Do you dream big? Do you dream of setting off to explore the world? Do you imagine ourself travelling full time and seeing all the sites and places that you have only seen on the television and in books. Is it your dream to hop in an RV and drive off into the sunset? What’s holding you back?
I ask myself this quite a bit. Jason and I both work typical 9-5 jobs that have us tied down with limited time for vacation. The hustle and responsibilities of life weigh us down. We live for the long weekends where we can do a bit of travel and exploring. We long for our yearly week-long vacations. We are always looking at each other and saying, “There has to be more to life than this.”
We talked about this quite a bit on our vacation to West Virginia the other month. We want more from life. We want to explore the world while we are young enough to enjoy it. But time is passing us and we fear that we will never be able to travel to the extent that we would desire. We came home from that vacation and we were determined to change something. We talked about some plans and ideas that we had on the drive home and when we got home, the rigors of daily life overtook us. A few weeks after getting home, I picked up a book that looked interesting. It was called The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life you Want, and Change the World. It was just the spark that I needed to push myself into action.
There has to be something Better
The book, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life you Want, and Change the World is written by Chris Guillebeau (Amazon Link). In a nutshell, this book is an in depth look at the life of the author. He has lived an unconventional adult life. He did not follow the standard route that most people take. He has made the effort and taken the time to create a life that satisfied his innermost desires while still being a productive and active member of society.
From the very first chapter I knew that this author understood where I was at. He actually kept using the phrase, “there has to be something better”. He was using the same phrase that frequently repeat. He understood us! Even better, this author not only understood but he had personally forged a path where there was more to his life. He was able to pack his bags to travel and see the world when he felt the calling. He was living a life that most can only dream of. But how?
The Concept to Living a Life we Desire
The one concept that the author of this book quickly pointed out is that anyone can make the changes necessary to live the life that they desire. It takes a desire and commitment. It takes not just wanting to do it, but actually doing it. He wrote about people that he talked to that were full of admiration of his lifestyle and vowed to follow his footsteps. In some cases, the author had a chance to actually see the fruits of their labors and many times, a year or two later the person was still mired in a life that they did not like yet constantly dreaming of something different. Every time those dreamers would talk to the author, they would get excited and stirred up and vow that this time they were ready to make a change. But no change ever happened. But there were a different group of people that the author would talk to and they would also be all fired up to take the steps to change their lives. They would work up a plan and tell the author about their plan and when the author met them months or years later, he would find out that the person had been dead serious and that they had followed their plan and took the steps to be free to travel, financially independent or whatever their dream was. They had a dream and they were willing to take that leap. They were willing to risk the questions, comments and concerns from well meaning family and friends. They wanted something and they were going to do it! So, they did it.
The author went on to talk about some other concepts and ideas that he has used in order to make his dreams a reality. So many refer to their bucket list as some vague idea of things they want to do. If that is you, it is time to sit down with pen and paper and actually write out the list. Write out your goals. Write out your dreams. List all of those places that you want to visit. Don’t limit your dreams to short term ideas that you want to accomplish this year. Likewise, don’t limit your list to only long-term far-off goals. Make your list your Goal Bible. Write the list and then start to tackle the list. The author decided that he would separate his list into three sections. He had three different categories; one-year goals, 5-year goals and long-term goals. He is constantly checking on the progress of his one-year goals (every three months). As he accomplishes a goal off of that list, he can sometimes move a 5-year goal onto the shorter term list. Regardless, every year he reviews all lists and decides what needs to be done during the upcoming year to work toward achieving all goals. He keeps that list and uses it as his roadmap.
This book was an eye opener for me. The biggest take away for me was that I have to decide. Do I want to be a dreamer or do I want to be a doer? I can dream about the life I want for the rest of my life. I can repeat the phrase “there has to be something more to life” for the next 30 years. And if that makes me happy, then that is perfectly fine. But if I want to actually live that life that I am dreaming about, I have to take the steps to actually do it! The question is how badly do I really want it?
Ideas and plans
During that drive home from vacation, even before I read the above book, we had discussed some ideas to work on in order to make some of our dreams and ideas a reality. We talked about our weaknesses and strengths and what we could do to possibly move toward a lifestyle where we would have the money and freedom to travel a bit more. We talked quite a bit and we were happy with our ideas. We came home and we even made one or two forays into the areas of our interest. But there was no real plan of action put into effect, so our efforts were disjointed and sporadic at best. We wanted it badly enough, but we were lacking the organization and discipline that would make it happen. One of our ideas will take time and some effort and while we feel confident that it could be a worthy opportunity. It will take an quite a bit of effort and time from us. It will take persistence. The question will be, how badly do we want it?
I loved the idea of the bucket list that the author had used. I had started an actual physical copy of a bucket list of places that we would like to visit just a few months earlier so it wasn’t a foreign concept to me. However, after reading the book I sat down with a notebook and started to really dive deeply into my wants and desires. I added to that bucket list. I added personal things like, losing the rest of the excess weight on my body and to finally run that half marathon that I was never able to run due to illness. Without a shadow of a doubt you know that I kept those travel plans on my new bucket list. But I added a few more. I added that trip to Germany that has floated around in the back of my mind since I was in high school! No holds barred! If I dream about it and want it, then it is time to put it on the list. But that is not all. I also included some different items. I added a long-term goal of being able to live financially independent (or free from a standard 9-5 office job). In regards to that, I added a few short-term goals. I added some of the ideas and concept that we had talked about that might lead us to a life that we want to live. Right now, my list is manageable without breaking it down into 1, 5 and long-term sections. But I want to work on my list. So how am I doing that?
