13 hour clock

I Can't Find a Job (and why that rocks!)

John finally started his new job last week and a few people have asked me whether I'm going to work here in Norway too. Well, the short-term answer is no. I wasn't able to apply for my residency permit until John's was approved last week. I'm now waiting for my appointment to hand in my visa paperwork next week. The current waiting time for family visas could be two months from the date of that appointment. While I believe I could technically start looking under Norway's jobseeker scheme, I'm applying at the moment as the qualified spouse of a skilled worker. I don't know what happens if you do both simultaneously and, quite frankly, I don't want to find out.

13 hour clock

Time is on my side...for now. Photo by imelenchon from morgueFile.

Sounds pretty lazy, doesn't it? I should begin this by saying that I don't spend my time sitting around watching daytime television or out shopping. I'm an unemployed workaholic. And right now I'm being completely greedy and protective of my time. If there's one thing I learned on our sabbatical last year, it's that I love the refreshing freedom of that lifestyle. People who know me might have an idea that I am determined to retire by the time I'm 40, or at least make my first million before then. It's not about money, not in the grandiose way some might be thinking. It's about freedom and choice - the ability to spend every moment of my life with my family and friends if I want to. Having the means to travel wherever we want, whenever we want or to get involved in personal projects without having to think about the opportunity costs really appeals to me. I'm not even that big on flashy purchases (ok, I do like cars), just having the option to buy them and pay cash is what I'm after.

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So what is this post doing on a travel blog?

Most travellers are pretty passionate people. I see this quality in most of the bloggers out there in the travel and expat community. Many of us are already living this "dream" to some extent. When you hear about someone leaving their hard-earned corporate job after many dedicated years to live cheaply off their savings overseas for awhile, maybe even permanently, you've witnessed a breakthrough event. He (or she) may not consider himself an entrepreneur but he possesses the same thought process that might lead one to riches (both physical and spiritual). It's about being in the minority, not buying into the soul-sucking consumer process that we're conditioned to accept by our governments, our school systems and maybe even our families. I don't want to kill myself slaving away at a job making someone else rich. I don't want to give up 40+ hours a week unless I'm working for the direct benefit of my own family in the long-term. But that's just me.

I'm nowhere near the first person to write about this. In fact, I've been inspired by the writings of people who have risen above the time trap and made themselves super-wealthy by their own initiatives. The reason I'm writing this post is to tell you what I'm doing about it. And I also reason that once I put it out there for public consumption, I pretty much have to act. We're not dirt poor. John's work and our savings afford us a very comfortable lifestlye and I think that's almost the worst thing you can have when you want to do something big. Without hunger or a crappy apartment in a bad neighbourhood, those of us who know how to live simply probably have a little less motivation to act.

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Every time I stop by Caz Makepeace's blog, she reminds me of the powers of positive visualization. I know that's just one part of the equation and I've acted on my desires for much of my working life so far. I've always gone for the most entrepreneurial path I could, starting a beverage company with friends in New York several years ago, doing freelance work as an art director when I worked in advertising and constantly reading and updating my skills and knowledge since my undergraduate education finished. I started this blog with John in order to have a project to work on while we were travelling and it has morphed into a business, however, it's a small one and I prefer to keep it as more of an outlet and hobby than a serious money-maker. Our sabbatical year gave us both time to think, to envision what our ideal lives would be like. Now I'd like to take steps towards those goals.

So I plan to use this time over the next couple of months to think, to plan and to learn. I have a few business ideas that John and I toss around in our downtime but nothing solid, certainly nothing I'm ready to move forward with. It's a process, one that I have the luxury of risking my time on only because one of us works full-time. I'd like for us to get away from that, to design our lives and our business so that we don't have to spend our precious time hovering over computers most of the week under fluorescent lights. There's a lot of money out there in this world and not thinking that we - any of us - can get our hands on it if we work smart enough is just silly.

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Do you have any big, ambitious plans or dreams? I'd love to hear them!


  1. Mary @ Green Global Travel 10 June, 2012 at 16:36 Reply

    I’m so glad you are able to recognize not being able to get a job as a blessing. For me, the Universe had to send me messages repeatedly before I would pay attention. First, I got laid off after 10 yrs of running an entrepreneurial company. Then, I turned down a great paying job running another business because of an overbearing entrepreneur. Finally, it occurred to me, with a little help from Bret :), that I had all the skills and experience I needed to run our own business. Duh! All I needed was a little space/time to figure it out. Best of luck following your entrepreneurial visions!

