I’ve noticed something odd lately. Every time I meet an old friend who has learned about my upcoming life-transition they say the same thing, “wow it must be nice to be able to afford to take a year off work and travel.” I just stand of there in puzzlement, because apparently they just haven’t grasped the whole concept of what it is I’m doing.
I am not taking off work. I am not traveling for a year. I cannot afford to do that if I wanted to. I don’t come from money. I don’t get help from my parents. This isn’t a gap-year thing, and this isn’t a long vacation. I have every plan of working while I travel, therefore I can make travel a lifestyle that coincides with working.
Granted, I won’t be doing a 30-hour week in the same office, but I will be working. As long as I have periods of decent Wi-Fi, I can continue to maintain and build websites for clients. I can also teach English in exchange for housing at various times. I can build hostels websites in exchange for a room. I can tutor over skype. I can post ads on craigslist for computer repair, etc.
Maybe I just don’t see limitations like other people do, because the minute I start explaining this to them their eyes glaze over and they cut me off with, “whoa, that sounds awesome, but I don’t think I could ever do that.”
I don’t get it, why can’t they? This isn’t rocket science; it’s setting a goal and accomplishing it. My goal is to be on the road backpacking with no end in sight by next year. So now I have to break that goal into a timeline of sub-goals, and step by step accomplish my little sub-goals until one day I wake up six months from today with my bags packed ready to board my one-way flight to El Salvador- which I just purchased yesterday. I think the process of breaking a major goal into sub-goals with timelines is the key to actually achieving the original goal.
Here are some of my sub-goals that I am working on in order to get started with my new life:
- Buy a one-way plane ticket to my starting destination. This is an important task as it requires me to basically make a non-refundable deposit towards my ultimate goal. I’m a cheap dude, so committing a couple hundred dollars means I am in. I’ve never cancelled a non-refundable plane ticket, ever.
- Inform my current boss and clients of my intentions to move out of the country in six months’ time. Another form of commitment to the goal. I can’t just up and leave my current jobs with a couple weeks’ notice. It isn’t a nice thing to do, and it would leave my bosses in a horrible bind trying to find and train a replacement. I also have some local freelance clients that I will need to help find another tech guy.
- Let my parents, family, and friends know of my plans now. Giving them a few months is important so that we can say our proper goodbye’s and prevent emotional turmoil.
- Save $2,000 by X-mas. Save around $7,000-$10,000 in cash before I leave in April. This will include about $3-4k in equity that I can get out of my car when I sell it. My anticipated costs are $30-40 a day average, so between my savings and what I earn on the road, I should be set for a while
- Be prepared with material goods. I’d like to have all my gear purchased well before my trip so that I’m not spending a lot out of my savings at the beginning. I already have my backpack and duffle bag, waterproof/shockproof camera, and a small laptop for blogging. Now I am concentrating on getting appropriate shoes, small first aid kit, international cell phone, portable GPS, etc.
- Take a test run. In a few days I am going down to Costa Rica for two weeks with no itinerary. My goal is to see how well I can manage on my own, and more importantly to learn whatever it is I know I don’t know and I really should know. Ya know?
The point of this post is to say, you can do whatever it is you want to do. Don’t let the endpoint overwhelm you; just find a way to break it down into easily achievable tasks. Like I said, step-by-step and one day, sooner than you think, you will wake up exactly where you want to be. And this, my friends, is How to Live Your Dreams!