On an ordinary night in August of 2010, right outside my home in Orlando, Florida, I was robbed at gunpoint and almost murdered.
When it’s one in the morning and you’re on the ground with a gun to your temple and four cracked-out kids screaming at you for money, you really think twice about all that you’ve done, what you’ve become, and what your life means.
Three weeks before attacking me, the same gang had shot a neighbor and left him a paraplegic – a terrifying fact of which I was painfully aware as I lay on the ground, trembling with terror.
For reasons I’ll never know, the four kids decided to run away that night. They left me alive, face down on the pavement, my life intact but forever changed.
I don’t think anyone I know, even close friends and family, really understands how much that night impacted me. I’m sure they see the good-humored Banker, always smiling—but my soul was rattled in ways even I couldn’t comprehend at the time.
Somehow, in the moments and hours following my attack, I became unhinged from the norm. Suddenly the outside world shone more brightly than the world I’d lived in all my life. Deep-seated desires to immerse myself in distant cultures and trek through exotic kingdoms and sultanates bubbled up to the surface, refusing to be ignored.
My father used to say that golden opportunities come only once in a lifetime. If we’re lucky, really lucky, maybe twice. But that’s it, and if we don’t seize these opportunities when they arrive, they won’t come around again.
The truth was that I had always wanted to be a traveler and a writer. I’d been writing since my early teens. But I had played it safe, opted for the secure 9 to 5 existence, and only pondered my missed opportunities during the rare hazy moment of drunkenness or extreme fatigue.
But then the kind of opportunity my father always talked about slapped me in the face – with the barrel of a gun. It was the kind of wake up call I needed. Looking back, I hate to think who I might have become had it not happened.
I’d still be a banker in an office, crunching numbers behind a cubicle wall, talking about my 401k, my piddly 2-week vacation plans, and how much my work sucked. I’d be the exact man I never wanted to become.
I was raised in a family who frowned upon travelers and wanderers and philosophers. I was raised to be practical, to plan ahead, and to always have a financial safety net.
Because of this, when I decided to break free from the banker’s shackles, I didn’t leave with only a thousand dollars to my name and no place to call home (god bless those who did). I left with a plan and a strategy.
This is what Banker in the Sun is all about—not escapist fantasies, but exercises in realism. I want to show you how to make your travel dreams realities through inspiring stories, out-of-the-box financial advice, and real-life examples of others who are making it happen.
My view is anti-establishment. I don’t believe in the typical savings advice we’re spoon-fed from the time we enter our first jobs: 401ks, Roth IRAs, retirement and pension – it’s a bunch of BS.
During the 2008 crash, I saw thousands of people’s savings evaporate in a matter of months. They became so focused on their savings that the rest of their lives went completely out of focus, and when the crisis hit, it hit hard.
Talents, passions and enjoyments had been set aside in order to save. After years of sacrifice, everything they’d worked so hard for disappeared in a matter of weeks. What was the point?
The lesson so many clients (and friends, and even myself) learned quickly was that the return doesn’t match the investment. Spending 30 years accumulating savings that amount to 2 years of living expenses—omitting social security—just doesn’t make sense. And it certainly won’t make you happy.
Banker in the Sun isn’t about learning how to exist; it’s about learning how to truly live. It’s about losing yourself in the wonders of travel without having to worry about pinching pennies and living on beans and rice.
Yes, you can afford to travel. Yes, you can afford to move abroad – I’ll even show you how. But the real lesson is that it’s not about the money. It’s about designing your life and making your dreams a reality – no matter how expensive those dreams may appear right now.
It’s about living the kind of life that, if held up to the barrel of a gun, allows you to say “I’ve seen and done and experienced everything I’ve wanted to – I’ve truly lived and I have no regrets.”
As you transition from corporate prisoner to inspired nomad (or part time traveler, or whatever the travel-dream lifestyle means to you,) I invite you to lose yourself in the inspiring stories that appear on this blog. I invite you to begin a journey towards financial freedom, time freedom, and ultimately – freedom of the soul.