“Why are you selling your island?”

Since our episode of "Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild" aired on Friday night we have received so many emails and messages from people via social media.

It would seem that most people thoroughly enjoyed the show, and it would also seem that we have inspired quite a few people to think about the life they are currently living and the path they perhaps would really like to follow.

The messages have been extremely supportive and positive, but a common question keeps coming up, so rather than trying to answer each individual in a 140 character twitter message, I thought I’d try to give a more in-depth answer here.

In April 2013 I decided it was time to move on to life’s next adventure, so put my little island home up for sale. At that time I had just completed my second book, “Paradise Delayed”, which chronicles some of the more challenging aspects of buying and developing a small Caribbean island off the coast of Panama.

I have lived a life filled with challenges, usually by choice, sometimes forced upon me by the vagueries of life. When tackling new challenges, chasing new goals and experiencing new adventures – that’s when I am at my happiest.

I have been living in Panama for almost three years now, and have lived on this little island for over two of those years. I have solved most of the problems – I still have to empty my own composting toilet if Ben isn’t here to do it for me – that’s one issue I’d still like to solve!

I have overcome all of the challenges, and life is pretty easy here now.

The house is comfortable, we have a wonderful circle of friends, we have an easy routine, the weather is pretty benign, we have no real security issues, and best of all, Vanessa and I recently met and formed a wonderful partnership.

Not long after we met we were approached by Renegade Pictures, who produce the Ben Fogle show for Channel 5. Would we be interested in being part of the second series, they had wondered?

At that point the island was already up for sale, but of course for the purposes of the documentary they didn’t feel the need to make any mention of this. The documentary was filmed in late October 2013, and days after filming completed Vanessa and I flew to Europe, where I had been invited to speak at a TEDx event in Vienna.

The talk I gave explains much about my beliefs and my approach to life, and probably give as good an explanation of why the island is for sale as this blog post does:

One of my current goals is to do a lot more inspirational speaking. Since the end of my two year “100 goals in 100 weeks” journey between 2008 and 2010 – see my first book “A Life Sold” – I have often been told that many people find my life choices very inspiring. Since the TED talk, which was very well received by the audience of 900 people, I really feel I could do more to help or inspire others to change their lives, should they wish to.

The TV show also demonstrates that people find my choices about the life I lead appealing.

Vanessa and I also have many more goals we would like to achieve, some individual ones, many shared. Most of those can’t be achieved by staying on our little island. I turned fifty last year, which brings about an awareness of the precious shortness of life. If we are to continue to achieve our goals we need to continue to move forward through life.

At this point we are financially unable to both keep the island and to head out on further travels and adventures. Life is all about choices and sacrifices, and to gain something new you generally have to sacrifice something else.

By selling the island Vanessa and I will be able to continue our journey together, experiencing new challenges and adventures.

Our current plan, when we do sell, is to travel to the States, probably Texas, buy an older RV (motor-home for those in the UK) and travel the USA. There are some beautiful places to see, some great people to meet, and lots of adventure to be had.

I want to get back into doing some skydiving – I have missed that badly over the last three years – I had to sacrifice that to live on the island. Vanessa wants to see the Grand Canyon and get back into scuba diving. I hope to do some speaking, either for colleges or businesses.

In conclusion then, we are selling our island to move on to the next part of life’s adventure. We aren’t selling, as some more negative people have suggested, because something has gone wrong, or because it isn’t nice to live here. We will be very sad to leave, but we will be just as excited to enjoy new adventures.

What do you want to achieve with your life, and what might you have to sacrifice to do that?


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