Category Archives: Motivation

Making the Decision to Go Remote | Location Independence [Video]

Research shows we put more weight into how we may later regret a decision than we actually do if it ends up being a bad choice.

More importantly, we regret NOT making decisions to do things above all else.

In other words…DO IT.

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Filed under Location Independence, Motivation, The Decision, Videos

Breakaway…how to free yourself from those invisible shackles

Breaking free from my previous life was not easy...but boy was it worth it :)

Breaking free from my previous life was not easy…but boy was it worth it 🙂

The decision has been made. You’ve spent months (sometimes years) debating with your soul about what it is, exactly, that you want from life. Once you’ve finally realized that breaking free is your ultimate goal, you think all your problems are over. That’s it! The hard part is over! You’ve made the decision to cut the shackles which are holding you back and to set off into the sunset; oh how wonderful do you feel right now?!?

Forgetting something? Not so fast there cowgirl…

Yes it is true that the hardest part, for me personally, was coming to the realization and making the final decision, that long-term travel was what I craved most. Yet this does not mean by any stretch of the imagination, that what came next was pure bliss. It wasn’t. It was a bit hellish actually. I had an apartment to sell and the contents to store, I had to disconnect from everything in my life, hand in my resignation, pay off my credit card, close all my accounts and, if all that wasn’t enough, I had to break the news to my mum. Once you learn my mum is Italian, then you’ll understand my angst ^_^

Handing over the keys of my former abode to the real estate agent felt like a huge relief. Sort of. You see, everything about the ‘breakaway’ was immensely contrasting for me: I was elated yet hesitant, adventurous yet cautious. Nothing about it was black and white and, to tell the honest truth, nothing has been ever since. I love travelling with every inch of my soul but at times I get homesick, friend-sick and mamma-food-sick. Whilst I cherish making new friends every day I miss having D&Ms with my life-long friends. I dare say that life for most long-term nomads is one of contrasts and contradictions, so I suppose the internal turmoil I felt when I was in the midst of reorganizing my life  was Mother Nature’s way of telling me ‘well you better get used to that kid…there’s a lot more where that came from!’

Being virtually homeless at the age of 31 felt a little scary although having a 3m³ storage space full of my ‘stuff’ helped alleviate my fears. This was my back up plan, my fall-guy, this was my way of saying that while I very much wanted ‘out’, I did also want to leave the door ajar. Just in case.

Considering that the next time I saw my stuff was when I flew home three years later to sell it all off, one would think that I’d be an ardent advocate for complete and total initial sell-off. But I’m not. Sure, sometimes I kick myself at having spent $6,000 over three years to store things I never needed nor wanted again, but I do think my gradual detachment from what I sometimes call my ‘previous life’ was exactly the right recipe for me. I’ve had people ask me how one just breaks away completely and sets off, but fact is I have no idea how anyone could do that either! I did it in steps and it worked a treat and this is something I would highly recommend to anyone who feels a little nauseous at the mere thought of ridding themselves of their life-long’s possessions. I can plead and beg and swear to you that you won’t give two hoots about them in two years time, but fact is everyone needs to get there on their own.

I left my car with a friend who paid and maintained it whilst she used it (sold that two years later), consolidated all my accounts into one and took a debit VISA card with me (incidentally this is still the only bank account I have) and I did take out an emergency MasterCard for the unthinkable. Knowing that I could buy a flight home at ANYtime helped put my mind at ease.

Those who are intending to live an expat existence in another country will probably have an easier time I dare say, but of course cutting off from the emotional attachments in our lives will always be the biggest challenge. It really does help to keep in mind that, this being the 21st century and all, one can get back ‘home’ in two days from just about every corner of the globe. Your chosen financial step of choice (do you live off your savings a while, make virtual connection before you leave etc?) will also determine just how nervous you’ll be at the airport, yet I imagine that even the most organized wannabe-nomad will suffer many sleepless nights.

Taking all the necessary steps you need to free yourself from your restrictions is never going to be the easy part. Emerging from the other side unscathed however, will definitely be the most rewarding.

Welcome to your new life.

