The Story Mill – Thriving Beyond Stress and Burnout: Transformational Journeys.

01.12.17 | NLP, Simple Life, Travel, Writing

This is a podcast interview with the wonderful Claire Taylor of The Story Mill for her amazing Thriving Beyond Stress and Burnout series. Listen here, read the transcript below or listen on The Story Mill site.

Thriving Beyond Stress & Burnout Claire Taylor & Pete Martin 24.11.17

Listening time: 42 minutes. READING TIME: 28 MINUTES.

The Story Mill – Thriving Beyond Stress and Burnout:

Transformational Journeys

Podcast Introduction Blurb.

Welcome to The Story Mill podcast series – Thriving Beyond Stress & Burnout.  In this episode, Claire Taylor talks with Travel Book writer – Pete Martin.
Pete was a senior Partner – Commercial Director & Negotiator – in an IT firm.  He had spent the last five years of his career going from one intensive programme to the next.  At the same time he had undergone three knee surgeries and his marriage collapsed.  Pete succumbed to the impact of stress and burnout and ended up having treatment at The Priory.
After the dark days of his divorce, poor health and then quitting his job, despite moving to another country and finding his soul mate, something was still missing.
Exhausted from life and work, Pete embarked on a soul searching journey to rekindle his health and his love for life. He endured physical adventures which mirror the struggles he faced on the inside in coming to terms with his new life. Initially the revolutions of the bicycle wheels are the backdrop to the beginnings of a revolution within him. Then he journeys around the world by train and ship. Pete’s transformational journey will remind you to never give up on your dreams, no matter what stage in life you are.
To hear Pete’s fascinating story, listen to our conversation below.
You can read about Pete’s travels in books – the first is Revolutions Wandering & Wondering On A Sabbatical Year and the second, published in October 2017, is Fantafrica Wandering & Wondering Across Africa.
If you’re inspired by Pete’s story and are considering a sabbatical of your own, you can follow his work and connect with him through his website
Meanwhile, you can find out more about business storytelling on
Thriving Beyond Stress & Burnout ¦ The Storyteller
Thriving Beyond Stress & Burnout ¦ The Story Mill

Podcast Transcription.

Claire:  Hello everyone and welcome to The Story Mill podcast.  This series of conversations is called Thriving Beyond Stress and Burnout.  I’m Claire Taylor and my guest today is Pete Martin and Pete is a travel book writer. Hello and welcome Pete.
Pete:  Hello Claire.  Thanks for inviting me to your podcast.
Claire:  Pete, I’m really looking forward to talking to about your travelling and your book writing.  So, tell us briefly about what you are doing now.
Pete:  So, these days Claire, as you said, I write travel books which are transformational journeys.  So, my journey over the last few years has been a transformational journey.  If you told me five years ago I would be doing this, I would have laughed. As we get into the conversation you will get a bit more depth into how this has all happened.
Claire:  So, let’s go back in time then, because you had a career in a corporate organisation and that was working well for you for a time and I know that it led up to an experience of burnout. So, Pete, can you take us back to that time? What your life was like then?
Pete:  Sure. So the story goes back about five years ago … successful corporate career, senior partner in a big IT company, everything was fine. I followed the rules we all follow. You know, good job, work hard, big house in the suburbs, wife, two point four kids. The dream we all follow. And then it all kind of fell apart. So I went through a pretty horrible divorce, child custody battles, quite bit of ill-health – I had three knees surgeries in five years, a shoulder surgery – absolutely, there was quite a bit of illness!  [With] close family [too] at the same time.  You know, you are trying to continue working crazy hours as we all do and, of course, things just take their toll.  I ended up in the Priory hospital with depression [and] exhaustion because I couldn’t cope with it all.
Claire:  Now, Pete, this sounds like it was really full-on and a whole lot of challenging stuff came at you all around the same sort of time.  Did you sort of see the lead-up to this?
Pete:   No, I didn’t. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When I look back, there were signs.
