I was sitting in a meeting with my boss when I decided I needed to quit my job. I realized I never wanted his job and should immediately stop climbing a ladder if I did not care to reach the top. Instantly I felt fatigued by fear, just the thought of not receiving my much-needed direct deposit every other week sent me into a panic. I was living on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles in an apartment well above my means. My roommate had moved out to accept an awesome offer as an executive in Northern California, one month into signing our lease and I was in way over my head, barely staying above water every month with 5 months left on the lease. Quitting at that time was completely out of the question. Once I made it through this lease, I would need to hold on to my job a little longer to secure a new apartment, then a little longer to buy new furniture. Before the meeting was over I realized there would always be a reason to hold on to this job that gave me no satisfaction. However, it was not the obvious reason you may guess. Money was not a factor in my decision to continue my dead end career in retail management. Fear was the lone culprit of my misery.
Raised by two educators my solution to every problem was knowledge. Throughout my life I found that the majority of my fears stemmed from a lack of understanding and could therefore be solved by educating myself in whatever subject was plaguing my thoughts. I treated this fleeting feeling and urge to quit my job just as I had so many before it, by scrolling through the local library after an in-depth google search. First I sat in a small corner with my MacBook blog-hopping: going from site to site reading peoples’ journeys or experiences that I could relate to until they lead me to another blog that hit even closer to home. Whenever I would find a recommendation for a book I would jot the title and author down until I compiled a list of ten or so potential reads. Next, I checked which books the library had available before heading home to over indulge in knowledge that could possibly make quitting my job less of an option and more of an obligation.
This, as usual, was like pulling a string on a sweater. My first set of books lead to the suggestion of 4 more books, which then lead me to an additional 6 reads. All in all I would say I read close to twenty books, essays and articles that built my confidence while forcing me to search my soul for revealing answers about what I truly wanted to do and how I wanted to live my life. I used these books for lifestyle inspiration to motivate me to change my life forever. The most inspiring book was undoubtedly Four Hour Work Week. Nothing about this book was standard or common. From the title to the author to the content, this book forces you to think and engage with your true self and ambitions. Written by Tim Ferris, Four Hour Work Week exposes you to different possibilities in life, forcing you to acknowledge that the way you are living, whether miserable or terrific, is not the only way of living. For me that meant that I did not have to have a corporate job, nor did I have to live in one city for twelve or even two months. I was an army brat and had moved a lot as a child. Once I was old enough to make my own decisions I chose to continue this way of life. I moved to Washington, DC from Columbus, Ohio to attend college when I was 18. After graduating I moved to Los Angeles for no other reason than I thought it would be a challenge, being that I had never even visited California.
My dream was to write a book, documenting my life that seemed to relocate itself quite often. The initial plan was to start living abroad and writing about those experiences after spending two years in LA. Once I arrived in Los Angeles, I did not know anyone or how to get anywhere and I had less than $500 to my name. Despite these shortcomings, I was over the moon with happiness. I had successfully taken the first, often most difficult, step to make a dream my reality. In the routine, stress and responsibilities I had acquired in the two years since moving I had forgotten this feeling. I had forgotten the reason I moved and why I was so proud of this effort.
Four Hour Work Week was a wake up call for me. The exercises included in the book brought me face to face with my ideal life. It literally forces you to write down how and where you want to live before requiring you to go online and figure out exactly how much these things and places cost. Before long I knew I could travel the world, living out my dream, for much less than I thought. Using the tools from Tim Ferris’ blog you can calculate the cost of your dream life down to daily needed revenue. I believe that knowledge is power. After knowing that I could live my dream lifestyle for $22 a day it was not hard to walk away from my career that paid much more than that per hour. The only problem left to solve was how I would make my money. Luckily Four Hour Work Week goes through this process in detail as well. From how to launch a website to how to automate your life, this book will help your dream become a tangible reality.
I am proud to end this by revealing I am writing this blog post from Granada, Nicaragua. I have chosen to use my writing as a way to sustain my lifestyle, coupled with other skills and opportunities. Before leaving the states I wrote out a synopsis of the book I intend to write and sent it out to every publishing company and private investor I could find an address for. I received several emails of interest, encouraging me to send my finished product. Of course I am not naïve enough to believe this is a for sure book deal or paycheck in the near future, that is not why I sent them out in the first place. The point was to prove to myself that becoming a published author was, like everything else I wanted to accomplish, very attainable. I launched a website that would eventually serve as my online business. Knowing that it takes time to develop a following before monetization, I made sure to use different skills while I developed my business.
My newly discovered skill set in graphic design quickly proved to be very useful and lucrative. After building my own website through wordpress I realized the obvious: I, the most technologically disadvantaged person, could build a website! I took my newfound knowledge and offered it to people in need of these services. Initially I bartered my services. When in Bocas Del Toro, Panama I realized there was an island that had little to no web presence. I would only patron these businesses, then after paying, approach the owner to see if they were interested in working together. I would build the restaurant a website for two weeks of free meals after agreeing to build a hostel a website in exchange for a three weeks stay. Before I knew it I didn’t need things, therefore I started requiring money to add to the small savings account that funded my trip. I am now four months into my journey with an apartment abroad and another one-way ticket that takes off for Italy in exactly two months. I am continuing to work on my first book as I build my online businesses to sustain my ideal lifestyle for as long as I desire. I am living proof that you can do it too. I will be your biggest cheerleader and support system, willing to share all the knowledge I have acquired.
Create the lifestyle you want.