How I find balance — October 2014

How D. Larraine Andrews balances career and travels.

D. Larraine Andrews, 61, sole tax practitioner, High River, Alta.

Now I'm more or less retired, but back in 1999, after working for KPMG for years, and before that for some smaller firms, I went out on my own to work toward my other goals of writing and travelling. I've always been a writer — I freelanced for magazines and newspapers when I worked full time.

When I started out on my own, I built a nice little base of clients and tried to get year-ends that were spread through the year. I also worked on contract for a smaller accounting firm during personal tax season, which was a nice boost. I worked really long, hard hours, but I could plan my year out for travel. And I was still writing. I've written two guidebooks: one to the Cowboy Trail in Alberta, and this latest one, Great Walks of the World, which covers six continents — everything except Antarctica. If I'd continued working at a big firm, I could have made much more money, but I made a conscious decision to walk away from that. My colleagues are always saying, "Boy, you're so lucky you can travel," but there was a cost involved in making those decisions.

It didn't just sort of happen — I planned for it. I knew what I was giving up, but I also knew what I was hoping to get: time to write, travel and feed my endless curiosity about the wonders of the world.

— As told to Wendy Haaf