"People Think I'm Rich"
As a traveler, for some reason, people usually associate me with wealth and freedom, which is something I am aspired to do, but I am far from being rich nor do I have plenty of free times.
On the surface, it may seem that the lifestyle I chose came by easily but in truth, it was years of work, fighting against norms and in the end, took the leap of faith and chose myself.
I came from a society where people worship big companies as the only path to wealth and freedom. I know this because I used to be that person. I tried to get into big companies like Microsoft just for the sake of decorating my resume in hopes that it would propel me in a better direction. I used to work until 2 AM for a promotion I never had. As you may have guessed, those did not go well, and I ended up feeling burned out. in my early 20s! Now, I'm happier than ever before. I work on my businesses while traveling the world one country at a time. What changed? How can you do the same? I asked myself this question and here are what I did differently:
I know what makes me happy and I prioritize it
Yes, priorities are what will allow you to live your dreams. I put priorities on everything I do. I put my priorities on experiences over material gains, long-term goals over short-term rewards. Instead of spending my hard-earned money on a cup of coffee from Starbucks every day, I saved up, drink normal coffee and use that money to travel. Setting priorities will help you control the urge of spending money on unnecessary crap like these, and instead spend on something that will make you become a better person, like traveling.
What you can do:
Before you could put your priorities on the right things, first you need to know what you want to do in life. This is very important because when people put priorities on the wrong things, it is usually because they do not know where to put it in the first place. Find a time for yourself and explore within. Learn what you like/dislike through experimentations and work towards that.
Before I started traveling alone, I had no idea if I would enjoy it, but the concept of going where ever I want whenever I want has always inspired me, and so one weekend, I decided that I will travel alone to Cambodia, and I never stop since. You will not find yourself if you play it safe and never risk anything. Find yourself and prioritize your life around your happiness.
2. I work hard for my freedom
I write, I run businesses, I exercise 3 days a week, I do freelance work, and I travel
It did not happen overnight. It all began with me working as a full-time designer and learning everything I could to be independent. I even went further and researched for a way that I could adapt my design skills into a career that is location independent. I started writing blogs regularly at the beginning of last year, and now I've written multiple guest posts and generating a good amount of extra income to fund my travel. I even built BucketListly and Travelistly around traveling so that I could make a living off what I love most.
What you can do:
Know what you want and work hard for it. If you know that freedom plays an important role in your happiness, try to work out a way you can make a living without sacrificing freedom.
Here's what I did differently:
- I know that travel and freedom are important for me, and so I researched through several travel blogs and observe how they make a living while sustaining their travel lifestyle.
- I combine what I specialized in (design, development, startups) with the location-independent career path and align my goals and actions towards it.
- I work days and nights, weekdays and weekends to built my 2 startups, to practice my writings, to create content for this blog, and to market my businesses (And people think I have plenty of free times).
You can do the same even while you are working full-time. You just need to divide your time correctly and leave rooms for your passion to grow. If you are passionate enough, you will not have any trouble waking up early on weekends and work your ass off so you are closer to what you want than you did yesterday.
3. Own less, do more, be more
I own fewer things than most people.
I currently do not own a car or a house. I don't "invest" in things that will not make more money than it cost. Hell, I didn't even own a laptop throughout 6 years of my studies (Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Master's degree in International Business). Only when I think I can make money off my computer, then I'll buy it.
People tend to buy more as they earned more, and it is almost impossible to dial that back. I, on the other hand, diverted all these spendings to my travel which in turns helped expand my worldview and better my decision-making.
What you can do:
Don't create unnecessary commitments that will hinder your agility as a youth. There's a saying, "Own less, and live more". Live by these words and invest more in life experiences, not things. Experiences will stay with you either as a lesson or a fond memory you could relive forever whereas material things will expire and the value decay over time.
With less commitment, come more opportunities. You can now move to anywhere in the world and travel as far as you can go worry-free. You will no longer have to keep track of your debts because you have no debts. Who knows, you might settle, have a family, and enjoy every day of your life somewhere in the middle of Europe.
No, I am not rich!
I'm no richer than anyone I know. I'm even considered as pretty cheap to some of my friends but when it comes to living life to the fullest, it's all about how I utilized my money, my time and my energy. If you siphoned all these 3 elements correctly toward what you are aspired to do, you will soon find yourself in the middle of it.
If you found this article helpful, please do share it with your friends and families.
For a full disclosure, I sold my first company (MyColorscreen) 2 years ago and you may think that I was able to live like this because I have this money in the bank, but in truth, from my 10 months of traveling around Asia, I did not use a dime from my savings. It did provide a safety net though, I will not argue with that, but the fact that I only spent money I earned from my work say something about how you could do it too.
Looking for more inspirational articles? Check out The Solo Traveler’s Inspiration section where we will discuss topics related to the nomadic and traveling lifestyle and shower-thoughts that will invoke wanderlust in all of us.
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