You Owe It To You.

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Silhouette of a backpacker taking the picture of a sunset over the ocean.

So, I’m sitting at the airport coffee shop and I’m browsing travel blogs. Most of them have a common vein. Something about someone quitting a job, which they hated, and now they’re traveling the world. Judging by their bios, you’d think the rest of the world were slaving away in shackles somewhere in a hard labor camp in North Korea.

Then, I’m thinking back about all the bloggers I met and how very few made money. How their financial worries shackled them day in and day out, and I’m wondering–is this the freedom they’re talking about? I do think it’s great that people take a leap into the vast unknown, but where does the line of recklessness lie?

One thing does bother me:

This whole rigamarole about quitting jobs and the us vs. them notion of freedom.

I have friends that are perfectly content working in their office jobs. They love their routines. Do I envy them? No. But many are perfectly content. This is their dream.

Coffee and brownie cheesecake at an outdoor cafe on Nimmanhaemin Road in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Then I look at the hordes of nomads living in Chiang Mai, sweating their rent, living in shanty rooms, trying to live a dream that requires a discipline most don’t have, and calling this balls to the walls existence “freedom”.


Remote work requires insane discipline.

And I’m not talking about the “yeah, I can do that, once I get there” kind of discipline. I’m talking about proven, time-tested discipline. The kind that the job you hated back home was teaching you all along. These people behind desks and in cubicles–they have dreams. Their dreams are just different. Financial independence is their freedom. They don’t need to travel the world and take selfies to prove they’re free. They take trips. They stay in exotic resorts. They go on cruises. From office workers to executives, I know plenty who already live the dream back home.

Their dream.

All I can say is I’m thankful for my success today on the road today, because this was my dream. I look back at my coworkers and we do share the same dreams, but we speak a different language. Who is to say whose language prevails? There are things these shackling office jobs teach you. Discipline, perseverance, critical thinking, time management. Especially when you become a manager and you have to lead others; when others rely on your discipline.

I don’t think I’d ever have my discipline today if I’d quit my banking job early on in my career.

So all I have to say is stick to your job and quit bitching. Here’s the story of a travel blogger who puts it all in perspective. It applies to anything online. Get a bachelors or a masters degree. Hone your saw. Yes, I think traveling long-term is phenomenal, but traveling because everyone else is doing it is my definition of total recklessness.

Plane wing and clouds over Thailand. Sky is gradual shade of light to dark blue and the details of the earth below unseen.

Just tired of reading these shitty, carbon-copied bios. Feels like I’m living in some bad episode of Star Trek and we’ve become nomadic Borgs; a collective of bland drones chirping in 1’s and 0’s about freedom.

Work the heck out of that office job. Be a great manager. Learn some serious self-discipline. Prove to yourself that you do have a powerful sense of discipline.

If you intend to make online work your lifestyle, work your way to success back home before you take such a critical leap.

Damn it, you owe it to you.

Do you agree or disagree? Why?


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10 comments on “You Owe It To You.

  1. Excellent dose of reality … people need to know that business takes work, and although the setting in which we do it can be glamorous, there are many days that are as far from “the dream” as one can get. Having said that, I love being able to work remotely from anywhere in the world, as it suits my free spirit perfectly.

    1. Thanks, Billy. The feeling of being remotely self-employed IS great, I just wish more people came more prepared, both mentally and financially. I don’t mean to shoot down anyone’s dreams, but I want to save them having to constantly worry in paradise…

  2. Wonderful piece of writing and so very true. I spent 18 months wandering the world in 2013/2014 & absolutely loved it although at times it was incredibly hard. Now I am absolutely loving being at home – enjoying where I live (New Forest) my interesting job (govmt dept that I took a sabbatical from) and being with my friends and family (all fun & supportive) I am fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds, and know people who live very happily in either one or the other? We each choose our own journeys; it is for no-one else to judge.
    Thank you for this illuminating insight.

    1. Thanks, Jill. 18 months traveling around the world must have been incredible! You have must have learned so much about yourself and the world–I’m still amazed at all I’m learning on a day to day basis. The beauty of the experience is it’s just a plane/boat/train ticket away and these are much cheaper nowadays, but I just feel the cookie-cutter travelers are rubbing the experience in people’s faces back home, not realizing people back home just don’t give a crap. Really. Most won’t understand why anyone would travel for so long. I still have people back home questioning my sanity. Sounds like you made some very sensible choices and are now reaping all the rewards of both worlds.

  3. Great article dude! We too get annoyed by the amount of this stuff we see, (we may have been guilty of it very early on in our blogging career haha) But we just get so tired of seeing people telling others how to live there lives.. We try to discus the options and hope to inspire people to travel if they want to.

    But I feel like sometimes im looking at bloggers that seem like they have been produced by a marketing team and funded to travel exotically everywhere all the time!!

    If your interested, heres something similar we wrote:
    Nomader How Far recently posted…Getting a Job In Australia: 9 Do’s and Don’t’s for Backpackers.My Profile

    1. Haha, I think we’re all guilty of it at first, but you nailed it right there. I feel the same way, I feel like I’m being pitched. No matter how boring someone’s intent is, I really want to know WHY they are traveling, because the intent behind the intent is so interesting. Love your blog, by the way, great photography “Wanderlust Porn” haha.

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