Matter of Perspective

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World Citizen, Ninja

The World Citizen moves to San Francisco

I had a pretty standard nine to five kind of life in London until I moved to San Francisco. Yeah, this was my third time I went to live in another country for a job, but it was still just a job. You wake up, get your coffee, drive to a fancy office building and do enough work not to get fired. Chances are you are right here in life or felt this way before. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super exciting to work and live in San Francisco, the sheer excitement of Silicon Valley was worth it. You can cycle through the Golden Gate any time you please, and enjoy a Giants game for cheap as I lived walking distance from the stadium.

I had a colleague, Robbie from the UK – where I also spent 4 years before moving to the US, who has been transferred to sunny California, and had a smile every Monday morning he came in. In fact, he always had a smile on! He was a cheerful guy, but there was something more to it, like an inner glow. As we had a chat over coffee, he explained how he and his family treat this work away from home situation:

“Think of it as a working vacation”

You do the same job you did in rainy London, except after work you are on vacation, and you can get to a sunny beach in 20 minutes.” He and his family treated this first year in San Francisco as a long, long vacation, they explored California as much as they could, did something new every weekend, while they were living their lives. Kids went to school, Robbie came to the office, and Mom got a job too. At the end of the first year, they were to do a vote at home whether they like California and stay longer, or they are missing gloomy Britain.

This chat with Robbie was a major “Ah Ha” moment for me. The office was no more gloomy and boring, as I knew my extended vacation awaits me as soon as I am done for today. I was driving home with a smile, enjoying the crazy traffic jams of the 101 highway, knowing this is not really my life, I can leave any time. This is my Working Vacation!

Working Vacation is great!

When you think of it, looking at your expat job gets infinitely better if you call it a Working Vacation!

  • You know this will come to an end sometime, so you can spend your days more consciously. Plan more vacation days, go into that Museum, get that fancy burger!
  • You are always in Holiday mode. This is just a business trip while you are at the office. You step out, and you are hungry for vacation pleasure!
  • You are NOT buying a house, there is nothing to tie you down.
  • You do get the convertible you always wanted. No one judges while you are on holiday!
  • You suck up more experiences, you do touristy things! You do take pictures and create memories.
  • As this is a finite period of your life, you are looking for the next step of your career, you are actively shaping your future!
Kayaking in Foster City, California on our working vacation

Kayaking in Foster City, California on our working vacation

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