I have always been fascinated by the idea of a nomadic lifestyle. Through the years I have been inspired by such free-spirited individuals as Tim Ferris, Matt Harding (from wherethehellismatt.com), Sergei Vinskiy from awd.ru, the guys from go-panamerican.com, Pablo and Anna from viajeros4x4x4.com and many others. Thank you guys for setting a great example of how life should be lived to the fullest.
My story is typical of those who once realized that life shouldn’t be all about making money and who decided to turn their lives around and break free (aka “escape 9 to 5”). I was a full-time employee up until 2008 and that was terrible. To put it mildly, at least in its present form, full-time employment is modern day slavery. In most developed countries your vacations range between 2-5 weeks a year and the rest of the time just doesn’t belong to you. And the reason you even get your vacation is so that you can “rest and recharge” for the next 50 weeks of slavery! Oh, you also have “up to six personal days a year plus holidays”, how awesome is that??
Time vs. Money
That is, unless your work gives you the ultimate satisfaction and most of your work days are filled with joy and happiness which does happen, but not too many people are so blessed. Most likely you’re stuck in the office, on the shop floor, or outside in 40-degree heat, freezing rain or snow, 5-6 days a week from 9 to 5, the afternoon or night shifts, plus overtime, doing the same boring stuff over and over again. On top of that, it takes you an hour to get there and two hours in traffic to get back home. Often times you don’t even have anything going on at work, but you still have to be there. Any way you slice it, full-time employment is a dead-end street.
There was a relatively short period in my life when I, like most of us, wanted to make a ton of money, dreamed of a great career, big house, sports car and other expensive junk. Then in 1999 I saw one of the greatest movies of our time – Fight Club, which totally changed my perspective on “material possessions”, “career” and “freedom”. I was really surprised with the effect it had on me. A few years later I came across “The four-hour work week” and that sealed the deal for me. I promised myself to do whatever it takes to get out of the full-time mess.
I believe the greatest gifts in life are freedom, health and time. I believe travel is what gives you the ultimate freedom. If you travel wisely, it will make you healthier both physically and spiritually. And your precious time is certainly a lot more valuable than your employer thinks it is, when they pay you for wasting it, making someone else rich while you should be busy enriching yourself. And by enrichment, of course, I am not talking about money.
So I came up with a simple action plan:
Step 1 – Become less dependent on money. Stop being a consumer. Think twice before you buy something if you really need it, because most of the things they say you need, you don’t. Furthermore, become a minimalist. Remember Fight Club? “Things you own end up owning you” and you don’t want to be owned by anybody let alone anything.
Step 2 – Find ways to work less and have more vacation days even if it means less money. Remember, your time is worth a lot more than the hourly rate you’re paid.
Step 3 – Find ways to support yourself on the road and become location independent
Step 4 – Become a perpetual traveler
So far I’ve made it through the first three steps and am on my way to the forth phase. Since 2008 when I quit my last full-time job I’ve had a few consulting projects, which was already a step forward for me, I am now self-employed and only work as much as I have to, my job allows me to travel extensively and I’m really enjoying it. And I finally got around to creating my travel site!