When I heard of the whole location independent, remote working trend back at the end of the last Millennia I was drawn to it like a bee to a honeypot. I had already found work whilst abroad, becoming a scuba diving instructor, making underwater video, welding in Hong Kong, but the dream was to be free of location with the ability to come and go whilst making enough to live.
I am not sure where the desire stemmed from, perhaps growing up with the influence of an uncle who lived abroad made my feet itchier than a pair of hairy pants, so I wanted to make a map of the world, see the bigger picture, hence I have been luck to have seen so many wonderful places.
I’m still out of the country I was born in, living now in the middle of the Atlantic on an island that has volcanoes, hot spring pools and black sand beaches. The need to go somewhere new is less strong; I found after a while that seeing the world with someone else is more fun, but rather than permanent travel we have settled on our island to, there are so many things to see in close vicinity, that there’s less need to get on a plane to some other place.
Many of the things that attracted me to travel were rather chimerical; freedom is a personal thing that can be found or lost no matter how tied we are to a certain place. It is useful to be able to work on the move, but you need to be very organised which can at times outweigh that mythical freedom I longed for. One example was when I was living in India, I had a hut on the beach with a view of the bar where I could ask for a beer when needed, good food, but the time difference meant that I was working through the evenings whilst the people around me were meeting up. I was grateful to have the work and I had a lot to do during the day, but that mythical freedom will always be a little farther up the road when we yearn for it, because it is merely our desires that tie us down and we can never fill that bowl up. Here’s a Sufi story about that bowl!
A king was coming out of his palace for his morning walk when he met a beggar. He asked the beggar,“What do you want?”
The beggar laughed and said, “You are asking me as though you can fulfil my desire!”
The king was offended. He said, “Of course I can fulfil your desire. What is it? Just tell me.”
And the beggar said, “ Okay if you insist but on one condition..so think twice before you promise anything.”
The emperor had seen many beggars – but beggars with conditions? And this beggar was really strange, a very powerful man. He was a Sufi Mystic. He had charm, a charisma, his personality had an aura. Even the king felt a little jealous. And conditions?
The emperor said, ” What do you mean ? What is your condition?”
The beggar said, “It is a very simple one. You see this begging bowl?
I accept only if you can fill my begging bowl absolutely.”
It was a small begging bowl. The king said, “Of course. What do you think I am? I cannot fill this dirty small begging bowl ?”
The beggar said, “It is better to tell you before, because later you can get into trouble. If you think you can fill, then come start filling.”
The king called his vizier and told him to fill to fill it with precious stones, with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Let this beggar know with whom he is talking. But then comes the difficulty. The bowl was filled, but the king was surprised- as the stones fell into it, it would disappear. It was filled many times and each time it was again empty.
Now he was in a great rage, but told the vizier, “Even if the whole kingdom goes, if my all treasuries are emptied, let them be- but I cannot allow this beggar to defeat me.”
And all the treasures, it is said, disappeared. By and by the king became a beggar. It took months. And the beggar was there, king was there and the whole capital was there and everybody was wondering what was going to happen, what would happen in the end.
Everything was simply disappearing. Finally the king had to fall at the feet of the beggar and he said, ” Forgive me, but before you leave just tell me one thing. What is the secret of this begging bowl? All has disappeared in it “
The beggar started laughing. He said, “It is made of human ego, everything disappears in it, nothing ever fulfils it.”
So meanwhile…I am living on a little island where there is little work so I need to get back to my roots and work remotely again, I’ll keep this blog updated with my efforts!