Written by Laura Pattara

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Filed under Digital Nomads, Location Independence, Motivation, The Breakaway, Working Remotely

My biggest challenge in working from home

Laptop and Home Office Desk

Staying motivated while the TV is calling in my home office.

A handful of us have made changes in life that seem bizarre to normal people. ‘Crazy’ is a term regularly used to describe the choices I have made. I threw in the towel, giving up a well-paying management role to relocate over 8,500 km into a country with no idea of my next step. I was in need of something new, however in hindsight I do agree this was a rather extreme decision

I justified the choice to my wife, my family (and most importantly my mother in law) with a need to recharge, revitalize and discover a different type of income that would give me both flexibility and freedom. I had savings to get me through the dry spell in the beginning, reassuring the largest doubts in my mind. I was also lucky to have fantastic people close to me, and received phenomenal understanding and support through the transition. Would I recommend this path to everyone? Probably not. I jumped off the deep end, and failure was an outcome I had to stare in the face each and every day.

Fortunately, there are less dramatic options for those of us seeking something new. Even a small change can be a very good thing, revitalizing our passion for the job and recharging our batteries. When you want to keep your day job but take more control, I recommend negotiating a work from home arrangement with your employer. Conducting business from your sofa in your pajamas is a dream of many office employees. I have been consulting out of my home office on-and-off for over a year, but believe me, it comes with it’s own unique set of challenges.

Managing distractions is simply the hardest thing to do. For anyone even considering this change of lifestyle, you will not succeed if you cannot take responsibility for your own actions. Before you take that first step, ask yourself if you are ready to handle being your own boss. You will have no one in your lounge room forcing you to turn off the TV and focus on work, no colleagues to keep you on track when you hit a slump after lunch. This is what I personally have struggled with, staying on task when there are so many other things to do!

My house is my castle, and unfortunately, coping with the call of the latest Xbox games, fantastic movies queued up in Netflix  or my dog calling for attention means that it can be very difficult to remain productive. In the last 12 months I have learnt how critical it is to be disciplined, otherwise nothing ever gets done. Being strict with yourself is very, very hard. In the beginning I thought that I was doing incredibly. I was always ‘busy’ and the day’s seemed to fly right past. Looking back, I know now I could have achieved much more in my first months. Time and goal management needed to right up top of my priority list, as I was now my own boss. I realized the change in my lifestyle would also require a change in me. Success hinged on my ability to adapt, and only I could bring this change in myself.

Today, I am more scheduled than I ever could have imagined. I start my day at 7 am, with a ridiculously large coffee and build a task/reward list. This is what I developed to keep me motivated and on track, essentially its a to-do list with a reward for finishing each task. Some are small, like reading all of my new emails before I can send one. Other tasks are much larger, like finishing this article before I can head to the gym! I have found that making sure I achieve something before I can go for lunch, turn on the TV or even walk my dog is an excellent motivator. It forces me to get things done when otherwise I will have an empty belly or a grumpy puppy on my hands.

Working from home is a fantastic change, whether its for yourself or for your employer, make sure you understand the challenges involved before you take the leap. You won’t get anything done if you think checking your emails while you watch 4 hours of daytime soaps is working. Learn to manage your time and you will find that both your lifestyle and happiness will improve. Remember, working from home is a privilege you get from your employer. It’s not a right, and you need to earn it. Once you earn it, make sure you continue to deserve it.

It’s challenging to be your own boss, but the rewards are phenomenal.

Author: Travis Bennett

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Filed under Expats, Motivation, Preparing to Breakaway, The Breakaway, Work and Business

Taking the plunge…when FREE is all you want to be

Cuddling a cheetah in Zambia, absorbing the serenity of Petra in Jordan, getting up close and personal with Galapagos seals and being overawed by Egypt's Luxor Temple. Choose to break free...and you can do it all

Cuddling a cheetah in Zambia, absorbing the serenity of Petra in Jordan, getting up close and personal with Galapagos seals and being overawed by Egypt’s Luxor Temple. Choose to break free…and you can do it all

As a long-term vagabond I’m often asked if ‘travel’ is the most important thing in the world to me. Whilst I understand how people may come to this seemingly logical conclusion, considering I don’t seem to be able to keep still in one spot for longer than a month, I am often left wondering why others don’t see what I see. Why do they not realize that this kind of life is not about travel per say? The decision to reshape my life and make it location independent is, and always has been, all about freedom.