    • inspiringtravellers 10 June, 2012 at 19:03

      Thanks, Mary! I’m happy to report that I’m quite close to launching a new company this summer. Have been working on building a website since shortly after I wrote this post =) Hope it goes well… Good luck to you too =)

  2. Laurel 7 May, 2012 at 19:49 Reply

    I think that taking time to pursue what you really want to do is the best thing you can do with your time. When I moved to Germany I promised myself that I was only going to do work that I loved, which is how I ended up with a travel blog. I can’t imagine going back to the grind now that I’ve seen the light :). Look forward to seeing which direction you decide to go.

    • inspiringtravellers 8 May, 2012 at 09:01

      Thanks, Laurel! And good luck with pursuing your passions =) I have something in the works at the moment and will definitely post about my progress as soon as it comes together more…

  3. Ayngelina 4 May, 2012 at 20:44 Reply

    Retire at 40 wow, I’d only have 5 years for that. My newest goal is to keep a travel-centric lifestyle which meant a big decision not to go back to work full-time. I’ve been trying to balance freelance work as an Account Director with travel. The good part of a bad economy is no one wants to pay benefits so there are a lot more contracts around.

    • inspiringtravellers 4 May, 2012 at 21:24

      I’m not far behind you =) I think contract work is great, assuming you can work something out with healthcare. Has Canada come up with any good solutions for that? I know there was a freelancers union or collective going in the US awhile back but I’m not sure if it’s still around. Good luck with your work-lifestyle balance…sounds grand! =)

  4. Natasha von Geldern 1 May, 2012 at 03:49 Reply

    Good luck with thinking those big thoughts Andrea. I’m in the same boat – an ex-pat partner without a ‘proper’ job. For me it’s a great chance to pursue my writing and, of course, spend quality time with our 3-yr-old.

    • inspiringtravellers 1 May, 2012 at 12:42

      I didn’t realize we were in the same boat, Natasha =) Enjoy that family time and good luck pursuing your passions! =)

  5. D.J. - The World of Deej 1 May, 2012 at 00:25 Reply

    Great post! Can totally relate to your entrepreneurial spirit, and how it makes having a job tough. I had an eBay business when I was 16, and got my first taste of how great it was to work for yourself. Sadly, that’s not the case now, and it makes it hard getting out of bed some days knowing that the alternative is out there!

    • inspiringtravellers 1 May, 2012 at 12:43

      How awesome that you got started so young! My only advice is to maintain a long-term perspective and MAKE time for your ideas and dreams. Good luck! =)

  6. Heinz Rainer 27 April, 2012 at 18:19 Reply

    Re : Cloudflare : Used for over a year. CDN service in connection W3 Cache plugin hasn’t proven to be useful. Better use own DNS server and mirror. Host : do not use godaddy instead opt for webgator or 1and1 flawless service.

    • inspiringtravellers 28 April, 2012 at 10:03

      Thanks for the insight, Heinz – I used to use W3 Cache but then I read a post about how you actually need to add some code manually to get the most out of it. I didn’t want to bother with that so I switched to WP Super Cache and am liking that much better. W3 also had some conflicts with my theme so I wasn’t using all the options – and I found it would turn parts of its functionality on and off at updates. I think it’s an awesome plugin if you know how to use it, but proved to be too technical for me.

  7. Sarah@Mum's gone 2 Aus 27 April, 2012 at 04:21 Reply

    I’m with you on this! Great post, I also enjoy reading Mojito Mother. I agree that we all have a business or niche idea within us it’s just daring to do it, or doing it at the right time place to make a success of it. I’m also blogging as a business in a small way but at a crossroads in terms of what to do long term, working for someone else would be the easy option but just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do. Dilemmas!

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:15

      It’s tough – I think planning and putting together some financials for any business plans you are thinking about can help you see its viability. Then it’s just about taking the plunge if it’s a go! Good luck =)

  8. Emily in Chile 27 April, 2012 at 00:59 Reply

    I’m laughing because I was going to say the same thing Andi said! Knowing you, I know that you are one of the people who truly can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to. Good luck figuring out exactly what that will be!

  9. Albert 26 April, 2012 at 16:51 Reply

    nowadays quitting your job is a bit risky and unfortunately only few people can do that! I’m totally agree with you, when you say that travelling opens your mind and makes you grow and gives you the chance know other cultures and people. Hope to get a sabbatical year and experience travelling around!

