change

The #1 Way To Shake Up Your Life

If you are in a rut, I can think of no better way to shake up your life then to pack your bags, jump on a plane, and start exploring the world. And I’m not talking about a one-week vacation to Hawaii (or wherever it is you go for your holidays). I’m talking about extended time (6+ months in my books) away from your home city or town.

For a number of years I was traveling through life on autopilot. I went straight from school to university, and for much of this time I felt that I was traveling along a pre-determined path that really didn’t interest me. However, once university finished I made perhaps the best decision of my life. I grabbed my backpack and took off for a year of traveling around the globe. And it just so happened that this year changed everything…

Why you should travel

Why should you travel? I realize that for anyone who has previously traveled, this section may come across as preaching to the converted (you may wish to skip ahead to the resources below). But I often hear from readers, young people in particular, who feel lost and want help with finding what to do with their lives. While travel may not be the right option for everyone, here are a few benefits related to travel that I have observed:

Freedom to find yourself. Sometimes living in your home town or city can be suffocating. Perhaps you feel forced by your parents to pursue a particular career, are scared to explore your sexual preferences, or are heavily influenced by your friends to act a certain way. Moving elsewhere can help you escape these pressures so you can fully explore what life has to offer you.

A blank slate. Moving to a new city or town gives you an opportunity to start afresh. When I arrived in Vancouver from Australia 6 months ago, I felt as if I had a blank state upon which to create the life I wanted. And I truly believe that a new environment is often needed to bring out the best in people. For example, I don’t think I would be where I am today with my writing and blogging if I was still living in Australia.

The ordinary becomes interesting. Food shopping. Walking around downtown. A conversation with a stranger. These all sound like fairly ordinary activities, right? Well it is amazing how these simple things can be exciting activities and adventures when you travel to, or live in, another place.

A real education. In university I studied Asian Studies, so I have a solid knowledge of the politics, geography, economics, and history of Asia. However, I haven’t yet had the chance to travel through Asia, and I sometimes think to myself how much do I really know about the region? We can learn a lot from textbooks, but nothing compares to actually going to a place and experiencing it firsthand.

Goodbye comfort zone. Human beings have a tendency to settle. One of the main benefits of travel is that it forces you out of your comfort zone, which in turn helps you to grow. My experience of living overseas is that it has forced me to get out and meet new people. And since I am normally a reserved person, this has helped me tremendously to build self-confidence and develop as a person.

Chase your passion. Often to chase your passion you will need to move to a certain place that is associated with that particular passion. For example, fashion is associated with Paris and New York. Finance with London. Film with Hollywood. Surfing with Hawaii and Australia. IT with Silicon Valley. If you have a particular passion, it is very likely that there is somewhere better than your current place of residence to pursue that passion.

Unique opportunities. Travel opens the door to a number of unique opportunities that would otherwise not be available. You may, for example, wish to study at a university with a world-class reputation for a particular course. Or, you may want to make a difference by volunteering for a certain cause. Remember, there are endless opportunities in life, and often the only constraint is our own imagination.

Different travel options

Perhaps the most important point in this article is this: you don’t necessarily have to be rich to travel. If you have automatically discarded the possibility of travel due the imagined cost, take a moment to consider the following travel options and resources. You may be surprised at the different travel options available, including (but not limited to): studying abroad, volunteering, backpacking, teaching abroad, and internships.

Resources

TrekEarth. Amazing photography from around the world to whet your appetite. www.trekearth.com

Thorntree forums. Lonely Planet’s bulletin board for travellers to exchange travel information, advice, hints and tips. www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree

Virtual Tourist. A large resource of user-generated tips and warnings for more than 25,000 locations around the world. www.virtualtourist.com

Family Travel Forum. Children do not need to get in the way of travel. Find out how other parents do it at: www.familytravelforum.com

Transitions Abroad. A huge resource for work abroad, study abroad, cultural travel overseas, and international living. www.transitionsabroad.com

Meet up. An easy way to find people in a particular area who share similar interests to you. www.meetup.com

Couch surfing. See the world on the (really) cheap. www.couchsurfing.com

Wwoof. A world wide network that helps people share more sustainable ways of living. www.wwoof.org

Anywired. Everything to help you take your show on the road. www.anywired.com

Location Independent. Another site dedicated to helping you live and work anywhere you choose. www.locationindependent.com

Competition

We have 15 copies of No More Mondays by Dan Miller (author of 48 Days to the Work You Love) to give away. From the book: “All of us, no matter how old we are or what kind of work we’re doing, can learn to bring the same excitement to our jobs that we bring to whatever we love to do on our days off. I believe that each one of us can pursue work that is a reflection of our best selves—a true fulfillment of our callings.” All you have to do to be in the running to win a copy is to share a travel experience or your thoughts about this article in the comments below. Winners will be announced on Friday.