Claire:  What kind of signs where there and how did you deal with those? Because it sounds like you were ignoring them.
Pete:  Absolutely. The most obvious sign was ill-health. If you have three knee surgeries on the same knee, it suggests something is wrong. So, things like that, I just put it down to … “oh, it’s a sport’s injury”.  But when you are going through these crises your body is weak and I refused to listen. In terms of work, I did five years on five very, very tough projects. All in five different locations. That’s one of the reasons I have ended up in Germany because two of the locations were in Germany. But, again, the last project I was on, I had lost all of my motivation. And before there was not a problem. You know, the early flights on a Monday morning, late flight back on Thursday nights or Friday nights and that, by the end of it, it took its toll. So, yes, I think we can all see the signs in hindsight, but as you go through it … There was one great comment made to me: the only way out is through.  And you have to get through it.
Claire:  Absolutely. Because I think this is quite a common thing that people are going through this and there are things going on that in hindsight they see as signs, but they just keep going because they don’t know what to do differently.
Pete:  Yes, and I think it’s a lot of our conditioning into how we should operate. I think it’s like divorce.  Obviously, you don’t want to experience these things but sometimes you have to. It’s the only way out.
Claire:  Yes, absolutely. So, okay, Pete thanks for that. So, you got to this point … you are at the Priory, so tell us a little bit about what was happening there for you.
Pete:  So that was [when] the fight or flight mode kicks in.  I had no more fight left. So [then] I escaped the UK and came to Germany. My divorce had gone through by this stage and I met a wonderful woman over here, which was a life saver at the time. She is now my wife which is a fantastic story to all of this.
Claire:  Oh, lovely.
Pete:  But I was in Germany and I had taken more bad projects to buildup [what was lost] through the divorce. I had kind of pretty much lost all of the savings I had. And so I took all of these terrible projects for about two years, but when everything you have worked for is gone, there is nothing left to work for anymore. And I just couldn’t do the job anymore. I was burnt out and tired in the Priory but in terms of working in that way, two years later I was done. And knew I had to get out.
Claire:  So this is after the Priory, Pete?
Pete:  Yes.
Claire:  So, you are in the Priory then you transition out of there and you went back to Germany.  You met the lady who is now your wife which is lovely. But you also found yourself doing some work that you could do [solely] for the money, if you like?
Pete:  Absolutely. It was basically the same job I had, but now this time there was no inspiration. There was no motivation. The things I could tolerate, I could no longer tolerate. There comes a point where you have to make the change. And again, in hindsight, I could see these things. But in there I just couldn’t. We will come to the book writing shortly [but] the thing I try to portray is that if you can see the signs you can plan career breaks. You can plan some sabbaticals. I didn’t. I just came to the end of my tether. I quit my job and [even] that was difficult to get out of [of too], because I was quite senior and they wanted me to go to another location … but in the end, they could see I needed to get out. And I got out.
Claire:   Yes. I think that is really interesting. You know, if you say you can see these, and I guess also what you are saying is a lot of this is conditioning, it seems to us, I should be fine, everybody else is fine with this … and this idea of taking a sabbatical almost feels, I guess, self-indulgent.
Pete:  This is very true. A good friend of mine, she runs now a company called The Career Break Site.  You can plan these things, [but] mine was just a higgledy-piggledy mess. And a week after quitting my job, I was in Berlin to learn German. All of the sudden, I [had] moved to Germany, but all of my work was in English, but so [if] I am going to live here, [then] learn the language. But I was not in any state to learn a language. I was not in any state to use my brain. I just needed to switch off. So German lessons became a complete disaster, but what I did do was a bike tour of Berlin. One of these things, these city bike tours, they take you around the sites by bicycle. I was okay, I was outside and [so] I quit the German lessons. I got a train back to Frankfurt where I now live. And on that train journey it was … “okay, no German lessons, no brain power … I will cycle. I will cycle across the UK”. I had done some cycling after my knee surgeries, you know, to get the rehab done and get back fit and I was finding I would cycle more. I would cycle past the gym instead of going into the gym. And so that was the real … the one moment where I think things changed. It was starting … to do that small and steady bike ride across the UK.