Freedom is, above all else, my most precious possession.

To be completely honest, it may be a little presumptuous to assume everyone understands the true ideal behind living such a blissfully unrestricted life. After all…it took me long enough to reach that conclusion!

It was around the beginning of 2004 when I finally realized the cause behind my recent bout of unhappiness. Everyone in my life was telling me I had all the reasons in the world to be happy: I’d just turned 30, was in a highly paid job in the fashion industry and had just taken possession of a gorgeous inner-city apartment in Sydney, Australia. By all intents and purposes…I was on the ‘right’ track. But right for whom? Who on earth decided that this was the way we were all meant to live? Whilst my friends coveted my designer wardrobe and my parents were proud as punch I’d made a long-term investment; all I felt was that I was losing control of my life…inch by inch. I do understand that some people may look at their heavily mortgaged four walls and see security and long-term stability, yet all I saw was virtual handcuffs.

I felt claustrophobic, frustrated and not a little depressed to tell you the truth. It wasn’t until one totally unremarkable day that the famed light bulb was tuned on. I was staring at the photocopying machine watching endless copies of a document emerge from the out-tray. As the hypnotic sound and motion of the pages entranced me, I remember smirking and thinking ‘This may just be the personification of the rest of my life. Every day the same, every year identical; everything predictable and safe’. It was then that I saw my situation for what it was and I could finally verbalize what and why I had been feeling so unfulfilled. I didn’t want safe and predictable, I didn’t care about pretty clothes or accumulated assets; all I wanted was freedom. The only thing I wanted was control of my life.

Travel turned out to be my most fervent desire yet I do see this as a by-product of enjoying personal freedom. Making the decision to chase my dream of long-term travel was not the difficult part for me; coming to the realization that this is what I desired most was by far much harder. From beginning to end this process took two years of my life, yet of course this is neither regret nor a statement of self-admonition. It was a necessary process I had to go through in order to build up the courage to leave all my securities behind and to reshape my mindset.

If you happen to share my passion for travel and my fervent desire to be free of modern societal constraints, you may be wondering how on earth you could ever afford to take the plunge yourself.

Well, after nearly a decade of aimless wanderings, I’m here to ask you just one question…

How can you afford not to?

 

Written by Laura Pattara

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Filed under Motivation, The Decision

Rules are for Breaking

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Versailles, France

The biggest mistake you can make is to tell yourself you have to do everything by the rules. Doing things by the rules is more expensive, time consuming, and just damn boring. So learn that rules are for breaking.

I am privileged. I am from the United States. Unlike most people in the world, I can travel pretty much anywhere I want. I can cross borders as easily as I can slice through a stick with a machete. I did not fully understand this until I came to Honduras, which is the size of some states in America. Hondurans need a visa most everywhere in the world, even to take a vacation in countries that are close to them. I understand why so many of them feel trapped within this small country. However, I still think that where there is a will there is a way. I have met several people, especially through Couchsurfing, people from places like China, who do not have a free access pass to the world. They have to apply; they have to pay; they have to beg to go to a different country, but they do it because it is important to them. If these people can travel the world so can you, and if you say otherwise, especially if you are American, then you have created your own doom.

There are many obstacles I overcame to get to the freedom I have now, but mostly they were obstacles I set up for myself. In following all the rules that were supposed to help me get to my end goal of traveling the world, I, in many ways, could not see the many different options available. I could only see the ones that fit within the system of socially acceptable pathways for travel such as set vacation times, study abroad programs, or working for oversees organizations. I could not see options like working for a year in your home country then taking a year off traveling, volunteering abroad so you can travel with free room and board, being a freelance writer online so you can go anywhere but still work, Couchsurfing for cheap travel and cultural exchange, or asking for a leave of absence so you still have a job to come back to.

I could not have broken away from the system of rules if not for the people who inspired me to do so by their own real life examples. I would say I first began to think outside the box when a friend, who was also a nurse, told the hospital she worked for that she wanted a leave of absence to travel for three months, and that they could either let her have it or she would quit. She was the first inspiration, but there were others. A Couchsurfer from the UK had also done something similar but in a different job and had been traveling for months in the USA.