Winners of Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland are Rich, Petel Sholtens, Chris K, Stephanie, Travis, FFB, Julie, John Bullock, Ryan, Alex Shalman, Eugene, Hunter Nuttall, Pam, and Karen (x2).

Peter writes about how to change your life at The Change Blog. He is also the author of Starting a Blog and Audio Book Downloads.

  • http://www.menwithpens.ca James Chartrand – Men with Pens

    You had me on this one by the second paragraph. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I could pick up my belongings and dump them somewhere else where no one knows me. I think it would be extremely relieving to have a clean slate and begin again where no one knows your name.

    Not that I don’t like where I am now. But I think travel and relocating offers a wealth of experience that just can’t be discovered in other ways. Good on you for hitting Canada all the way from Auz.

  • Jack

    I love this article, it so to the core of what has been a central focus to me since I arrived back on my shortened adventure and first overseas trip. It really put me out of my comfort zone the fact that I was alone in these big bustling cities and though I got lonely and a bit home sick it was still amazing to have achieved a dream I’ve had ever since I was a young child and to put yourself out there.

    It has dominated me ever since I got back to Australia. The travel bug has bitten me and now I’ve been contemplating living abroad for a while after I graduate this year. I’ve gone through school all the way through till I graduate this year and now the only thing in my way is getting the funds together, which is no barrier. I’ve raised them before and I’ll do it again.

    Thanks for your article.

  • http://www.passionbasedlearning.com Amir | Passion-Based Learning

    Great post Peter. I’ve had enough luck to travel. In fact two years ago I finally got the change to travel across the United States – Chicago, Portland, New York, LA, Las Vegas and Denver. It was a super great trip. It opened my eyes to so much and gave me a learning experience greater than anything I could ever get from reading a book or watching crappy propaganda-infested TV. Traveling is the real deal and I hope to do more of it next year. Heck, maybe I’ll even go to Canada (but certainly not during winter though coz I’ll probably freeze to death).

    Cheers! :)

  • http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com Jules

    As much as I would love to pack up and leave, there is just too much that I am committed to right here and now. But, as you pointed out so clearly, I do know how important travel is to me and my ‘shake-up-ness’. So I schedule in 3-4 day breaks every few months. And a longer one (3 weeks to a month) once a year. Yes, it may not bump me out of my comfort zone tremendously I feel the key is to include new experiences (my last one was sleeping in a swag in the aussie dessert) and opportunities to meet new people (my backpacking tour group). After the trip, I’m always challenged and refreshed, and some times, very thankful for where I am in life now.

  • http://dipetupdate.com Pete Scholtens

    One of the best things we ever did was when we married we moved 3000 km to the other side of the country and lived there for five years.

    It resulted in great dividends for our marriage because it forced us to grow together. Almost 11 years later, is something we’re still building on.

    It also helped us to develop a community of friends and acquaintances that continue to maintain contact with. We’re going back for 6 weeks this summer with our kids to show them where they were born.

  • http://www.wisdomgettingloaded.com/interview.htm tracy Ho

    Happy to read your article ,

    Thanks

    Tracy Ho
    wisdomgettingloaded

  • http://terhi-manninen.livejournal.com/ Terhi

    I’m currently living that “different” life, since last fall I moved to UK to study at the university. I’m graduating in August, and once again all the possibilities should be open for me. And that’s exciting. I lived several years quite settled life and now I feel so good and free, it’s like you wrote, it’s a fresh start in new country, blank slate where you can define yourself in a new way, learn things about yourself. Life is so good now, and it’s all because I got out of the comfort zone – and started doing things, which I dreamed. :) I wish more people would get a chance to experience the new start like me… Anyways, thanks for this great article, I hope it encourages people to do something bold and different and make changes which they wish for.

    Thanks again, hope you have many great journeys ahead!