Claire:  Brilliant. After you left the Priory, you came back from Berlin to do this cycle across the UK.  Wonderful. Where did you go from and to, where was that trip?
Pete:  It’s funny when I describe this trip. I think it was only three days and it goes from Morecambe on the West Coast across to Bridlington on the East Coast. It’s called The Way of the Roses. There are a couple of coast to coast trips. It’s three days … I got a company that would take my bags for me each morning, deposit them in the hotel that they kindly booked and they drove me back to Morecambe from Bridlington. So this wasn’t a major journey in anyway but for me it was the first one and therefore the most difficult.
The problem is that on the journey you meet people who are doing these things all of the time.  And I am wondering … “what have I missed out on?”.  And this is only really after I left my job.  And so you kind of look around … I had a non-compete where I couldn’t work for a period of time anyway and that made me really think I should be outside. I don’t want to be stuck to a desk. I don’t want to be stuck with a computer screen.
Claire:   Yes. Brilliant.
Pete:  Fresh air. Nature. Slowing down. I think that was the key with the cycling. You know, okay, lots of people cycle for speed on road bikes, but no … I went slowly and enjoyed what I could see.
Claire:   Wonderful. So this kind of changed you in a way, Pete. Even though it was only three days.
Pete:  It totally did. It just opened my eyes to what was possible. Instead of getting back on the treadmill, back into the rat race, from there I continued doing some cycling around where I live in Germany. There are some lovely river routes and then that led me to do a trip on the length of the Rhine. From Lake Constance following the river all the way to Rotterdam – the Hook of Holland.
Claire:  Gosh. How far is that?
Pete:  So that is about a thousand … just over a thousand kilometers. But the trick this time, or what the change in me this time was, is that I didn’t book anything. I just went straight down to Lake Constance and found a hotel. I had one bag which was just my cycling gear … some clean cycling gear. And another bag on the bike which was shorts, t-shirts, Jesus boots, sun cream. That was it. And each day I would find my own hotel. Each day I would follow the signs. Sometimes there weren’t any signs and I got lost. This time a much longer journey, but one where I could trust … “I will find a hotel, I will find the route”.  And I did.
Claire:  This is really exciting, because I guess this is very, very different to the kind of planned, organised, ‘knowing the next ten steps’ that you had in the corporate world.  Where you are, what we would call, winging-it from a corporate point of view, which is very much frowned on, with how you were living and flourishing on this cycle trip.
Pete:  Totally. And when I started to do this trip, it was incredible the reaction of friends and family.  Kind of fifty percent would be in amazement … “oh, wow I wish I could do that”.  And the other fifty percent just thought I was totally insane. Even now with this big change of career, I still get that view.  Often the response is … “well I can’t do that”.  If you would have asked me five years ago, would I now be writing books, the answer would be … “oh, I couldn’t dream of this.” Or maybe a dream of it but I would be too afraid to do it.
Claire:  Yes, absolutely, and, Pete, what I really like about this as well is it’s great if people can take a sabbatical out, but, actually, anybody can probably take three days and go on a cycle trip.
Pete:  Yes, absolutely.
Claire:  Yeah, or even a week.
Pete:  The Rhine trip, I think, was I think two weeks – twelve to fourteen days. I’ve done lots of cycling now. The Austrian Danube is probably the most beautiful cycling trip I could recommend and that, I think, is seven days from the German/Austria border through to Bratislava, across the border on the other side of Austria. It sounds when you do these journeys – a thousand kilometers! But I do them in bit size chunks. If I want to stop and have a coffee or I want to stop for the day, then I stop. That’s totally to your point. In the corporate world, we keep going, we keep going, we must do another hour of work, even though that hour is non-productive. We keep staying in the office or staying on email.
