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chris stevens travel blogger surfer returning home

Trying (And Failing) At Retuning To ‘Normal’ Life

I’ve got a confession to make – I just spent 2 months in the UK working in an office job! I guess I should explain why and how I’ve failed at returning to ‘normal’ life after 3 years travelling the world!

This post has been sat in my drafts for a while now – I guess I’ve just not been sure when was the best time to share everything, in a weird way I guess I was a bit confused about the whole thing.

The blunt summary of it is that I spent July and August in the UK, in an office.

Yeah let that sink in for a moment – I’m as confused as you are!hahaha!

But I’m back on the road again now so what the hell happened?!


Back With Best Intentions

chris stevens travel blogger surfer returning home
From Surf Coach To Sales – With The Best Of Intentions!

Whilst surf coaching in Portugal I got a job offer I couldn’t really turn down – as the head of sales and marketing for surf company Ticket To Ride (who I’m actually out working with in South Africa right now!) – on paper it was a pretty perfect job for me and the culmination of all my experience in sales, blogging, surfing and travel.

So I jumped on a plane and left the beach behind to get stuck into the surf industry working for a solid company with some great products all over the globe – including Indonesia, Costa Rica and South Africa.

The plan was to stick at least 12 months, get heaps of awesome experience, make some new contacts and of course save up a solid pile of cash for my next stint on the road.

I could stick this, it’ll be nice to have a solid base and my family would be pretty stoked to have me around again – well in theory they would anyway!

However that plan soon turned into 6 months, then 3 months…and before I knew it after 3 weeks I’d handed my notice in!

To be honest pretty much all my buddies and family saw this coming – maybe not as quickly as it happened but I should’ve really seen the red flag judging everyones reactions to me moving home and taking a 9-5 office job!


So Why The Change Of Heart?

Now I have nothing against Ticket To Ride, or the guys I was working for, in fact the office was pretty good fun – a small team of surfers and I got to wander around the office barefoot which is always a sweet deal.

I’m still on heaps good terms with them and I now offer their products over at Epic Gap Year too which is awesome!


returning home from travel ticket to ride
Some Of Team TTRide Hard At Work!

However I quickly began to realise I’m no longer cut out for office work or to be honest the UK in general!

I was sending people out on amazing surf holidays with a massive taste of jealousy in my mouth that I was suddenly no longer on holiday myself!

I setup a blogger on one of their South Africa trips – (which actually turned out to be a bit of a mistake and I wish I’d chosen a bit more wisely, however their loss was my win as TTRide sent me out instead this month!) all the time thinking;

“I’m the perfect blogger for this trip, I surf, shoot and blog what the hell am I doing sending someone else!?”

Then there was the job aspect. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t go in completely naive but I guess there were some rose tinted glasses about getting involved properly in the surf industry. Unfortunately once you strip the surfing out of it it was simply another marketing and sales job!

It sounds obvious in hindsight but I thought it would be slightly more different than it was.

Despite the fact I’ve ended up being heavily involved with marketing and sales that’s not my main passion by a long way and spending all day doing it turned out to be a lot tougher than I expected.

I also realised how much I actually enjoy working for myself too and although it’s a heavy responsibility I’m actually far more motivated working on a handful of my own projects. I stumbled upon a quote which sums that up pretty well;

If you don’t work towards your own dreams you’ll spend your life helping build someone else’s.


Money Isn’t Everything

surfing cape town ticket to ride chris stevens
I’d Much Rather This Than Heaps Of Dollar!

One of the biggest things that made me take the job actually turned out to be one of the biggest deciding factors about chucking it all in for the nomad lifestyle again.

Everyone loves pay day right? It’s the best part of the month and people are always stoked about it, however upon seeing my first steady pay cheque drop in over 3 years drop into my account all I thought was “well that wasn’t worth it”!

The fact that it was by far the highest paid job I’ve ever had made no difference and I suddenly realised how much I truly value freedom over money. Blogging made me less than half the amount of pay (at best!) per month but it affords me heaps of freedom to travel, surf and enjoy life.

The more I analysed it the more I came to terms with the fact money no longer really motivates me, sure I need it to travel, but I don’t need a crazy amount – I’d much rather be life rich and cash poor.

I’d rather scrape along with enough money to get me from place to place, with few material possessions than splurge on mindless purchases, counting down the time when I can take my next 2 week holiday.


Too Easy To Settle

I also realised how easy it is to slide into a routine too. I was only home for a short stint but I quickly found myself caught up in an extremely monotonous routine. I was peppering work days looking at the surf cams and realised I’d confined myself to a box! I was spending my evenings not really being heaps productive, just trying to unwind and detach myself from the office.

I suddenly lived for the weekend again – the only time I could surf – and got increasingly frustrated by seeing rubbish swell reports and rubbish weather. Sure I cam back to the UK during a surprisingly hot summer but there’s no point it being 25 degrees outside if you sat inside the entire day, waiting until you can catch an hour or two of evening sunshine after the drive home.

Although I was in a routine I was simply caught in the motions, increasingly frustrated and watching the days pass me by. 

I also became very aware of how most of my buddies now live outside of the UK – how the people I talked to on a day to day basis were sprinkled across the globe. Some traveller like myself, others who I’ve met on the road who are now living in the likes of Sydney, Bangkok, Montanita…in fact during my time back in the UK I hung out with about 6 people.

It was another awakening to the fact I’ve spent the last 3 years making my life on the road, not in England.

I was chatting to people who were scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, surfing in Ecuador and building their blogs in Chang Mai. For the first time in a long time I was heaps jealous…and that always leave a bitter taste in your mouth!


Time To Hit The Road Again

table mountain ticket to ride epic gap year
On Top Of Table Moutain On My TTRide Trip

With all these thoughts running through my head I decided the only real option I had wasn’t to simply see if it would get better, nope in true Chris fashion I handed in my notice and started figuring out where to head next on the road, on my terms. Yup I hadn’t actually figured out the plan before quitting, I decided to have blind faith in my ability to adapt to the change in circumstances!

After all planning adventures is what I do best!

I left Ticket To Ride on good terms which I’m stoked for (they’re a great company to work for so go check them out) and I’m enjoying my time out in South Africa with them heaps – you’ve only got to check out my Facebook Page and Instagram feed to see how awesome their trips are!

So what’s the plan after blogging my way along the Garden Route from Cape Town to JBay?

Well my new site Epic Gap Year is gaining heaps of momentum which I’m massively stoked for and I’ve sent people from all corners of the globe on some incredible experiences that I’ve sourced during my time on the road, so I’ll be concentrating heavily on that.

chris stevens tara povey travel bloggers
Bring On Adventures With The Povester!

I’ve also still got a good backup fund in the bank account (I’m still not too close to the minimum panic level I set when I started a few years ago!) so I’m all good for another long stint on the road…hopefully!

And of course my blogging, surf coaching and photography are still good streams of income on the road which I can utilise as needed.

But the first plan of attack is joining forces with the girl as we head into Asia for a few months (I’ll divulge the details and locations pretty soon) and then the rough plan is that we’re New Zealand bound, but as always this is always subject to change!hahaha!

For now I’m embracing my return to life in the backpacker bubble, soaking up the sites and sounds and with a renewed vigour to sustain it for as long as possible.

The suns on my back, the sands under my feet and I’m stoked to see where my renewed direction takes me!

See you on the road!

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