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Today, Eiso and I went for a walk and ended up on a bench in the Presidio where we had the most beautiful view over San Francisco. Sitting there made me fully appreciate how much I will miss San Francisco when we are back in Amsterdam. I will miss the views, the huge parks where you smell the trees even though there’s a busy road only a few meters away. I will very much miss the coffee bar around the corner where they serve the best Almond Cappuccino (and where I am sitting now, typing this).

But what I will miss most is the way I feel here. San Francisco makes me fully appreciate the fact that everything is possible. Living here, meeting the people I’ve met and seeing the shops, restaurants and businesses I’ve seen, has made me realize I can earn my money in pretty much any way I can imagine. So many people here seem to be living their dream. And mine!

Before, I was perfectly happy with my 9-6 job working for ministries and the Amsterdam municipality. My work was interesting, diverse. I did things that were in line with my talents and I felt appreciated. All the things a great job should have and I never thought about leaving it: where else would I find a job just as nice?

I never realized fully that it is possible to approach work from a completely different perspective: as something you can form around your lifestyle, and not the other way around.
In San Francisco, I have seen the most creative combinations of work, hobby & passion: being self-employed, running a business or several of them and working from home. One woman I have met is in private equity and she’s also a successful jewelry designer. She works from home (as does her husband), seems to be spending more time in the park with her kids then I do and lives in one of the best neighborhoods of the city.

Nobody here seems surprised when she tells this, because most people have similar work-life-styles.
Everybody seems to be working flexible hours. Going along with the flow.
And that is exactly what I want for my coming ‘job’. I want it to be my passion. I want it to feel not like work, but like fulfilling my life’s purpose.

Living here made me see that if all these people can make a living by doing exactly what they like to be doing, so can I. There is absolutely no reason why a blow dry bar on Fillmore street would work (Yes, really! They only blow dry hair. No cutting involved. And it’s always busy), and my biz in developing leadership wouldn’t. Realizing this really helps me to keep my new year’s resolution to silence my lizard brain.

Of course, I could have come to this conclusion in Amsterdam. There are tons of inspirational people and business there as well. I think why I only started to see it when we moved to San Francisco, is because of two things: first, living in a new country opens up your heart & mind like nothing else does. The last few months I absorbed tons more than I would have in a familiar surrounding, digesting it and coming up with an amazing amount of things I would like to do with it.  And second: the people I know here all seem to be doing it, so it’s perfectly normal. It seems to be an exception if you have a ‘normal’ job. That realization created a whole new mindset for me.

Being here for the past months has been a huge inspiration. My head is spinning with so many ideas that I don’t even have enough time to do them all at once – and I love it!
My challenge now is of course to put all – or at least a reasonable amount – of these ideas into action.
And to keep my heart and my mind wide open when we’re back in Amsterdam.

In the comments below, I would love to hear your experiences with moving to another country or any other major change for that matter. What tips do you have to keep the groove, after things get back to normal?

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