felt happier or healthier. One day, I heard some musicians playing in the market. We got chatting afterwards and I was in awe of their lives. They busked around France during the summer, making enough money to spend the winter in Goa, playing in bars and restaurants. They invited me to join them but of course I said no. My life could never be like theirs, whether I wanted it to be or not.

MonacoIn Monaco – the trip that changed everything

Soon enough, I returned to England but something had changed and on my second day back at work, I cried. I couldn’t justify having a job that didn’t fulfil me anymore, or a lifestyle that was slowly wearing me down. I wanted to be my own boss or at least be able to work more flexibly. I desperately wanted to try something else, so I decided to apply for a sabbatical to join my musician friends in Goa. To my disappointment, my request was denied and I was faced with a choice: stay and be unhappy, or not. I handed in my resignation that day.

I know this all makes me sound a little flighty and fearless, but like I said before, I’m not. I’m just a regular girl who craves routine and stability, cleanliness and order. Quitting my £38k job to go to India was never part of my plan. In fact, I’d never even really made a plan for anything before.

Looking back, I know that things started to change when I decided to make things happen. I chose to learn French and go to France. I chose to leave my job to take a trip of a lifetime. Ultimately, I guess I chose to open my eyes to what could be. I met countless people who worked while travelling, staying connected with smartphones and laptops. They inspired me to self-publish the novel I’d been secretly working on and most of all, to trust that it didn’t matter if things went wrong.

Books-2The novels I was inspired to write along the way. My books feature real-life-like characters – people who could well be your sister, uncle or best friend – and issues that are far from the stereotypical ‘fluffy’ romance storylines. They’re what I like to call contemporary fiction with love. 

Worst case scenario, I’d go back home, use my skills and get a job. I wouldn’t end up destitute and homeless. In fact, I added to my skills, certifying as a Yoga Teacher and Thai Yoga Massage practitioner.

Six months later, I returned to England and, ironically, to my old job, covering maternity leave. I sat at the same desk, went to the same meetings and earned even more than I had before. But after a few months, I felt exactly how I had before leaving for France. With everything I’d seen and done, I knew the office life wasn’t for me, so I returned to India where I met my wonderful German boyfriend. I’m now happily settled (for now at least) in Bavaria, and I’ve never looked back.

Having the freedom to choose my own way of working has completely changed my life. I work when I have the most energy and relax when I don’t. Being free to take the afternoon off to rejuvenate instead of being forced to work means my concentration is much better than before. I sleep longer and wake up at a time that suits me before having a long yoga practice and relaxed breakfast. And instead of eating expensive lunches, I have time to make something during the day (or, being honest, eat what my boyfriend makes). Having three good, healthy meals a day means that I feel stronger, with less sick time and more output than before.

YogaDuring my travels I discovered a passion for teaching. Here I am leading my first Yoga class

But it hasn’t been all easy. It was difficult at first to find my own rhythm and be disciplined when it came to carving out ‘work time.’ Some people assumed that because I was at home, I was available for unannounced coffees and chats. And of course, I’ve questioned my choices – emigrating for love, learning yet another language and becoming a full time writer – in case it all went wrong. It took a long time to learn to trust myself and my inner voice. I’ve also had to change my attitude towards things, especially money. My earnings as a writer are extremely variable and I’ve had to rein myself in on spending. I can’t just go and buy gorgeous shoes whenever I want, but it’s a tiny sacrifice to make for living the life I’ve always wanted. Plus, when I do treat myself, it feels that bit sweeter. It hasn’t been perfect, but I’ve learned that even during the tough times, I always have a choice. So often, it can feel like life is out of our control, that it happens to us and not for us, but that’s not true. And I know that because it was the choices I made years ago that have brought me here, and nobody else.

BBCMe being interviewed by the BBC Interview in London

The beauty of life is that there are endlessly different ways of living it. Taking your work outside of the normal structure doesn’t mean having to completely up sticks and leave. It’s simply a case of listening to yourself. Ask yourself: How do I want to feel in my every day life? What do I really want? Where am I feeling most unsatisfied? When we start being active with ourselves instead of passive, that’s when change happens. It can be choosing to walk to the station instead of driving, or reading a book instead of watching TV. They’re small changes, but that book could spark your dream of being a writer. That walk might start a fitness journey leading to you running a marathon.

We humans can move mountains when we need to get things moving, or even become the mountain when we need to be strong. [Tweet “We might not know the outcome, but we always have a choice.”]

WorktimeWorktime! Today’s choice of office: a Cornish beach

How to make the world your office

Remote working doesn’t necessarily mean making a drastic lifestyle change like I did. It could be a simple case of asking your boss for more flexible hours, or the opportunity to work from home one or two days a week, something that can be hugely beneficial to both employees and employers. In fact research by Stanford University has found that remote workers are 13% more productive, take fewer sick days and enjoy a quieter working environment than their commuting colleagues.

