Ten months ago my husband Tom and I moved to the Yucatan Peninsula on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. We chose a house that sits on a beach overlooking a local fishing pier, where each morning we watch the fishermen catching bait in their nets before they head out to sea in their pangas (fishing boats).
Our house is great for both work and play. We have a large porch that overlooks the ocean; a courtyard with a pool, for when the weather isn’t perfect at the beach; and a casita—that sits separate from the main house—where I go to write each day. From there I get a view of the neighborhood and the coconut palm trees that grow everywhere.This morning I’m working from the porch instead of the casita. All I need is my laptop, my headset, and a cup of tea…the sunrise takes care of itself. It’s a great way to start the day, watching the light and colors fill the sky and seagulls dive into the ocean searching for food.
Usually my workday doesn’t start this early but for my first, and longest, freelancing client I make special arrangements. He is also an expat and lives in Hong Kong, so with the time difference there are days when my working hours are not the strict “nine to five.”
After we’re done, my dog, Jacks, will be ready for a walk and a swim. Tom and I adopted Jacks off a beach in Puerto Rico and like us he has never lost his love of the ocean. Each morning, we walk the beach for a couple of miles so we can hunt beach glass while Jacks chases his ball and body-surfs the waves.
Before becoming a freelancer, I worked in the corporate world for over 30 years. It was only four years ago that I decided to start freelancing full time. The freedom it has allowed me is incredible. Since I started, we have moved to two different countries, we can travel whenever we like, and we continually visit with friends and family.
I usually schedule myself to work four to six hours a day, four days a week—”schedule” is a loose term I use for setting up my day for a little work and a little play. This allows me time in the mornings for beach walks and breakfast with my husband before I get started. I can then finish early enough to have a glass of wine on the porch while watching the sunset. Freelancing gives me the freedom to base my schedule on what’s best for me.
But now it’s time to settle down and do some work. At least that’s the intention… It’s fascinating to watch the kids playing in the street while the wind blows through palm trees and clouds begin to build in the distance. I might just take a few minutes to enjoy the scene…after all…I set the schedule myself.