Then I had a Couchsurfer live with me who totally turned my world upside down. I had broken up with my boyfriend, and I needed help with rent, so I put up an add in Couchsurfing for someone to pay to stay on my couch long term as a flat-mate. The girl who came broke every rule in the book. She had never been to college, but she was one of the most intelligent people I had met, choosing to learn through reading instead of paying for an education. She, unlike most people her age, was debt free. She would work and save for a year as a nanny then travel the world until her money ran out. She volunteered at a food shelter which often had too much food, so the shelter would give her the leftovers to take home to eat. She rarely had to pay for food herself. She loved to dance and would go out most nights, but she knew all the times when she could dance for free. If she went out with friends to a restaurant, she would not order anything, or if she did, it was tea or a small drink. When there was a free event in town, she would go. Her eyes were on the prize, traveling, and nothing was going to distract her, but she made sure to have affordable fun while waiting for the end reward. She was my biggest inspiration. Because of her I realized that any dream was possible. It was really only about how much you were willing to give up to fulfill it, and I discovered that I could give up a lot quite happily to find my freedom. Within a year of careful planning and positive thinking, I had my reward.

Written by Beth Ann Nyssen

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Filed under Motivation, The Breakaway

Great Song/Video: The Big Electron (Featuring Bill Hicks and George Carlin)

A fellow Entreprenomad and great friend of mine just forwarded this video and I’ve already watched it half a dozen times. It features comedic legends Bill Hicks and George Carlin, auto-tuned to a wonderful song by Melodysheep with an incredible message. Lyrics are below the video.

I hope you’re enjoying your ride. If not, don’t worry, don’t be a afraid, you can change it any time you want. Special thanks to Mark for the video and the reminder.
MP3 Download Here

PS: A very special Happy Birthday to my brother, I love you Jamie! 🙂

The Big Electron: Lyrics
Is this real?
Or is this just a ride?

The world is like a ride
You think it’s real – it’s just a ride
And we can change it any time we want
It’s only a choice – between fear and love

The ride goes up and down and round and round
It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly colored
Up and down and round and round
And it’s very loud

Don’t worry, don’t be afraid
It’s just a ride
And we can change it any time we want
It’s only a choice between fear and love

Why are we here?
I think we’re part of a bigger wisdom
That we won’t ever understand
A higher order – call it what you want –
Know what I call it?

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Turning my life upside down

Deck chairs by the beach. Perfect office space.

Southern Thailand, I can’t imagine a more beautiful office space…

A roller coaster. The most adequate description of my life over the last four years. My decision to break free and take control of my destiny came as a result of a series of unexpected events, that led me from Australia, to Thailand, to Denmark, and back again to Thailand.

The first step is to begin at the beginning, and in the beginning there is always a girl. We met in a company training session in Copenhagen, and fell head-over-heels for each other. The flight back to Sydney was terrible, I knew where I wanted to be, and who I wanted to be with. Unfortunately for my parents, this was not in Australia! Two months later, with a freshly signed expatriation contract, I boarded a plane to her hometown of Bangkok. This first shift was painless. As an expat, your hand is held through every difficult moment associated with an international relocation. Visa, work permits, and even your belongings are taken care of, one day you just wake up realizing you are indeed quite far from home.

The second shift reflected another opportunity. To Copenhagen with us both on expatriation; tackling exciting projects, our life was surreal. However crunch time always hits, hitting hardest in the midst of the financial crisis. I found myself alone in Denmark after her contract was terminated, and 30% of our workforce had been made redundant. Looking to my colleagues, I realized that experience, ability, and skills counted for little. People whose life had been this company, counted for naught. My friends who had invested their entire careers in this business were now out of a job, out of options.

It was this point that was critical for me. During yet another round of farewell beers, I decided that I never wanted to be trapped in that position. I never wanted to give another person the ability to influence my life to such a degree. I never wanted to rely on anyone but myself. My financial future, my life, and ultimately my happiness needed to be under my control.

