Writing From Paradise: How to Work From Anywhere

Writing from Paradise: How to Work from Anywhere

I’m blessed to be spending three weeks here in Kauai, Hawai’i with my family.

My mom had spotted a fantastic deal (round-trip tickets to Hawaii from just over $300 from SF!) back in October and we all decided it was too good to pass up.

We knew my sister Carrie and the kids would be in Kauai until at least February before heading to visit Pablo’s family in Argentina, so we figured we’d make it a long enough visit to justify flying into the South Pacific.

Of course, it was also a great excuse to escape the frigid Northeast winters.

Surfing Family Posting from Paradise

We’d spent part of last winter in Kauai too. My nephew Nico was born here, and Carrie and Pablo had fallen in love with the “Garden Island,” which is geologically the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands.

With a population of only around 60,000 people on the whole island, and just a few major towns along the coast where we are staying (Princeville, Hanalei, Kapa’a and Lihue where the airport is located) it’s a little world onto itself. The Hawaiian islands are, as I recently discovered, the most isolated island chain in the world.

Beautiful Kauai

Kauai has mountains and cliffs, canyons and remote beaches, the stunning Na Pali coastline on the Northwest side of the island, as well as what one would expect of Hawai’i, including plenty of tropical flowers, palm trees and coconuts. More than seventy Hollywood movies and shows were filmed here, including some of the opening scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park.

Basically, it’s paradise here: green, tropical, sunny and in a perfect temperature zone year round (generally in the 80s Fahrenheit) with quick flashes of warm rain occasionally. It’s a mellow, laid-back lifestyle, and people visit or settle here to enjoy the beach and surfing life, the incredible panorama that nature offers here, the bounty of the tropics.

Tourism is not surprisingly the major industry in “Beautiful Kauai,” with more than 1.2 million tourists passing through the island each year.

Making Things Happen Even in Paradise

Although I knew these three weeks would include plenty of rest, relaxation and fun, I also have lots of work to get done while on the islands. It’s the beginning of the year, after all, and I have many goals to achieve for my life-coaching business and want to finally finish my first book. I’m also focused on my own fitness and wellness, practicing healthier eating and exercise habits again while I’m here.

I’m not going to miss out on having fun adventures every day, exploring parts of the island and playing with my niece and nephew. That said, I have to figure out how to fit in some time to work each day as well.

I realize that “figuring out how to get some work done while in paradise” is a very good problem to have! I’m happy to have it. And I’m figuring out as I go along how to keep myself moving forward on all fronts, while still enjoying the simple daily pleasures and bliss of being in a place as magically beautiful as this.

Role Models For Getting It Done!

My brother-in-law Pablo is a master of getting work done and still living life to the fullest in a beautiful environment like this Garden Island. He has tremendous powers of focus and concentration, and can work on his laptop while we prepare meals in the kitchen and the kids play in the living room, right next to where he sits on a high stool at a counter that divides the two rooms.

He’ll sometimes play latin or world music softly in the background, and we do our best to keep our voices at a reasonable pitch. The kids are used to “daddy working” so they let him do his thing.

Pablo and Carrie have managed to create this astounding life for themselves, in which they travel the world with their two beautiful young children, in large part because they have Internet-based businesses, and due to Pablo’s great discipline in being able to get work done every day, no matter where they are.

Over the past twelve years, they have lived in literally dozens of countries, usually for a few months at a time, including Costa Rica, Honduras, Spain, France, Scotland, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, Greece, Italy and of course Argentina, where Pablo grew up.

Taking Time Out to Relax!

Every day here in Kauai also includes surfing; usually Carrie, Pablo and the kids head to the beach at around 4 p.m. and Pablo gets a few hours of surfing in. Carrie works on the Internet on her own business ventures while Pablo takes breaks, and goes to yoga class a few days a week to unwind as well.

Normally when our family is not around Carrie and Pablo don’t have regular childcare, so they have to split childcare duties and get work done. Amazingly this all happens without having an “office” outside the home, or even working in cafes.

They keep a regular routine, putting the kids to bed at around 8 p.m. Pablo is often up between 5 and 6 a.m. to start working, and Carrie gets up with the kids when they wake up, usually around 8 a.m.

She’s in charge for the most part of the family meals, and loves experimenting with ways to prepare super-healthy food in delicious ways that are also fast and easy enough that she can manage cooking with two young children around.

It CAN Be Done!

I love it that Carrie and Pablo defy the concepts of what so many people say “can’t be done.”

So many people say they’d love to travel the world, but can’t afford it. Carrie and Pablo are very frugal and have always managed it on a budget. Others say they’d love to work from an exotic location, but don’t know how.

Finding or creating any business model that is Internet or phone based, or that you can do remotely, can make it possible.

Finally, people say you can’t travel when you have young children, and Carrie and Pablo have always defied this.

My Turn to Be Productive in Paradise!

Kauai Paradise Shot

I personally have found it somewhat challenging to do work since arriving here in “paradise,” and am figuring out how to make it happen for myself.

Skype calls with coaching clients tend to happen late at night, at around 10 p.m., since some of my clients are based in Europe and that means a 12-hour time difference now.

If I really need to focus on work, I leave and head to a cafe because it’s too hard for me to turn away my lovely little niece when she wants time with me, which she inevitably does during the rare periods when we get to see each other (of course, I am excited to see her as well).

I’ve made a commitment to exercise at least 1/2 hour a day as well while here in “paradise,” and have kept that commitment to myself.

I’m reminded by Carrie and Pablo’s lifestyle that anything really is possible, and that creating a lifestyle that works for you while doing work you love is possible.

How to Work from Anywhere

Some life coaches specialize in how to become successfully self-employed, like another life coach also trained by Martha Beck, with whom I am currently completing training. Her name is Pam Slim and her blog, Website, and book are called Escape from Cubicle Nation.

For anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a dream, it’s possible to find a way to create work that can be done anywhere. It’s then a matter of managing time and resources to make the lifestyle work.

I’m still in process in creating a fully “location-independent” life since I still do work for some clients based in the Northeast and spend time in their offices. One of my goals this year is to become 100% location-independent so I can live and work from anywhere, anytime.

This means continuing to build my own business and hopefully to finally finish and sell my book in 2o12! Lots of work to do, but I’m excited to have the chance to work on living my dreams. And, I feel incredibly lucky to be here in “paradise” working on those dreams now.

Let me know how you are doing on your dreams, and if this is one of yours (to be able to live and work from anywhere!) what are your first steps to make it happen?

Here are a few suggestions on how to work from anywhere:

1. Create a vision for your “ideal day.”
If you could live anywhere and do anything, where would you live? What would you do? How would you spend the hours of your “ideal day”? Capturing a vision that truly inspires you, and really seeing and feeling it happening, imagining it vividly, can be a first step in creating your “dream life.”

2. Hire a life coach!
Whether it’s Pam Slim, me or anyone you find on the Internet who meets your needs and with whom you resonate, when making a major transition in your life like this it can help to have a professional guide helping you through it.

3. Get in inspired action.
Taking action of any kind, whether it’s researching the type of business you hope to create someday, interviewing people who have done it, or working on your own business plan, will help move you in the right direction.

I will keep you posted on how my progress is going this year on “living and working from anywhere,” and I invite you to do the same!

Love to all from paradise!


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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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