How 15 Years – and a New Career – Changed My Life

My wife Suzan and I used to get dressed to go to work.

No, really.

Although we’re writers and have been for most of our professional lives now, there was a time when we’d have to put on the nylons and skirts and ties and slacks and sit in offices for hours on end.

Flash back about 15 years. The clients we wrote for had Big Offices where they did Important Stuff that we would turn into brochures and websites and videos. And we’d often have to go to Meetings where we’d present Proposals and discuss Strategies and do Market Assessments, and when we did these things we’d have to Dress Appropriately.

Now flash forward to today. We’re still writers, but our work attire has changed dramatically.

There are days when we start writing in the morning and by dinner time discover that we’re still in our pajamas.

Unless we’re on the road, which we now seem to be more often than not. Then we’re in jeans and blouses and cargo pants and work shirts, either scribbling illegible notes in bounding Land Cruisers and careening motorboats or trying to transcribe those notes onto our laptops at hotel room desks and lobby bar tables.

What’s the difference between the days when we Dressed Appropriately and now?

The things we write about.

We used to write about center pivot irrigation systems and quadruple-redundant server stacks and cold-call sales scripts and funding goals for academic endowments.

Now we write about exotic and far-flung places to live and the people who live in those places.

We’re not saying one topic is better than the other. We often enjoyed writing about center pivot irrigation systems and quadruple-redundant server stacks and cold-call sales strategies and funding goals for academic endowments. Seriously. We might even write about them again someday—one never knows what’s around life’s next corner.

Likewise, we’ve made many a shaky-handed vow back at the hotel over much-needed drinks never, ever to get into another Land Cruiser or motorboat again. Ever. With anybody.

Until the next time, of course, because that’s what we do now. We just do it in more comfortable clothes than back in the day. Which for us…and for many of the expats we visit with and write about around the world…is the whole point.

And if you can sit in your pajamas on a hotel terrace on a fine tropical morning and write about the sunrise over the zocalo in Merida, Mexico, or the Green Flash at sunset on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast or the Independence Day party busses blaring through the streets of Quito, Ecuador, or the Fools’ Day Parade passing through the central Jardin in San Miguel de Allende…you probably should.

If you can arrange your life so that you can do what you enjoy in an exotic place and do it all day in the most comfortable clothes you have—even pajamas—why wouldn’t you?

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