Saxon Yuen gave up a job he loved to follow his dream. With one year and a lot of experience under his belt he’s back to let us know if we should all consider throwing our keyboards out of the window too…
About a year ago I quit, not only a promising career, but a job I loved. I waved goodbye to my friends and left my apartment, my city, my favourite Chinese takeaway – my whole life as I knew it – in order to travel and chase down a dream.
I wrote about it here and apparently it’s been a bit of a hit (thanks guys) so the masters of the blog have asked me for a little follow up. Am I still going? Is life still good? Did getting typhoid fever take the shine off the dream? Well if the title hasn’t already given it away completely read on and I’ll let you know…
At the time, giving it all up felt like the craziest, scariest leap I’d have to make if I was going to create a new career for myself in travel film making. In truth, even though I’d done my research and I had some kit, a film making partner, and a burning desire to make films about travel, there were to be no guarantees of success. I didn’t know if I was “following my heart” or just being a doofus.
It’s now one year on and I have the answer: both
But that’s not really important in this story.
The important thing is that I’ve survived an unbelievable year, supported myself with my passion, and seen one helluva lot of this heartbreakingly beautiful planet in the process. Together with my film-making partner Nicola, we’ve produced over 35 short films. In fact, STA Travel is featuring our favourite one right now. It’s a visual representation of our Epic Journey – 25,000 miles through 19 countries and 3 continents from London to Sydney. It took 11 months to produce (it’s a long way!) but you can watch it in just 2 minutes right HERE.
Looks like living the dream, huh?
Well I guess it kind of was. When I’m 82, I’ll be boring the grandkids about the time I rode the Trans-Siberian and went husky sledding. Or the time I filmed Japanese snow-monkeys or shot a promo for a hop-on hop-off bus journey through Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.
I’ll tell them about how I found my mojo filming learn-to-surf sessions at a secret Aussie surf spotand I might even admit to a tear of exaltation in my eye from watching the sun rise over an empty, blood-red desert on an incredible campervan road trip through the centre of Australia.
So would I say that I’ve“made it”?
Hardly. All that stuff sounds amazing – and it is – but it’s also really hard work if you’re genuinely making a career and a business out of it. You’ll understand this when you hit a deadline and it’s your 3rd attempt at uploading a client’s new film and it’s at 98% and the power goes out and you haven’t slept or showered properly in 2 days and you know the bus leaves again at 5am but you don’t know where you’re staying tomorrow night and you’ve just lost your last 3 meals and you’re desperate to find a loo roll because you just caught typhoid fever…well, you get the idea. *
But I’d say by far the hardest part of the whole thing has been the uncertainty of it. Not knowing where tonight’s bed is, not knowing where the next project will take us and worst of all: not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from. Of course this can be very exciting, but after more than a year of living moment-to-moment from a backpack, it’s also very, very tiring.
But then, if I didn’t love all this stuff, I would’ve just stayed at home and had a nice box of takeaway chicken chow mein.
But I didn’t stay at home. Instead, I took a path that’s led me here. The knowledge that I’m not just settling for the convenient option but plunging head first into the crazy swirl of life, searching for what I really, whole-heartedly want to do with my limited time on this planet, keeps me going and makes me smile every day.
This very moment I’m typing to you from a town in Northern Australia, not far from the Great Barrier Reef. We’re busy finalising the latest 17 promotional and instructional films for 4 awesome travel companies, and our next confirmed project takes us to Cambodia and Myanmar next month. What a life.
So would I recommend it to you, this “giving-it-all-up-to-travel-the-world-and-follow-your-dream” malarkey?
Well that’s not really something I can help you with. Only you know your dreams, passions and abilities. What I can say with absolute certainty is that when you’re ensconced in your comfort zone, surrounded by your friends and family, your boss, your deadlines and your favourite coffee shop, some things that seem completely out of your grasp are actually very, very possible. Maybe you just need to make that leap to find out? Let me know how you go.
*(This actually happened, by the way. Top tip: DO NOT forget to visit a travel clinic before you go)