One of the new things that I have decided to do is to make up a daily to do list. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. When that happens the work that is involved in making our dreams come true tend to get pushed to the side. I don’t want this to happen. My list includes the mundane things such as ‘cardio workout day’ but it also includes general reminders to do ‘something’ in terms of building our future, even if it is just research. Some days have already included specific items to complete for the future. But in this way, I can not unwittingly forget to work toward my goals.
How bad do you want it? That is the question. Do you want it bad enough to give up playing a game on your phone or computer each evening? Do you want it bad enough to take the time out of your busy day to complete a task? Do you want it bad enough to make the changes in your life that necessitate the change? That is the question. I am going to tell you; I want it bad! I am willing to put in the work to make it happen! I am willing to invest my time and energy into my future. It may not work out for me. (I sure hope and pray that it does!) But if it doesn’t, at least I won’t be sitting here in 10 years saying “There has to be something more to life…. I wonder if we should have tried to find a solution 10 years ago!” I refuse to risk that regret! I am going to forge ahead to find my dreams! And maybe, just maybe you will see me on the road and able to travel full time……part time……or just more often…..all of those would be a positive change!
We all have dreams for our futures. We all want more from life and so many times, that requires more freedom. It requires freedom from the burden of a nine to five job and sometimes it requires financial freedom. It is the act of being financially independent, living a life without the constraints of being reliant on being employed or relying on others. But how do we get there? How do we follow the dream of travelling full time? How do we attain the dream of self sufficiency and financial freedom that allows us to see the world? People are constantly searching the internet, reading books, watching youtube videos in an effort to learn how to make their dreams come true. Just type in whatever your dream is and ask how to achieve that dream and you will find hundreds and thousands of internet links for blogs, websites and videos. There are tons of different ideas out there and people are reading and searching for them. Seriously, there are a lot! Why is it so popular? It is popular because we all have dreams for our lives. It is only natural. I have tons of dreams and aspirations and I frequently spend time on the internet research how to bring them to fruition. But probably the most common dream that I research is how to afford to travel full time and how to live a financially free life. How can afford to travel the world? Your dream doesn't have to be my dream. You may be trying to figure out how to afford to buy your first hour or how to afford that dream vacation. It can be anything. That is the beauty of dreams. We are only limited by our own imagination. But what happens once we dream and actually take the first step to research and find plan to implement our dreams.
How to become Financially Independent
We gather our information and ideas from the internet and then we sit back and think. And here is where there comes a divide in the road. What are you going to do with the information? This first choice is upon you immediately. What exactly are you going to do with this information? How ambitious are you? Are you going to look at the information you gathered and think 'Yes, someday! That sounds like a good idea, but not today"? Maybe you are one of the people that lament the fact that it's not going to be easy and set all ideas and plans aside? Do you look at the information and think 'someday'? Have you gathered your information only to find yourself totally overwhelmed? Do you feel as if it's too late to start? Or maybe, just maybe you are one of the people that do your research and dive right in. No matter what type of person you are, it's ok. I just want you to remember that there is always the perfect time to start and that perfect time is right now.
Start today on the road to financial freedom
OK, when I say that right now is the perfect time to start, that is assuming that you haven't already started to put your plans and ideas into action. Because, lets be honest, the best time to put your plans into action is always going to be yesterday, last year, 5 years ago. Basically the best time some time in the past simply because the ground work would already be laid and you would be a few steps forward in the process. But if you haven't started, it's ok. You can't let that bother you. We are not looking at the past. We are dreaming about the future. And that is what makes right here, right now the perfect time to start. If you give up simply because you did not start years ago, then you will never succeed because you will always be lamenting the fact that you haven't started and now it's an uphill battle that may even seem insurmountable.
I have spent more time than I would like to kicking myself for not pushing through with ideas and thoughts that I had years ago. I started writing in what started as an online journal. It was for my own personal use. I have consistently written posts there since January of 2006. I was writing there for my own personal growth and well being and while my readership was growing, I never capitalized on that blog for monetary purposes. I resisted 'selling out' on what I considered my personal journal. I even thought about doing video vlogs to complement that as early as 2008, but it was too much work. Where would I have been had I pushed my blog/website back when blogs were just starting to gain momentum? I could have been well on my way to traveling full time and earning my living off of my website. I eventually did start a YouTube channel for vlogs and as a companion to my website. I played around with it. It was a hobby for me. I never pushed myself past the hobby stage. Yet what would have happened had I tried to turn it into a stream of income? Could that have been funding our long weekends of exploration? Could it be paying for a fabulous vacation each year? Better yet, would I be financially capable of realizing my dreams
You see, it's easy to look back and ask yourself why you didn't do something. Why didn't you start earlier? Why didn't you take things more seriously? Why didn't you put more effort into your hobbies? But that isn't going to help anything. It's time to stop looking at the past and to start looking to the future. Today is the day to start making the changes in your life that will help you achieve those ambitions and dreams. Today is the beginning of a new future where our dreams and goals come true. Today is the first day in the journey to being financially free and independent.
Belief In Living
Travel with us as we explore!