I think back on my previous life like a distant dream. I used to be a corporate drone, working the 9-5 in a three sided cubicle, surrounded by other robots following orders.
Three years ago, I set a goal for myself – I was going to say goodbye to my boring job, my unexciting life, get rid of all my material belongings and travel the world. That sounds like a pretty lofty new year’s resolution, right?
Well I made it happen and I’m going to tell you how I did it.
How I Screwed the Cube to Travel the World
I have spent the past two years as a digital nomad.
I’ve traveled to over 20 countries, had amazing experiences, and built a successful business while traveling. I’m not tied to a desk everyday, I set my own hours and travel whenever I want. Here are just a handful of experiences I’ve had:
- Celebrated Holi Festival in India
- Hiked through the Isle of Skye in Scotland
- Rode camels through the pyramids of Giza
- Stayed in the tallest hotel in Dubai
- Drank beer at Oktoberfest in Munich
- Swam in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
- Made lifelong friends from around the world
If you’re aching for a new adventure and want to screw the cube like I did, here’s where to start:
1. Find Your Why
The main reason why people don’t stick to their goals or follow their dreams is because they haven’t identified their ‘why’. The ‘why’ in your life is the reason you’re pursuing something and what will keep you going.
If my ‘why’ was to just to travel and see the world, it wouldn’t have continued to motivate me and keep me going. My ‘why’ was that I wanted to live a location independent lifestyle; I wanted to build a life and a business that I was proud of, and while also having culturally enriching experiences along the way.
Think about what your ‘why’ is. What will keep pushing you even when you’re broke, you’re recovering from Dublin bed bugs, and tired of staying in the hundredth hostel? The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t easy. There are ups, but also plenty of downs. Your ‘why’ is what keeps pushing you forward.
2. Break It Down
During my eight months of preparation, I set milestones for myself. One of the most important milestones, was building a business that would provide me income while I traveled.
Obviously, I had to find something that would allow me to work wherever. After researching a few career paths out, I settled on website development.
Now, when I started, I didn’t know how to code, I hardly knew what the term “WordPress” meant. I spent every waking moment studying, learning, and applying myself to my new trade.
I also had things in my personal life that needed to be sorted. Like an apartment full of materialistic junk that provided me no happiness or fulfillment in life. I sold it all. My friends would schedule appointments on my calendar to come by and raid my closet. I posted everything I could on Craigslist and pocketed the extra cash.
With a direction for my business, I focused on honing a craft and building a client base. I sold my stuff, not only because it would make it easier to travel and would add to my savings, but then I would only have the new life ahead of me and nothing remaining in the old.
3. Create a Strict Budget
I knew that I was accustomed to a certain lifestyle with a regular paycheck and benefits, so I started eliminating the fluff to save money.
No more eating out, bars, shopping, spa days, it all went out the window. I even became an Uber driver for a bit; but wasn’t very good at it though.
I even kept to my budget while I was traveling. I could only spend $50 a day and that had to include transportation, lodging, and food (if you haven’t read Nomadic Matt’s book – How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, order it now!). Surprisingly, I was able to spend less money while traveling compared to living in Kansas City, Missouri!
4. Set Your Goals and Stick to Them
Being the Type A person that I am, I had a set plan for every step of the way while I prepared to jet set across the world. I knew I had eight months until my lease for my apartment was up. This meant I had less than a year to save money, build a business, sell everything, and quit my job.
The deadlines I created for myself were set in stone. It’s what kept me motivated. I knew that once I was unemployed and homeless there wouldn’t be a lot of time to “find myself” or “figure things out.”
5. Book the Flight and Don’t Look Back
March 21st, 2016 (or I fondly refer to as 3-2-1) is the day I packed my bags, turned over the keys to my apartment and shut the door on my previous cubicle life. I was scared and apprehensive, but I was also excited.
My hard work over the past eight months were finally coming to fruition. I was pursuing my dream of living a location independent lifestyle.
Giving up everything to become a digital nomad is absolutely terrifying. You are kissing goodbye a world of comforts and easy living to trek into an unknown world. I never thought of it as giving up my life.
I only considered what I was gaining, and I was collecting experiences and meeting people from all walks of life. Which is how I created an international company.
Pushing past the fear and continuing, even when I wanted to give up, is what made me into the successful entrepreneur that I am today. I spent the beginning of the year living in Portugal, followed by India, while working.
For the past two months, I’ve been living in Neukolln, a trendy neighborhood of Berlin. Now, I’m enjoying ski season in Breckenridge, Colorado. The world is truly your oyster!
Here’s a quick recap on how I screwed the cube to travel the world:
- Find your why
- Break it down
- Create a strict budget
- Set your goals and stick to them
- Book the flight and don’t look back