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:19

      I kind of feel like it’s also risky to put too much control in the hands of an employer these days as well, though. People are getting laid off all the time. Thanks so much for your comment, Albert! =)

  10. flipnomad 26 April, 2012 at 15:36 Reply

    very heartwarming post Andrea.. I agree with you and just like you… more than the travels and having money its the freedom to do whatever i want in my time that i enjoy the most now… I couldnt do that before in my past life staying in my office for more than 12 hours a day due to intense workload… i do hope that we all get to sustain this though…

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:24

      Time is the most precious gift we have, Flip – thanks for commenting! =)

  11. Stephanie - The Travel Chica 26 April, 2012 at 14:38 Reply

    Quitting a job and having the time to really think about what we want is a luxury I am glad I have had. I think travel helps open our minds up to the possibilities of what we can do, based on the people we meet, the entrepreneurial businesses we encounter, and the challenges and opportunities we see.

    I am hoping that I have some “downtime” when I finish the travels to reflect and also look for the right opportunities for me.

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:25

      Good luck, Stephanie! Glad to hear travel has opened your eyes to these things too =)

  12. Oneika the Traveller 26 April, 2012 at 08:10 Reply

    You are lucky to have such an opportunity! I moved to London six month ago to be with my partner, and also had a 2-month period where I was out of work. While I hated being unemployed at the time, I now realize that it was a great chance to contemplate what I really want to be doing work-wise. Like you, I also love the idea of working for myself. But I find myself hitting a wall and unable to think creatively! You are definitely on the right track, though, and inspiring this here traveller in London. Best of luck to you on your new journey!

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:27

      Good luck on your happiness journey, Oneika – sometimes just letting the brain relax and seeing a new place can give you all sorts of ideas! Thanks for sharing your experience =)

  13. Leah Travels 26 April, 2012 at 03:55 Reply

    My husband and I are comfortable financially and have made a conscious decision to not spend money on unnecessary things. It can be a difficult thing to do, especially as we get raises, bonuses, and things like that. Instead, that money gets invested back into us and not new cars or whatever. We’re much happier after adopting this mantra. Good for you and I wish you the best of luck.

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:28

      I think that’s a sound strategy – it’s important to live within your means and re-invest in yourself – great to hear that it’s working for you! =)

  14. Krista 26 April, 2012 at 03:50 Reply

    I’m grinning after reading your post because your thoughts echo mine in SO many ways. :-) The past few days I’ve been pondering dreams and goals, trying to put something down in writing that I can visualize, think about, flesh out, work towards. So yep, I do have some lovely dreams and bit by bit I’m working towards them :-)

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:28

      I’m so glad to hear that, Krista – you are so talented! Look forward to reading about your journey =)

  15. Andrew 25 April, 2012 at 22:59 Reply

    “hovering over computers most of the week under” the shade of a tree on a bright sunny day… this is my goal. :) Just don’t want to be in an office. Some form of this seems to be the driving force behind a lot of bloggers. We can make it work. Keep working at it and inspiring us too.

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:29

      I’m not an office fan either – good luck on the path to your goal too, Andrew! =)

  16. Alexa Meisler 25 April, 2012 at 21:47 Reply

    I do get why people just are fine with just settling and they can’t find the determination that you have in doing what you want. People are too caught up and what they need to get done rather than what they want. But I like where your head’s at. Just keep going with it.

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:30

      Cheers, Alexa! It’s tough these days but we have to make time for figuring out what makes us truly happy in life…

  17. Shanna Schultz 25 April, 2012 at 20:58 Reply

    In America, we are especially guilty of falling into the 40 hour a week trap (mostly because we think we need to have a big, expensive house that comes with a big, expensive mortgage that really is just a ball and chain that ties us down the the next 30 years of our lives to a job.) We give up our freedom too easily.

    My dream is to buy a piece of land and build our own home on it so that we can be mortgage free sooner rather than later. I would rather have a small little hut that is mine than a big ball and chain. If we work, I want it to be because we need money to do something that we want or to fulfill a dream, like traveling freely and easily, without worry of money.

    I love the idea in your post about being able to choose how you live each moment of your day, without having to worry about whether or not you have enough abundance. I am not into expensive things, either, and we will probably always be budget travelers at heart, but it would be nice to worry a little bit less.

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:31

      I think that’s a good plan, Shanna. We actually have a mortgage on a house and rent it out – hopefully soon it will pay itself off but those monthly ‘gap’ payments eat up a bit of our cash at the moment. Good luck with your plans! =)

  18. Jeremy Branham 25 April, 2012 at 20:31 Reply

    I like this idea. I wish I had more time to be entrepreneurial! Best of luck with the planning. Sounds like an awesome opportunity so I hope you make the most of it. Come up with ideas but also make the execution of those ideas count as well! :)

    • inspiringtravellers 27 April, 2012 at 09:32

      Of course =) A good idea is useless without proper execution. I think you have to make time if that’s what you want but can completely understand being too busy – we don’t have children yet…

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