I’m writing to you from Rome, where I’ve relocated for six
weeks. It’s not a long vacation. It’s an experiment in working. I’m hoping to
discover that I can spend my summer — when it is so hot in Florida — working
We live in a time when technology has so compressed time and distance that it is possible to leave my home on Sunday evening and be working in a terraced apartment overlooking the Tiber River on Monday morning.
With the help of LSF, I’ve got a complete office, including fax, photocopy, computer, and Internet access, on top of a small desk that sits in front of a window facing an old prison. My view is of antique ochre walls covered in wisteria and barred portals from which odd noises sometimes interrupt the otherwise happy (and happily muted) music of the city.
A person could get used to this. I’ve been here for only three hours, but already I can feel the tension ebb away. I’ll work like this
till 1:30 and then meet KFF and the rest of the brood at the little osteria we passed walking to our new apartment from the taxi stand.
After lunch, we’ll take a walk and step into one of the hundreds of churches that populate this ancient city. The edifice will be
nondescript, but the interior will be stunning: another baroque masterpiece of architecture, sculpture, frescoes, mosaics, painting, and woodwork.
In the late afternoon, I’ll force myself to do as the Romans do and take a siesta in our cool and shaded bedroom. Then back to work till dinnertime — 8 o’clock at the earliest.
It’s a good life here in Rome. The pace is slower than what I’m used to, but I have plenty of time and all the high-tech support I need to do the important things — or so I’m hoping.
Replanted in one of the world’s greatest cities, I’m going to test the waters and discover if one can, in fact, spend at least a few
months every year working in paradise.
Wish me success and pay attention to the details. Maybe this time next year, or the year after that, you’ll find yourself working from Rome or Paris or London. If you prefer a more relaxed environment, imagine a temporary office atop a mountain in Colorado or a hill in Tuscany or on the beach in Costa Rica.
Is it possible, really, to be able to pick yourself up and plant yourself down in some new and wonderful location? Can you do it at for at least a few weeks? A month? A summer?
I know people who have. I can think, for example, of several young writers who moved to New York City from Baltimore. What a great move that was! Can you imagine anything cooler than to be young and living in the Big Apple today?
JFL, a commodities broker, closed his Memphis office and moved to North Carolina — where he lives in the woods and works in a glass pavilion surrounded by trees. BB heads up AG publishing from Paris. DM runs his direct-marketing businesses from Miami. PH does his copywriting in a small town in Vermont. And BE runs his successful web-based business from Rome.
All of these folks have an advantage you may not have right now. They have jobs that give them a certain amount of geographical
flexibility. They are writers, brokers, graphic artists, and business owners.
If you are in the same happy situation, you can start your planning right away. If not, I’m going to tell you how to move quickly in that direction.
The big point is this: Some time in the not-too-distant future, you will be able, at least for a few weeks, to spend time working in a
beautiful, relaxing, rejuvenating environment. You will be able to enjoy a work life that resembles a vacation.
In the next few days, I’ll tell you exactly how to do that. I’ll tell you how to develop your career so that you’ll have more freedom. As a side benefit, I’ll tell you how to have more fun, expand your knowledge, and make more money at the same time.[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]