From Lawyering to Surfing Via Escape the City

A long-time Escape the City reader named Kathleen finally decided to take a shot along with her boyfriend by responding to a job advertisement. She wrote this from the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.

Five years ago I was buzzing with excitement about starting my solicitor training contract at a big city law firm. I had worked so hard to get here and I was hoping my career choice lived up to my expectations… intresting work, international travel, great people. Two weeks into my training contract, I felt trapped. I told myself that life beyond a trainee must be better but the more I saw, the less I liked and the more I realised that it wasn’t for me.

After qualification I made the move inhouse in order to figure out if life was better outside of a firm. My work/life balance improved as my hours were relatively normal. However, I was bored, tired, stressed and unhealthy. I made the decision three years ago that I needed to plot my escape and to do this I needed to give myself options.Three years ago I decided to qualify as a personal trainer. Health and fitness has always been a passion of mine and I loved the course. I felt inspired by the people I met and I loved taking personal training clients on the weekend. I started writing my own blog on health and wellbeing as well as contributing to several magazines and blogs. I was so happy to be involved in an industry I loved and I constantly felt inspired by those around me. However, without any stable job opportunity I felt too nervous to completely leave the law behind. I continued doing too much and failing to escape the feeling that I was a hamster on a corporate wheel.

I had signed up to Escape the City nearly two years ago on the recommendation of a friend. I used to read the website daily but I could never bring myself to make that application. Everything changed in March of this year when my boyfriend and I decided to go for it and respond to an advert on Escape the City. He has always been a keen sportsman and he was equally frustrated with his corporate job. The job advertisement was posted by an eco-lodge on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and they were looking for a couple to help manage the lodge as well as teach yoga and surfing. So one night after work we sent off our application. The owners responded several weeks later after we had convinced ourselves that we hadn’t got the job. We had several more sleepless weeks and two Skype interviews with the owners of the lodge. At the end of April, we found out we had got the job. The next day I resigned and I felt a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I no longer felt trapped.

We had never been to Nicaragua before and knew nobody there, so moving was a risk. I am writing this blog from the bar of the Buena Vista Surf Club in Nicaragua (www.buenavistasurfclub.com). I feel like a different person and I am so happy we took that risk. We sleep well, we eat well and we feel amazingly happy and healthy. Several mornings a week I teach yoga on the deck which looks out to the Pacific Ocean. My boyfriend teaches surfing and I am learning to surf. We cook for the guests and I have learnt to cook delicious meals from scratch with locally sourced ingredients. There is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and little processed food available so our diet is super healthy.

Apart from the delicious food and active lifestyle, the lodge is a friendly and social place. We have made some lovely friends and had so many laughs with our guests. The more time we spend here, the more I realise how unfulfilled I was as a solicitor. Life is good and we are planning on staying in Nicaragua long term. I am so grateful to Escape the City for helping us to escape!

  • Paula

    This is amazing, I feel like I am reading about my future! I too feel there has to be more to life than my corporate job and I read the ESC emails/opportunities but have yet to apply for any…I recently decided to take my YTT while my husband completes his apprenticeship and then we are off for a sabatical in 2014. I keep thinking maybe we’ll find an opportunity like you have and create a new life overseas! Maybe we’ll see you at Buena Vista Surf CLub one day!

  • Susan Yule

    Great guts! Great story!
    I’m scared its too “late” for me to do this kind of thing. I’m 60 he’s 62. I’m an organiser. He’s a med doc.We aare young and fit.
    You inspire me.
    Forever grateful.

  • Julie Freudiger

    Hi Kathleen! We just met two weeks ago in Buena Vista Surf Club – me and my boyfriend Thomas (from Switzerland) stayed there for three nights during our surf trip through Nicaragua. I asked you how you had found your job in Nicaragua – and you told me about escapethecity.com… Yesterday we arrived back in Switzerland, and I was right now looking to escape for real. How funny the first blog here I read is from you! Thanks for the great time in Playa Maderas and for the inspiration 😉
    I hope you and Jordan have a good time in Nica and I wish you all the best for the future. And who knows, maybe we’ll see us again…
    P.s. Greetings to Mark and Marielle!