I did it and with planning, you can do it too
I’m sitting in the kitchen of an old mobile home on the beach in Florida. I’ve spent many days and nights sitting in this very same spot. With my eyes glued to the screen of my laptop, my hands vigorously typing away, this is my life for the moment. Time freedom is something I actually have plenty of finally. The beach breeze combined with the humidity serves as a constant reminder that I’m in Florida. It’s been about two weeks since I was on the west coast visiting and enjoying the mild winters. I’ll be here another one or two weeks while preparing a property for sale. Then I’ll be back up in the northeast in New Hampshire with family for about three to four weeks. After that, I will again venture out west to California for a few months. Now, this is a far better representation of my life.
Exactly what I do for a living I’m sure 99% of people who have read the above are wondering. To those people, I would reply that yes, that is a great question and the answer’s not exactly as easily explainable as one might think. With that said we will circle back to this later and it will become a lot more clear hopefully. For the moment you could say that I do exactly whatever I want to do. That means I travel, sleep, and visit when and how I want. I travel and experience the world and meet new people along the way.
The Daily Grind
Five years ago, I was just like 99% of you. I was working in the corporate America world in the field of healthcare. I had done so for a number of years and had the whole 401k and benefits thing. Things worked fine but I was at the end of my rope. I had exhausted my options for growth unless I wanted to venture into management. At the start of my job I loved it but in the end, I did not find my job enjoyable anymore. I was waking early to leave a comfy bed and my beautiful wife, to sit an hour in traffic, to go a job I hated. Something had to change.
Now I am a firm believer in the idea of building opportunities for yourself in the future. I believe in setting yourself up to be in a place where you have options. I have always tried to operate in a manner that would produce positive results in the future. One of the ways I do so is by diversification. Diversification is something I apply to all aspects of my life. From my eclectic group of friends to my music tastes and of course financially.
An Escape Plan
While I was still employed, I had been working on developing my skills as a web developer over the past few years. I knew I needed an out from my job at the time so I was working on a plan B. So after I had built up my coding knowledge enough and with the realization that another year employed would not yield a much-needed raise, with no other job lined up, I quit my job. Mind you, I have a mortgage and other bills.
I’m sure some of you might be sitting there scratching your head and thinking, “Okay, well that was dumb.” I might have even thought that to myself once or twice but I don’t tend to dwell on negativity. Again with my back up planning, I had found a tech boot camp in the San Francisco area that would train me to become a full stack developer and assist me in getting a job. With that figured out, I secured a loan to pay for the school and housing costs while attending. There was quite a bit riding on me successfully completing the course. And of course, I did graduate and even stayed a small while longer to help some of the newer students before heading back home.
Well, the job assistance part didn’t really work out like I thought it would. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a push by the school to enlist local employers either. I’m not going to bash or throw them under the bus based on what they said versus what they actually did. I learned a lot of information at a higher quality and quicker pace than I would have on my own and had great mentorship during the process. However, I was still back at square one in the sense of still not having a job. Fortunately, I had saved money and budgeted enough for an additional three months after completing the course. This greatly came in handy as I tried to solidify everything that I had learned from school and tried to formulate my own sort of coding process.
As the money dwindled down and the only leads I was getting were for jobs 2-3 hours away and most of those wanted previous work experience. So I soon started looking for any part-time job that I thought was fun or jobs I actually didn’t mind doing. After a few small gigs, I really wanted something a little more secure. Then one day on craigslist I found a job posting that sounded right up my alley. It was working with a small company and possibly helping with their website.
After a questionable interview, I got a call back about a week later offering me the job. I liked it there working with that company even though I never ended up working on their website. Long story short I stayed there a couple years, up until May 2018 this year. It was a great job but again it was not my passion so I quit and now I travel pretty extensively.
It takes a good amount of preparation and planning for how to quit jobs and travel full time. One of our very first priorities was to pay off all debt. Credit cards and accounts like Amazon and such were all paid off. We set aside money from paychecks and saved from recycling and any other way to stack money for the trip. We’re fortunate enough to be homeowners so while living in California we rented out two bedrooms on Airbnb. Airbnb really helped to finance the trip while working part-time. We also set deadlines and goals as forms of progress markers.
Living It Out
Now understanding what I’ve gone through did to arrive at this place in life, if you are still wondering how I travel and eat and earn money. The answer is everything and nothing. Some money comes from investments in different types of markets from stocks to loans. A little income comes from renting our property as we travel. Some money comes right from the good old credit cards. We paid those off for a reason and it was not to not use them. And then, of course, we are a very opportunistic couple so we pick up different work gigs or freelance web work here and there along the road as we travel. You might actually be surprised how much you actually need to live versus how it costs how you currently are living.
In an effort to not bore or continue to bore you I am going to end this here for now. But something important to take away, if you take anything, always believe, plan ahead, and stay positive. If you are not happy with your life, you and you alone have the power to change it into something that most people wish and fantasize about. I dreamed about having a life like I currently have. However, If you would have told me eight years ago I would be here in Florida writing a blog post on the beach, I would have never believed it. The fact is that time changes people and their ambitions over time. With that in mind, I encourage you to go out and do some proactive planning, and with a bit of hard work, you too will reap the kind of benefits that you dream about.