Faith Hill founded Spark Escapes in 2015 after a long career in media, working on brands such as NME, Marie Claire, Look and Wallpaper*. She is now on a mission to help people quit the rat race and design the life that they have always dreamed of having. She is a Master Practitioner in NLP and a Life Coach.
In 2012, I took the biggest leap of my life and quit a 15+ year career in media. London had provided me so with so many little pleasures during this time but I became jaded with corporate life and I longed for something different.
I still cannot believe I quit; I had an amazing job with one of the biggest UK magazines but something was missing and the urge for change was impossibly strong. I booked a one-way ticket to India – clearly, my Eat, Pray, Love moment – to see what was next for me.
After visiting many countries in Asia and meeting incredible people, I knew that returning back to London full time was not on the cards. For years, I’d harboured a dream of running events and workshops to help people design a new life, away from the daily grind, doing something different; so I decided to take another big leap and go for it.
Going for It
In 2015, I started Spark Escapes, offering coaching sessions and inspiration events and workshops to help people to quit the rat race. The business began in London and I now run it from the tropical island of Koh Phangan in Thailand.
This place is very special to me. I found it in January 2013 whilst travelling around Asia. ‘My place’ is in the remote south east corner of the island where there are no cars, ATMs and just one small basic shop. There are three beautiful bays within walking distance of each other and a community of likeminded people who spend a couple of months a year here, enjoying its beauty and serenity. We talk, share, grow and dance together.
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
Moving my business here felt scary but possible. Knowing that I had quit my career and the world didn’t implode gave me confidence to shift my business and home to this remote place on the other side of the world. I live in a beautiful wooden house between the beach and the jungle with breathtaking views across a bay. I work from home most of the time but also from cafes in the area or on the rest of the island. I had to consider many factors when planning my move but here are the key ones which you may relate to too:
Electricity and wifi
These two very important factors were at the top of the list given I wanted to run Spark Escapes and experience a laptop lifestyle. Most places in Asia have wifi these days but it can go down at times, leaving you stranded offline. I used to rely on wifi at resorts and cafes but I now I have a local SIM card with 4G which is accessible 99% of the time. It also means I can work at home without spending money daily on coffee, juices and eating out just to justify me being sat at a table for hours.
Being inspired on a daily basis spurs me on. Nature inspires me so the jungle and beaches here provide so much inspiration every single day. I also vibe very strongly off other peoples’ energy and I love connecting with other digital nomads who live a similar lifestyle. However, I will put my hand up and say I do miss the buzz of city life at times. London is chaotic and crazy but as a digital nomad, it offers so much; there are so many active entrepreneurs everywhere, ideas and connections to be had and events to attend. I have recently decided to visit home twice a year now instead of once to feed my energy and inspiration and to meet new clients.
Shifting from employment to running my own business gave me many benefits with the top one being in charge of my daily schedule and working hours. At times, I work full tilt but I can get distracted easily by the beach and community activities. I’m still working on finding the best balance.
I run a 121 private coaching retreat which sees me working with one person solid for 5 days to help them design their new life. They stay nearby and enjoy everything I love here. They may not
want to move abroad like me, but this place provides so much inspiration and headspace that they are empowered to overcome their fears and make a change back home. It’s my favourite way to spend my time!
Costs of Living and Running a Business
Needless to say, Thailand is much cheaper than London. Having said that, I have picked one of the most expensive areas to stay but it is still much more cost effective for me to be here than back home. Accommodation, meals, transport, technical repairs; everything fares better in Asia. My company is registered in the UK; I conduct my business and collect monies there plus I pay my tax there. I just activate everything from my laptop in a different location.
Unless you’ve been in a box forever, you’ll know that the UK weather doesn’t have the best rep. Thailand is sunny most of the year and getting a daily dose of vitamin D does wonders for my health and wellbeing (plus I love rocking a tan). Monsoon comes for approximately two months a year and I actually enjoy this time as it feels like a novelty to me nowadays. It’s a good time for holing myself up at home to write and prepare new ideas for the coming year. And when the sunshine returns, it’s like starting afresh again.
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