Editor's Note: This is a post from Tim Anderson, a full-time travel and lifestyle blogger making his way around the world since leaving the US in 2008. He's opened businesses, established residency, and lived in four different countries - and he's guest posting on how you can unlock your true potential and create a meaningful, less ordinary life through location independence and brand building.
I’m 33 years old, debt-free, bilingual, completely funded by my online ventures - and I did it all without ever finishing high school or going to college.
My primary job is blogging, but I also work in brand building and consultations with our Destination Freedom brand boot camps. It’s a pet project founded after my younger brother committed suicide in December 2012 after three years of unemployment and spiralling debt and depression, when I realised that I needed to do more than just blog about living a life less ordinary... I needed to take action and help others achieve the same level of freedom that I myself enjoy, to help others avoid the same fate.
To get there, you have to unlearn everything you have ever learned. Strip away the extraneous and take things down to the most basic form. As Terrence McKenna spoke on with his series of lectures, culture is your operating system, and once you know this to be true, once you realise you can wipe your own internal hard-drive (your mind) and install programming as you need it, the universe suddenly has an entirely new meaning to it.
Anyone, anywhere, can achieve their dreams, create their own reality through conscious will using the power of the Internet and freedom of information. But it requires discipline, hard work and dedication, and a focus of your creative energy.
|Photo credit: T.W. Anderson (Marginal Boundaries)|
The life less ordinary
Living the dream life is more than just pipe dreams, hopes and aspirations. It takes hard work to build a brand, take it global, and then manage it. Something I’ve been writing about extensively in 2013 is the brand-building aspect of travelling for a living, and promoting the reality of travelling without a budget.
Forget about backpacking, being an international vagabond or living in bug-ridden hostels with no hot water, or CouchSurfing and budget-travelling on bread-crumbs. Start a business, build a brand and then use the passive income from your website, social media and your products and services to travel the world full-time.
Travel the world. Learn another language. Explore your full destiny and find your soul. No one can achieve cultural understanding, enlightenment and a broadening of their horizons by staying trapped behind the walls of suburbia and only speaking a single language and viewing the world through a single, solitary, brainwashed point of view.
Building a brand is hard work, but ultimately it is the most rewarding thing you will accomplish in your life apart from raising kids and having a family. But it’s a serious venture, and in my opinion, it is the only way to achieve the freedom necessary to truly live a life less ordinary, on your own terms and by your own rules.
One of the first tips I give all of my students is find a mentor. Or two. Or three. Look for people higher up on the food chain than yourself. Study what they do. Read their blogs, subscribe to their newsletters, buy their books and watch their videos. Read. Learn.
“He who is good at making excuses is rarely good for anything else.” This quote by Benjamin Franklin comes up in dozens of my blog posts and in all of my books. You must become an individual free of excuses. The word “no” must be eliminated from your dictionary.
“I don’t have time to build a website/blog/brand because of my work/job/family/commitments.” Wrong. Those are excuses blocking your way. Think you don’t have time? Get up an hour earlier, or go to bed an hour later. Sacrifice watching (insert your favourite TV show here), forgo reading the morning news, take the bus or subway to work instead of driving... find ways to give yourself the two to three hours a day necessary to work on reading, studying, writing and creating the basis of what it is that you want to create.
“I don’t have the money to launch a new career.” Wrong. The Internet is largely free in the modern era. Facebook is free. Google+ is free. Twitter is free. Blogger is free. WordPress is free. Tumblr is free. You can use free computers at a library. Or rent one at an Internet café. Sacrifice your morning Starbucks, your cigarettes, your Netflix subscription, your burgers out. This is the rest of your life, your freedom, we're talking about. Even if you can only buy one book per month or subscribe to one newsletter per month, it’s a start.
Get it out there and tweak it as you go. One of the biggest hurdles facing newbies is the perfectionist roadblock. They think something has to be perfect before it can be published. This is a massive mistake. Nothing is perfect and no single person is perfect. Constantly create and continually push your content live to the website, to the social media pages, to the YouTube channel or wherever.
Challenge your belief systems
One of the biggest mistakes people make is by surrounding themselves with positive reinforcement, with same-sided viewpoints, with yes-men. Our minds only grow through exercise and we can only exercise our minds by challenging them with conflicting points of view that force us to continually evaluate and re-evaluate where we are in the greater scheme of things.
If you lock a person in the dark for their entire life, they have no concept of light. No concept of colour. They are ignorant, and blissfully so; to them, the entire world is darkness and shadows and sensory deprivation. But because they don’t know any better, they are content.
But to those who have seen the light, the darkness is a starting point. It’s a reference to how far they’ve come, and how far they still have to go. The path to Enlightenment, to achieving the soul, to arriving where Destiny meant for you to be all along, all though opening your heart, mind and soul and drinking it in like a sponge as opposed to repelling anything “strange” or “different” or “foreign”.
Don’t be afraid to break free, to do something out of the ordinary, to reach for the stars. It is, after all, where we all come from, and all of us are on a journey to find a way back to the place from whence we came.
Are you living a location independent life? Have you built a brand and travelled for a living? Or is this something you're keen to do?
Tim is the editor-in-chief and founder of Marginal Boundaries, showing you how and why you should be living abroad as a location independent digital nomad rather than tucked away in the comfort of suburbia.
He is also the author of Beyond Borders - The Social Revolution and The Expat Guidebook, along with numerous other publications offered through the Marginal Boundaries Immersion Travel Store.