In 2012, my partner took our two children on holiday from the UK to South Africa. I chose to stay at home because I was building a new business. Money was tight and I traded the trip with my family to save money. What I didn't know until many months later was that, during that trip, she hatched a plan with an old boyfriend, to return to South Africa permanently, with the children and without me. Ouch!
Three weeks later they were gone. The boys were 3 and 1 and I was devastated.
A conversation with a friend opened a simple trade-off decision. Stay in the UK and run my growing business without my family, or sell everything and travel half way around the world, into the complete unknown, to start a new life and hopefully be with my children.
So, 6 months later, I pitched up in South Africa, with two suitcases and my golf clubs. I knew nobody and nobody knew me. I spent the next two years, and what was left of the money, in a legal battle trying (and succeeding) to get access to the children, whilst trying (and failing) to make ends meet financially.
Five years later, I have an amazing relationship with my boys and I'm now happily married with a new family and a whole new set of friends. I have another great business. I'm doing meaningful work and I have no regrets.
Life still throws me curveballs occasionally, and South Africa has its challenges, but it is, without question, the single best trade-off I've ever made.
For me, life comes first and money comes second. That doesn't mean I don't worry about money or that I want to live on thin air alone. We all need money, and it's good to enjoy the things that money can buy, but life isn't a rehearsal, and it's also important to enjoy the things that money can't buy.
As the great Ben Hogan said, "As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round"