Friday, October 5, 2012

10 Tips to Afford (Nearly) Anything You Want And/Or Reach an Amazing Goal

I just came across this really interesting post about how this guy can afford to travel nearly continuously (to date he has been on the road for 4,660 days!).  Many of the ways he sustains his lifestyle are things that we did as well when we decided to do some long term traveling.  Note that you don't necessarily need to focus on travel as these tips will help you achieve nearly anything else you want (a killer tech set up, a job better suited to you, opportunities to do amazing things, etc).  Here they are:

  1. Set a goal and focus on that goal, regardless of what other people think.  Here's another blog post where he sets a goal and people think he has lost his damn mind (I'm sure people thought the same thing about us but were too polite to say anything).  By focusing on one big goal instead of a hundred wildly varying goals you can focus all of your energy on achieving what you set out to do.
  2. Don't get caught in the numerous consumer traps that keep you on the hamster wheel of "normal" life.  This means stay out of debt, stay out of long term contracts, don't shop every weekend to reward yourself for working at a job you hate all week, don't buy a huge house with huge house payments, pay cash for a used car instead of buying a new car on payments, etc.
  3. Do buckle down and work like a maniac in order to make "gazelle intense" strides to achieve your goal.  When we were a few months out from selling our house and paying off the last of our debts before we hit the road, every day was a flurry of activity.  Besides working crazy hours in my business I was also getting my non profit ready to turn over to others, we were selling everything of value on CraigsList, holding garage sales every weekend, packing things for was a crazy, intense time but it had the affect of propelling us much further and much faster towards our goal.
  4. Change your life to suit your goal.  It would have been impossible for us to do any sort of long-term travel if we still had a huge house, a huge house payment, a half dozen cars, multiple creditors, full time jobs, and all of the other trappings of normal life.  We took a look at our goal (long term travel) and then got rid of anything that 1) didn't fit with long term travel, and 2) wouldn't enhance our goal.  If you don't have a house or a house payment you can do a lot of other things with all of the money you are saving (or on the flip side, you won't need to earn nearly as much money because you won't have nearly as many bills).  We also figured that since we would be traveling we would be using public transportation a lot so what better way to "practice" than to get rid of all but one paid-off car and take the city bus instead (BTW this saved a TON of money).
  5. Develop multiple sources of income.  Most people have one 9 to 5 job that accounts for all of their income.  This is good but it doesn't lend itself to some goals (like long term travel) and if you lose that one all-important job you will be in a very difficult situation.  Like the guy in the blog post, we "launched" ourselves into our goal of long-term travel with a small amount of money (hubby's small pension).  Since then hubby's Social Security has kicked in, we traded babysitting for five months for room and board, I have been able to do a bunch of freelance work--from writing to web design, some of the people I worked with in my old life have hired me to do projects, and most recently I published a book (which, unfortunately, doesn't look like it will bring me much income but it was a fascinating experiment nonetheless).
  6. Save up for the things you want.  This was a hard-learned lesson for me because for most of my life, I just bought whatever I wanted then paid for it later.  When you have a huge goal, you can't mortgage your future for something that you want right now.  You need to plan and save and then buy the thing you want.
  7. Make tiny steps towards your goal every single day.  Some days it seemed like we were in quick sand.  We weren't making strides towards our long-term travel goal and sometimes it seemed like we were actually going backwards (in between working and saving and paying off debt Murphy would occasionally show up and throw a wrench into our plans).  But every single day we persevered, even if the only thing we did was check our passports and note the expiration date or scan our important documents into the computer.
  8. Don't give up before you get started.  Many times the goal is so overwhelming that it is easier to just throw in the towel before you even begin.  I mean, you will come up with so many excuses (some valid, some not) that really, only a crazy person would continue on in the face of such adversity.  Here's an excellent article on this topic from the Family on Bikes who accomplished an amazing goal. 
  9. Don't give up before you reach your goal.  Here is another post from the Family on Bikes where they were so close to reaching their goal but still felt like giving up (reaching a giant goal can be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing and again, it may seem easier to throw in the towel than continue).  But don't throw in the towel, keep going!!!
  10. And some other tips:  Face the fear but continue anyway.  See how other people reached their goal.  Make your own rules.  Don't wait until you have "permission" to be what you want to be.
So my question to you is:  What is your big big big goal?  Are you taking steps towards it (and what are those steps)?  


  1. great post! I always great to discover new blogs and I really like earls so thnx.
    I'd love to just quit everything and travel but DH is not the nomad type so we'll be doing it in smaller doses.
    Our goal is to downsize ourselves, get a van and fit it out so we can travel around and also start traveling overseas. I feel like we're getting closer finally! we are n the process of buying our downsizing house right now, and selling the car to buy the van, it might be a couple of years till it comes together, and yes, other people we know don't 'get it' but we're happy with our plans

    1. Louise, we are downsizing too. It's hard, but we've been working on it for a couple of years now. We don't really want to travel as much as we want to move to a place where were can feel like we're on vacation every day. That's why we're looking at the gulf coast region. April's blog has really helped to change our mindset that we don't need as much stuff as we think we do.
      Thank you April! Great post!

  2. Thanx Gil! And thanks Lorraine for the nice compliment (I'm looking forward to your posts on your move!).
    Louise--my hubby wasn't the traveling sort either so the fact that we did what we did was a huge surprise (things just sort of fell into place somehow). Now he is happier than ever that we ended up relocation to Vegas (it's still hard to keep him downsized, however, since he found out about senior day at the Goodwill!