However, if like me, you crave the freedom, flexibility and opportunities that life as a digital nomad brings, here are my top tips for making a bigger change…

  1. Be clear about why you want to work remotely. Is it to pursue the career of your dreams, or to have more time with loved ones? Or are you just badly in need of a holiday? Switching to remote working is a big decision, so take your time. You wouldn’t rush into buying a house and this is just as important, if not more.
  2. When you work remotely you can’t just call the “IT Guy”, so it’s important to be sharp and self-reliant when it comes to the basics. Now’s the time to evaluate and hone your own skills. Read this article on Upwork for a list of things every remote worker should know.
  3. If money is tight, start small but think big. A Pret sandwich is the equivalent of a night’s accommodation. A month’s worth of those sandwiches could pay for a no-frills flight from Thailand to Singapore. Put the savings into any scenario that resonates for you.
  4. Find your own rhythm. It can take some time, so don’t get frustrated with yourself. It’s okay to veg out for a week if you have to.
  5. Be flexible enough to recognise when rhythms doesn’t work. Don’t force yourself into patterns that don’t work for you – that’s why you wanted this in the first place.
  6. Define your work time. Don’t overdo it by sitting in front of the computer until midnight. Do what you can, while you can.
  7. Take yourself seriously. It’s a sad fact that some people think working from home means doing nothing all day long. Remember that your working time is just as important as anyone else’s.
  8. Connect with other remote workers. It can feel lonely without the office camaraderie. Find a Meet-Up group to join, or even create your own!
  9. Make time for yourself. Whether it’s a daily yoga practice, knitting or Netflixing (there you go!), do something that makes you feel good.
  10. Enjoy it, whether it’s switching to working three days a week from home or handing in your notice to fly to Costa Rica with your laptop in hand. You’re living the life you want to, not the life you don’t!

My favourite quote is: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”, so ultimately my advice to anyone who dreams of making the world their office, is make plans, get out there and go for it!

For more information about Natalie visit https://nataliekmartin.com or connect via email at [email protected], on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nataliemartinauthor or on Twitter: @natkmartin


Are you ready to make a big change in 2017? Are you curious to find out if digital nomadism is for you? Download Do What You Love’s free resource and unleash the remote worker in you!



Freedom Seeker

Do What You Love Interview – Homaira Kabir


Today we chat to an inspirational lady who shares our belief that it is possible to achieve positive and lasting change by designing a life that you love. Homaira Kabir is a positive psychology coach, cognitive behavioral therapist and writer who is on a mission to help women break free from the grip of low self-confidence and stop living half-lives, something she says “is a disservice to us, and to the world.”

Through her scientifically backed strategies, courses, resources and the articles she writes for Forbes, The Huffington Post, Positive Psychology News Daily and her own website, Homaira helps women discover the power of self-worth and empowers them to show up fully in their relationships and rise to their full potential at work and in life. Enjoy the interview. ~ Rachel

Homaira KabirHomaira at work


SHIFT: Manifest Your Dreams With Feng Shui


Do you feel tired, uninspired or overwhelmed? Have you lost direction in life or feel that you’re no longer in control of your own destiny? Is there something that you wish you could change – a relationship, your career, your financial situation, a health issue, or other issue? Do you have big dreams but have no idea how to make them a reality? Well you’re in the right place…

Today we speak to Feng Shui expert Salvatore Manzi who believes that by clearing away obstacles that weigh you down, and redesigning your space to align with your intentions, you will propel yourself towards your ideal life.

An author, speaker and teacher, Salvatore has been studying the way our environment impacts us for over 20 years. He has travelled the world living and working with teachers from the East, Native Tribes and spiritualist communities. His book, Feng Shui Life Mapping is a guide to turning your home in a 3D vision board, and his latest work, Desk for Success, is designed to help you energise your work area, get clear on your purpose and shift to a mindset that allows you achieve more with less effort.

“Feng Shui is the art and science of harmonising our personal energy with our environment,” Salvatore explains. “I view my space as a reflection of who I am, who I was when I bought certain items, choose colours, spent time with friends in my space, and as my space keeps reminding me of these stories I have about myself, my space essentially shows me who I am becoming. A seemingly plain lamp in my room, on some conscious or unconscious level, reminds me of my friend who gave it to me, and attached to that memory is my intention to have healthy, light-giving relationships. The lamp thus keeps my life on course to manifesting great relationships. If the light bulb goes out, or the lamp needs dusting, it’s an opportunity for me to revisit my intention.”

Here Salvatore shares more about how we can combine the powerful forces of Feng Shui an the Law of Attraction to take a new look at our world and redesign our reality.


