“Earth to Bridget Sodding Jones!” yells Bridget’s boss.
As the sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary opens, lucky Bridget has been chosen to try skydiving — on camera — to see if it’s great fun or a terrifying risk. After being forced out of the plane, forgetting to pull the ripcord (prompting the above exclamation from boss) and finally drifting along, chute open, Bridget starts daydreaming about her boyfriend.
To come to earth with a bump — literally — facedown in a large pigpen.
Daydreaming while skydiving is not a fun combination!
If you don’t want to come to your senses, as Bridget did, in a large vat of metaphoric excrement, you need to do some planning.
Here are the lessons Bridget can teach you about the 7 planning steps you’ll use to create your best Anywhereist work and life.
Planning Step #1: Write it Down
Bridget starts her diary after a lousy New Year’s Day social event.
She realizes she’s just been drifting along. She’s 32, single, slightly overweight, smokes and drinks too much, and wants a romantic relationship with a good man.
She begins by taking stock: age, weight, number of cigarettes smoked, ounces of alcohol drunk, and the qualities she wants in a man. This gives her a baseline to measure progress against.
Start your plan by taking stock of where you are now. Consider your:
- location — if you plan to change locations, that will impact everything else!
- social life
- family life
- hobbies and interests (for you and everyone you live with)
- professional or work requirements
Planning Step #2: Set Goals and Monitor Your Progress
Bridget set goals for all the items she was monitoring, and she kept track. So should you.
You may need to make corrections and adjustments along the way, but you’ll get there sooner than if you try to do everything on the fly.
Planning Step #3: Invest in Yourself
After Bridget’s romance with her boss, Daniel, unraveled she started working out at the gym and replaced her shelf of “how to please a man” books with self-help titles.
Perhaps you want to improve some business skills, start language lessons, or get involved in a new hobby. Whatever it is, ongoing learning will help you stay fresh and involved.
Planning Step #4: Verify Information
Bridget could have saved herself some heartbreak if she’d verified Daniel’s account of why he and Darcy weren’t friends any longer. By the time she heard the real facts, it was almost too late.
If you’re relying on specific information, always verify it from several sources. Don’t just consult one source to find out whether there’s an audience for what you’re offering, or whether an area is safe, or affordable, or meets some other criteria — they may have an agenda you know nothing about.
Do enough research to get the full picture.
When I was focused on moving to Panama, I joined six different online Panama forums where residents and wannabe residents hang out. People ask questions about everything from where to source a particular grocery item to the weather to real estate to crime to you name it, and get lots of responses.
Similar forums exist for almost any country you might want to move to — somebody sent me a link earlier today to a forum for expats in Turkey — so find them, and participate. Ditto for mastering a number of aspects of your business.
Planning Step #5: Listen to Your Friends — But Not Too Much
Bridget’s three closest friends love to give advice. And, typical of advice from friends, they usually don’t agree with one another.
Listen to what your friends have to say, if you want to, but realize that it’s your life and you need to make the decisions.
Planning Step #6: Take a Different Route
Bridget didn’t start out the year with any career-related changes in mind. She started as “someone who fannies about with the press releases” for a publishing firm, but ended up as a TV reporter.
In order to meet her primary objective, finding a good man, she had to remove herself from Daniel’s orbit. In the process, she took a big step up the career ladder.
Planning Step #7: Start Fresh
After Bridget and Darcy finally get together, he buys her a new diary so she can make a fresh start.
Setbacks happen, changes occur, and sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, regroup and start fresh. (Especially after surviving 2020!)
My husband and I had planned to sell our Central Florida house before we moved to Panama. However, with property prices in free fall at that time, we rented it out instead. That decision meant we had to change some of the planned improvements since renters and buyers look for different things.
Since moving without the cash reserves from the sale was more difficult, we also modified some of our financial plans. But we still moved forward. And in March, 2012, we leased a house in Las Tablas, Panama, where we lived happily for 2-1/2 years.
Do you have planning tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, or visit our Facebook page.
This article was originally published in June, 2011 as we were preparing to move to Panama. I’ve revised and updated it to reflect our new realities in January, 2021 — 10 years later! (It doesn’t seem like that long. . .)