Claire:   Yes. Absolutely. So this is really exciting. And you are living very differently, in a kind of flow where you are tuned-in into what do I want to do next? Do I want to stop? Do I feel like I need a break?  Would I like to continue? Very much tuned-in which is totally different to how things were before. So tell us more about this journey, Pete. What happened after that when you started getting more tuned-in?
Pete:  So, that’s roughly, I have been out of work for roughly about the six months mark. And that’s when I thought logically I should go back and look at LinkedIn and recruitment websites, but as I was doing this, two things happened. One, I had been on an NLP course and that really changed my thinking tremendously, in two ways. Obviously, through the dark days as I call them, I had seen lots of counsellors and the like, but lots of that revolved around looking into the past and going over old problems and old routines. The NLP taught me to look forward which I really liked.  The second way was that my wife, she had done the same, she had been on an NLP course and she was an IT consultant also and she changed. She quit a little bit earlier than me and she followed her dream to be a carpenter and to run a carpentry business.
Claire:   Wow.
Pete:  She is doing that now and that is a fantastic story in its own self … a different story. And so, I did the NLP but as I was then looking for jobs, I kept … instead of going on those websites I would go on to the website for the Trans-Siberian Railway [or thinking] I am off work I would love to go to Japan. These things subconsciously took over and before I knew it I had a rough plan where I could circumnavigate the world. And so I went off on this journey too. We will come back later to the book but the book covers this period of time from being beaten and battered in Berlin to circumnavigating the world. From the total fear of the unknown, of giving up an old life, to doing something that what was just a dream. I remember watching Michael Palin on TV 25 years ago and thinking it’s only celebrities or, you know, superstars or rich people that can do this. It’s just not true. Every one of us can do this stuff. I am okay with people who love their jobs, there were periods of time I was happy in my job, but there’s too much to do in life if you don’t.
Claire:   Yes, absolutely. I mean this really interesting because you are talking about sitting in front of your computer with one voice saying … “now get on LinkedIn and see if you can connect up with people who might be looking for somebody who has the sort of skill set that I learned to do” … and you are actually finding that your inspiration is pulling you over to websites about the Trans-Siberian Railway.  Now normally we would look at something like that and give ourselves a slap on the wrist for getting distracted from what we should be doing, right?  That kind of notion in our head that we should be good boys and girls and getting back into what my parents would have called a good pensionable sensible job.
Pete:  Absolutely.
Claire:   But you’ve allowed yourself to go in the direction that really your heart was taking.
Pete:  It is this change of mindset and certainly the NLP helped in this. You are absolutely right, it’s this change. And certainly our generation is very different to our parents. I look at my mother and father.  My mother was a teacher and worked only in three or four schools in all of her career. My father worked in two companies. Neither of them left Liverpool. In my corporate career, I think I worked in more cities than they’ve visited. My daughters are in their early 20s and they have a different mindset again and so we are stuck in the middle of those generations. But it really is about trusting a bit more and I am sure maybe if I went back to the old corporate life I could enjoy it again with a different mindset. [But] it was almost [that] I had to move on. I had to do such a big journey from a small bike ride, to a bigger bike ride, then, you know, some NLP, then I went to India for a short while, then the big trip. It all built up and I think coming back from a big transformational journey, as I called it earlier, means you have to move on and do something differently.
Claire:  Yeah, absolutely. So tell us about that trip, Pete.
Pete:  So, yes, it was the circumnavigation of the world. So I left Frankfurt, Germany and made it around the world. So no planes, only train and ship: Berlin to Moscow overnight, then the Trans-Siberian Railway right away across Russia – this is in the winter as well, so it was minus twenty degrees outside – with a wonderful stop at Lake Baikal, which was absolutely the thing of dreams. And then a boat across from Vladivostok to Japan and South Korea. And for some reason Japan had always attracted me, I’d never been before, but I couldn’t find any sense in the big cities, in Osaka or Tokyo, but the ancient temples of Japan were mesmerising. Mount Fuji and then there’s Mount Koya … [it] is an ancient monastery settled on a mountain top and it’s a place which I could recommend to everybody. You kind of march up the hillside and you go from one mausoleum to another. It’s the middle of winter in Japan, more snow than usual, so it made it look much more atmospheric as well with the snow.
Claire:   And you were travelling alone, Pete?
Pete:  Alone. Solo. Some stuff like the Trans-Siberian I had booked. Most of the ship journeys I had booked. But through Japan I was pretty much going where I wanted to go. I left then to South Korea to get across the Pacific Ocean on a container ship – as the only passenger – which was absolutely incredible. It was a French ship, so the food was wonderful – lots of delicious French wine and French cheese which helped. It’s a working ship, so the crew were there [working] from 7:00 [am] to 7:00 [pm] meaning you are on your own … just left to meditate and to read and to just calm down completely.
Claire:   You know, I’m really intrigued to ask you a question about this. Because we’re so, I’m sure it’s not just me, we are so attached to our technology, either we have a laptop or a phone or some device to keep us, in a way, away from ourselves … even for those of us that like to go for a walk or go out and take photos or things like that now and again. What was it like being confronted with yourself and your own thoughts and just you day in and day out for this whole trip?
Pete:   So it’s almost a metaphor for the change in me with the use of technology. So things like the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Pacific Ocean crossing and then the Atlantic Ocean crossing were really times where there were no connections to the world. And, back to the metaphor, the first day you are almost in a panic … “oh, I can’t get email” … “oh, I can’t contact home”. For me, the worst thing was I couldn’t get the football scores! By day two and day three it’s wonderful, the amount of … you just calm down and you don’t chase this information anymore.  You tell people that you are going to travel for three months anyway so everything can wait. There’s nothing urgent. Those portions when you do go online – so thinking of a different trip last year when I was in Ghana and flew down to South Africa, the first day I was back online, I was so stressed. All of these messages pop in. I was more stressed getting the information than I was the day I realised I won’t be online. That was a big lesson for me. The Trans-Siberian was the real first length of time where there was no wifi, no internet connections, no social media and that was probably the tougher one, but, by the end of it, I felt fantastic. You just really calm down. There is no stress. It’s all made up stress [anyway], you know.
Claire:   Of course. One of the things that people have said to me, that this experience when all of their devices are – when they are not able to access them, let’s say … that they are in a quiet place, that they kind of start to go crazy for … “what do I do?” Because they are so used to doing something. Did you go through that kind of experience?
Pete:  Yes. The first day is … “oh, I need to get online, I need to do something, what do I do?”  But I was prepared. On the Trans-Siberian Railway, I took “War and Peace” to read.
Claire:  You read a lot.
Pete:  Also things like meditation … when there are no distractions it’s much easier. I always find mediating at home the hardest because there are so many distractions.
Claire:   Yeah, that’s absolutely true. So, Pete how did you get into writing?
Pete:  So the journey continued and when I got back I [realised I] had journaled all the way. The journaling came from what I call my dark days when a counsellor said write stuff down, get your emotions out, and then you can deal with it at another time. It’s a good way to calm. So all through the journeys I continued this practice of journaling and I still do now too. I think morning journaling is a very powerful tool. So when I got back I had no intention to write the book but so many people had asked me about the trip, particularly close friends that had seen me kind of around the time of Berlin … before and just after. So when I came back they couldn’t believe what I had done. If you ask me if I were still in Berlin, would you do this? There’s no chance. So I went through the process of turning the journals into a book. And it was a wonderful process. It was hard work and lots of effort but really enjoyable. Really, really enjoyable.
Claire:   Yes. So, what is the book called, please?
