Taking Back Your Life – Travel

Taking Back Your Life – Travel

Traveling isn’t for everyone. However, I do believe it can change your views of life and the world we live in. Most my days I spend hunched over a computer, working in Excel spreadsheets. My pay is good, but so what. Am I happy? Not really. The day job seems to get in the way of my passions. For me that is traveling the world and making quality films on YouTube.

Mitaka Japan - Near Studio Ghibli

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The Comfortable Uncomfortable – Overcoming Your Fears

All of us have some kind of fear built in.

Some fear is silly or unfounded, while other fear is necessary for survival. At one time I was afraid of being in high places. Now I can not get enough of them. Why, you might ask? Because I exposed myself to heights enough that they were no longer a big deal. It took some time, but over time I challenged myself to get closer to the edge of a cliff and look down. In all fairness, I still will not dangle my legs off the sides, but I still have something to push myself towards.
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Taking Back Travel – The Ultimate Freedom

Something you experience while you are traveling that you don’t typically experience while doing your day to day routine is what I call, the ultimate freedom.  This is the time where you can escape your 9-5, see amazing places and not be bound to your home responsibilities.  You can just pack up the car, and start driving.  Or pick a random place on a map and go, even if it is overseas.  Everyone has their own version of this that suits their budget and available time.


There is a lot of value in getting this time away from your chains of responsibility to open up and see who you really are.  This is your chance to reflect on your life and see where you want to go next.  It is the time where you make lasting memories and yearn for more exciting times to come.  There is so much to see on this planet, and it would be a shame if you never even left your home city or country during your life.  It took me 38 years to finally leave the U.S. and I regret that it took so long.  Now I can’t wait to do more international travel.


I strongly encourage people to take a vacation that is overseas in a location that doesn’t speak their home language.  While English is spoken all around the world, it is not spoken well in places like Japan.  It really makes you think about how small you really are when you go somewhere completely different than you are used to.  Knowing that there are other ways people live and work that are different from your own, helps you become a more well rounded person.  And who knows, you may just discover something that would be useful in your home town that wasn’t available before and start a niche business like a themed cafe for example.


With so much intolerance in the world and so much fear of immigrants and people different from you, this is an opportunity to flip the page and be on the other side of that. You become the foreigner.  I believe as long as you respect the home countries values and customs, you will be welcomed.  If you go in all “I’m an American and this is how we do things in my country!” you will definitely be frowned upon.  Take time to understand the culture and do your best to take part in it.  It is a blast!  People naturally fear the unknown and this is the best way to overcome that fear.  It is kind of like the first time you go snorkeling, you are scared at first and then you overcome your fear and it is one of the most amazing experiences of your life.

Once you experience the ultimate freedom, it becomes addictive.  You become a different person, and your view of the world changes.  While you are taught your home country is “The best country in the world”, it may not be even though we all take pride in where we are from originally.  There may be places you would rather be as happiness is not defined by our wealth, location, or our possessions, but instead how we choose to live each day and the connections we make with other people.  I don’t consider myself or my country better than anyone else’s, it is just different.  This isn’t a sporting competition, we are all human beings that share this world together.


I plan to visit my third country in a couple months and have ambitions to do trips that are longer than any two-week vacation entails.  There are ways to do this cheaply and this site has incredible information on how to do just that. World traveling isn’t for everyone, and I realize that. But for those of you who are adventurous, it can’t get much better.

I would like to hear about your travel experiences or any questions you have on how to plan an international trip in the comment section.

Au Revoir





Taking Back Passion

The typical person has a job that they do every day for a paycheck that seems unfulfilling, boring, stressful, and usually involves a lot of long hours for little recognition.  It takes away from family, hobbies, travel, and other enjoyable activities.  Life in a 5X5 cubicle is commonly a very sedentary  experience with tight deadlines and little time to poke your head up to breathe.  Coffee breaks are filled with donuts and other sugary treats.   Waistlines grow, health declines, and life fulfillment suffers.  You go home feeling tired and have to cook food, take care of kids and eventually go to bed to do it all over again.  Your sleep is wrecked, you’re tired, possibly depressed.

What is the point?  Do you really need the latest BMW and the 3000 sq. foot house on a hill?  Do these things really matter if all your time is spent in a cube?  Do they bring any type of happiness or are they just more things to take your time away from what you really want to be doing?  This all feels like a trap that is difficult to escape.  The trap is set when you have so many bills and obligations that you set yourself up for life long misery.

According to this Gallup poll, 31.5% of employees are engaged in their jobs.  I find myself growing more tired of it the longer i am in the workforce.   I’d rather be writing this blog or wearing a Darth Vader suit in the streets of Portland.  Below are some ways to get out of the grind.

1.  Passive income

Find what you are passionate about and see if there is a way to monetize it.  If you can’t monetize your passion, find a way to replace your job with passive income so you have time for your passions.  Here is a link to a site with many options to make money without the 9-5 job.  They will very likely involve a lot of hard work to get going, but once you do the checks should start coming in.  There is no such thing as easy money without work unless you inherit it.  I’d recommend getting this going while working until you have enough passive income to replace your income or a lower level of income that is sufficient to pursue your dreams.

2.  Stop wasteful spending

We are a consumerist society that just has to spend every last dime of their paycheck and live to that standard, and many times beyond with debt.  These actions tend to enslave you.  As I mentioned, you don’t need the latest model car when a 5 year old car may be in like-new condition and 2/3 the cost.  Take time to really dig into every expense you have and see if you can reduce it.  A big example I know of is cable TV.  With netflix, hulu and other streaming sites, I can watch shows nearly commercial free and do not need cable.  I don’t have to be up to the latest episode of anything and quite frankly, too much TV can keep you from your passions as well.  Eliminating the cable bill is huge.

Do you rent?  If so you may likely be paying someone else to get rich.  Flip the coin on that and buy a rental property with multiple units, live in one  and have the other units pay your rent.  The term I have heard used for this activity is “house hacking”.  I plan to take this step as soon as I have my down payment.  The great thing is you can use an FHA loan if you are living in it, so you can have a lower down payment.  With lower rent, you won’t need as much income.  See this article from biggerpockets.com if you aren intersted in learning more about house hacking.

Tell us about your own experiences in the comments, we would love to hear from you!