  • http://www.walterheck.com Walter Heck

    I have had amazing experiences since I decided to leave my secure life behind and get on the road! I sold everythign I had, quit my job and canceled my apartment. I headed out 5 months ago and am not looking to go back any time soon.
    One of teh most amazing experiences I have had was when hitchhiking in Norway. Read the full story here (no use copying it : )):
    http://www.walterheck.com/2007/09/11/the-benny-experience-part-1/
    http://www.walterheck.com/2007/09/12/the-benny-experience-part-2/

  • Smith

    As one of the converted, I heartily agree about pushing boundaries and living in new and exciting areas. I’ve been able to work in several different cities along the east coast and each has it’s own flavor and lifestyle options. After a year or so, you’ll suddenly feel as at home in your new city as you did growing up. It’s a bizarre feeling.

    One of the biggest advantages to traveling is also the knowledge that you’ve done it and could do it again. this keeps you open to opportunities.

    While I haven’t had the chance to live abroad, I have traveled and it’s always an enlightening and exciting experience.

    great post!

  • lucie

    This is such a great article – I would just like to add – Travel Light! Never have checked baggage; have everything in a carry-on. Live simply. Just Google how to do this for hundreds (thousands) of suggestions – it adds about 70% to everything positive mentioned in the article.

    • http://mocove.blogspot.com Stephanie

      Traveling with only carry-on if possible is the way to go and go fast! I’ve had the very good fortune to be able to accompany my husband to Europe on three business (for him) trips. This past one, I couldn’t stop thinking about having it being my THIRD trip to Europe! I’m hoping the experiences I’ve had there and other places we’ve traveled help with my scholarship application for Youth Librarians with a specialty in museums.

  • Joanna

    Great blog! It’s true that travel and living abroad can really shake things up. You don’t have to do it immediately after school, either. I took a 3 month leave of absence from work in order to live in Spain studying Spanish. I was 28 at the time & it came at the ideal time for a sabbatical. Although I felt like a fish out of water for at least the first month, I got to know myself much better and developed a real confidence in myself. And I had some incredible experiences that helped me to understand much better the language and culture that I was studying.

    There are some fantastic resources for doing this type of thing on the cheap as well. I believe there was a post a few weeks ago here regarding that.

  • http://www.doyouliveorsimplyexist.com Shawn Williamson

    The idea of traveling the world has become almost an obsession for me. Last year my wife and I traveled to France. We had such a wonderful time. Not just in Paris, but out in the country in the South of France.

    While we were there, we took a boat trip on the Canal du Midi, a canal that stretches across the country. There is quite a population of people that live in Canal Boats. What a wonderful way of living that would be. Imagine living on a boat just about any where you would want to. When the weather gets cold, take your boat across the Mediterranean to the Greek isles or southern Italy.

    I am actively looking to move my income online so that I can work from anywhere and make a traveling dream like this come true.

  • Evan Pederson

    All I dream of doing is travel. Here is my story.

    I went to Paris for spring break in 2005. Two years prior I had toured Italy with my college choir and thought I had become truly “cultured.” So when in Paris, I acted as if I was writing a guide book. I knew all about European culture, for you see, I was a traveled American. When my friends and I sat down for dinner one night, we poured the oil and vinegar for the baguette, just as we had done in Italy. The bread, wine and conversation lasted for hours. When I finally became aware of my surroundings I realized that everyone else was using our oil and vinegar dish as ashtrays.

    This always comes to mind whenever I need to remember humility. I wouldn’t mind experiencing something like this in 20 different countries.

    Now.. If I could only save some money….

  • http://www.itswritenow.com Emma

    I think I would have to work up to taking a 6 month trip. But traveling is an often overlooked way to freshen up your life. I’m kind of a homebody, but after arriving home from a trip I always feel refreshed and have a renewed interest in life. Great post. I’ll try to keep an open mind about an extended trip.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/thelola Lola Broadus

    This article really hits home for me. On almost a daily basis I have daydreamed of selling off most belongings, packing up the important things, and relocating to the other side of the country. I ready for a big change and I am incredibly restless.

    Almost 8 years ago I hopped on a bus and traveled to Washington state. I lived there for 6 months in a tiny town on top of a mountain. Why did I do this? Partially for me and partially to be with my boyfriend at the time who lived there. There were many beautiful things about the area, many things I loved- but I was often lonely and scared. Being young and never out on my own before, it was a difficult transition. After a time I moved back to Mississippi, back to the familiar.

