I enjoyed my 18 years working as a veterinarian. It was a stressful, demanding, but very rewarding career helping animals and their humans. The down side was that I had to be at a certain place, at a certain time, on a very regular schedule.
Now, I live in Mexico and work on my own time. Over the past year I have lived in two different cities in Mexico…one in Guatemala…and visited every country in Central America. I was able to spend as long as I wanted getting to know the places that I had become interested in over the years.
You see, I now write two to three articles a week for a veterinary “How To” website and a weekly article for a homemade dog food company. I also act as a consultant to several pet food manufacturers.
Most days still start with coffee, but that’s where the similarities end. I check my email to see what new assignments there are and I might work for two or three hours depending on the need and my mood. I can always do it later, but I usually like to get any work done early so that I have the rest of the day to myself.
I take a lot more days off now as well. Some days are spent riding bikes around the central square…or kayaking to a nearby island and exploring. I also have the time to volunteer with local veterinarians—one of the things that I love to do—while helping the local dog and cat populations.
Back when I was working full-time, my vacations were spent trying to pack as much as I could into a very limited amount of time. This meant barely scratching the surface of places that really caught my interest and left me with a huge desire to delve deeper. This was frustrating to say the least.
I wasn’t ready to retire, but I wanted to see what the rest of the world had to offer. What was it like to live in the places I had visited? I wanted to experience them as a resident and not just as a rushed tourist for two weeks at a time.
So I asked, “How can I do this?” Freelancing online was the answer.
What I discovered was that anyone could take the skills they had acquired and developed over the course of their career and turn them into a portable online income. This gave me the freedom and flexibility to live abroad and travel as I had always wanted.
The decision to leave the safety of my established career wasn’t made lightly or without some natural hesitation. Getting my first online job and paycheck, however, definitely made it easier.
I’ve been able to experience the culture as only one can do by living in it and I’ve made many amazing friends along the way.
I’ve always had a fascination with ancient societies. Now, I regularly get to explore Maya ruins, some that aren’t yet tourist sites. I’ve even learned to identify and use many of the medicinal plants, native to the area, in the same ways the Maya people did centuries ago.
Now I live my life on my own schedule, with none of the limitations and stresses that were present not so long ago.
In a lot of ways I still do what I did before. Now, I just do it on my own terms.
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