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

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!

  • http://twoweekstotravel.com 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

    Patrick,

    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.”