    In the last 6 years I have worked my way up to Training Coordinator for a large corporation’s main call center. I’ve gained skills, understanding, and perspective. I’ve bought a house, a car, settled in, developed friendships- but I’ve never been content, never been “at home”. I want to go back. I want to follow more dreams and less easy paths.

    So here I am, with daily daydreams and what feels like slow moving plans. This time, I will go to Seattle and I will do it for myself. I’ve made friends in life and business that I plan to see on my travels. Seattle may not be my last stop, but it will be the beginning of finding where I truly feel at home.

  • http://www.adamchamnes.com/ Adam Chamness

    Excellent post. I’m about to go through this process (again) very soon.

    The best thing I’ve ever done for myself was to take off to Japan for a couple of years after college. I really had no interest in teaching English, but ever since I was 15 I’d longed for something ‘more’. Now, whether Japan is any ‘more’ than America is up to discussion, but it was certainly different. I learned a lot about myself and where I Want to take my life. I learned to be comfortable and rather skilled at speaking in public, and singing before an audience. I discovered that I love to sing. I joined a band. I had a concert. I found an amazing woman to love.

    Soon after all of those great developments happened, I realized that didn’t like teaching English in Japanese public schools (and saw no future in that industry in general). I decided to come back to America with a plan to end up in California pursuing a creative career. The reality was that I only had $2k, no car, and place to stay. I ended up crashing at my parent’s place in small-town Alabama while looking for a job to bring in some money to fund these plans of mine.

    It was absolutely depressing. Of course I couldn’t find a job in California when applying from Alabama. After a few months, through a glitch in probable reality, I landed a well-paid web design position in small, privately owned company in an even smaller town in Alabama. I realized what a rare opportunity this was, so I took it.

    I soon realized that living on your own in America was much more expensive than in Japan. The necessity of a car alone is a huge difference, but my much-too-big apartment is costing twice what I paid for my perfectly-sized-and-centrally-located apartment in Japan. So I’ve not been able to save for the future like I’d wanted. As the past few months have gone by with no social life, living paycheck to paycheck, I’ve realized that the reason I ended up in this situation, despite having been against joining the ‘corporate lifestyle’ all my life, was a fear or lack of belief in myself.

    As things are now, when I finish typing this, I’m going to have my 90-day performance review. I have just about decided to give my 2-weeks notice. Unless they toss a stupid amount of money at me, to the tune of $10k or so. Then I might consider it, but the possibility of guilt over knowing I’d ‘been bought’ would probably prevent me from doing so.

    Wish me luck.

    • http://terhi-manninen.livejournal.com/ Terhi

      Good luck Adam!!

      • http://www.adamchamnes.com/ Adam Chamness

        Thanks! :) I still have no money, and quitting a job like this one after only 30 days seems certain to make things more difficult if I should ever try to apply for another similar job, which I don’t. Plans are to return to Japan, live with my fiance, and pass time doing whatever for work until she graduates from her master’s degree.

        Despite how much of a mismatch I am for living in Alabama, it has taught me some things. The most obvious one is how to budget, but the most important one is that there are more important things in life than a job. Having friends, loved ones, and an engaging social life are all vital for happiness. But generally speaking, having a direction or sense of purpose in what I’m doing with my life is what I realized I’ve been missing here.

        Hence the change of scenery. :)

      • http://www.adamchamnes.com/ Adam Chamness

        Uh..not 30-days..90-days..silly typos!

  • http://www.loudlatinlaughing.com LZ

    This article struck a chord with me; I’ve postponed doing all those adult things like buying a house and settling down precisely because I’ve wanted to keep my options open about shuttling off to the far reaching “corners” of the world. Unfortunately, I’ve also become somewhat addicted to making money and making sure I have a safety cushion for the years ahead.

    I recently took trapeze lessons for the first time, and the best thing I learned was to conquer the fear of stepping off the platform 50 feet up. Now to translate that to the rest of my life!

  • http://daily-breadcrumbs.blogspot.com Julie

    Great post. I’m definitely going to check out those links.

    After I graduated college, I travelled in Europe for six weeks, half with a group and half on my own. One more benefit that I would add to your list above is that travel lets you discover things about yourself you might never otherwise know.

