For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to live a life full of travel and experiences.
Today, I can happily say that I am living the life that I always dreamed of.
In the last three years alone:
- I’ve lived in three different countries for a period of six months or more (Korea, Sri Lanka, and Colombia).
- I have learned to speak two languages (I am fluent in Spanish and conversationally proficient in Korean).
- I’ve volunteered doing marine conservation work in West Papua, Indonesia.
- I’ve taken hallucinogenic drugs in the middle of the Colombian jungle.
- I’ve made more friends and had more experiences around the globe than I ever thought possible.
- And I’ve even managed to start my own remote business.
But none of what I have achieved has come easy for me and in fact, all of it almost never happened at all.
Today at 30 years old, I could just as easily still be working the same job that I took when I graduated from college. I could have taken advice from family and friends at the time I left the United States and never moved abroad. I could have ignored the burning desire that I had inside to get more out of life and allowed my dreams to dissipate.
Thankfully at the age of 27, I followed my instincts and made the decision to start life in another country.
I didn’t think when I started this lifestyle that I’d still be “nomading” around the globe so many years later, but I am grateful that my life has gone in the direction it has.
Travel has done more for my life than I ever would have imagined. In particular, the first time that I moved abroad for a significant amount of time (teaching English in Korea for 17 months) transformed my life in some extreme ways.
My first extended abroad experience in Korea ended up being the catalyst for all of the amazing things that have happened to me since. Once I jumped over the initial hurdle that was holding me back from following my dreams (fear), it’s as if Pandora’s box was cracked wide open and rather than being struck by evil, all of life’s magic was hurled in my direction.
I believe that in order to really get everything that you want out of life, you need to posses three character traits:
Some people spend a lifetime attending personal development seminars and reading self-help books in order to get these things and by the time of their death they have still fallen short. In my opinion, by traveling and living abroad longer term, one can expedite and greatly reduce the time that it takes to acquire these attributes.
When I first graduated from college, I suffered from severe anxiety about what my future held and (a surprise to many) I was generally a nervous wreck in social situations. I was embarrassed about where I was at in my career and for the first time in my life, I lost all confidence in myself and my abilities.
It’s no question that moving abroad takes a tremendous amount of courage. When I landed in Korea, I spoke zero Korean, I had no friends, and I had just taken a job to teach English with zero experience having done anything similar in the past. I was presented with quite a challenge but I had no choice other than to take action.
By the time I left Korea, I was conversationally fluent in the language, I was the most popular foreign teacher amongst the locals in the city that I lived, and the way I looked at myself in the mirror had taken a drastic turn for the better.
The same confidence that I gained in Korea is what has helped propel me forward and given me the belief in myself to achieve everything I have to date, including starting my own business.
Throughout my younger years and in college I was an athlete. Because I played sports, I was always in great shape. I got good grades and always hung out with the popular kids. I’m tall and fairly good looking so girls were never an issue. Life was pretty easy for me.
Though I never outwardly stated that I was better than anyone, there were certainly circumstances in my life as a young man that may have subconsciously led me to believe that I was superior in some way.
When I moved to Korea to teach English, I was greatly humbled. I spent a significant amount of time alone and was afforded time to think about my place in the world. I developed a modest view of my importance on Earth and overall, I became a more present human being.
I developed a consistent habit of meditation while I was in Korea that has continued to serve me well and keep me humble to this day. My meditation practice has helped me through many personal traumas, kept me grounded, and helped me keep my mind clear so I can run my business successfully.
Since I was a child, people have always told me that I am great at connecting with and understanding people. And with the exception of foolish drunken brawls in college, I like to think that’s true.
But connecting with people in your own country is one thing. Making the leap to a country like Korea and connecting deeply with people who have a cultural background entirely different from that of my own was quite difficult.
I met many different types of personalities in Korea and I had to manage everyone from my irrational boss at the English academy to the new students that entered my classes on a daily basis. Teaching everyone from the ages of 6 to my oldest student (age 85) taught me a great deal of patience.
Today, I manage a team of more than fifteen virtual contractors in order to run my business. The empathy and understanding that I developed in Korea has helped me out tremendously in resolving and preventing issues between team members. It has also made me a better leader, friend, boyfriend, and business partner.
As I write this post, I sit here in Medellin, Colombia – my “hometown” for the past couple years. Often times I still pinch myself to make sure that the life I am living is real. I’ve already achieved far more than I ever thought I would in a lifetime.
At 30 years old, the biggest problem I have today is figuring out what new goals I am going to set because I’ve already accomplished everything that I ever wanted to.
If you’re considering making a move abroad, I highly encourage you to do so. The benefits of doing so are far more than you can imagine. All it takes is one healthy step in the direction of your dreams. Making the move to another country can help you achieve the key ingredients that you need for a successful life; it certainly did for me.