How to quit your job and do what you really want to do (even if you don’t know what it is!)

I often receive emails from people looking to make a major change, inspired by my move to Marrakech.  You see, three years ago I made the decision to give up on my unfulfilling position and just follow my dream.  Wow I was scared.  I remember telling a friend my plans.  Hearing the words come out of my mouth made the decision official.  But I was SCARED!  I started telling others about it.  And while some were supportive, others told me they could never do that. Some were sure I would fail.  And others who just couldn’t understand why I’d give it all up.

So this blog post is dedicated to those who are willing to make the leap.  And follow their dreams.

Be strong
Telling people that you’re moving to a developing country may be met with shock, amazement, and those who just do not understand.  And never will.  They will tell you that of course you can do something ridiculous like that because you may not have kids, a house, a car payment, you’re healthy and do not need health care benefits, or even a pension.  Well they are just making excuses.  They wish they could do what you’re doing.  Look at these people as encouragement. You know what you want.  And don’t want.  (And it’s probably not their life.)  After all, if things don’t work out, you can always go back.

Be prepared
Bad days happen where you may live.  Good days happen too.  But not every day will be a good day.  The appeal of an exotic location may lose its appeal quickly once moving there.  When I was on vacation in Morocco, the Wi-Fi worked everywhere and we always had hot water.  In short, the Butagaz never ran out and I had no idea that hot water involved getting someone to lug the heavy bottle of gas up five flights of stairs to my apartment and hook it up just to take a hot shower or wash the dishes.

New ideas. New cultures. New interests.  A new way of life.  I suddenly developed an interest in textiles, architecture and Islam.  Because you’ll be fascinated by your new surroundings, the people you will meet, the lifestyle and the stories you’ll hear.  Through these new interests, you may find ways to incorporate this into a possible career/way to make money.

Be creative
Teaching English isn’t the only option for living abroad. Do a personal skills inventory. Be open to new ideas. Discover new interests. Do something you love.  I have been called on to write articles, assist with photo shoots, buying for fashion designers.  I also work as a freelance writer on various projects, tasks that can be completed from anywhere.  Computer, Internet connection and Skype and I’m all set.  From Marrakech I interviewed a scientist who works two kilometres below ground on a physics project in Sudbury Ontario and the story appeared here.  I’ve also contributed to A Curated World. Writing is a passion, and thankfully I can freelance.

Look forward
The first few weeks and even months may be filled with uncertainty. Feelings of doubt, loneliness and frustration may take over. There were times when I could have stood on the rooftop terrace of my riad shouting, “what have I done with me life?” (Today it’s more of a “why me?!”)  But remember, you left for a reason. Something about your life wasn’t fulfilling. Things will always look better in the rearview mirror.  But remember to be strong.  Things will get better.

Get used to a new way of life
I left Canada because of the consumption culture and a society that is obsessed with mobile phones rather than spending time with real friends.  Here in Morocco I live with little.  Ok, that’s changed a bit now, but I prefer to spend my money on experiences rather than a closet filled with shoes.

For more blog post/inspiration about making the move, read my posts from August 2010 to January 2011.

xo Mandy


Summer theatre at the Stratford Festival

It’s one of my favourite things to do. Live theatre.  With no chance for a retake, live theatre provides the perfect opportunity to witness extremely talented actors and actresses in action. In beautiful costumes. On imaginative sets.

And the Stratford Festival is one of my favourite places to experience live theatre.

So this year I picked up tickets to two performances.  You see, we don’t have a lot of live theatre in Marrakech, so I had to see as much as possible.

First up, Romeo and Juliet.  Though I was very disappointed by the dull set, mediocre costumes and empty theatre, the acting was worthwhile.

Then the next night I settled in for Mary Stuart.  Hands down one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen (after Chilena Kennedy in West Side Story in 2009).  The entire cast was brilliant.  Gorgeous costumes.  Perfect lighting. An amazing story. Themes of deceit, power, mercy and freedom throughout the three-hour performance.

And my favourite quote, “Don’t pay for anything with everything”.

It’s no wonder that tickets are nearly sold out.  Check it out, and, if possible, don’t delay in purchasing your ticket!

Stratford Festival
Stratford, Canada