    When I was travelling on my own, I discovered that the longest I can go without a significant conversation is about 36 hours. After that point, I’ll approach random strangers and talk to them: people in restaurants, shopkeepers, people next to me in line… anyone.

    You meet the most interesting people: I met a retired World Bank banker who was leading a bike tour in the Dordogne Valley; an Australian working as a schoolteacher in England and vacationing at Mont St. Michel; and some Quebecois girls with a passion for Pictionary at a lodge in the Alps. Heck, I even broke the ice with one couple when a fist-fight erupted at a wedding down the street.

    But even more than I remember the people, I take away the knowledge of my “36 hours” rule, which I’d never have known if I hadn’t gone travelling on my own.

    (Incidentally, an extensive journal of my trip, complete with far too many pictures, is online at http://www.geocities.com/yourstruly/europe.html for those who want to read it.)

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  • http://lukeprog.com Luke

    I could not agree more with this coast. Couchsurfing.com is a service I use constantly and it is AWESOME. Travel is the ultimate learning experience.

  • Erin Marie

    I grew up in green-grass suburbs of Detroit, MI, but at 19 on a whim (with loads of planning) I applied to Central Saint Martins in London, England.

    Two months later I was accepted adn three months later I was debarking the plane at Gatwick Airport.

    I studied independently of any American school system, so I ended up with British teachers, Asian flatmates, and South-Asian friends. I lived in the neigborhood that smelled like curry and woke to the call to prayer every morning.

    London was one of the most difficult, redefining year of my life. I think I ran away from all my problems and I ended up running into myself. But four/five years later, I know that London was one of the best experiences of my life.

    I think sometimes its important to remove yourself from who you think you are to find out who you really are. My friends, my family, and I all had these concepts on my likes and dislikes, but removal from those unconcious stereotypes really enabled me to explore my current, honest interests without fear of judgement.

    I think what has stuck the most with me from my year in London is this constant pushing of my own comfort zones, my own boundries. My philosophy is, “I’ll try anything once, and if I don’t like it -I’ll try it again.” I regret a lot from that year in London, but I never regretted what i have done. It’s always the things I turned down that I regreted. I don’t turn down life anymore and I try to experience everything, because from experience, I know that everything is temporary. And I would prefer to take everything in and suck the marrow out of life (as Throeau stated) and everything possible.

    London changed me. London changed my life. I owe who I am now, to that year in London. And i can be grateful.

  • http://www.varsityblah.com/about Eugene (Editor, Varsity Blah)

    I was lucky enough to spend 9 days over Christmas in Egypt with my brother and my dad. It was definitely one of those life-changing experiences that inspired me to really discover the world. Here’s an extract from my experience:

    “That visceral sense of community is also quite evident in other aspects of Cairo life. Even though people in Egypt drive like absolute maniacs, ignoring the few working traffic lights and constantly making up lanes, they still respect each other. And even though I found crossing the street scarier than the time I went skydiving, I loved it all the same. There’s no such thing as road rage nor does anyone really care about the occasional scratch or bump. Those things are so petty. Nobody yells or screams when they get cut off simply because they know it’ll be their turn a few seconds later. In Egypt, driving fast is about keeping things moving. Back here, it’s about getting to your destination (all of two seconds sooner) with no regard for anyone else.”

    (Great article, Peter!)

  • http://tochigi.fromoz.com davidfromoz

    Great Article! Every word of it true. I’d like to add one thing. Its really, really hard to make the break and go somewhere else. Lots of people see the benefits you list or perhaps some others. They want to do it but never achieve escape velocity.

    Perhaps you have a stable job and you don’t want to throw it away and embark into the unknown. Perhaps you don’t know anybody where you are going and worry that with no friends to count on if things turn sour you’d be in big trouble. Perhaps you are not sure you really have enough money to do it. Perhaps you are worried your language skills are not good enough. In short, there are a million reasons not to go. And you can always put off your plans a short while, right?!?!

    For me it was really hard to leave my job for an uncertain future. Most people I knew thought I was crazy. I’d heard it was easy finding work, in Taiwan 15 years ago. But, I didn’t have money to be unemployed for months in a strange land. On the other hand I had some things to help me. My parents had done a similar thing many years before. And I had a friend who wanted to do it with me. If not for those things I might never have done it. In some ways it might be easier today with the web making information so widely available. I think it would be much easier to line up work before departure for example. In some ways it might be harder since the big wide world is seen as more threatening these days.