Discovering Feng Shui completely changed my life. Feng Shui came into my life when I was at a real low point, I was in a job I hated, in an apartment that was a dump, and struggling through a relationship that was unhealthy at best. Someone gave me a book on Feng Shui. I tried out some of the things it suggested and my life turned around. My work relationships improved, my partner and I stopped fighting, and we moved into a beautiful new apartment, all within a few months.

My journey began in Paris. I was roaming the streets late one night when I stopped to see the full moon reflecting off the River Seine beneath the Notre Dame. Bearing witness to that beautiful reflection, I had an epiphany: I’d lived my life searching for beauty and perfection on the outside, and the world was really just reflecting what was on the inside. So began my inner journey, and it’s one I’m far from finishing!Over the last 20 years, I’ve studied with a Master Taoist and learned about energy systems, the flow of energy, and Feng Shui. I studied with a Native American Shaman, and learned about the plants and animals and the power of ritual, ceremony and intention. And for eight years I studied with a spiritual teacher who taught me unconditional love in personal relationships. At the moment I’m honoured to be studying with a Feng Shui Master from the East to learn more about Chinese mysticism. Feng Shui has become the foundation of my life’s work.

My current work is to energise people and their spaces. It is a culmination of my past 20 years experience and training. My days are extremely varied and in any given week, I’ll have a number of on-site consultations, both business and residences. I have follow up consultations via phone or on-site. The rest of my work time is filled in with my coaching practice.

My clients range from entrepreneurs who are expanding or launching businesses to new home owners to couples who are moving in together, to parents who want to ensure their child’s room is supporting him/her. Men often call me because they get complaints about their home/office space and want to know how to make others feel comfortable in it. Women often contact me because they feel stuck in a relationship cycle or they are desperate for a career change. Everyone wants to know how to increase the flow of abundance into their lives.

The most common issues that clients need help with are work, relationships and health. When these issues arise I always focus on the entrance to the home (career), the bedroom (relationships), and the kitchen (health). I tend to address issues like this, which can have a big impact on people’s lives:

  1. Front door/entrance – be sure it’s free from clutter and debris, that the doorbell works and that the house name/number is visible.
  2. Bedroom – nothing under the bed (stale energy), create as many natural “pairings” of things as possible (pictures, ornaments, pillows, etc. to symbolise your own balance and integration of your masculine and feminine nature), and no TV (unless it’s in a cabinet), desks or exercise equipment.
  3. Kitchen – check the fridge and stove are clean and in good working condition (symbolises better health and wealth), and if you have your back to the rest of the kitchen when standing at the stove, install a reflective surface/mirror so you can see what’s going on.

To help create a success-enhancing space at home I also advise people to:

  1. Create inspiration points: What is the first thing you see when you enter your home, room, or office? That “thing” is a visual cue to where your energy is going once you’re in there. Re-set the energy in the room by making something that inspires you the first thing you see.
  2. Make space: Clear the clutter! Eliminate the excess! Anything that is unused, unfinished or unloved is dead weight on your path.
  3. Wake up to something beautiful: let the first thing you see when you wake up be something that makes you feel grateful and hopeful.

‘What if my home or office is a mess?’ I hear you say… Everyone has a room in their home or space in their office that’s a big mess! Feng and Shui mean “wind” and “water” respectively and those are metaphors to help understand the natural flow of energy in a space. If there is too much resistance in the space (clutter), the flow is reduced. If there is too little resistance, the flow can be overwhelming. Balance is the goal. In other words, clutter slows down everything. If you feel stuck, or like things just aren’t working out the way you wanted, chances are you have some stuck energy in your psyche/emotion/mental world and it is being reflected by the clutter in your space. Reduce your excess physically, and the “weight” of those energetic blocks get lifted so you can make the changes you want.

The best way to begin is to START SMALL! Pick the smallest table top, the smallest drawer, the smallest cabinet and clear the clutter. The next day, do the next smallest, and so on. The energy begins as space is freed up and soon the momentum builds until you are ready to tackle what used to seem like the impossible clutter mountain in that room you try to ignore!

A principle of Feng Shui is that our lives are shaped by three things: Fate (things we can’t control like who are parents are); personal character (that which we can control and grow like our intellectually and self-awareness); and environment (the space which holds us and energetically and ideally supports us by reflecting the stories we have about ourselves, past, present and future).

When it comes to using Feng Shui to transform your life, the best advice is always to look at your environment and see how it reflects who you are right now, versus how you were and no longer want to be. Then, ask yourself what you can do to the space so that it reflects the you that you are becoming.

  1. Set your intention by answering this powerfully clarifying question: “What do I value and want to have in my life?”
  2. Create space by asking yourself: “What do I need to let go of in order to have that thing?”
  3. Create a reflection by asking: “What feeling do I get when I think of having that thing?” Find something that captures that feeling for you and place it in your space as a focal point. It will act as a constant reminder of where your life is going.

