SOUP TO NUTS, THE WHOLE FREAKING STORY
Well, I did it. Made an announcement and everything, so it has to be official. And yes, I know I’ve been hinting for weeks now and you think you know what’s happening. And maybe you do. But here’s everything. Every last drop.
Yes, I’m basically quitting my job. I keep telling myself that I’m “Taking a Sabbatical”, but that’s not the truth. I know inside that I’m simply leaving the place where I’ve worked for almost 14 years. And that they most likely won’t have a job for me should I ever try to return. I also know that at the age of 60-plus I’m in that gray area … get it, gray area? … where ageism becomes a thing when seeking new employment. But still, I gotta try. So let’s start this long ass tale with finances.
Show Me The Money
I currently make a pretty healthy salary. $140k a year, to be exact. That affords me a lifestyle that’s hard to replicate, especially when I want to wander the world without it. But here’s the thing … you gotta pay to live somewhere, and if you’re not paying a mortgage in the states that money can go elsewhere. We did it twice in our European travels in 2017 and in 2019. Granted, I was employed those times, but still … it was a lesson in how it could be altered to fit with my new paradigm.
I have a decent saving account. As in, I could keep my current lifestyle going with no changes at all for over three years and never notice a thing. But that would end with me having zero savings and no income. Even in my current state of mind, that’s a bad idea. But it is enough to try something. And yes, I truly realize how blessed I am to be able to do this. But it also comes with risk.
The overall idea is to “change careers” and become a full-time content creator. Which is like saying I’m going to Hollywood to become an actor. Long shot, to make it obvious. But it is a possibility.
So we’re going to start living a lot more frugally. Traveling and staying in nice, but cost-affordable places. I’m going to stretch my dollars and I figure I can give a solid year to the effort with zero expectations of additional income. At which point I’m going to re-evaluate things. If I see progress and possibility, I’ll give it another year (hopefully with some sponsorship to stretch it further). If it works … hooray! If not … well, I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror and say I tried. Financially I won’t be any worse off than if yet another recession attacked my investment accounts.
The overarching financial goal is to diversify income. Think “gig economy”. A combination of smaller income streams that add up to a major one. Continually tweaking and managing. Which sounds scary, I know. But it also sounds like a hoot. Part of the journey is to Break Free of old norms and make something for myself that is actually enjoyable and sustainable. And honestly? I think this has a chance.
Why, Oh Why?
So why do such a thing? Why not be satisfied with having a home, solid employment, good salary, and all that? Isn’t that what people seek? Isn’t that what we’ve all be doing since we entered the work force?
I’ve been on that path since 1979 … and I’ve always known that it wasn’t for me. But for the past 43 years … (sigh, have I really been waiting 43 effing years?) … I’ve been too afraid to actually follow what I knew was right for me. That’s over four decades of regret right there folks. I don’t crave things. I crave experiences. Knowledge. Being challenged and energized each and every day. I’ve been called an adrenaline junkie, but that’s incorrect. I’m addicted, sure. But to the diversity of life. And I need a fix more often than “waiting for the weekend”.
I just turned 60 back in April. It’s now suddenly four months past that, and I know that tomorrow I’ll wake up and I’ll be 61. Then 70. And it will pass by in a blink. I don’t have the luxury of being a coward anymore. if I don’t make this pivot now … I need to accept that I never will. I am truly at the point where I can’t wait a moment longer and still be able to try. It’s now or never time. And I choose to live my dream … fears and all.
So … Where?
The idea is to spend the holidays with Nikki’s family in California (Xmas and New Years) and then to just start. Where? Well, that’s the point. I’m not sure yet. I’d like to head west into New Zealand and Australia, but who knows. (Especially since Nikki procrastinated and didn’t renew her passport and we don’t know when it will be ready). Maybe we’ll get a car and travel the length of the west coast. Maybe we’ll do something else. And that’s going to be one of the two hardest things for me to change. Leaning to be frugal, sure. But giving up solid planning and learning to live in the moment. That’s going to be both exciting and difficult.
We know we want to spend a lot of time in Spain. Barcelona, specifically. And we each have a lot of other things we want to somehow include in the journey. For me, it’s seeing the Northern Lights. Going on safari. And it’s going to be a challenge to not try to plan them all into the first year. Because what happens if the first year becomes the last year? You see how the mindset needs to change.
Basically we’re going to figure out what works best for what we want when and where we are. Saying I want to go to X when going to Y is the more frugal (and just as interesting) option? We do Y. Or maybe X anyway. The point being, we’ll know when we know.
But! Having said all of that, I do want to wander the globe. Completely around it. Go to places where other folks may not think worthy. Because this is a journey of discovery.
Whatcha Gonna Do?
How does one become a Content Creator? A “YouTuber”? Well, by doing it.
I love to write. I now love to film/edit and create videos. I love interacting with people and sharing my experiences … and learning about theirs. And if doing that as a part-time hobby is grand, then simply making it part of my full-time life is going to be better. I’m not in the mindset that I’m switching careers. I’m not going to “become” a YouTuber. I already am one. I’m just going to do it more. As much as I like, because it’s a part of me. And finding ways of it paying for my life, well that’s secondary. Yea yea, I know. That’s the complete opposite of what we’ve all been told is the proper way to “adult”. But it’s the itch that I haven’t been able to scratch for all these decades.
Basically, each and every day I get to create something. Words. Images. A story. Which means I get to live that story. To share it. And the thought of being able to do it each and every day? It’s absolutely priceless.
Am I scared? You betcha! Terrified out of my mind. I’m worried about so many things. Finances, sure. But what about relationships? There are two people on this journey. What happens if/when our desires head in different directions? If this is a “now or never” situation, what kinds of compromises are acceptable? And which simply end a dream? What happens if my parents or family fall ill while I’m halfway around the world? What happens if covid locks us all down again?
I’ve come to realize that fear isn’t a reason to not do a thing. Quite the opposite. It’s the reason to try. There will always be another fear. Another reason not to try. I’ve lived a litany of them for all my adult life. So what am I going to do? I’m going to go live the exact life I want, whatever it turns out to be. And I’m going to do my best to allow nothing and no one to stop me. The fear is the journey. It will morph into greatness, or at least great memories. That’s what I’m going to do.