I’ll admit it, I am concerned about this three part series sounding self-absorbed, but there’s a reason behind my potential ‘oversharing’.

I talk to a lot of people who have trouble seeing this truth:

You really can have pretty much anything you want.

Okay, if you want to become an astronaut then there are some pretty stringent requirements, but for most things in life a lot more is under control than you might realise.

I think we all know this at some level, but once we really internalize it our lives become much much more a product of our own design.

Rather than bumbling along and feeling stressed and busy and then noticing that life happened to us.

I’m going to show you what designing your life can look like by sharing three personal stories about big changes that I’ve created in my life.

Of course building a business is a HUGE change that I’ve made happen but what I find is there has to be a mental shift before you can think about starting a business. So I’m going to share some different stories that I hope will inspire and empower you to create big changes in your own life.

Those changes could be related to business, or something completely different. It’s all about stepping into a bigger version of your life and taking a more active role in designing it.

So does this mean I’m perfect?

No, of course not. I am always making new ‘designs’. At the moment my big project is losing 30 kilos of ‘new to Australian fat’. I’ll update you on that one a few months down the road, maybe ;-)

There’s nearly always something, but the point is if there is something in your life that isn’t serving you – truly dramatic change is possible.

Let’s go back in time to winter 2008

I’m living in Germany and it’s COLD. I am pretty sure I am fed up with German winters. I’m English so I’m used to winter being dreary, not negative temperatures and trudging through snow.

I have a great job but I know I don’t want to be doing this forever.

I feel like something is missing, and I feel like it’s been there for years.

In many ways I also feel like I shouldn’t complain because realistically I’m well paid, gets loads of vacation time, have great friends and an apartment I love.

But still something is missing.

I’m getting this dragging feeling like if I stay in Germany any longer (it’s been nine years already) I’m never going to leave.

And while I love where I live I’m not sure if I want to be there forever…

I’ve looked into changing careers several times and come up stuck every single freaking time because Germany requires me to training for several years for anything and it’s all becoming too hard.

And I definitely don’t like the cold.

Here’s my car one day with especially bad snow. It’s the furthest one away. Given that I don’t own a shovel, or winter tires, it’s staying there until the snow melts:

My car in the snow

(In full disclosure Germany has amazing summers, it’s one of the best places on earth to live, but it would seem I was ready to move on.)

I looked at moving to Holland or Belgium (I got excited about learning French) but nothing was ticking all the boxes.

Way back in 2005 I went to Sydney, Australia for two weeks to see if I wanted to move there and nope, I didn’t feel comfortable there.

It was too glitzy and I just felt like I didn’t fit in.

Meanwhile I’m in my mid thirties and my love life wasn’t really pulling together either. More on that in part 2 of this series.

So for a while I was kind of stuck.

I wasn’t completely satisfied in my job, my love life while entertaining kind of sucked and it was too damn cold in winter!

I was searching but not really finding any answers.

Then I got the piece of information I was looking for…

Apparently when I went to Sydney I did it all wrong – I should have gone to MELBOURNE!

Who knew right?!

Anyone who lives in Melbourne is now shouting “DUUUHHHH!!!! HELLO?!!”

Okay smarty pants! I literally had no idea.

The more I heard about Melbourne, the most European of Australian cities, the more I knew I wanted to live there.

So I set about getting a visa that allowed me to live and work there.

Fast forward to 2009

My visa is already in process, I’m that sure I want to go, and I’ve booked a trip to Melbourne to check it all out.

Meanwhile some of my friends are saying to me:

What are you doing? You have a great life here!

What if it doesn’t work out?

What will you do with the apartment you own?

Why would you change everything after you worked so hard to get to where you are?

What about your car? Your guinea pigs etc?

How will you see your family if you move so far away?

Happily I ignored this type of ‘helpful advice’ because let’s face it: logistics can be arranged and settling for ‘good enough’ is not what we were put on earth for.

Back to the trip. I visited a lot of places. And the place I fell in love with was The Dandenong Ranges which is a mountain range 40km from Melbourne. Here are some pics so you can get a feel for it:

The Dandenong Ranges V2

Fast forward once again to 2011

Once my visa was approved I moved to Melbourne.

But there were practically no rental properties in the Dandenongs, so I moved to Elwood, a beachside suburb, worked for a bank for a few months so I could get a mortgage and then…

Bought my dream home in the jungle. :-)


So what are the learnings here?

Sometimes it can take dramatic measures to get what you want.

BUT everything is achievable in baby steps.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Figure out where I wanted to be in the first place.
  2. Work out a way to be allowed to move there.
  3. Deal with all the resistance to change from people around me, personally and at work, and mentally stay the course.
  4. Be patient.
  5. Remember what I wanted in the first place and keep focus.
  6. Rent my apartment, sell my car, find a new loving family for my guinea pigs and assure friends and family that I would visit regularly.
  7. Pack up my stuff and arrange shipping.
  8. Book flight.
  9. Find temporary accommodation.
  10. Get a job.
  11. Get a mortgage.
  12. Buy and move into dream home in the jungle – yahooo!!!!

So while moving to other side of the world is kind of a big feat really it happened in 12 steps that most people could pull together if they were motivated enough by the end goal.

So what does that mean for you?

I wanted to live in a warm place that felt like paradise to me. It’s a pretty big dream and I had to give up a lot of certainties to get it.

Right now though as I look out over the tree tops on a sunny day is was MORE THAN WORTH IT.

So whatever it is that you want, no matter how big it seems, know that there is almost certainly a way to get there.

And maybe you can even break it down into something as simple as 12 steps.

The key is to have the courage to follow your dreams. <3

I’ll be back next week with Part 2!