Disappearing from the Face of the Earth: My Time in the Lake District

Have you ever thought about disconnecting from the world as you know it, and unplugging yourself from the “familiar” life that you live?

Social media – people – your surroundings. All of it.

Removing yourself from the ‘known’ and plonking yourself in the “unknown” with nothing but a few bare essentials and your thoughts to keep you company.

Well, about 3 weeks ago I decided to do just that.

Life can get overwhelmingly noisy with the constant pings of social media and the relentless pace of social obligations. Recognizing my need for a break, I decided to step back from it all—deactivating my social media accounts and setting aside my usual social activities. Instead, I ventured to my retreat in the Lake District, seeking tranquility and a deeper connection with myself.

Why I Stepped Away from Social Media

The decision to take a break from social media was spur of the moment and was ‘instant’, and the benefits were immediate and profound. Without the distraction of always reaching for my phone and the unnecessary need to present a curated version of my life, I found a greater sense of freedom. Each day without social media restored a bit of calm and allowed me to appreciate the moments without reaching for my phone. This break helped me realize how much of my time and mental energy was being consumed by digital platforms. It’s refreshing to live without the urge to document every experience or check for updates constantly.

The Beauty of Nature and Solitude

The Lake District, with its serene lakes and impressive mountains, provided the perfect backdrop for self-reflection and rejuvenation. As I walked through the lush trails and set up camp under the open sky (wild camping! I highly recommend it), I felt a connection to the natural world that was both grounding and uplifting. The simple acts of hiking to the rhythm of my own footsteps and sleeping under the stars helped clear my mind. The quiet hours spent in nature were not lonely but filled with a rich sense of solitude that nurtured my inner self. Nature’s simplicity became a canvas for my thoughts, helping me to brainstorm ideas and solve problems that seemed insurmountable in the hustle of everyday life.

Learning to Enjoy My Own Company

Spending time alone in the Lake District further re-enforced the idea of appreciating my own company. At first, the quiet can seem unfamiliar, but it soon becomes a comforting presence. Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely; it means having the space to meet yourself deeply and honestly. This time alone has strengthened my confidence and taught me that my own company is not just enough—it’s enjoyable. These moments of solitude are precious, as they allow personal insights and a deeper understanding of one’s desires and fears.

Focusing on What Matters

Away from the noise, your priorities will become clearer. You’ll realize that much of your stress is related to things beyond your control, driven by the world’s demands and the complex web of social expectations. By stepping back, you can focus on your own personal goals and values. In my case, this mental space opened up new paths for creativity, allowing me to concentrate on work projects that needed my attention without the usual distractions. More importantly, it reminded me of the power of making choices that align with my own happiness and well-being.

Sharing this journey is not just about recounting my experiences but about encouraging you to find your own peace away from the digital chaos. Whether it’s turning off your phone for a day, exploring a local trail, or spending a quiet evening with your thoughts, the benefits can be profound. Disconnecting from the digital world or even social circles even for a short time can help reconnect you with what truly matters—yourself, your loved ones, and the simple beauty of the world around you.

It’s important to embrace the opportunity to slow down and savor life’s simple pleasures. After all, the most meaningful moments often come not from a screen but from our real-life experiences and the introspection they foster – and most of the time, these ‘moments’ won’t cost you as dime. As the saying goes “The best things in life are free!”. They truly are!

My Future Plans

As I look ahead, the next chapter of my journey is just as thrilling. Soon, I will be setting off for Australia, followed by a month or two in Bali. This marks the beginning of an extended period of travel that I’ve been dreaming about for a long time.

In recent months I have traveled to Bali, Thailand and India, as well as some European destinations but I’ve decided to ramp this up further and treat being ‘overseas’ as more of a home than a ‘holiday’.

These destinations promise new adventures and experiences, and I’m excited to immerse myself in different cultures and landscapes once again. My commitment to exploring more of the world is about living fully and embracing the diverse beauty our planet has to offer, and there really is a lot of beauty in the world if you know where to look.

Also, to make the most of the time I have. We aren’t immortal and tomorrow is never promised.

As I prepare for these travels, the overarching message I want to leave you with is simple: do what makes you happy. Whether it’s traveling to far-off lands, spending quiet days in nature, being home with family or anything in between, remember that you have one life to live. Make it count.

Pursue the experiences that enrich your soul and open your heart. After all, happiness is a journey, not a destination, and it’s yours to shape with each bold, brave step you take.

Find your inner peace and happiness won’t be far away.

Love and light!

Andy Black

P.s. – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you ever done anything ‘spur of the moment’? Taken a break from social media or disconnected from the world around you? Feel free to leave a comment below.