Vision Board

A powerful technique for manifesting your dreams is to create a vision board. In 1992 I created a collage of images that inspired me. Immediately, things started shifting in my life that were inexplicably synched up to that collage, and the shifts continued unfolding for years. My accidental discovery of the art vision boarding sparked a thirst for just how it is that we can create and turn dreams into reality.

Creating a vision board on top of the Feng Shui bagua, the grid which depicts the nine life areas of life (below) act as visual reminders of what we want to be, do or have in our lives. They are powerful because they are visual representations of our intentions and can quickly align our mind with where we want to take our lives. That alignment may take a day, or 30 days or 6 months, but with our eye on where we are going, we cannot help but end up there!


Having taught, written, and practiced vision boarding over the decades, I’ve learned secrets that separate successful vision boards from those that are just pretty images. Everyone knows that having a goal is good. Writing a goal down, however, increases the chances of success exponentially. So imagine what having a visual representation of our goal that activates the visual cortex and reticular activating system portion of our brain can do! Shazam!

You can use the idea of a vision board to create a Feng Shui Life Map.  This involves going around your living space or office to ensure what you have placed as your intention on your vision board is being reflected in every area of your space. Essentially, the aim of Feng Shui Life Mapping is to turn your entire home into a 3-D vision board, by placing, orienting and envisioning the various items in your home in such a way that they continuously remind you of your desires and intentions.

Layered vision boards takes intention to the next level. Imagine you’re having an off day and someone tells you to “cheer up”. Do you? Probably not! When it comes to vision boards, if you’ve make yours when you’re in a state of inspiration and hope, and make a point of looking at it when you’re feeling happy, it’s likely that your positive energy and momentum will accelerate the manifesting of your desires.

However if you made it when you were in a negative frame of mind or subconsciously you had a strong negative momentum going even if you were trying to be positive, you might react to it as if it were that annoying person telling you to “cheer up!” we you’re in no mood to hear it. And this can elicit a knee-jerk rejection to the very things you were trying to manifest.

Placing a neutral picture over the vision board guarantees that we look at our vision board from a neutral energetic state. From that place, if we’re in a good mood, we can peel back the picture and reveal the full expression of our Vision Board as we align with the positive momentum it brings. If not, we can just enjoy the neutral picture. It’s not necessary for everyone to cover their vision board with an image. If the board is in a place where there is a lot of stress (like an office), having the image to cover the board is helpful.


Life mapping can take us all closer to doing what we love. It can help us find greater fulfillment in the professional world by helping us get clear first on what it is that we wish to create in our life and in the world. From that clear place, it helps us set SMART goals to get there, and the big impact is that it teaches us how to use objects in our environment to help us remain focused on creating that reality.

Transforming our workspace or desk can help us do this too. Everything about my office is reflecting some aspect of my professional life. If I consciously create an intentional space that inspired and uplifts my energy, I will definitely launch my career to great heights! I’ve just created a self-guided, 4-week course called Desk for Success that will help anyone create an office that will launch their career.

Desk For Success

Applying the principles of Feng Shui in the work place can can be hugely beneficial to entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have the benefit of complete control over their environment and from that place can curate a work environment that supports their mission, and their team. Whenever I want to “energise” a space or team, I turn to any number of tools that “add” energy to a space: lighting that is balanced and uplifting, aromas that spark creativity and joy, plants that give off positive ions/oxygen, moving objects such as water features or desk toys or mobiles that keep energy moving healthfully, and sounds that are pleasing such as water fountains or music or even chimes.

My big dream now is to create a conscious awareness of our space. The current trend of meditation and mindfulness leads naturally to such consciousness. As we build appreciation, we can create spaces that reflect the very best of who we are and flow effortlessly towards our collective highest good.

For more information about Salvatore, visit his website. You can also check out his desk for success course here and order a copy of his book: Feng Shui Life Mapping Master the Art of Designing your Future here.

SHIFT: Manifest Your Dreams With Feng Shui DWYL FREEDOMSEEKER OUTNOW 2 650X300PX LR


How to make it in the world of… travel writing


Today we speak to Laura Knight, a lady who has combined her three biggest loves – travel, motorbikes and writing – to make the world her office. Laura has been riding motorbikes for over 10 years, a passion which has opened her up to many life-changing experiences and inspired her to give something back to the travel industry. Here she shares her story and top tips for making it as travel writer…


A few months into a great job at a hedge fund, I decided to pack up my New York City life into a tiny orange R.E.I. backpack, sublet my cosy bedroom, and hit the road. I didn’t know where I was going or what I’d end up doing to stay fed and sheltered, but I knew that working a desk job just wasn’t for me.

Fast-forward three months and here I am: writing this from a vegan coffee shop near my new digs for the week – my travel friend’s apartment in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Laura Knight travel writer 2Working from coffee shops around the world – that’s what’s in store for you as a travel writer. And, to be honest, the Wi-Fi in Cambodia is spot on!

