A confluence of events forced us to realize that the time is right for this. We’ve had a tough couple of years, from about 2016 until pretty recently, primarily on the professional front. We were both working very hard and many hours, but that trickles into your overall happiness, satisfaction and ability to connect with others.
When times are tough, you examine your priorities. For me, after some self-reflection, I recognized that my priorities are to have less stress, more time with Chad and to travel more. While working my traditional job did afford me the ability to have vacations and we were getting out of the country typically once a year, I didn’t get to travel as much as I wanted and I certainly didn’t have as much time with Chad as I wanted in our day-to-day life (he worked even more than I did).
As explained in the short version of this story, I was working in the field of entrepreneurship, learning more and more about business and the entrepreneurial lifestyle. I started reading/listening to numerous entrepreneur-related blogs and podcasts. Through that research, I was introduced for the first time to the concept of being a “digital nomad.” I wasn’t ready to buy into that whole lifestyle, but the points about working less, living in less expensive places and having more freedom as to how you spend your time appealed very much.
At that time, I was also scratching the itch to start my own business. Working with entrepreneurs every day, I wanted to create something too. For one thing, I felt it would increase my understanding of my business-owner clients and give me greater credibility in their eyes. I wanted to test the concepts I was teaching them for myself. It started with months of research and a few key exercises to really admit my passion is travel, so a travel-business made the most sense. I of course started out with an idea for a tech-based travel startup, but soon came down to earth and began working toward opening an online travel agency.
But I continued to learn more about people whose lives included either full-time travel or at least a high degree of freedom to travel a lot. It is a bit of a cliche, but it really came together for me when I read Timothy Ferriss’s book, The Four-Hour Work Week. And I happened the read that book right after returning from a truly great vacation in Mexico, where we experienced firsthand how inexpensive it is compared to the US.
As this was kicking around in my head, I was still really stressed out at work. I was having trouble sleeping and one day thought I found the solution: Chad and I needed a new mattress. We’d had the same one for years, and so I thought if we just bought a really great mattress, I would be able to sleep. So we went mattress shopping, visiting multiple stores trying various models. Then we went for a beer to discuss our top choices and discuss this major purchase (we were prepared to buy a really good mattress). And just as we decided to invest four-figures into better sleep, I told him what I’d been thinking about a life-change into full-time travel.
Chad was surprised, intrigued and skeptical, but as I laid out all I learned and referenced our recent Mexico trip, he could see the possibilities. And then I told him how soon I wanted to leave: we’d have just 15 months to figure this out and get ready. And again, he came around.
So we began telling family and very close friends, obsessively planning, getting our current professional obligations in order, and basically looking toward this change as a beacon of hope in our current stressed-out reality. The months flew by, our plans came together and now we’re just about two months out from leaving.
We did not buy a new mattress.