What’s Really Holding You Back? An Important Lesson that I was Reminded of During My Trip to Bali

On Wednesday my 5 week trip to Bali came to an end, and what an amazing trip it was. I instantly fell in love with the island and that fondness grew stronger over the duration of my stay.

However, there’s one particular part of this trip that had really struck a chord with me. That reminded me of something important that I would like to share with you.

One day I decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Canggu where my villa was and spend a night at Lovina beach with is a 2-hour ‘motorbike’ ride up towards the top of Bali.

To get to this part of Bali you have to ride up into the mountains before coming back down them into Lovina. It was a breathtaking journey and I loved every minute of it. However, I saw something whilst starting my ascent up the mountain. Something that blew my mind in disbelief.

After passing through a crazy amount of bustling traffic and making my way through the sweeping roads was a sight that was both astonishing and inspiring. At first, all I could see was a mountain of merchandise, an eclectic mix of stock items that seemed to defy gravity. It was only when I looked closer that I realized there was a moped underneath, and riding it was a man whose determination was palpable even from a distance.

This wasn’t just any moped; it was a small, humble machine, clearly not designed to carry such a heavy load. And the roads? They were steep, with sharp bends that would challenge even the most experienced rider. Yet, here was this man, navigating through traffic, balancing his business on two wheels, and heading towards the mountains with a purpose that was as clear as day.

A quick photo I snapped just before I passed by

It made me wonder: How many times have we held ourselves back, waiting for the perfect moment or the right tools? How often have we let the lack of resources deter us from pursuing our dreams? Here was a man who, by all accounts, didn’t have the “right” equipment for his journey. Yet, he was pushing forward, undeterred by the challenges, driven by sheer passion and ambition – and probably the need to provide for himself and his family.

This man’s journey on his overloaded moped was a testament to the human spirit’s resilience and tenacity. It was a vivid reminder that the path to our dreams is often laden with obstacles, but it’s our will and determination that determine our success, not the tools we possess.

Starting a business, pursuing a dream, or taking that leap of faith requires courage. It’s easy to find excuses: “I don’t have the right resources,” “The timing isn’t right,” or “I’ll wait for the perfect moment.” But the truth is, there will never be a perfect moment. Conditions will never be just right. Waiting for the stars to align might mean waiting forever.

The moped man of Bali didn’t wait. He didn’t let the size of his moped or the weight of his merchandise hold him back. He took action, fueled by a burning desire to succeed. His journey was a powerful lesson in perseverance, a reminder that it’s not about having the best tools but about making the best of what you have.

So, to anyone reading this, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, a dreamer, or someone standing on the precipice of a significant decision, remember the moped man. Remember that the road to success is paved with challenges, but it’s our passion and ambition that drive us forward. Don’t wait for the perfect moment or the right tools. The best time to start is now.

In the grand tapestry of life, it’s the threads of passion, ambition, and action that weave the most beautiful patterns. It’s the stories of people like the moped man that inspire us to push beyond our limits, to defy the odds, and to chase our dreams with unwavering determination.

As I continued my journey up the mountain with a warm, happy smile on my face, the image of the moped man faded into the distance, but the lesson he imparted remained. In that fleeting moment, he became a symbol of hope, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit. And as the sun set on that beautiful Balinese day, I was reminded of the infinite possibilities that await us when we choose to take action, regardless of the circumstances.

So, here’s to the dreamers, the doers, and the believers. Here’s to those who, like the moped man, teach us that there’s no excuse not to start, no reason to wait, and no obstacle too great. All you need is passion, ambition, and the courage to take that first step. The journey might be challenging, but the destination is worth every twist and turn.

To your health, wealth and happiness.

Andy Black

P.s. – Feel free to drop me a comment below!

Are You a Student of Life?

As a 46 year old, it’s only been the last few years that I have really taken stock of my life and realised what is important, and what isn’t.

If I’m facing any kind of struggle or dilema I ask myself these questions.

‘Does this really matter?’

‘Will this matter in a year or two from now?’

‘Will this matter when I’m on my death bed?’ (Hopefully many years from now).

Usually, the answer is ‘No’.

  • – We get consumed by so many things in life.
  • – We argue with those we care about.
  • – We get embroiled in drama.
  • – We spend far too much time worrying about things and being anxious.
  • – We stretch ourselves too far financially, buying flashy things to impress other people we do not even care about.

The list goes on.

Over the last year I have directed my energy into aspects of my life that will ‘enhance my life’ and make me a better person.

For me, it’s all about personal growth. We never stop learning, and nor should we.

Instead of worrying about the things I don’t have, I’m grateful for the things I do have.

