It’s that feeling when, at times, it was uncomfortable to continue. We could have stopped in the middle of it, but we knew it would be best to see it through. It just got better – much better – and we got stronger than ever. Two years into this new lifestyle it’s hard for us to imagine.
Two years ago, in January 2015, we left our home, our careers and our normal lives in search of a new lifestyle – living, working and traveling wherever we wanted. We left a life of regular income, during the time when we were in our highest income earning years. We moved away from our network of friends and family, and from our comfortable and unchallenged way of life to embark on something new.
The positive changes in our lives are unrecognizable, and they didn’t happen overnight. It took many adjustments through each year, each month, and each step we had along the way, leading us to the place where we are now, 754 days into our new lifestyle redesign.
2015 was a fantastic year of adventure when we moved from being full-time home owners to becoming full-time nomadic travelers. There were so many questions in our minds that kept us up at night.
All of these questions were left unanswered and packed away to be sorted out later while we had fun traveling around Asia, Central America and South America.
Questions such as: “How do we behave in this new world?” “Who are we in this new life?” “How will we make money and manage our savings?” “How do we live and work together as a couple?”
We learned more than from any textbook, e-course, 4-year degree or a full-year of living in Toronto in our old home, in our old jobs, and with our old friends. Travel became the biggest accelerator of our change, thanks to the many meaningful travel experiences we had along the way.
We learned how to avoid freaking out over unfamiliar things, moments that would be perceived as unwise decisions in the Western world. We experienced discomfort, which was sometimes out of control, but we managed ourselves out of it. We were forced to find the basic essentials of living (food, water, shelter – and do it our way.) I can’t forget how we felt incredibly exhilarated traveling in 10 countries. This was best captured by our post and pictures on our most memorable travel moments.
We learned to rebuild our website, to petsit and housesit internationally for the first time, to improve our social media presence and web traffic, and how to be friends in a community that is virtually online. That community proved to be the most critical asset to our progress – hands down. Here are 7 great ways to bring Here are 7 great ways to learn new skills.
Seriously. We learned that we weren’t too old for this life, and we didn’t need too much baggage to create this new lifestyle. We realized that is a sense of belonging and home can be different, and that is ok. I came to terms with the death of my dad just weeks before we left traveling, using it as a prime motivation.
Our biggest learning can best be summarized in our thoughts by our post about the good, bad and the ugly and in our relationship and marriage, we have no idea how we coped with living, traveling and working as a married couple in our first year!
We slowed down our travel in a big way and lived in countries for a month or more. We realized that our sweet spot is slow travel wherein, we can soak in the local culture, make new friends and actually, authentically discover a place as a resident INSTEAD of as a traveler. We learned to save money better, and we became better travelers. We got into our groove and had some of our best travel experiences ever, like in India.
We wanted to help others, while we also found the balance of earning a living. We actively sought out projects with people and brands we believe in, that share our values in the community, like helping others and simplicity. Sometimes we worked on a barter system in exchange for travel services or accommodation. We also started experteering with Moving Worlds, exchanging our career skills with social enterprises, like our experience with animal welfare in northern India.
Again, the list is enormous, but we have a few highlights. We learned how to make money from our website, as well as how to manage and build our marketing consulting and video work while working remotely. We also took online courses in SEO, blogging, and photography and we read books regularly to improve our skills and stay inspired.
We never used to ask for help. But now, we do it for survival. In fact, it’s one of the greatest gifts to give to anyone because, more often, people want to help. In the past, asking for help was a sign of weakness (in my view), but now it’s necessary for this life. We ask for referrals or for help on problems we face; we ask our friends and family to stay with them for a few days, and we seek out others to help us through their expertise (like fixing technical issues on our website or how we can be more efficient with clients.)
We land on business projects that we are really interested in, like this one. We continue to improve our business, and we live and travel within our means to avoid income pressures.
Whenever we hesitate, Troy and I ask ourselves two questions:
A) What is the worst thing that can happen by asking? – Someone can say no, but we no longer take this personally, and we move on.
B) What is the best thing that could happen if we take the initiative and ask? – The best thing is what has happened time and time again: we’ve opened the doors to work on interesting projects like this very rewarding video project we did in Colombia.
When you go through this kind of massive change and you come out of it with great experiences and lessons, we KNOW thanks to our experiences, that we have the confidence to figure it out. We don’t always know how to best help our readers or to shoot the best video shot for our clients, but we figure it out. When we don’t know how to fix a problem with our website, we draw from our experience and figure it out.
Every morning we reflect on what we are grateful for – and we write them down in our 5-minute journal. I can’t believe the positive impact that starting and ending our day with positive thoughts has done in our lives.
We will never give up in creating a happy, fulfilling life. Ever. We lost the most positive person in my life in 2016, and he never gave up, because of his attitude about life. I believe that is what kept him alive during his 9-year fight.
With the desire to ask and with the confidence and attitude to do it, we can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us, not because it comes to us; it’s because we choose to bring opportunities our way.
Colombia will allow us to also accelerate our Spanish language learning. We plan to immerse ourselves into it by living with some Colombians. How better to learn the language than to be in an environment where we do not have to speak English?
We plan to attend WDS (World Domination Summit) again. This is our favorite community of people that bring together entrepreneurs from around the world who want to focus on community, service, and adventure.
We also want to ensure we connect with our community from Live your Legend, and while we are in Bogotá, maybe we can help set up a community in Medellín when we arrive.
We plan to visit Troy’s parents in Florida in March and head to Canada in July/August to see the rest of our family and friends. With our new lifestyle, we have that opportunity to visit our family when it suits us, instead of our work.
We will work with Moving Worlds again, to experteer our skills to help a social enterprise somewhere in Latin America. In September, we plan to take another visit to Nicaragua to work with our friends and clients on their businesses.
What about you? What are your plans for the year? How can we support you with any new lifestyle changes you are pursuing? Please let us know.
Dorene is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She quit her 20-year career in marketing to redesign her career and lifestyle on her own terms by living location independent. Now with her husband Troy, she helps people who want to redefine their midlife and make conscious changes at TravelLifeX. She also trains & coaches travel and hospitality clients to improve their marketing at TravelLifeMedia.com