My friend, Brent, shared a quote from St. Augustine, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Most travel articles that people send my way these days only mention people who quit their jobs to fulfill their lifelong (sometimes only 20 short years) dream of traveling. It always made me wonder why we can’t keep our jobs or change our jobs so that we can work from anywhere? Because really, why can’t we have our cake and eat it too? I think the answer lies beyond the limitations of our imagination.
Dare to Imagine
Imagine a world, empowered by our global connectedness, where there are endless jobs and opportunities to pursue your career and travel. Let’s not be realistic for a moment and try to think of all the reasons you really don’t need to be there for your job because we’re already incessantly plugged-in, everywhere we go. Let’s try to imagine what could be and how we can make that happen.
I like to imagine that line of thinking led to inventions like remote robot surgery devices…
A good place to start is finding relatively inexpensive places to live along your travels, which there’s a great resource site called nomadlist.io. Then, you focus on honing skills you can freelance and work remotely with. I imagine there are many companies, like my own, that don’t require people to be in-house but we desire US born, or native English speaking individuals who can work remotely on my businesses with me. Most professional careers these days are digital anyway, meaning they’re on a computer and only require an internet connection. Even concerns with corporate security are rapidly evolving, and being addressed. All of our CRMs, collaboration tools, operation tools, etc. can be, if not already are, browser based which makes you wonder what isn’t possible in the near future?
Truth is, the future is already here for many people. We’re in an age, the information age, where the playing field is being leveled with relatively free access to top-tier online education; from Ivy-League MOOCs to platforms like Udemy. If you’re not taking advantage of these resources, you are the only one holding yourself back.
Ten years ago people relied on their jobs/organizations to provide them with training. Now, it’s really up to you to educate yourself.
Ten years ago you were, wholly, part of the company or organization’s brand. Now, you are your own brand.
Few people, if any, stay with one company for a lifetime anymore. It may sound scary for those few still clinging on to a false sense of job security but whether you like it or not even companies are embracing and expecting a more transient workforce. The business landscape is changing too fast for companies to allow for stagnant minds. New billion dollar enterprises that didn’t exist a decade ago are popping up at ever faster rates, and in-turn people will flock to where the next big opportunity is.
The beauty of it all is, people have more freedom to move around, and companies can get fresh blood and fresh ideas. The focus for companies is no longer having long-term employees that are highly experienced with their one company, but highly experienced employees with well-rounded, self-educated, industry-wide, and cross-industry skills.
Start thinking along these lines and you’ll begin to open your mind to the possibilities of traveling and not quitting your job, or any job.
I Never Want to Retire
P.S. There’s another reason why I never advocate quitting work. If you know me well, you also know I find the general idea of retirement, sold to the masses, abhorrent. It is a lie, a false promise, and a man-made disease.
Why is retirement a lie? Retirement was invented in the 1900’s to oust people who held their positions for too long and had too much power; plus you weren’t expected to live long enough to collect much pension anyway. With the advancement of medicine and lifespans, I find it absolutely insane that the retirement age hasn’t even shifted. I was disappointed to see the well-respected Harvard professor, Daniel Gilbert, who wrote one of my favorite books Stumbling on Happiness, act in a Prudential commercial where he probes the question, “If we’re all living longer and the retirement age hasn’t changed, how do you prepare financially for the extended years?” Thereby, insinuating that we buy more investments. What!? How about the more obvious MOVE THE F*CKING RETIREMENT AGE (you lazy, entitled f*cks) and rely on yourself instead of the whims of the market and your portfolio managers?
Why do you think Social Security is falling apart? Why is it unsustainable? Why am I glad to be greeted by elderly people at Target? And why do people find that disgraceful? I find it insulting that our society sees aging people as weak, useless, and helpless. In many other societies around the world, aging people are celebrated, actively engaged in the community, and not cast aside by society to go die quietly. My 108 year-old great-grandmother carried herself, fed herself, and was celebrated for her contributions to her community until the day she died.
The secret to success that I’ve read from a lot of successful people is inline with my favorite JFK quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” We live in an age that’s moving beyond just a duty to our country, but also a duty to humanity as a whole.
Why is retirement a man-made disease? If you’re living, breathing, and capable of contributing, you need to. It’s just how the world turns. It’s healthy for you physically, mentally, and emotionally. If we all know that staying active and engaged is one of the secrets of living longer, why the hell would we promote retirement? Just because we’ve been doing something for the past 100 or so years doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. There is no shame in working until the day you die, it used to be honorable. Hell, it still is honorable.
Photo credits: Joshua Earle Photography