In this report, I answer the question, did travel ruin my chance at the American Dream?
Growing up, I learned about the American Dream. A big house with a three-car garage and a white picket fence. A beautiful wife and a few kids. A cabin in the mountains on a lake just a few hours away. A boat at the cabin that works for fishing and water skiing. Plus, early retirement with a fat 401(k).
I was on a perfectly respectable path to living the American dream. I went to college and got a bachelor’s degree. I even went to graduate school and got an advanced degree. I was recruited right out of college to another state where I worked for one of the best organizations in my field. I was earning respectable money.
I married a beautiful woman that already had two children. But after 13 years, my wife packed up all of our belongings and moved with the kids to another state. The kids were already fully grown and would soon be living on their own in another state.
As their stepfather, I still get to see the kids from time to time. I am still friendly with my x-wife so things are fine when I see her at the kids’ family events. I was never into drama and I don’t burn bridges. I wouldn’t take any of those years back.
After my wife left me I was still okay financially. I had made some investments along the way and I just needed to wait until they matured so I could follow my retirement dreams. I wanted to travel the world. I was just working and waiting for retirement.
If I had stayed at that job for another 10 years, I could have been living the American Dream. I could have bought the big beautiful house, the cabin, and the water ski boat. But the American dream was never my dream. I was never interested in society’s expectations. It didn’t excite me.
I have never really been motivated by money, title, prestige, or notoriety. I was always motivated by the puzzle itself; the creative problem-solving. The money was good but my role wasn’t all that exciting. Creativity wasn’t part of the job description.
You see, I didn’t go to college until I was 32 years old. I had always been self-employed. I had started several businesses myself. Trust me, I was no Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. These were small businesses, but they were mine. I had skin in the game.
So, this was the first job I had had since working at Taco Bell when I was 15 years old.
So before this job, for my entire life, I had always had something at risk. There was always something in my business that I had to figure out. I had always been the creative force, the decision-maker, the problem solver. Sometimes I would win. Sometimes I would lose.
And now, working for someone else, it felt like I was a cog in someone else’s wheel. I had very little influence or control over direction. I had a very limited ability to use my creativity. The money just wasn’t enough for me. I felt a little empty inside. I was bored at my desk.
One day the phone rang. The caller asked, “Would you be interested in moving to India for 2 years?” It was a headhunter looking for someone with my ability. My life changed that day.
That phone call was over 14 years ago. I have lived in and visited 65 countries in my life. But if you ask me today, Did Travel Ruin My Chance at the American Dream, I would have to say yes. Absolutely, yes.
Yes: Travel ruined my chance at the American Dream
But do you know what? The American Dream was never my dream. My dream was to retire early and travel the world. I didn’t want a big house and a cabin on the lake. I wanted to accumulate enough income-producing assets that I could travel the world for as long as I wanted.
My dream was to go wherever I wanted in the world, and stay for as long as I wanted. And when I was ready, to go somewhere new and stay there for as long as I wanted. So, travel ruined my chances of living the generic American Dream.
But travel also made all of my personal dreams come true.
You see if I had stayed in America when I got that call. I am not 100% sure everything would have worked out how I planned. I may have bought that big house. I may have bought the cabin and the water ski boat. I may even have built a fatter 401(k).
But I probably would have been stuck at my desk over the last 14 years instead of traveling the world. I may have sat at that desk unhappy, wishing I was living another life. I may have compromised my health by forcing myself back to that desk every day. But we will never know.
Instead, I took a job in India for a few years and I have been traveling the world ever since. My income has probably been lower than it would have been had I kept that fat job. But I haven’t needed all that money since my cost of living is lower outside the USA.
Travel Made My Dreams Come True
Here I am 14 years later at age 60 having already accomplished everything I didn’t even expect to start until retirement. I have traveled all over the world. I go wherever I want, for as long as I want, and I leave when I am ready to experience someplace else.
I am working for myself again and I am intimately involved with every creative aspect of my online business. Win or lose, I get to make the decisions and celebrate or suffer the consequences. I have skin in the game again. I feel alive again.
I live in the digital economy now. I have left the brick-and-mortar world of yesterday and I have learned how to survive and prosper in the digital economy. I feel that travel has been the most important part of transforming my life. Travel has ruined nothing. It has made my dreams come true.
So yes, travel ruined a dream I never really had. But it also opened a door that has allowed me to travel the world and be the captain of my destiny.
Travel also allowed me to meet Qiang Hui of Hobo Ventures in Malaysia and bring her with me all over the world.
Additionally, I have been able to shine a light on the path that others have been able to follow to find their dreams. Instead of just being a cog in another organization’s dreams, I have been able to attract people that are interested in defining their own dreams.
In conclusion, I hope travel ruins your life as much as it has ruined mine. Thanks for checking out this report, Did Travel Ruin My Chance at the American Dream.
If you are interested in learning more, grab a free copy of my eBook, How I Fired My Boss and Traveled the World for 14 Years. This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the YouTube Channel for VagabondBuddha.com. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?