It Really Is That Simple: How I Quit The Life I Hated And Built An Empire Doing What I Love

Ali Kaukas
Ali Kaukas

I drove through customs a few weeks ago on a surf trip and the woman at the border asked,

“What do you do?”

“I’m a poet, a writer, a coach and a director”, I replied.

“And you make a living off that?” she said, shocked, eyeing my shiny jeep wrangler.

I smiled gently.

“Yes, I do.”

I have created a career and a business out of what I love.

Some days my office is in the Presidio of San Francisco, looking out at the palace of fine arts, a hammock in Barbados, and other days it’s in a sleepy town in Costa Rica.

On long days I put in 3-4 hours of work and then it is just the sound of wax of my surfboard and my body hitting the ocean.

I work wherever there is Wi-Fi—and I travel and live in places that give me joy.

I believe that all areas of our lives should be authentic—not only our careers but also the cities we choose to live in, the cars we drive, the homes we live in.

How we do one thing is how we do all things, and I have tasted authenticity in my business and there is no settling anywhere else.

I choose lifestyle, especially in where I live—choosing surf, sunshine and warm non wet suit waters to be in.

A lot of people are shocked I make a living as a poet in 2016, and many people are confused as to how I just work and live from Costa Rica.

I hear a lot in the comments section of my social media, “Not everyone can” “You’re just lucky”

“It’s because you’re pretty” “You must have rich parents” “You’re incredibly fortunate” “You’re a unicorn” and my favourite so far, “Shit just isn’t that simple”.

Well, I am here to say shit really is that simple.

Doing what you love, is simple.

What do you think I did before living in Costa Rica and going on surf trips with my Jeep Wrangler?

Shit I hated.

I served and bartended for countless years.

I sat in a suit and sold condos for a developer in Edmonton in a show suite office.

I lived in places that did not give me joy, and I worked jobs that stole the life force from my bones.

A wise man once said to me, “Janne, whatever feels heavy—just let it go.”

Three years ago, I let a lot go and I made a choice to do what I love.

I built my business from the ground up.

I cleaned up caterpillar poop at a butterfly garden for food and board when I was making the first peanuts off my writing.

I chose no to kids.

I chose no college and university debt.

I chose no mortgage.

I’m sick of hearing people say, “Not everyone can” and shorting themselves the experience of being successful at what they love.

I am tired of the excuses we make to stay locked into things we have outgrown or never wished to be in in the first place.

This isn’t a dress rehearsal for life.

I walked out on what didn’t give me joy to make space for what does, and everyone else has two feet that move just like mine.

I am not a unicorn; I am a woman who refuses to live anything but an authentic life. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Janne Robinson

Follow me on Instagram for more updates and writing and buy my book, This Is For The Women Who Don’t Give A Fuck!

More From Thought Catalog