So… how did I get here?

I love to travel. Meeting people from cool places, sampling new cuisines, and experiencing some of the most beautiful places in the world are all things that I want to do. Every. Single. Day.

Laura Knight travel writer 2As a motorcycle travel writer, I get to ride roads like this, then write about them. Then I get paid. Why would anyone want to work in an office again?! But the starting wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies…

Until I found myself in Bangalore, India, I hadn’t really given the money issue much thought. I have a brain and can string coherent sentences together, so I figured (all too nonchalantly) that I’d just be a freelance writer.

One slight problem – you need contracts if you want to get paid for writing freelance. And those contracts don’t just materialise the instant you decide you want to write for money. Only now, after working my butt off, I’m finally earning enough to support myself (albeit in Southeast Asia, which is an incredibly affordable place to live).

Here are a few things I wish I’d known before I launched my new writing career…

Starting out

There are two ways you can slice this pie. You can:

  1. go full out sink-or-swim, quit your day-job and book a flight (like I did). The advantage here is that you are really putting yourself in a situation where you MUST succeed. No ifs, buts or maybes. No procrastinating.  For those of you who are motivated by pressure like this, take the leap!
  2. keep your job and slowly start to build out a portfolio of work and develop a few long-term clients that will sustain you once you finally get to the flight-booking stage.

Either way, you’re going to have to do step number two, it just depends on how much pressure you want to throw into the mix.

Plan… a bit

When I left the States, I had about $1,000 in my savings and checkings combined, as well as a credit line of about $4,000 left for emergencies only.

The money disappeared fast and looking back, I wish I’d concentrated on building up my client base and generating an income before making any big travel moves. I should have made time to actually sit down and look at the daily cost of living in the places I wanted to go, and then doubled it (or at least added on a few bucks) to come up with my daily budget.

If you are ever in a situation where you are running out of money, my advice is to be an adult about it and don’t bury your head in the sand. Find a cheap hostel (or better yet, someone to host you on their couch via CouchSurfing), then put on some tunes and rock out those job applications.

Decide on your niche

As a travel writer, you still need to come up with a more defined notion of who you are in terms of your voice and target audience. This is the topic you’ll be writing about day in and day out, and you’ll have to adjust your content to match.

I write about two things, both of which I have firsthand experience – motorcycle travel and cycling travel. The motorcycle travelling pieces are easy and fun, I just tell my cycling adventures in written form and throw in a few buzzwords and the writing is good to go.

Using your own travels as inspiration and getting paid for it is one of the coolest parts about travel writing!

But, at the end of the day, if you are travelling and writing, you need money to continue to travel and write about your travels. So, I also write some career consulting and resume advice columns. While not travel-related, these are my chance to maintain well-paid and consistent contracts which allow me to fund more travels and write more about the topic I love… travel!

Do some research and figure out what options exist for you

Look into websites like Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, and even Craigslist for job opportunities. I rely entirely on contract work through Upwork, and it’s enough to keep me going from Vietnam to Cambodia to Thailand, and beyond!

There will be highs and lows

Don’t get me wrong, there have been lows. My biggest was the day I realised I had only $15 cash left in my pocket and nowhere to stay. I had spent the week before lounging around on a beach hammock in Koh Rong, an island off the coast of Cambodia, blissfully unaware of the financial impact taking a week off work before developing a steady flow of writing jobs would have.

By the time I realised it, I had only enough (almost to the cent) for a night bus to Siem Reap, where old travel friends were willing to host me until I could earn enough to keep moving. Fortunately in this instance, good luck and timing were on my side but I won’t make this mistake again in a hurry.

At the same time, being a digital nomad can bring the highest of highs, especially when you aren’t expecting them. My biggest high came out of the blue one morning when I was scheduling my full day’s work as a “professional” person. I suddenly realized that I’d actually done it: I’d created a life where I could be self-sufficient, save a little, and travel around some incredible places. This was the moment I knew I’d done the right thing by taking a risk and quitting my life in NYC. My new life was totally worth it.

Don’t give up.

Yes, I know it’s the most clichéd advice anyone could give someone making a bold career move or a life change, but SERIOUSLY, do not give up. All too often I meet folks who tried their hand at freelancing and travelling only to not make it in the first few months, pack up their backpack, and return to their cubicle.

Laura Knight travel writer 3Working from the beach is so much nicer than being stuck in a cubicle all day. Stay focused and this could be your workplace, too

If that’s what truly makes you happy, by all means, work from cubicle to corner office. But if it isn’t, and for many of you reading this, it probably isn’t, stick tight to your dream.

Over the course of a couple weeks, when I was living entirely off my dwindling savings, I applied to 10 jobs per day. At certain points, I was sending out nearly 50 applications every two days only to hear back from two potential clients.

