Five years ago I left my secure public service job to become a tour leader on the Trans-Mongolian Railway. It was supposed to be a “career break”; ride the rails for two years and then return to Canberra to continue pursuing ever greater things in Australia’s public service.
As you may have gathered from my blog, that didn’t happen. My career break turned out to be something I absolutely loved doing and I have now led tours in 22 countries on four continents. In the past twelve months I have taken my passion to a new level and, together with Francis Wamai, have started a tour company in Kenya operating throughout East Africa. It’s exciting, scary, and joyous all at the same time. As with most star-up businesses, it has not been without it’s stresses, but Francis and I have committed to making OTA – Overland Travel Adventures a success. Being in charge of our own destiny is an extraordinary feeling and I simply cannot imagine returning to the world of being an employee. Not to say there is something wrong with being an employee; in fact there have been many times in the last year that I have wondered if my decision and my bullish stubbornness have been the right thing for my mental health, my financial situation and my physical aging appearance! I don’t have grey hairs yet, but I don’t think they are far away.
Mithra Publishing have put together a book called How To Escape Your 9 -5 And Do Something Amazing. While I do not claim to have done something so amazing (plenty of people work as tour leaders and plenty of people have started their own businesses), I was invited to write a chapter. The book will come out as an eBook next Saturday with the paperback version coming out two weeks later. It will be distributed via Amazon, iBooks and Kobo books. As I’ve never had my writing published in such a way before, I’m a bit excited about it, so that’s why I’m telling you – I don’t get anything out of it except my own inflated ego 🙂
So keep an eye out if you are interested in finding a way to escape your own rut and do something exciting. Moving to Kenya and starting a business might be a bit extreme, but I’m sure other contributors will have some other ideas that might be more sensible.