I have always been a person who appreciates experiences created outside of the experience rather than the experience itself. What? That doesn't make sense? Let me explain.
I was an above average high school student, who spent more time socializing, playing sports, and working outside of school than in class. I couldn't be an adult fast enough. In college, I actually took a lighter course load and worked full-time several semesters to pursue a passion outside of school and became a National Champion Bodybuilder. Again being more of a social creature than a student and taking 7 years to graduate. After college, I wanted to make a 6 figure salary by the time I was 30. I did that by being a likable person, but keeping my head down, mouth shut, ears open, and knowing when to strike at opportunities. Hmm...
Is this story all that different from ones you've heard before? Ok, maybe not everyone sets a goal of making 6 figures in 5 years, keep in mind I was 30 by that point, but after college I began living the great lie. I attached my happiness to dollars and my butt to a chair in a cubicle. I was doing some project I probably didn't like or care about, for unreasonable hours so that I would collect a check and could consume more things, all for the privilege of getting to go back and do it all again the next week. Oh, and I could have a couple of days off once in a while and let's not forget the dangled carrot of the "year end bonus".
I was unhappy, unfulfilled and probably worst of all unhealthy! I was just waiting for the day when I could escape the confines of the cubicle and make a life, not a living. The bleeding edge was where I wanted to be, but the closest I could get was a paper cut.
So, what did I do? Just sit and wait for something to change or maybe another opportunity to present itself? No! I took action and I made change. I put pen to paper and wrote down my top 3 drivers.
- Recover my health and fitness
- Rebuild my network of friends
- Create location and time independence
Those became my Bushidō, or guiding principles, for everything I did. When something new presented itself as a possibility I would quickly determine if it did/did not serve one of those principles and moved on either towards or away from said possibility.
Know what the first thing to go was? The full time salaried job in favor of 6 month hourly contracts, working from "home" (for more money if you're keeping score). If I was to work more hours I got paid more. Next, I invested in a home gym and started training again. I mean I was a national championship bodybuilder for crying out loud! Finally, I enrolled in improv classes and developed an entirely new tribe that I wouldn't have thought possible. Shortly thereafter moving into performing which happened to be a passion from a very early age.
There was only one thing missing and I didn't even know it at that time. As I was on the downward side of my 30's I had the opportunity to travel outside of the U.S. for a fitness conference (I was now working in the industry). Until then international travel was always one of those things that I would do "later, when I got the time", and yes, I had read The 4 Hour Work Week. But when the bug bites, she bites hard and it was then that traveling became my 4th Bushidō!
The internet and the technology around it has created a world which will allow us to be location independent if you choose to be. Not just inside the U.S. but I would even put forth the assertion that it is even better outside of the U.S. Of course this is within reason. You're not going to get a great WiFi signal at the mouth of the Amazon! But gone are the days of anyone getting to "work from home" two or three days per week while having to trek into an office and hide in a cubicle the rest. Now it is possible to work from wherever, whenever, wearing whatever you want!
Welcome to it!
This is not to say that this lifestyle is the end all be all for everyone and doesn't have it's downsides that may be deal breakers for some. I will discuss these more in future, but for me and the growing tribe of Digital Nomads (I prefer Virtual Ronin) it's the way we've chosen to live.
What I've Achieved Since Adopting My Bushidō...
- Co-founded an online fitness and fat loss company
- Opened a gym
- Built a curriculum to help other entrepreneurs become location independent and lifestyle focused while they slept
- Taught myself 3.5 languages (2 computer and 1.5 spoken)
- Started an app development company
- Coached other entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams
- Maintain a "healthy" body and mind for me
- Grow serious friendships and relationships. Not just "single serving friends"
- Realize my dream of seeing more of the world than just good ol 'merica
- Finally built this web site!
- And most importantly...