My family, good friends, my health – and the health of those I care about. The sun on my face, fresh air, and long walks with my dog.

Every day is a blessing. It truley is.

It’s not all about having the latest gadgets, cars or a flashy life-style.

When you start to live a life of gratitude, and are thankful for all the good things you do have in your life, it’ll make you a much more fulfilled, happier person.

Having goals is one thing – But forever chasing ‘stuff’ will distract you from what’s right in front of you, right here, right now.

Never Stop Learning From Others

I love learning about mindset, happiness, relationships, gratitude, forgiveness, business, and life in general.

Two Podcasts I have been listening to lately are ‘School of Greatness’ and ‘Super Soul’.

They include many interviews with some exceptional, inspirational people. I recommend you have a listen to those.

Question: Do you listen to Podcasts? If so, which ones do you listen to?

Feel free to drop a comment below and share your favourite Podcasts, and why.

That’s all for today.

Wishing you health, happiness and success.

Andy Black

Why We Should Be Moving to a 4 Day Work Week

Did you know that in the 1930’s, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that ‘eventually’ people would be working a 15 hour week.

His analysis shown huge leaps in technology, production and automation.

However, his prediction was wrong – and in modern times the average person works 5 days per week, equating to 37-40 hours of their life, each week, engrossed in work.

Do you know why? Consumerism.

After the 1930’s technology advanced and cars, computers, TV’s and electrical gadgets were in reach of the average person – almost.

People wanted stuff and ‘keeping up with the Jones’ became a thing. People wanted the house, the car, the electrical goods – and that all came at a price!

But here’s the thing – Humans aren’t biologically built to work long hours. In fact, humans are generally productive for around 2.5 hours per day – with regards to work.

Meaning that the rest of the time we are less productive – yet glued to our desks, work stations or place of work.

Over recent years there has been a movement. Groups of people who are campaigning for a 4 day work week – Giving people more time with their friends and family, and more time to live their lives.

After all – That’s the whole point of living, right?

So, what’s the thought process behind the 4-day work week?

Studies have been carried out that proves we can work less hours, and still achieve the same level of work (or even more).

In fact, trials for the 4-day work week were carried out in Iceland with overwhelming success.

People in Iceland had their work days reduced down to 4 days per week whilst getting paid the same, but for shorter hours.

Productivity remained the same for the majority of workplaces, and in some cases it even increased.

The reason for this is because working less results in less stress. Freeing up that extra day to spend as you like increases happiness, productivity and focus.

People found that due to the extra time off work, they were able to effectively compress their workload into a 4 day week.

Their work didn’t suffer, and their life was improved. Sounds like a win / win situation, right?

Over the last month or two I have been researching this, as this is something that I want to move to myself. In fact, my goal eventually is to move to a 3-day work week. Work Monday to Wednesday (and be extremely focused) and free up Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to do as I please.

Hike, explore, and live my life whilst I’m able to.

My business is VERY flexible as it is, and if I want to take time off, I do it. However, it would be good to make this a way of life, rather than a ‘spur of the moment’ whim.

Would you like to work less and LIVE more? Do you think you can find a way to do it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so feel free to post a comment below.

Remember, you’re in charge of your own life, and if you want to make changes in your life, you have the power and will to do so.

It’s simple – Formulate a plan and then execute it.

We have one shot at this thing called life and it’s your responsibility to create the life you want. I know I am.

To your success

Andy Black

When You Re-evaluate What’s Important in Your Life

Well, it’s been a long time since I have posted on my blog – but that’s about to change.

As we’re nearing the end of a difficult period (globally), there’s been a lot of lessons learned.

Probably more realisations than lessons, but this pandemic has certainly changed the way I think about life, in a good way.

Here’s why.

Since a fairly young age I used to have big dreams. I was never sure how I would reach those dreams but it was surely fun to focus on them – and hope that one day I would be living them.

Dreams of a big house with a pool. Sports cars. Designer clothes. Exotic holidays. Everything that ‘many’ people strive for, or want.

Well, that is what I thought I used to want – and for many of those things – I achieved it.

However, even though my dreams were always big, my core focus was always on creating more freedom and flexibility in my life.

Since March 2020 when the first lockdown happened I started to change my perspective on life. My thought processes changed, and as everything that I ‘sometimes took for granted’ was taken away from me, I started to appreciate the simple things in life.

The free things – Such as long walks with my dog. Fresh air on a lovely Spring morning.

Travel was off the agenda. The pubs and bars were closed. Restaurants were shut, and the social amenities that were once accessible on a whim, were closed for business.

The usual things I could spend or squander my money on were no longer in arms reach.