    Certainly it didn’t turn out like I thought it would. I had planned simple work to make money to backpack Asia, not a career. I had planned to stay away for 2 or 3 years not 15. I certainly never thought I would marry overseas. The twists and turns along the way were constant, wild and for me invigorating. And I met the most fantastic people, saw the most amazing things and did things I would never have otherwise done, even on a holiday.

    Once you’ve done it once, its much easier the second time (and third and fourth). But the first time is really hard.

  • http://hunternuttall.com Hunter Nuttall

    I’d have more to say if this post had been written a few months from now, after I take my trip to Japan. I’ve only left the U.S. five times, twice to Bermuda and three times to England. But those places aren’t very different from the U.S. You can’t really shake up your life unless you go someplace truly foreign.

    The travel benefits that really spoke to me were “the ordinary becomes interesting” and “goodbye comfort zone.” We’re often so stuck in routine, we forget to stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes the only way to get a fresh perspective is to go someplace where it’s hard to figure out the remote control for the bathtub, and the word for “thank you” literally means “you put me in a difficult position” (both of these refer to Japan).

  • http://freemathrescue.com Keith Johnson

    Travel is always nice…the only two issues I foresee as “issues” are those of (1) family (e.g. you have kids) and/or (2) money/financial resource. Other than that, a GREAT idea – travel. Regards, Keith Johnson, Webmaster & Math Wizard, “FreeMathRescue” dot com.

  • http://jacquelinezenn.wordpress.com Jacqueline

    This is such a great post – in fact, I credit traveling across Europe and North Africa by myself post-college for my current career as a writer/media consultant. I got away from everyone and had to rely on my own abilities and instincts, and figured out what I wanted to do with life! (I know that sounds like such a ridiculous “finding myself” kind of thing, but it is true).

  • http://www.whogivesashirt.ca erin

    I spent 2006 chained to my desk, working through lunches and doing tons of overtime, so I decided 2007 would be my year “for me”. I quit in April and went to Europe for the rest of the year. Totally life-affirming – I recommend it to everyone. The one thing that becomes difficult, though, and which nobody talks about, is what happens if you don’t become the stay-live-work-abroad type. Re-entry has been a tough slog. Once your mind has been opened, it’s hard to see “home” in the same light…

    • http://www.adamchamnes.com/ Adam Chamness

      good point. it’s called reverse culture shock! While I imagine returning to an internationalized metro area would be easier, returning to a culturally ‘secluded’ part of Heartland USA or the Deep South can be downright depressing. I know it has been for me. As such, I’m about to head back overseas after only being ‘home’ for less than a year. It brings about the question of where home has become.

  • Santiago

    I love to travel but something I’ve learned from reading “Make the impossible possible” by Bill Strickland is that you can make every place feel like a new experience.

    I would love to achieve the impossible here and gratefully receive a book since I hit a wall in my career and I certainly need new ideas to carry on. Tim Ferris is good to reduce workload, but to discover one’s true calling in life… that’s a whole new subject! :)

    Great article, reflexive and well written!
    Thanks!

  • d

    this article really struck home with me. im currently at university in the US and my current path is likely to place me back in my hometown, which, while certainly not bad, leaves you wondering what might have been.

    when i was in high school, i lived in france for a part of a summer with a french family, through some people we knew. although i was initially opposed to the idea, it turned out to be a great experience, i met a lot of interesting people i am glad to call friends, and it really opened up my perspective of the world.

    I really cant imagine growing old without travelling, because of that experience and others

  • http:///www.thehealthylivinglounge.com Carole

    Travels fuels and nourishes my soul and from the beginning of this year I have had no other intention other than I need to shake up my life …. big time. Great article, perfect timing and I am pleased to say I am already well underway.

    Since January I have thought and acted every minute of the day as if I am about to get a fabulous opportunity overseas. To really believe this, I firstly put post it notes on my bathroom window saying good morning in other languages, found international schools for my kids, downloaded language lessons onto my ipod and literally marinated myself in all aspects of moving overseas.

    I then went about decluttering my home like never before and eliminating or simplifying all things that demand my attention. The only stuff left in my home now is what would go into storage.

    Whilst I’m not quite there yet after 8 weeks I can confidently say that if I only had 2 weeks notice to move overseas it would be a relatively effortless process.

