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Entrepreneur, full-time traveller + wine pro. Words in Ascent, Mind Cafe, PGSG, Startup. charlotte.emma.brown@gmail.com

The good, the bad, and the downright weirdness of it all

Image courtesy of the author

In October 2020, I officially retired from work and life as I knew it. I was 35.

Through a series of largely intentional — but some fortuitous — events, I now have enough passive income to oversee all my basic living costs forever.

This is not a life I thought I would lead. Growing up, I thought early retirement was reserved for the rich, and ‘early’ meant 55. I grew up poor and just assumed I’d be working for money forever.

But if you’re open to it, life sometimes has a funny habit of taking you down avenues you never…


I am not the person I thought I would be

Me, wine, Spain. That’s really all you need to know about me

My younger self would have assumed that by my 36th year, I’d be married with children, a 9–5 job, living in suburbia. The marriage came (to fellow Medium writer Sam Dixon Brown), I tried suburbia (hated it), I ditched the 9–5 job nearly a decade ago and there are no kids in the vicinity.

Growing up, I didn’t give a damn about food. I didn’t even try wine until I was 18. And yet, at 28, I became the co-owner of a wine store and bar (the youngest female wine merchant in the UK at the time) and food and…


And how to recognize that

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

For 8 years I tried to make the best out of a bad situation and be happy through sheer willpower.

It’s what we’re told, right? Happiness is just changing your perception; you can think your way to contentment.

To some extent, it’s absolutely true. Happiness is a mindset and you’re never going to achieve it if your attitude sucks.

But there is danger in assuming that all it takes to achieve happiness is to look differently at your circumstances, because it could prevent you from leaving potentially damaging — and unhappy — environments.

Sometimes, it’s not you, it’s your situation.

I tried to think my way to happiness


Yes, I hear the irony too.

Photo by Charlie Deets on Unsplash

Everyone likes a shortcut. But minimalism isn’t normally something you can shortcut to. If you’re starting out, there’s the sorting of your stuff, the selling, the throwing out, the existential crisis about if you’re doing a disservice to your childhood by throwing out a teddy bear who hasn’t seen the light of day in 15 years.

I won’t lie, it can be a trial.

But there are some ways. It may seem ironic but buying certain items can catapult your minimalist journey. They probably sound basic and that’s because they are. Getting your everyday items right is crucial for bossing…


Financial Freedom

And there’s not a boring one among them

Photo by Drew Perales on Unsplash

Personal finance is, for the most part, really dull. And yet, it’s the key to a contented, fulfilled, intentional life.

The problem is, most finance books focus on the how, not the why. Yes, learning the nuts and bolts of, say, investing is important, but you’ll never get that far if you don’t figure out why you’re doing it in the first place.

Enter stage left, these three books. …


Instead, ask someone what they love, not what they do

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I used to think that boring job equals boring person. Until I met Dan.

By trade, Dan is a teacher. A noble job, but nothing unconventional.

But he is one of the most interesting guys I know. He’s curious, he asks questions. He knows about wine and food, he knows how to build furniture. He’s written books. He has lived in the US, the UK, and now in an old farmhouse set deep into the French countryside, with only a couple of snakes for company. …


It’s the barrier between you and an awesome life

Photo by Brad Switzer on Unsplash

My parents-in-law make horrible financial decisions.

They re-mortgaged their house to buy a Porsche. They spent $80,000 on a campervan and thought it was a good investment because they ‘don’t down in value’ (except they do). They’re stereotypical Baby Boomers; they accidentally got rich and didn’t know what to do with the money, so they fritter it away on stuff.

It’s not necessarily their fault, they were just a run-of-the-mill product of our financially illiterate society.

My own parents, although they had much less money, were just as bad with their finances. And yet until adulthood, they were my only…


If you’re in a ‘fun’ industry, you probably have too

Photo by Alexander Kovacs on Unsplash

Want to irritate someone who works in a ‘fun’ industry? Here’s the formula.

Just say these words: I wish I could do what you do.

Shrug, mumble something about, ‘but I have to pay the bills’ or ‘it’s alright for some.’

Sigh, look wistfully into the distance, then say something like ‘well, it’s back to the grindstone for me.’

I worked in wine and latterly, become a writer. And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of justifying my career choices because it diminishes every hard bit of work I’ve put in to get here. …


My route was messy and wholly unexpected

Photo: Zach Betten/Unsplash

The problem with financial independence advice is it always feels like it’s written for someone other than you.

Because when you’re 27 years old, you’d probably sooner believe we’ll all be living on the moon in 8 years than someone telling you that you can — and will — achieve financial independence in the same period.

You’ve got other things on your mind, thank you very much. Like establishing your own business, buying a house, starting a family. You know, adulting.

So how do you get there?

You start that business — in wine — because your job is going nowhere and you like to drink…


Because being good at a job doesn’t mean you sleep well at night

Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

It all happened in one single day.

On October 15, 2020, I was the owner of the best independent wine store in the UK (I won the award and everything). I was burnt out, broken and dog-tired.

On the 16th, I became a traveling nobody writer. Literally, no one knew who I was. After all, we all start on writing platforms with zero followers.

Perhaps you’ve thought about this too. Jacking it all in for something different, something more exciting, something that lets you sleep at night.

But it’s scary to start again, especially if you’ve worked hard to make…

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