This was my great idea! I came home after completing a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and knew that I needed to make some massive changes in my life. I was totally hooked and thought of nothing else. The pilgrimage filled my head. It filled my heart. The freedom, the adventure, the pure bliss of living my day according to my own rules, was a prospect that I just knew I had to pursue.

For too long, I had been marching to the beat of someone else’s drum, and now I wanted to beat my own drum. A huge challenge though was that I didn’t know how to play the drums.

Being honest, not knowing how to play the drums was just the start of it, figuratively speaking. If we get down to the nuts and bolts of it all, I am a fairly regular human-being. I mean, I haven’t made a massive discovery to change all humankind for the good; I haven’t scaled mountains or dived to the depths of our oceans in search of the unknown. In comparison, I am no Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk. I haven’t done anything to set me apart from my fellow man. I am just me. Regular old me.

Nevertheless, and despite what seemed to me as shortcomings in my character, I now had a very big dream and that was to walk a pilgrimage on an annual basis. This year, 2020, the universe postponed that dream for me. It postponed the dreams of millions of dreamers. I imagine in comparison to what this year has brought about for many people across the globe, not walking my pilgrimage is really small stuff. But still, it has set my personal goals back by a whole year. 

 Despite this unprecedented moment in history we are all (still) facing, my dream is now fiercer than ever. I am adamant to get back to it and I am committed to creating space for myself to walk 20 pilgrimages. The time that I spent locked up in quarantine, in retrospect has been good for me. I have solidified my purpose, I have clarified my goals and since researching the Camino de Santiago and other trails, an annual pilgrimage is not going to cut it. 

Some pilgrimages take more than 3 months to complete. The Via Francigena for example is a whopper of a trail. It covers a distance of some 2,000 kilometers, around 1,243 miles! Time was and will always be, of the essence. 

Similarly, the Camino de Santiago in itself has 15 marked routes, and taking into consideration that I am facing my fifties in two years, the clock for me is well and truly ticking! 

How was I going to create the time for me to do these pilgrimages?

The truth was that no employer would be amenable to me having such flexible time to taking off three to four months every year. Rightfully so too.

So, there were two challenges to overcome: 

  1. Not having the skills I needed to create an online business that would replace my great salary AND make me location independent; and 
  2. Creating time for myself to live out my dream. 

The answer: I would have to employ me and I was going to do this with an online business.

I literally scoured the internet. I focused on my two challenges, lack of skills and lack of time, and searched and searched. 

It mostly left me quite disheartened. I discovered that I am actually quite a distrustful person. Every advert that was presented to me during my search, I debunked it. I questioned everything and coming from a compliance background, I really didn’t see any viable opportunities at all. I just saw money traps. Or certainly what looked like money traps to me, at the time.

What was always in the back of my mind too, is that at the heart of me, is a very introverted person. Some wouldn’t say it, because, in my previous career, I have been involved in face-to-face training, engaging with top leaders in global companies, collaborating with business teams at all levels, and looking back I loved it, and I think I really added value. But I grew into those roles. 

Now, I knew that I would have to face so many challenges on my own if I was to delve into the online space and become a competent digital entrepreneur. 

I did my due diligence and found so much information and so many established online entrepreneurs. As my trust grew and as I learned about how others had trailblazed this online industry I came across an amazing group of people, led by two quite normal, but very successful online entrepreneurs. 

This space was really the first prize, and not only ticked the boxes of my immediate challenges, skills, and time but has become the cherry on the top of my personal development too. I have found that it is quite easy to start an online business, the biggest hurdle though, is getting over yourself and your own inhibitions. Well, it certainly was for me.

Fast forward to where I am now. 

I didn’t realize the full extent of what an online business meant to me and how effective it could really be. The potential is not only to have a passive income, or replacing an income even. I now not only have the necessary digital skills, but I now also have a deeper understanding of myself, who I am, and how my space in the world is created just for me. It has facilitated space for me to live out my lofty dreams and goals and since the world can’t stay “closed” forever, I will have my backpack on my back, in which my laptop will be safely stored so that I can work from anywhere in the world. Even closer to home, I can work from a friend’s house, and spend the afternoon in the swimming pool with my best little people in the world. 

My online business has given me freedom. It has been created around that primary value, and as it develops, I will enjoy the adventure that life has to offer.