In my experience, Upwork is brilliant for allowing you to work when you want, where you want, and it offers any type of job you can think of. I enjoy writing about things that interest me, so I use it to apply for travel and career-related writing gigs.

My only advice is to do a bit of background research before sending out your first job proposal as a cover letter on Upwork is a little different to a full-on professional cover letter.

Beginning to land contracts on Upwork is interesting. My first day I landed a $35 contract writing a travel guide on an island in the Philippines that I had never been to.

It wasn’t until I started receiving more regular contracts, where I could be certain of additional work coming in after I turned in each article, that I started to really feel a bit of financial security and even excitement about the work! Instead of spending all day proposing to new jobs, I was able to just continue on, writing about topics I found interesting. But as I learned,  you won’t get there overnight (or even in a few weeks). Patience, grasshoppers!

You’re your own boss now!

Don’t make excuses. The thing that nobody realises when they are getting into freelance, especially when you are transitioning from a 9-to-5 office environment, is that you are your own boss. You need to stay motivated, apply to jobs, meet your deadlines, and turn in high-quality work. Being the very best you can be is the key to gaining more contracts (especially the challenging ones that you’ll learn and grow most from!).

Dream on…

Whether this travelling, writing and wandering lasts or not, there have been a few things that I’ve learned about myself from diving right in to a new life as a freelance travel writer.

  1. First and foremost, that balancing savings and spending (that’s getting to a point where I earn more than I spend) takes a huge amount of dedication, discipline, and willpower.
  2. That you do have to plan ahead, be organised and work really hard.
  3. Ultimately, that whatever I end up doing in the future, whether it’s continuing to travel the world, or settling down with a hoard of cats, I know that I have the brainpower and the chutzpah to make it.

Good luck fellow wanderlusters, may the Wi-Fi be speedy and the coffee be plentiful and locally ground, wherever in the world you are!

In addition to her work as a freelance writer, Laura has also created MotorManner.com, in which she shares the best information  about motorcycling and travelling to help people get the most from their adventures. Visit her blog for useful motorcycle travelling gear reviews and helpful travel tips.


Are you ready to make a big change in 2017? Are you curious to find out if digital nomadism is for you? Download Do What You Love’s free resource and unleash the remote worker in you!

Digital Nomad

3 things to do TODAY to make next year different

3 things to do TODAY to make next year different DWYL BLOG SHIFT 650X250PX LR

As we come to the end of the year, it’s only natural to reflect on what has gone before. Did 2016 turn out how you wanted? Did you get closer to your dreams? As the founder of a company called Do What You Love, I am often asked what is the single most important factor in doing what you love. And you know what? I think it’s commitment. Perhaps not the sexiest answer, but it’s the truth.


But what if I don’t know what I want to commit to? You might ask… I hear you. That’s a tough one, right? Well, actually, early on simply committing to stepping forward in the direction of your dreams, is as important as committing to one specific idea. Because those early steps are where the dreams are shaped.

So if your 2016 was frustrating, or depressing, or simply another year of not very much, seeing your friends have the things you want for yourself, then I invite you to join me in committing to making 2017 different. And here are three simple steps you can take to do that:

Are you with me?

Let’s do this!



By the book…


This is a post by Senior Editor, Rachel Kempton

Winter is on its way and what better excuse to curl up by the fire and snuggle up with a good book – or three! This month I’ve been reading (and loving)…

In the company of women

In The Company of Women: Inspiration and advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney

Say the word entrepreneur and who comes to mind? Bill Gates? Richard Branson? Mark Zuckerberg?

Chances are we’ll picture a white, straight, go-getting male, but Grace Bonney, founder of the popular design blog Design*Sponge is on a mission to change that.

In her book, In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, Bonney profiles over 100 influential women from all ages, races, backgrounds, and industries to show how women across the globe are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and starting creative businesses.

This book is packed full of practical, inspirational advice for those looking to forge their own paths. The interviews detail the keys to success and highlight the importance of everyday rituals, and dispense advice for the next generation of women entrepreneurs and makers.

This book just goes to show that no one woman was handed a perfect business and a perfect life. It’s all about how they’ve found the balance in life and created a support system that works for them. And we love the gorgeous original photographs of them all in their work spaces.

In The Company of Women: Inspiration and advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney is out now from Artisan.

[Tweet “Starting my day with a little inspiration from an insightful book by Grace Bonney @designsponge #IntheCompanyofWomen”]


You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

If you’ve ever taken stock of your life and realised that you aren’t living the life that you want, then this is the book for you.

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and world-travelling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up hilariously inspiring stories, savvy advice, easy exercises, through bite-size chapters like: Your Brain is Your Bitch; Fear is for Suckers; and My Subconscious Made Me Do It.

