So, you’re dreaming of a better life with stunning beaches, inspiring landscapes, new cultures, tastes, sounds and smells? Nice. Speak to most people around you, though, and they might try to shun those uplifting pictures in your head. They can’t see how to obtain that feeling of being free, on a sailing trip, a motorcycle adventure or an extended backpacking tour. For many people, it’s impossible.
Why? Because a lot of people just don’t do it. Or maybe they did, but only because they needed to volunteer abroad for their career. Then, they never ventured out again for more than just a vacation. So sad.
But that’s not you, right? No, it doesn’t need to be you. Why do people who travel look healthier, happier and more relaxed? Because they are! And right now is the best time to squeeze that small quantity of bare essentials into a suitcase or backpack, and head off on a longer stint in paradise.
Here’s how to quit the rat race and make your dreams a reality, whatever your circumstances are.
Become More Mobile, and Free (And Get More Sun)
When I say spend more time in the sun, I’m talking at least a month abroad, every year. How do you do that? There are three effective ways:
- Start transitioning into becoming a freelancer, a business owner, or both.
- Start negotiating with your boss so you can travel with work, work from home, or both.
- Take some time off work, quit and go and do some volunteer work that improves your CV. Work prospects when you get home. Luckily, this can lead to more work abroad. You might even find a position you like the look of while you’re out there in Thailand, India or Peru.
According to David Prosser, who wrote an article for Forbes in 2015, freelancers are taking over the world. New research by PeoplePerHour states that half the working population in the USA and the UK could be their own boss by 2020. It’s just not something to worry about anymore. Talking to your boss about how you could work more efficiently at home is the first step in a clever process that leads to working from Peru or, I don’t know, Abu Dhabi (or whatever floats your boat!).
If this all sounds a bit stressful, check your network. See if there is anyone in your line of work who could give you tips they have for making the break and how to handle the challenges involved.
Alternatively, check out the growing nonprofit sector and volunteer for three months somewhere luscious, somewhere sunny. It’s a good way to escape the winter blues spread your wings a bit.
Are there opportunities to work on an interesting project, or gain more advanced skills at your volunteer organization? If so, take advantage of the opportunity. Then, use your new skills and confidence to get a promotion more quickly, or apply for more senior positions with more responsibility in your next job.
How to Move Abroad
Think of number two as the next step once you’ve loosened the rat race straight jacket a little. If you have kids, a mortgage, etc., this process might take a little longer, but there are thousands of families that do it, and are ecstatic when they see the positive effects of their change in lifestyle.
Moving abroad can be done almost overnight. But only by adventurers who are already experienced, or the slightly crazy. How come? Because when you move abroad, the change can shake you up. To make the transition easier:
- Be able to speak the language of the country you’re moving to. You don’t fluency, just the basics so you can have a conversation, find what you need, etc. Socializing with local people is essential.
- Understand a bit about the culture of your new home country, and enjoy the vibe of the place.
- Know how to become a resident, the visa process, and what you’ll need to work in that country. You don’t want to be paying twice as much tax, for example, if you’re a US citizen.
Create a 5-year Plan for More Independence
Plans work wonders on your subconscious. They set the stage for a wonderful life. It’s not like they’re set in stone, so don’t be afraid of modifying your plan as you go along. To begin, set your goal. If that’s more financial independence, getting off the grid, moving abroad, homeschooling your kids, or whatever – write it down.