Pete:  So the book is called “Revolutions:  Wandering and Wondering on a Sabbatical Year”. It covers the journeys and obviously it’s an entertaining traveller’s tale of [for example] struggling across America by train and of the language difficulties I had in America. I thought in Japan and Russia I wouldn’t be able to cope, but in the U.S. the language was the real barrier! But also it tells the tale of my transformation from being beaten and battered, as I said earlier, to taking these baby steps to then a bigger step, a bigger step, then a bigger step again. In trying to come to terms why am I doing this journey and [the difference from] back in the corporate world. And to answer that; there’s no real answer. I had the opportunity to do it and I took it and it changed me fantastically. But there is no really simple answer to all this. I hope that when people read it that they enjoy the story obviously but what I would love is for people to be inspired to do their own journeys, whether they are physical journeys or spiritual journeys, whatever they may be. There’s no need to be unhappy.
Claire:   Pete, and so “Revolutions” is by Pete Martin for anybody who is thinking I am going to Google that right now. And is it on Amazon, Pete?
Pete:  Yeah you will find it on Amazon or you will find it on my website which is simply
Claire:   Brilliant, great, Pete. That sounds really exciting. So you came back from circumnavigating the globe, what did you do after that Pete?
Pete:  So, that was it, I came back again thinking I would go back to an old corporate career. And so I started one small business with a colleague which was negotiation training, a small consulting agency, but again my heart wasn’t in there. And I was in the process of [completing] writing the book and then I found somebody who said we will help you publish it. And [so] I kept being pulled towards finishing writing the book, so the book kind of took over. And it took a good six to nine months, probably even a year, to get the thing finished, so I found myself full-time writing. So [then] the book comes out – it came out this time last year – and, again, I thought it’s time to get a proper job, as your parents and my parents would call it. And funnily enough, through a friend of a friend, I was introduced to a guy who runs a football academy in Africa and he asked for my help to go to Africa to help him develop this academy. So, there I am again, you know, on the edge of … well do I get a normal job or do I buy a plane ticket to Africa. So I obviously get the ticket to Africa. I need to be careful – my wife worries when I say I might be going somewhere! She hopes it’s just down to the shops.
So to Africa and Ghana I went. I mean it’s a wonderful idea to help get kids off the streets, out off the slums, into the academy. And it was funny because he originally just wanted to help them get into school but the parents just weren’t interested, but as soon as we say to the parents they are going to play football then they would let them come and play football and go to school. So I helped out with that, but the intensity of what we’ve created in Africa, in these football academies, was just totally against my new life. The intensity and the competition and the win at all costs was what my corporate life had been like. I had moved into this life of enjoying things, of going slow, so after two chunks of time with the academy I couldn’t cope with it and I needed to have more fun. And then it led me then to travel around. I did some cycling around South Africa. Then I went back to North Africa and I went through, by train, by car, by camel, by bicycle, all through Morocco. Spent some time in Senegal, Sao Tome, Cape Verde. I came back and I had journaled again and [so] this turned into a book [too] … I [just] thought I would go out there and help a football academy. But the lessons I learned in Africa around slowing down, having fun versus competition, collaboration versus competition … they have nothing compared to us. They stop and they talk to each other. They help each other. The example I give is in Morocco and I had been in this market in the middle of the Atlas Mountains and my bike guide bumped into a friend of his and they walked along the street just holding hands. I get on the train, the s-Bahn in Frankfurt, and I was in London last week on the underground, and nobody speaks to each other. The book also covers my decision around should I get a normal job [or] should I experience the academy. What do we do at this stage in life? If my corporate career is over, then what’s next? I gave the example earlier of my wife who knows she wants to be a carpenter and has now bought a carpentry business and is running her carpentry business. I was different. When I quit my job I didn’t know what to do next. I have had to experiment. I’ve found writing these books is an absolute joy to me and the book covers that. But there’s still effort, there’s still days when I am tired, but, at the end, this is what I want to do.
Claire:   Yes. So, Pete this second book, when is this one coming out?
Pete:   It will be out probably in … it’s written and ready, it’s going through the editing phase right now … so probably late summer, early autumn. And the book is called “Fantafrica” … Africa is fantastic …  “Wandering and wondering across Africa”. And really the moral of the story is … there is no road to happiness, happiness is the road.