You Are a Badass will take you on a wild joy ride to your own transformation and helps you create the money, relationships, careers and general all around awesomeness you so desire. And, if you’re ready to make some serious changes, it will help you:

  • Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want
  • blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks
  • figure out how to make some damn money already
  • learn to love yourself and others
  • set big goals and reach them

These are a few lines (amidst many) that really stood out for me…

  • Everyone screws up and you’re not special for doing it.
  • You don’t have to hit rock bottom to make change. You can just decide.
  • If you believe it, it is your thoughts and beliefs dictate reality, so if you don’t like your reality, change these.
  • Respect yourself instead of catering to your need to be liked. Never apologise for being you. Own your ugly.
  • Your friends really do have a major impact on your future, so ditch the Negative Nancys.
  • The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information.
  • Fear lives in the future. It hasn’t happened yet so why create the drama?
  • Procrastination is the easiest form of self-sabotage – you’ll either find a way or an excuse.

Basically this book shows you how to create a life you totally love, and create it NOW. And by the end, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero is out now from Running Press.

[Tweet “Unleash your inner badass with this bestselling book by @jensincero #youareabadass”]

Messy: How to Be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World by Tim Harford

When we get busy, life can sometimes feel like a battle to stave off chaos. The desk overflowing with an ever-mounting pile of paperwork. The kids’ room strewn with clothes and toys. And our minds overwhelmed with to-do lists and negative chitter chatter. If we could only get everything in order, we think life would be so much better.

Tim Harford, Financial Times’ star economist, has a different theory: that sometimes mess is far better than precision and order. Mess, by his definition, can range from actual untidiness—which can function better than precise filing systems—to disruption, distraction, unexpected collaboration, and context-switching. All of that, Harford, says, can prove extremely fruitful in all areas of our life.

His book explores many situations where accepting messiness has led to greater creativity and productivity, from Brian Eno’s randomly picked Oblique Strategies cards, which inspired David Bowie’s Berlin albums, to the time when Martin Luther King was forced to abandon his practice of preparing his public performances and improvise, resulting in his I Have a Dream speech. It makes a compelling case that there are a lot of areas where it pays to open up to the idea that mess is to be embraced rather than fought against.

‘Messy: How to be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World’ by Tim Harford is out now from Little, Brown.

[Tweet “What makes life worth living is often #messy. https://timharford.com/books/messy/ “]

What are you reading this month? We’d love to know!

12 tips for escaping the career you don’t want into the one you do

Here are a a dozen insights that have helped me over the years stick to work I want to be doing (almost) everyday. Let us know what else guides you.

1. Think in 3 Horizons — but only execute on 1st and 3rd.

Horizon 1: What are you doing now / this week / month to set you on the path you want to go on? Act. Do. Make something happen.

Horizon 2: What’s going to happen between now and the long-term? You don’t know. Things change. A lot. So, don’t waste time planning too much.

Horizon 3: Where do you want to be in 5 years? What values will underpin this lifestyle? Who will you be working with? Always keep this in mind.

Ben Keene - escape career

2. Write a letter to yourself from the future

It’s 2019. Write a letter to yourself saying what you’ve achieved over the last 5 years and how you’ve done it. This may sound stupid but it’s a great way to visualize where you want to go and what really matters. Exchange letters with a friend or mentor if it seems weird doing it by yourself.

Ben Keene - escape career 2 3. Less is More.

Simplify everything. This isn’t just about great UX. It can be about a lot of your life. This year I ‘pruned’ 15% of my life — clothes, kitchen cabinet tins, playlists, books, social network ‘friends’. This stuff works.

Ben Keene - escape career 3

4. Master the most important venn diagram in the world

Ben Keene - escape career 4

5. Write an Escape List and pin it on your wall (fridge. facebook. bathroom)

Make yourself accountable to a friend to do this.

Ben Keene Escape career 5

6. Don’t let being comfortable kill your ambition, because it will.

Ben Keene escape career 7

7. Bin the CV. Build a Story.

I might be wrong but I think CVs won’t be around forever. What matters when I meet someone is whether they’re doing something they really want to be doing and have gone out and built the skills and experience necessary to do that thing better. There are SO many good web tools for sharing your story, there’s no excuse.

 Ben Keene escape career10

8. Do one thing exceptionally well rather than everything just well.

Ben Keene escape career8

9. Always try and escape the ‘vicious circle of badness’ @davecorn

These are excuses. Try not to use them.

Ben Keene - escape career6

10. Use stimulants! Coffee for productivity. Beer for creativity. Water for life.

Ben Keene Escape

11. Read books that challenge you as well as blogs that distract you!

We agree with Zuck on this one. Sometimes you need to go deep to go far. That’s why we started Rebel Book Club.

Ben Keene escape career9

12. Above everything — surround yourself with people who are doing work they love.

Positive mindsets equal productive, happy lives. Simples.

