No Fixed Address.
I suppose a good place to start is by telling you the true story of how this all got started. After all, all-in-all, this school is about storytelling —- but we’ll get to that.
It all started when (yes, really, let’s start that way…), I was a young, and rather successful, Spatial Scientist working in a very well-known London engineering consultancy, dealing with some of the largest projects in the world. I loved being a scientist, but working in a cubicle? I could give or take that. Having to be somewhere at 8.30 and competing to see who could be the last one to go home every night was a losing battle.
One day, my boss — an Australian chap in his late 60’s — called me into his office and said, “Sarah, one day you’ll be sitting in my office…” and I think the reality of a life lived like that hit me in an instant. I walked out for lunch and never went back.
I sold my house and started pottering slowly around the world with no real reason other than to just look around. Three years of doing that, countless adventures, a few mishaps — I couldn’t let go of the question about what to do next. What sort of adventure can you have once you have travelled everywhere? The answer came while sitting next to the harbour in San Francisco: Well, what do you do? I suppose you sail back around the other way.”
So, that’s what I did. I bought a boat, spent a year learning how to sail it, and then I did it. I began to sail back around the other way. Those days were some of the most wonderful and magical times of my life — until they weren’t. Not a tall tale at all, but I shipwrecked off a remote Mexican coastline, got adopted by a little town, and — with no visa to be in the country and no passport to get out —- everything I owned was sinking. If you want to hear more and have got a good hour, I tell more of the story in this podcast with Hayden Quinn. I think it’s worth the listen!
Anyway, sitting alone in my little shack on my little beach in Mexico, I started to wonder once again: so what’s next? What do I want to be when I grow up? I’ll never forget a good friend of mine once saying, “You should be doing for a living what you just love to do in your spare time.” It’s good advice so I decided to take it. Taking my scientist’s hat off, I popped a design student’s one on and, upon repatriation to Australia, enrolled back into uni as a mature aged student and dove into the world of design.
Jumping the story ahead. I became the owner of a beautiful little design and marketing studio, once again working for some of the biggest organisations around Australia and the world. But I’m back in my little grey cubicle and instead of battling for 8.30 - 5.30 this time, it’s nearly always sunup to sundown plus every waking hour of my life. Being the boss is a bit different than being the worker.
It’s there, though, that I started to study and dabble in interiors, houses, renovations, and styling — an arm of my business that was truly for the love of it and would become the greatest love of my life.
Like all good tales, here’s where the story turns from light to dark. Not long after, I found myself working on a tiny holiday shack I’d bought in far, far, far away Tasmania. Originally, I’d bought the little place just for myself but, as it goes, I suddenly found myself stuck owning a business I didn’t love, doing work I wasn’t in love with; in a marriage I wasn’t in love with, living in a town I wasn’t in love with. I needed a getaway from it all so, this little shack, at the end of the earth, on the far-side of the water, became it.
A few months into the renovation, in an instant my relationship and my health crumbled. Sitting alone with my laptop in a camp chair on the dusty floor, renovations all around, my current Plan A became Plan C. I fired every design client I had so I could focus on my health and my little holiday shack had to become —- overnight —- one of the most successful AirBnb’s on the planet to pay for it all.
And so with a lifetime of seemingly unconnected experience as a scientist, stylist, marketing expert, boss, traveler, storyteller, and hobbyist photographer, I called on friends I’d made along the way --- some of the best in the world at interiors, press, photography, social media, and tourism – and I did it. In three months. One of the most remote AirBnbs on the planet became one of the most successful. It floated me a six-figure income while I dealt with what I had to and, for that, I am forever grateful to my little shack by the sea.
So what happened then? Well, emails started to trickle in, others asking for help to do what I had done and so I started consulting. Soon they had the same level of success and then the emails started pouring in --- so fast I had to hire someone (Hi, Amanda!) to help answer them and keep it organized. Whomever wants help and wants to learn, I want that for them.
But I’m still a scientist and I had noticed that for everyone who had hired me, I was essentially taking them through the same process again and again. I had created a system that could be modified and adapted, unendingly, always producing rare and unique results. So I would take these people through the formula and I realized that instead of doing the work for them, it’s more efficient and can reach more people by teaching them how to do it. I tested this idea in a two day workshop, which sold out; then I did two more, which also sold out, and the graduates became roaring successes, not just with their properties, but their own creative lives. So, by demand, I held another four classes and added two styling-specific classes, which all sold out and then the wait lists started getting long.
And, now, here we are. By working one-on-one with so many individuals and by teaching so many beautiful groups, I have realized this is special. Beyond that, I have realized everyone who wants access to this course should have the keys to walk through. This is where the long story ends, for now: a world-wide course, accessible to everyone.
These days, I spend my life back where I started, with no fixed address, giving everything back that was given to me.
It is my greatest pleasure and complete honour to guide you, teach you, support you, make you laugh, and help you raise your own voice. After teaching so many, side-by-side, I know that you have something beautiful, unique, and perfect to say. I know you will start this class at one point and end up somewhere totally different than you thought you would --- and wherever you end up will be magical, successful, and life changing. I know you will tell your friends and the same thing will happen for them. One by one, I know the most amazing things are about to happen. You’ll see. (shh, but I think it’s already happening)
And just one more thing, a line I love --
“Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.” — Doris Lessing.
So, shall we begin?
All my love,