Claire:   Lovely, that’s really lovely. So, “Fantafrica”, it is available for pre-order yet?
Pete:  So it’s not ready yet. There’s some [info] on my website, some articles on there. If you sign up to my website you get chapter one for free, for example. Over the next couple of months, I will start to release more information on that one. I think if you … please people buy my books, that would be wonderful for you to read them! … but I would suggest “Revolutions” first and then “Fantafrica”, but whichever way you would enjoy them.
Claire:   So there is a sequence?
Pete:  Yes, there is. They are traveller’s tales at their simplest. You can pick up any chapter, if you want to read about Ghana, if you want to read about Japan, you can read about those sections … it’s just there is a theme [that runs] through them, absolutely.
Claire:   Wonderful. All of these books are absolutely amazing. Tell me what’s next for you.
Pete:  So, at the moment, it’s the writing. That’s the one thing that has grabbed me. What it does is it allows me to keep travelling and the travel bug I’ve always had. I guess I lost the travel bug because of corporate life of early planes and then the same hotel but just in a different city.  I tell the story that in my corporate life there was one week when I flew from Manchester to Madrid to Milan to Munich and back to Manchester … in one week, all the M’s! Isn’t that wonderful? And I said, “No, I’ve seen an office, I’ve seen the inside of plane, I’ve seen the inside of a Hilton or Holiday Inn, whatever hotel it was, the same hotel just in different cities.” You know, what a waste. I would love to go to those cities. Always stuck at Heathrow. It really affected my enjoyment to travel. So doing these slow journeys now has really got me back into that. And the journaling and writing about them is just joyful, because I get to relive it twice and then I get to talk about it to people too.
Claire:  Yes, absolutely, it sounds awesome and very inspiring. Listening to this conversation certainly makes me want to go somewhere and I am sure a lot of people will feel like that, getting out of your current situation and just going somewhere different can really shift your thinking and get you to look at the world in a different light.
So, Pete are you making a living out of this?
Pete:  So, unfortunately or sadly, the answer is no. But I think that’s okay. You know, I’ve got some savings and I am using my savings and I’ve invested wisely. But when you change career, I don’t think there is any harm in starting again. Yes it would be wonderful if when “Revolutions” came out it went to the top of the best-selling list like J.K. Rowling. But even someone like that, she started slowly and it built and built and built. When we think about our corporate careers we did the same. You know, I mentioned my wife’s story about being a carpenter. She is about a year ahead of me in her journey in terms of new careers and she had to go back and become an apprentice, not on a great deal of money, and then she became a director in a carpentry firm and now she is in the process of running her own carpentry firm. And I think the same with whatever we decide to do when we make a change. We have to be realistic as well as dream big. So I would love to sell a lot of books but actually I am enjoying myself writing them. And so when I write it, it actually doesn’t matter if another person reads it or not. It would be wonderful but, to me, that’s a bonus and the feedback I’ve got has been so good but actually we need to just enjoy our own journeys, day by day, step by step. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy every day, sometimes it’s hard, I’m tired and I am re-writing the same thing over and over again. But, in the big picture, I enjoy what I do now so much more than what I did at the end of my corporate career.
Claire:  And I guess, also, you don’t know where this journey is going to take you. So there’s the physical journeys, not the trips that you are taking, but there’s this journey that you are on, a new career and you don’t know where it’s going to take you. But you are trusting that it will take you to somewhere.
Pete:  And that’s probably the big shift – it’s not in my control. If I look back at my corporate career, obviously I worked hard and did a good job … I thought! But I look back and go well the promotions I got, sometimes I worked better the previous year or produced more the year after or whatever it may be. That’s looking back. I have to trust that’s the same way here. It’s out of our control. My job it seems right now is to go on journeys and write these books. Whatever power – the universe – whatever power is out there needs to take hold and do its job. We have to trust … and it’s obvious I would love to be in control because that’s what we are told – control everything, make everything work – but it’s not like that.