Ben Keene escape 11


Do What You Love interview – Nic Bottomley


Today we bring you an inspiring interview with Nic Bottomley – co-owner of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, an independent bookshop based in Bath that has twice been named UK Independent Bookshop of the Year. In a past life Nic was a capital markets lawyer but in a bid to do what he loves he gave it up to live and work in the world of books. Fast forward 11 years and Nic has never been happier as he continues to play his part in proving how precious well-stocked bookshops, run by enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, are to our cultural life.

We caught up with Nic to find out what drove him to make such a major career change all those years ago and what life is like now as a successful independent bookseller…

Nic BottomleyNic Bottomley


The cost of opportunity


How are you experiencing the change of the seasons? Everyone seems to be going down with something – I hope you are staying well and enjoying the best that the seasonal shift has to offer.

Over here November has, as always, brought thoughts of clearing out the old and planning for the new. I spent most of Sunday setting up and running a stall at a nearly new baby stuff sale. It wasn’t quite what I expected.

Well the event itself was pretty much as I expected – lots of new parents and pregnant women jostling for bargains, and lots of other parents standing behind piles of clothes and toys.

But what I took away from the event was not what I expected at all. I expected to come away with a fair bit of cash, feeling good about passing on my children’s outgrown items to others, and inspired by all the mothers (and a few fathers) being enterprising with their Sunday afternoon. But actually I came away with about £50 (around $60) after expenses, and a niggling feeling that we too often misjudge (or don’t consider) the opportunity cost of the things we commit to, and I had done just that.

Let me rewind…

I love a good enterprise scheme. As a child I used to sell cakes out the front of my house to passing football supporters. One time I even dressed up as a little match girl, and walked around in Victorian costume selling matches to grown ups. So I was actually looking forward to having my own little shop at the baby fair. I did my research, and found out that people seemed to have the most success when small items when babygros etc were packaged up and labelled by size, and the stall had good signage. So, you guessed it, I spent few hours sorting all the bags of clothes in our attic, going through every drawer and cupboard in the house, followed by a couple of evenings surrounded by tiny clothes, sandwich bags, sticky labels and coloured pens.

Part of me loved doing this. But it was a slow process, because Mr K and I would keep holding up favourite cute outfits and reminisce about where our girls were, or what they were doing, when we last saw them wearing each one.

Then the day of the sale came, and I spent most of the day packing everything up, taking it to the sale, running the stall and then packing up again. My strategy worked – my ‘3 for 2’ on packaged items went like a dream and clothes were flying off my sale table.

I actually had one of the busiest stalls there, but even so, after expenses I only made a total of £50, not counting the cost of the table I bought to put the stuff on, my mum’s time ironing all the dresses, or fuel for my dad’s van to get us there. Not to mention the fact that by the time I got home I was absolutely shattered.

And guess what? While I was selling my wares, Mr K was in town with the girls and picked up a parking ticket. So actually, after about three days’ work, I had earned just about enough to pay for the coffee I’m drinking as I type this, and reflect on the real lesson.

The sale was not a good use of my time. In an attempt to pull back some of the ‘sunk cost‘ of money spent on all those baby clothes in times gone by, and to generate some ‘free money’ to go towards Christmas, what I actually did was knacker myself out and sacrifice precious family time.

It struck me how often we do this, especially when starting out with a creative venture. I think with most passions, there comes a point when we feel obliged to make some money out of it, in order to justify the time we are spending. And so we create a micro-venture, don’t really do the numbers, and end up investing a huge amount of time and energy into something that doesn’t really reap the reward we were expecting.

Of course, if it works, it’s wonderful, and this ‘trial’ micro-venture can become the seed of a valid long term business. But too often we deny the real ‘cost‘ of the ‘opportunity‘ at hand, and keep on pushing when actually we would be better of earning money elsewhere, and just relaxing into our passions without a concern for the financial return.

In my case, because the baby sale was outside of work and childcare and I did it mostly alone, it seemed to count as ‘me time’ when actually it felt very far from ‘me time’, and instead of being rejuvenating, was actually exhausting. I would have been better off spending an hour going through my bank account to find somewhere I could save £50, then spend a lovely weekend with my family, or doing something else I love, purely for fun. Please note: This is not me disapproving of second hand sales – if they work for you then go for it! Just be sure you are being honest about the real cost.

This week I challenge you to look at how you are spending your precious time and ask yourself whether you are being honest with yourself about the opportunity cost.

With each project, ask yourself what else you could be doing if you weren’t doing that. And map out the real time and money it is costing you, to see if that really is the best use of your resources. You might be surprised by the result!

When I did this, the decision was a no-brainer. All the leftover clothes went straight to charity and I’m planning to spend the whole of next weekend with my little family. What might you end up doing differently?

Have a good week!

Beth x