As the reality kicked in I started to realise one thing. I didn’t NEED many of these things in my life. I mean, they were nice additions – sometimes. But I didn’t need them.

That got me thinking about how much money I could have saved if I weren’t so frivolous – and how that money could have been put to better use.

More importantly – It got me thinking how much time I could free up if I didn’t burden myself, or my life, with expensive – unnecessary hobbies, habits and past times.

As I started to enjoy the simpler things in life and valuing my natural surroundings more, it made me want to make real changes in my life and how I live it.

One of the things I now love doing is going hiking in the local hills, moors and countryside. Except for a little fuel money – It costs me nothing. Yet the rewards and benefits are immeasurable.

(Above are just a few photos of these fun outings!)

I now also value my friends and family more too. I always did value them, but I’m talking about a ‘higher level’ of appreciation. Really appreciating the moments I get to spend with them.

I always say – You don’t need many friends. You just need good ones.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about removing ‘stress’ from my life, and even downsizing.

Cutting out the clutter from my life, getting rid or giving away stuff I don’t need – and just living a simpler life.

I’m not talking about extreme minimalism. Just streamlining my belongings and removing things that will hinder my life moving forward. Generally speaking – Consumerism.

Many people work towards retirement. It takes them years because of the financial commitments they make and the lifestyles they lead. Keeping up with the Jones costs money!

For me – It’s about creating the kind of life you don’t need to retire from. That’s now paramount to me.

I want to live my life now, enjoy my life now, and for it to be on my own terms – Rather than grinding for years, hoping that I’ll reach the age that I’ll finally retire. An age where physical illness is more likely to rear it’s ugly head.

Keep an eye out for my next blog post which is going to be about ‘working a 3 or 4 day work week’, and WHY people should work towards that.

I‘d Love to Hear Your Thoughts and Feedback Regarding this Post

Has the pandemic changed the way you live your life? Has it shifted your mindset in anyway?

I’d love to hear your thoughts – So please do drop a comment below this post.

To your success

Andy Black

Jumping on Opportunities When they Present Themselves

So, today I wanted to write about something “pretty interesting” that has happened to me recently.  The whole point of this post is to emphasize HOW important it is to jump on opportunities when they present themselves.  Believe me, opportunities will present themselves to you often.  You may just not see the signs.

Anyhow, about 4 months or so ago I noticed that I was starting to get quite a lot of web traffic to one of my software sites.  It’s a site that I setup back in October 2014 to sell a software product.  Since then I have done very well with that particular product however, this post isn’t really about that.

The traffic to this site was pouring in daily and I couldn’t understand WHO these people were.  There was no way that this number of people will be searching in Google and the other search engines for my software.  As my software is very niche and not mass market.

One day I stopped what I was doing to investigate.  What I found was rather interesting.  A small-time game developer had decided to use the exact SAME name for a new game of his as my software.  His game had started to go viral on Youtube and social networks and soon lots of people turned to Google to search for this game.

Of course, with me buying the domain name back in 2014 it was solidly ranked in Google for the name of my software (and this game).

This means when anyone searched for information about this game my site was near the top on page 1.  Boom! Instant traffic.

So, I checked my sites analytics (visitor stats) to find that a few hundred thousand visitors had passed through my site.  I never made any money from these because my site wasn’t “monetized” for it.  I have nothing on my site that was remotely to do with this game.

Essentially, I was LOSING lots of money.

So, I quickly looked at ways I could turn these website visitors onto money.  The were a few options but the simplest method was “ads”.

I decide to quickly re-purpose the site by creating a few content pages, added some relevant Youtube videos and written some content for each page.

I also added all the required legal pages to the footer so that I was safely within the ad networks guidelines.

After setting that up it was around 11pm at night.  I was tired but thought I’d place the ads on the pages and see what happens.  After about 2 minutes I refreshed my “stats” in the ad network.  It shown $0.00.  I thought, ok… maybe people don’t click ads anymore.  I waited another few minutes.  When I clicked again it shown around £5.00.  I was taken back.  I refreshed the stats again 12 minutes after placing my ads and it shown over £12.

I knew I was onto a winner.

This is nearly a month ago and since then I’ve made nearly £8,000 ($12,000) from those ads and every day brings in a few hundred pounds.

This is automated money from FREE, organic traffic.  I do not have to do anything else to earn this money and it is extra to my usual income.

The reason for this post is… seize the moment.  If any opportunity arises within your business then jump on it.  Don’t hang around as you never know when that door will close.  I wasted over 3 months of traffic and after working out that number in terms of “income”… damn… I don’t even want to post it.  It’s painful.

Keep your eyes peeled… as sometimes in life good things can happen.  If you blink, you’ll miss it.