We had it all figured out.
The money was coming in. It was location independent (real estate and stock investments). So we sold our stuff, packed up the Armada with our four little tots and drove to Costa Rica.
It was a fabulous year. We swam in tropical waterfalls, sunbathed on beaches, bungee jumped from bridges and swam with wild dolphins.
Then the U.S. economy collapsed. Our income dried up. Our dream world was shattered. We had to go back the the States for a ‘job’ (oh cursed word.)
We were broken. We were sneered at with comments like ‘Welcome back to reality’. We considered giving up. We looked at buying abandoned new-construction houses in a dejected real estate market. My husband applied (and was offered) a cubicle job making $100k a year. Perhaps this was to be our fate.
But then we came to our senses. What were we thinking????!!!
Our greatest fear was living just an ‘okay’ life. We may not know how to earn the money we needed to live the life we wanted, but could trying and possibly ‘failing’ (again) be worse than acquiescing to a mortgage and a cubicle job? We wanted travel, exploration, adventure. We wanted the world to be our children’s classroom.
I don’t care what it took, we would find a way to fund our ridiculously awesome dream.
And so the quest ensued. We tried. And tried. And tried again. In the Dominican Republic. In Georgia. In India and Alaska. We weren’t very successful at it. We made lots of mistakes. And all the while people asked us the question that most people want to know…
How can you pay for all this travel with a family of SEVEN (okay, six at the time)!?
The answer? We really didn’t know. We felt we were scraping from the bottom of the barrel for money to pay for what we were doing, using every resource we could come up with, all the while trying to find ‘the answer‘ ourselves. How do you do it?
But then we finally came to a realization:
There is no ‘answer’ to funding a ‘non-traditional’ lifestyle, just like there is no ‘right’ way to live.
Travel has given us the chance to meet LOTS of interesting and amazing people. And the one thing we’ve learned from them is this:
there are people out there living their dream life, funded in myriad ways, each as varied as the individuals themselves.
There’s not just ONE answer. There’s lots of them.
For some, that dream life looks like renting a house in Bali (after having their 2nd baby in Costa Rica and living on an island in Belize) with an internet business to provide the funds.
For others, their dream life is an off-grid cabin in Alaska, with yearly trips to the ‘Lower 48′ and occasionally Mexico or Japan, funded by an alternative fuel business, a campground business, a sailing business, and few captain jobs here and there.
Some people teach English online, or at a local school in another country. Some have jobs with the Foreign Embassies, non-profit organizations, or big corporations.
We’ve met bloggers, website designers; wholesalers who have accounts set up with retailers; traveling actors who arrange theatrical productions; small business owners of restaurants and surf-board shops; stock and option traders; rental property owners; retirees who worked hard and retired early; and the good old-fashioned ‘work and save then live off your savings’ type.
We did finally discover ‘our answer’ and it’s unique from everyone else we’ve met. And part of ‘our answer’ includes helping you to find YOURS.
That’s why we wrote our book, Living Deliberately: How to Create Your Ridiculously Awesome Life because even though ‘money’ may seem like the problem, there’s more to it than that. As I wrote in Chapter 12:
If you’re like most people, you probably believe that the only thing that keeps you from living the lifestyle you want is more money. If you had more money, then you could do all the things you wanted to do.
But the truth is, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Living the life of your dreams comes down to priorities (Principle 3), not money.
Having or making more money won’t help you to live a life of purpose if your priorities aren’t in place, and if you have lots of bills, and lots of ‘stuff’ to care for – and all the other things we’ve discussed in the previous Principles. More money can’t help you if the other critical elements are out of whack.
Until you have all those other things sorted out – until you stop blaming money for what you lack in your life (Principle #2); until you know what’s important to you (#3); and what your purpose and passions are (#4); until you know where you’re starting from (#5); where you want to go (#6); what you’re currently exchanging your time and energy for (#7); and eliminate what’s distracting and holding you back (#8); and until you believe that you’ll actually be able to create the life you want (#9); and push past obstacles and challenges (#10) and start living independent of the opinions of the herd (#11); until you know and do all of those things, adding more money to the equation will only add to your problems, not solve them.
We were able to do the traveling we did (or the ‘deliberate living’) because of our priorities, even when we lacked money. Now that priorities are firmly in place, it’s helped us to create the funding that will make our dream a long-term reality. You have to put the cart in front of the horse.
That’s why you need to read the book before we announce this next very exciting project. (To help you do that we’re putting it on sale for only $18 for a limited time, and giving away 5 free copies. See below.)
We really recommend it so that you can make sure the ‘basics’ are in place. Once they are, then you’ll be ready to build on them with our upcoming release – it’s what you’ve been asking for.
We want YOU to solve your money problem. Don’t hesitate to send us an email asking a question about what you need help with.
Mother of five amazing kids, author, family travel expert and education advocate. Rachel writes about their family's travel adventures, homesteading in Guatemala, and excellence in education. She is co-author of the popular book, Living Deliberately: How to Create a Ridiculously Awesome Life.