I’ve often dreamed of living abroad, even for a brief stint. The problem was, I couldn’t make the numbers work. If I was locked into an apartment in Chicago, it would be too expensive to float two rent payments while I gallivanted overseas and stuffed my face with fresh cheese. Plus what would I do with all my belongings?
I kept pushing off my timeline —
“I need to focus on building my consulting business for the next two years...”
“If I’m 35 and still single...”
“If I haven’t started a family by 40...”
If I kept waiting for all the stars to align, I would never realize this dream. Last November, I was walking into the bank to cash a final check from one of my biggest clients when I received a message from my landlord — she was selling the apartment. Within a week, my life was turned upside down. I no longer had a major project physically tying me to Chicago (I was running an event space at the time), and I had no choice but to move from an apartment I loved (it was a bright and charming century-old schoolhouse). I knew I needed to seize this opportunity, which set in motion the planning for a 78-day trip across Europe and Morocco.
I had a tiny revelation: F my timelines. As long as I’m equipped with a laptop and access to good WiFi, I can build my consulting business from anywhere. The key was full transparency upfront with new and existing clients about my travel plans. I was initially worried about how they would react to the news, but every single person saw it as a non-issue. Plus, with technology like Slack and Zoom, it will be easy to stay connected when I’m seven time zones ahead.
So I did the math (a recurring theme you’ll hear from me). When you factor in transportation (yay for credit card miles), Airbnbs, travel insurance, and storage costs, but subtract out rent, a gym membership, and utilities, I expect to be living cheaper abroad (if I can keep my gelato budget in check...).
As I write this post, I’m flying over London on my way to Rome -- a true testament that you can really work from anywhere. This adventure begins in Italy, with 1-2 week stops in Dubrovnik, Prague, Budapest, Lisbon, Morocco, and Spain. After years of dreaming and months of planning, I’m actually doing the damn thing. It feels like a big leap, but I’m excited for what’s to come.
P.S. -- If inviting doorways and charcuterie boards are your jam, you can follow along this journey over on Instagram (@colleenpratt) where I'll be posting more regularly.