Post image for Story time: ‘I could never quite get a grip on what I really wanted to do – it frustrated me.’

Story time: ‘I could never quite get a grip on what I really wanted to do – it frustrated me.’

by Adele on May 23, 2012

Gather round, folks. Patrick Richmond of Secret Compass shares his inspiring story directly here.

Surely, there must be more than this?

I’d studied law and qualified as a solicitor before realising that the 9-to-5 was not really for me. I could never quite get a grip on what I really wanted to do and it really frustrated me.

My search got going at the end of 2008: I now know that a lot of it was aimless searching on the web, looking for my perfect job.

Fast forward two years of further aimless web wandering and feeling totally unsettled, when I stumbled across Escape the City.

It was a moment of clarity for me – here was a forum where there were others exactly like me, who knew there was something else, but could not quite put a finger on what that was.

There was a “Heroes” section where people who had made the biggest leaps into wildly different careers were interviewed. I was hooked.

Escape to Mozambique

After a few weeks I spotted an advertisement: “Managers required for barefoot beach lodge in remotest Mozambique”. This was more like it – give me some of that.

I applied and got through the various rounds and eventually got the position.

I spent the next 9 months living, working and breathing life as a manager at an extremely remote eco-lodge in Mozambique. My time there was paradise and I am so glad I made the leap when people thought I was completely mad for doing so.

The return

I eventually returned and fell back into some legal work to keep the money coming in, and was finding myself becoming frustrated at finding myself back in the same old position.

I now realised that the only way I could be successful in any job/career would be to find something I had a passion for, so I narrowed down my searching to things I knew I would love to do.

This helped a little but I was still a little overwhelmed by what exact direction to take.

Round two

I found myself again looking at Escapethecity (since it had previously been such a great help) and I stumbled across this article.

Lev Wood was a former Officer in the Parachute Regiment. After leaving the army he decided that he didn’t want to find a “normal” job and that instead he would set up his own expeditionary company, enabling adventurous and independent-minded people to explore the most isolated and wild regions on the planet. This company became Secret Compass.

Joining Secret Compass

I immediately set about writing an impassioned letter about why I wanted to work for them.  I was asked to interview and was eventually offered a position as an intern.

Since joining Secret Compass I have developed expeditions to Ethiopia, Iraqi Kurdistan and Mozambique.

A couple of months ago an opportunity came up to head all things marketing at the company. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and also still go on expeditions, including a recent one to the stunning Zagros Mountains in Iraqi Kudistan.

I would not have been able to do any of this without the help of the team at Escape the City, so thanks to you all!

  • Liz

    Wow, this sentence really sums me up as well: I could never quite get a grip on what I really wanted to do and it really frustrated me.

    I feel the exact same way. I’m taking steps to fix it, but thanks for the story!

  • Monisha


    I can thoroughly relate. I have been lost and undecided about my next steps for a while – Escape the City has allowed me to hold onto my sanity, just knowing there are other people equally disillusioned with corporate life. Esc introduced me to Dave Cornthwaite and I have just returned from a 15 day sail 3000 miles across the Pacific. Hoping very much it translates into a longer term experience! Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Amit

    “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Previous post:

Next post:

Escthecity on TwitterEscthecity on FacebookEscape the City RSS FeedContact us Email
Website proudly hosted by Buckle Consulting