If you’re having trouble viewing the video, click here to watch Coming Home: The end of my mini-retirement to Beijing China on YouTube.
So after 5 weeks away, I’m now back home in Brisbane.
This will be my last mini-retirement post but before I tell you what I’ve learned, maybe take a minute to look back over the other articles and videos from the last 5 weeks, if you haven’t already seen them.
When I shot this final video I’d been back a week and there’s 3 main things that struck me upon arriving back in Brisbane and finishing my mini-retirement to Beijing, China. Here we go…
It’s important to appreciate the good, and not get hung up on the bad, wherever you are
The first thing I noticed after stepping off the plane in Brisbane was the vibrant blue sky and the white, wispy clouds.
I smiled – Beijing doesn’t look like this. Beijing by comparison looks like a dump. It’s skies are polluted, it’s dusty, people spit and there’s no green grass or flowers (at least when I was there).
Now, I could have spent the last 5 weeks getting hung up on this fact and spent my time whinging about the place and how Brisbane is better. But I’d be choosing to define the city by what it doesn’t have, rather than celebrating what it does well.
Beijing beats the pants off Brisbane in many ways – it has better food, value for money and transportation. So while I’m not denying that Beijing is more polluted than Brisbane, I’m going to choose to appreciate the good aspects of this amazing place.
Obviously this doesn’t just apply to city vs city. You can choose what to take away from any trip or experience or meeting or event – you decide whether you celebrate the good or dwell on the bad. It’s a glass half empty / half full situation.
This trick is called reframing and you can read more about here if it interests you. Reframing on wikipedia.org
Friends here and friends there
One of my earlier posts talked about how to make new friends when you travel and over the course of 5 weeks I did just that.
At the start of the trip it never occured to me that in just a few short weeks I’d be saying goodbye to these people. Every where I went, both in China and Singapore I was welcomed as if I had just moved in next door and I was staying for good.
I’m truely grateful that so many people opened their lives to me and choose not to see me as short term tourist – someone who’d only be around for a little while and is therefore not worth getting to know as they’ll soon be gone.
It’s like being given a great big delicious chocolate cake, having just 2 bites and then someone takes the cake away from you. You get caught up on the loss rather than how good the cake was.
I miss these new friends and hope that I’ll see them again. It’s fair to say that I was extremely under-prepared for this psychologically.
And then there’s the flip-side, upon arriving back in Brisbane, I was blown away by how happy everyone was to see me! I’ve got so many “Welcome back Nick!” messages and everyone wants to know about my little adventure.
It’s great to know that my friends are interested and care about what I’ve been up to.
I really hope that I can maintain some of the friendships I’ve made and being away has made me more aware of how strong the friendships are that I have here in Brisbane. It’s good to feel loved.
A kick up the arse
When I first read Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week and the concept of taking mini-retirements it sounded like a good idea and something worth trying. Now that I’ve actually done it – tasted it – oh boy do I want more!
If I had the means, and it was responsible to do so, I’d already have the next flight booked.
After 5 weeks exploring another city in another country, I now see a new world of possibilities and experience just waiting to be had and I’m sure I’ve only just scratched the surface.
It’s like I’ve just had my eyes opened and now I want to see how deep the rabbit-hole goes!
BUT to do this responsibily I need money. More specifically I need a source of cashflow that isn’t tied directly to my time. I want the flexibility to be able to focus on the things that interest me, like learning a new language, but still have an income.
At the moment as a freelancer / consultant my income is tied to my time. The more I work the more I get paid. If I stop working, I stop getting paid.
This is fine, and I’m extremely grateful for being able to earn money as a freelancer as it offers significantly more freedom that being an employee. But after this trip it’s clear that to experience world travel sustainably, in the way I want to experience it, I will need to again make a shift from freelancer into business owner.
This mini-retirement has given me a big slap in the face to stop being lazy and instead refocus my energy on building something great. So in the coming weeks I’m going to be assessing the options and ideas that I have and making a start on a new project.
After all, if I’m not moving forward towards my goals every day… then what am I doing? What am I spending my time on? ‘Monitoring’ facebook and twitter for several hours a day is not productive.
I’m also now hyper-aware of the projects that I make committments to and will be assessing much more rigourously whether or not they support my goals or distract me from them. I’ve already begun cutting out some dead wood in this area in the days that I’ve been back home but there’s a lot more to be done here.
So there we have it. My mini-retirement to Beijing, China is done. It was better than I ever could have expected and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.
I’ll leave you with a question (you can answer in the comments below) – where would you take a mini-retirement and why?