I am currently working my notice and everything is very nearly in place for me to fly out of the country on the 10th of July. But why am I in this situation and how did it happen when less than two years ago I had a nice house, a good job, and was living with my then girlfriend and our two dogs. It was what I was meant to have wanted and the aim of most people in life. However, I was not fulfilled and felt very little control over my life.
A few books later; Rich Dad Poor Dad, Voluntary Simplicity, The Richest Man in Babylon and Be a Free Range Human to name a few and I knew what was right for me. Not what I should do but what felt right for me.
My then girlfriend had great plans and knew exactly where she was heading and it was deep into Politics, she is now an MP in the UK parliament. This is not what I wanted and this realisation came to me after watching the George Clooney film about never being at home and always travelling called “Up in the Air“. It sparked a discussion and we talked about what we both wanted out of life and realised that our dreams and aspirations, and us as a whole, were very different. The break up was in most parts pretty amicable.
Our house went on the Market and at that point I realised that now more than ever was the opportunity for me to live a simple life. In contrast to my then life which I found stressful and restricting, not because of the people but the situation. I felt everything I had was at the mercy of others and that my life’s foundations were that of sand. If I lost my job, it would be like pulling the last block out in a game of Jenga, and everything I had, I could lose. Most of the money I was earning was sustaining the house. The books I had read had taught me about a different way of life where experiences were key, not the objects we owned.
When the house sold, I chose to go minimal. Everything in the house would either be for my ex-girlfriend or thrown. I walked away with one removal box of my items. Just like my ex, I had a plan and knew where I was heading. I have for the last 18 months rented a room from a friend. Doing this cut my costs and outgoing so much that I could live off half my wages, enabling me to save the other half for my travels. To quote Hannibal Smith from the A Team. “I love it when a plan comes together”.
With in a few months of living minimally, which I love, I knew what was really important to me. That thing was freedom. What I mean by this is that I was now controlling my destiny and life, not my boss at work. Please don’t get me wrong my boss is a nice guy and his aim was not to control my destiny and life, but the situation I was in prior to selling my house gave him that power by default. Today if I lost my job I have enough money set aside to carry on living my current lifestyle for 18+ months without work, this I find very empowering.
My salary had not increased but due to my lifestyle changes I was much more wealthy. Now let me explain and it would be better if I could remember exactly which book I sourced this explanation of wealth from but I was reading so many at the time I can not remember! All the same this is the best description of wealth I have ever heard. It explains how someone earning £40K a year can be wealthier than someone earning £120K. Wealth they stated is based in time and current lifestyle, not how much you earn. The question to ask yourself is “If I were to lose my job today and were to continue living my current lifestyle, how long would it be before I ran out of money?” Most people are around a month or so. If you can get up to anywhere over 3 months you are more stable. The aim is to get the amount of time you can live with out working so high that you can retire. That sounds like a good game to me!
So how am I travelling for a year? As mentioned earlier I am financing my travels with the money saved up from my new simple lifestyle as well as picking up design work and selling the two products I have created:
- a book about the power of the mind to control pain and healing
- an app about the golden ratio which is a fascinating theory
Travel and freedom are possible if that is what you want, some others want more and more, a newer car and a bigger house and it’s not for me to say if that is right or wrong. It’s just not for me at the moment. But what is for me is being in control of my destiny and now I am in the right situation to see where life takes me. I know what I want and where I would like to go and right now and for the next year that is to travel.