You’re rich, right? You travel around the world at your leisure and don’t worry about a thing. You don’t have a day job, do you? You’re playing and living and indulging your “bucket list” in luxury. Are you really in need of anything? These are the comments I receive on a regular basis and I’d like to take just one post and one post only to discuss it and then dismiss it because I don’t feel like I need to give it any more of my time.
So… here it is. Here’s my background.
I have a beautiful life filled with travel, adventure, love, and family but it’s because I made it that way. Most people assume I was born with money, but that’s not true. I’m not rich, with money, and I work darn hard to make my life what it is.
I went to university for 7 years and worked two jobs while I was there. I was a full time student with student loans and I worked at Statistics Canada and a call center to get by. I ate Mac & Cheese (Kraft Dinner in Canada) almost daily and I walked two miles to school and three miles to work every day, even in the severe winters of Halifax, Nova Scotia. I volunteered at an elementary school and the hospital during any other free second that I had. Life was busy but full. I managed to travel to a few countries during this time. By volunteering at camps and working in schools, I was able to see the world. There were times that I tented, slept in cars, and found the cheapest hostel possible, but I make it work. I found ways to travel and experience the world because there was too much out there not to.
I taught high school for another 8 years and worked another job on the side to pay for my experiences. I coached basketball, volleyball, and soccer so I could develop a deeper connection with the students and explore the provinces where I was working. I was the editor of the school newspaper and tutored students on the side. I worked in a remote community in Northern Canada to pay my student loans and I lived in isolation. I may complain about the cold in North Carolina, but it’s nothing compared to the -60°C that happened from October to March in Norway House, Manitoba. International travel was restricted to the summers because I had over $60,000 student loan to pay. I did take the summers, though, to volunteer, teach, and work in others countries.
I don’t think anyone in my blogging community knows that this is my second marriage. I married young and while my ex-husband is a wonderful person who deserves all the happiness in the world, we were not right for each other. After spending a decade together, we finally separated and it was at that moment that I decided living a “regular” life was not for me. Being ok with the ordinary was no longer acceptable. It was then that I realized that the more unrealistic I am with my dreams and goals, the more I’m able to achieve.
When I met Darren, my husband, I saw life with new eyes. We decided what was important in our lives and found ways to make it happen. We don’t spend money on the typical things that eat up a large part of an income. We rarely buy new clothes and when we do, it’s usually secondhand. An evening of entertainment is a movie at home, homemade popcorn, and if we really splurge – McDonalds. I don’t wear make-up and I even cut my own hair. We could easily go an entire week without spending a cent. We do this because those things are not important to us; what is important is travel and adventure so we put our money toward the things that make our life full.
We consciously chose where we wanted to live in the world and moved. It was as simple as that. Darren applied for a job, we sold everything we owned, and drove to California. Now that we have Athena, North Carolina is more of a family environment so we moved again.
Since we met later in life, my student loans were paid off and we were able to use my income for travel and Darren’s income to pay our bills. We spent the last few years living in a modest apartment and driving our modest cars. Rather than splurging on a huge apartment with all the luxuries, we lived well within our means and used the money for exploring, creating new experiences and life.
Then, I started blogging. It was the accumulation of all of my dreams come true. I write and write and write; I’m addicted. I’ve made it my career. If I’m not writing, I’m connecting with others in the blogging community and finding new and unique ways to utilize social networking. This is my job. It may not seem like work, but should anything that you plan on doing for the rest of your life?
Now, my blog is seeing enough success that I’ve been able to have some of these unbelievable experiences in exchange for media coverage. I’ve used that to help others make their dreams a reality during my year and a half of blogging. People send me there bucket lists regularly and I do everything in my power to make them a reality. You can see examples here: http://www.bucketlistpublications.com/category/we-make-it-happen/. I organized and found a way to offer these experiences for free for my readers. One reader drove a NASCAR and hung out in the pit with the crew, another reader went skydiving, and another went heliskiing. (These are just a few examples.)
I hope all of your dreams come true and you stop at nothing to make them happen.
“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt