We’re supposed to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives when we’re 18. Does this even make sense? I went through the motions, finished college, and found myself with a comfortable job, yet something still didn’t seem right. I was stuck working a 9 to 5 I didn’t enjoy staring into a template future I was not sure was right for me. Your first thoughts when you read this might be, “So what?” “Work isn’t supposed to be enjoyable. It’s work. That’s life. Deal with it.” That’s also how I used to think at the time. I thought I needed to grind out, get serious, climb the corporate ladder, and settle down. It did not even occur to me that there was another way.
Brandon James and I embarked on a journey of exploration and absorption of new ways of thinking. This was sparked after reading Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do, or where this type of thinking was going to lead me, but it ended up changing my life forever. I started saving my ass off in anticipation of one day leaving Corporate America. All around me, there was uncertainty, as the financial crisis caused unending layoffs, decimated retirement accounts, and smashed countless hopes and dreams. All these people got burned even though they had worked hard, planned, and “did everything right.” I was scared with the idea of wasting the most productive and healthy years of my life in a cubicle staring at a computer screen preparing for an uncertain retirement I might not even make it to. I wanted to take a different life path though I wasn’t sure exactly which, when or how. However, the savings I was accumulating took away the stress and immediacy of having to stay in my current position or settle on finding something “just to pay the bills”. I started consuming as much information as possible. I went to a Gary Vaynerchuk event when he came to Chicago. The “Stop doing shit you hate and crush it!”, message resonated nicely.
I was introduced to a Lifestyle Design community of epic proportions. This community was made up of people who wanted to break free from the template lifestyle and live life on their own terms. They didn’t buy into the deferred life plan and wanted to live life to the fullest, and do it now. They are entrepreneurs, nomads, freelancers, vagabonds, and travelers from all over the world each at their own stage and in their personal journey. I started reading The Art of Non-Conformity, Thrilling Heroics, Wandering Earl, Brooke vs. the World, The Blog of Tim Ferriss , Nomadic Matt, Location 180, Wage Slave Rebel, C’est Christine, Free Pursuits , Ridiculously Extraordinary, and countless others! These were real people, with real stories, breaking out of the template lifestyle in their own way! Things started becoming a little more clear. The possibilities became endless and my excitement began to grow. The opportunities seemed limitless as I contemplated teaching English in Japan, Joining the Peace Corps, Learning French in France, starting my own business, and taking a solo bike trip across Africa.
I have decided on taking the bike trip across Africa. Before my jaunt to the African continent I would like to spend some time vagabonding through Europe meeting old friends, making new ones, and getting in some bike experience here and there. While enjoying the summer months in Chicago with friends and family, I will be preparing for my upcoming journey. Thank you for those that come along for the ride.