Handing in my resignation sealed my fate. I threw in the towel with the company that had trained me, where I had grown from an entry-level trainee to management, and built my career over the course of six years. It was not a decision made lightly, and my advice for anyone considering a digital nomad lifestyle is twofold. Have a back-up plan in place, and have some money behind you. Your savings will ensure you can put food on the table, and a back-up plan provides peace of mind during the transition. I had savings that could fund my life in Bangkok for 12 months, 18 at a stretch if my earnings were zero. This provided peace of mind to myself, as well as my family, who at this point were thinking that their son had lost the plot. I also talked in detail with my previous managers in Thailand, and had received an open invitation to return to my previous job. This greatly reduced the risk that involved, making it much easier to take my first leap.

Selling 99% of my belongings was a freeing experience, it opened my eyes to the materialism that is mind-numbingly forced down our throats in modern society. The scary part, is that most of us never even realize. My 20 kg baggage allowance on the return flight to Thailand did not leave room for sentiment, and I was brutal. I moved to Copenhagen with a twenty-foot container jammed full of my life, almost a ton of accumulated “stuff” that I had given value to. I returned with a suitcase.  

Touching down in the heat of Bangkok, I had no idea on my next steps. No plan, no 5-step guide.

I was definitely in the deep end, but I had never felt more alive.

Author: Travis Bennett

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Filed under Expats, Motivation, The Decision

My Decision to Go Remote – From Portland to Honduras

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Hacienda Grande, Copán, Honduras

Someone once told me children know with great accuracy what they want to do as adults at 6 years old. The media and social pressures are what make you forget. As adults, most of us are trapped by a mold designed by our personal expectations and those of others. I broke out of that mold about two years ago when I realized the only person keeping me from my dreams was myself.

I was on the right track for the American Dream: Educated, working full time in a well-paying job, with a spacious city apartment, and a steady boyfriend. At the back of my mind though, in the bottom of my heart, there was a dream of a 6 year old girl to live a simple life riding around the world on a donkey. As a child, I saw myself traveling with a mission to love others and share and learn from them. Even then, I could see how America’s consumeristic society kept us working instead of living, and I did not want to be a part of it. However, at 25, I came to the upsetting realization that I too had fallen into the consumerist trap. Advertisers had brilliantly distorted the American Dream concept to lure me and others in.

I was working with cancer patients as a nurse in the United States and hosting people from Couchsurfing, a website where wanderers can host or stay with fellow travelers to learn and explore the world more openly, when I had my Aha! moment. My cancer patients taught me it was the relationships, the interactions, the learning and loving that made life important. They helped me remember my childhood dream. Couchsurfers gave me the hope that my dream was possible. People from all over the world came to my home telling me their adventures, living on the cheap. They inspired me to see the world with new eyes.

The decision to leave my job and my beautiful apartment in downtown Portland at first seemed daunting because they were what I knew and the unknown seemed terrifying. As I got rid of each item in my apartment over the course of a year, I felt more free, and I realized these things were what were tying me down all along. The desire to collect them, to store them, to own them, and the same went for people. Letting things go, I realized that letting people go often is what gives you and those you release the power to fly. Once you are free, anything is possible.

Written by Beth Ann Nyssen

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Filed under Motivation, The Decision

You Can Do Eeeeeeeeet!

youcandoit

“If I did it, so can you.” That sentence seems to be overused a lot, but it’s actually true. Has it been easy? No. There’s nothing easy about starting a business, most of them fail. There’s also nothing easy about being productive working outside of the 9 to 5-Monday through Friday-go to the same office every day template that we’ve all been told is the only way to success. None of it is easy, but nothing these days is and you’re here because you’re looking for more. Me too!

As I’ve gone along, I’ve realized the best thing we can do for each other is to share our experiences, help one another find what it is we’re looking for. My hope is that you find the encouragement, the tools and skills you need to live a live full of amazing experiences.

I look forward to sharing my (and others) tips, tricks and experiences that have helped along the way in an effort to make it easier for those attempting to do the same. Looking forward to seeing you around here, be sure and sign up for the newsletter or grab the rss feed so you can be updated every time a new article or video is posted.

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