Claire:   No. And actually what you’re pointing out here, I think, is that we think that when we have our corporate career that everything in linear. There are these steps, but, actually, really it is quantum.  Because when you are in the corporate world you don’t know when there is going to be a merger.  Personally I have actually been through four of them. You don’t know where that is going to land for you or how it is going to change things.  A new boss comes in and it can completely change the culture of an organisation or a team. So we think it is linear but really what you are saying [is] it isn’t.
Pete:  It isn’t. I think it’s true in the field I am in now with book sales. If you look at the people who have who have sold lots and lots of books, it’s usually been an outside influence that has took the book somewhere. I think as an example, I can’t remember whether it’s “Eat Pray Love” or “The Power of Now” or maybe both of them, but one of them [anyway] got into the hands of Oprah Winfrey. They got through by an assistant picking the book up or somebody spoke to Oprah in the make-up room and all of the sudden it’s announced on TV. Eckhart Tolle or Liz Gilbert … I am sure they didn’t sit there and plan that … I have a marketing a plan that said, “Oh, give it to her assistant on Wednesday at two o’clock.”  These things just have a life of their own. The shift we go and have to make, it sounds like you are doing the same, it’s just trusting more. This part is in my control, this part is my job, and then something or somebody else will take care of the rest.
Claire:  Yes and what I love is you are still saying we have our job to do. That doesn’t mean that we kind of sit back and hope that something will kind of magically manifest. We are not saying that. You do your bit.
Pete:  Yes and we do have good days and bad days. It’s totally true with writing. There are days when it’s a blank screen and nothing will flow. You have to take the rough with the smooth and just keep doing your job.
Claire:  Brilliant. That’s great and that’s a really great insight, Pete. I think many people will have a chance to ponder on … to wonder on, should we say. Brilliant. Thanks for that, Pete. So, Pete let’s just come back to this thing, if people want to follow your work or get in touch with you, could you just tell us again what your website is and if there are any other ways that they can get a hold of you as well?
Pete:  Absolutely. So the best is my website which is You can also get there through because that’s the strapline to the books (the number two in the middle) …  but is the best. I am on Facebook – Pete Martin on Facebook.  On Twitter, it is pbm6pbm6.  And through the website, there is email.
Your last comments are wonderful, Claire. Obviously, I am writing these because I do enjoy writing the books. But if there is any way that I can inspire somebody to make their own transformational journey, if there is anyway I can help, I would love to. It has changed my way of looking at the world, as you just said, for the better and it’s not easy. The amount of fear I had at the start and even when you are writing the book … does anybody, is anybody, going to read this? It doesn’t matter at all, if you can enjoy the journey.
Claire:  Absolutely. So if somebody is really inspired by this and is thinking I would like to dip my toe in the water of doing an inspirational journey, who may have looked back to before they got into their corporate career to having to done an amazing gap year or something like that and would love to do a little more of that, then you would love to have a conversation with them.
Pete:  I would love to help.
Claire:  Brilliant, that would be great.
Pete:  Mine, I will just say, was haphazard and totally unplanned and went to the extremes. There are ways to do this more sensibly. I would be delighted to help anyone who is wondering how to do it.
Claire:  Fantastic. That’s absolutely wonderful, Pete. So, Pete, this has been really inspiring. Thank you so much for your time talking to me today and sharing your story, Pete, I think people will love it.
Pete:  Thank you, Claire. Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you.
Claire:  My pleasure, Pete.
Thanks to you too for listening to today’s episode of Thriving Beyond Stress and Burnout.  I hope the conversation resonated with you.  Perhaps even inspired you.  You can listen to more stories of Thriving Beyond Stress and Burnout on  And if you want to find out more about business storytelling, you will find that at The Story Mill too.  Meanwhile, have a great day and hope you will join us next time.
A big thank you to Claire Taylor for this great interview.

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