    This is the most fun I have ever had not to mention the lots of little wins I have had along the way since starting this game.

    Peace, love and delicious travel

    Carole Fogarty

  • Ed

    What interesting timing.

    This year I’m turning 30, and it’s starting to freak me out. For the past 15 I’ve been trying to find a way to travel. Financially it’s never been feasible to travel. Now I say that it wasn’t feasible but of course that is a lie. There is always opportunity. Perhaps I’ve just been to afraid of taking the plunge. I could not imagine taking a year off working at this point. One of my fears is coming back from where I was and not being able to find a job due to being out of the workforce for so long.

    Of course as I write that I know it’s nonsense. Nothing I’ve done in my job over the past year has really made me a more interesting candidate for any potential employer. I’ve been complacent, I’ve followed the norm, I’ve settled into a comfortable spot in my life, and unfortunately it’s made me unhappy.

    A shake up is exactly what I need right now. That’s why I’ve decided to open a separate bank account that I will save money in. I know I will not stay in my current job forever, so when it’s time for me to move on I think I’ll take a break from the rat race.

    Beyond this article one of my main points of inspiration is http://www.wherethehellismatt.com If you haven’t seen his site I urge you to check it out.

  • http://goodlifezen.com Mary Jaksch

    I enjoyed this post!

    Some years ago I decided to travel each year for an extended period of time. I discovered Buenos Aires and fell in love with it.

    Now I go there each year to dance tango and to work (I teach Zen).

    It has really opened my mind and heart to get to know and love a new country and learn a new language!

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  • http://www.richvosler.com Rich

    Great post. My wife and I moved from NJ to a suburb of Atlanta in 1995 for “a couple of years.” Turned out we were there for 10. The first 5 were hard but we learned things about each other that we wouldn’t have learned if we stayed in NJ being “suffocated” by family (I say that with love…) But we always new it was the right thing to do and it was. Because of that our love for each other strengthened. Thanks for writing this one.

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  • http://locationindependent.com/blog/ Lea

    Great post – and thanks for the link!

    I can certainly attest to the fact that I have never been more out of my comfort zone as many times as I have since we became location independent. Living in 6+ countries over the past 12 months has been a wild ride which still continues. It isn’t always easy but it is always exciting.

    To anyone considering doing it – whilst all the resources mentioned here are fantastic, the important thing is to just do it. Figure out a way to earn an income and then go – once you make the decision, everything else will fall into place.

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  • Lynn

    I am in the decluttering process now to shake up my life.

    I am 50 plus years old and want to travel, working parttime low paying jobs, but I have a BS in education and a teaching license.

    So I am getting rid of tons of possessions (this is getting harder – I am getting down to the things I really love).

    Then I plan to teach overseas.

    I know there is a happier life out there for me and I am on my way.

    Thanks for this article.

  • http://www.onehourbookkeeper.com E.T. Barton

    This is a fabulous, well-written article. Thank you for taking the time to make it, and for all of the great references.

  • Donna Willingham

    I can totally relate to this post, having experienced a huge amount of personal development by travelling the world – it’s a fantastic way to discover yourself, especially if you put down roots and immerse yourself in new cultures and ways of life. I feel I should share with you an amazing course I did in Cairo that I found life changing – Sarah Merron of Fire Dragon Coaching teaches strategies that really helped me focus on getting the best out of myself and others around me, for both my work and personal life. She runs courses all over the world, so it’s a fantastic way to travel at the same time. Here’s the link, I found it had a very powerful effect on my life: http://egyptnlptraining.com/ If you ever head to that part of the world, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  • Jessica

    if i could afford to pick up and move away, i wouldn’t be depressed about the mediocrity in my life.  your article is great in an enraging privileged upper middle class ennui sorta way

  • Monet Diamante

    Awesome article. Thank you for the Resources guide. I spent my entire late teens and early 20s working so that I could eventually afford to travel. When I moved across the country last year, I did so on little money with no real plan. I don’t highly recommend that, but it worked out for me and I ended up making friends and staying on couches, living out of my car, traveling the West Coast. It was the most incredible experience. Now, of course, I look forward to traveling more with a higher budget and farther, but for a spontaneous cross-country move, I feel pretty fortunate to have been able to experience that. You can read more of my tales at my blog:
    http://www.persistwithoutexception.wordpress.com Thank you, again!