Next February will mark three years since we sold our business and left Japan. It seems like such a long time since we first made the one year plan to change countries and careers back in 2009. Here is an update on what is happening in our lives and some of the lessons learned over the past few years.
Today, we’ll be headed back to Asia for the winter. We will spend most of our time in Chiang Mai again, but also have some shorter trips planned to Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and possibly some other nearby countries. This will probably be our last trip to Asia for a while, as we haven’t been to Europe for a couple of years and we still haven’t made it South of Mexico.
New JetSetCitizen.com Website
This website has finally gotten a redesign. You’ll notice (I hope) that the site is simplified to make it easier to navigate and find past content. It is not 100% finished yet, but I wanted to get it up before I leave. I’ve lost the count of the Twitter shares, but everything else seems to have went well in the migration.
I’ve been blogging for four years now and for better or worse, this website has become my identity. I’m often introduced as JetSetCitizen and it is also how I explain myself to others.
Writing this blog has led to many new friendships and connections, online and in person. It was also instrumental in accomplishing my goal of changing careers and leaving Japan. If it weren’t for that public declaration back in 2009, my wife and I might still be in Japan wishing we were doing something different.
Thank you to everyone who filled out my questionnaire a few months back. It seems like almost everyone is interested in finding ways to earn money to fund their dream lifestyle. For that reason, making money online will become more of a focus on this site, but I hope to present an objective look at different income opportunities. From my own experiences and all the people I’ve interviewed over the years, earning an online income is definitely possible, but it’s not quick or easy.
Another direction I’m going to subtly push on this site is social good. Money and new possessions are nice, up to a certain point, but after that, they don’t bring any lasting fulfillment or meaning. In fact, my excessive consumerism actually got in the way of doing what I most wanted with my life. To that end, I will be spending more time volunteering and trying to have a positive impact on the lives of others. I will start to do more social good animations and posts in the future.
My wife and I regularly talk about settling down somewhere and getting another home base somewhere in the world. We miss having our own personal space, yet at the same time we love the freedom and independence of not being tied to a physical location. The biggest problem we face is that there is no single location where we want to settle down.
My home city of Calgary is booming with the strong oil industry, an exploding start up scene and countless non-profit and social good initiatives. It’s a very exciting city to be, yet I would hate to make this the ONLY city I live in.
There are benefits to settling down though. It is great to have regular access to a fitness club. I love libraries with English books. It would be nice to be able to play music with other people on a regular basis. I would like to get more involved in the local community through meetups, volunteering or sports. I also miss the opportunity to build longer lasting friendships.
At the same time, I love the novelty of going to a new location. A whole new world always awaits at the end of every plane ride. Our location independent lifestyle is fantastic, yet I know how environmentally polluting air travel can be. We have some difficult decisions to make in the future. I’m still too selfish to give up travel completely, but we will definitely be traveling slower. Settling down in a single location might become necessary at some point, but I’m not ready for it yet.
I love having a minimum of possessions. It’s so liberating not to always be shopping for that new thing. It has freed up so much time in my life. Yet, I do like and want new stuff.
One of my biggest fears of settling down is going back into consumer mode. I don’t think people realize just how much of their lives are dictated by materialism. Think about it for a moment. How much of your life is spent buying, evaluating, maintaining and cleaning possessions? If you are not shopping or caring for possessions, it’s very likely that you’re either working to pay for those possession or you’re watching TV, where you’re made to feel inadequate for not owning the most recent fad. It’s a sad fact that most of us are consumers, not citizens. By the way, everyone I have this conversation with, thinks they do not consume excessively. It’s always a problem that others have.
What the future holds
The only real plan we have now is to be in Asia for the next 5 months. I love my life now. It provides time for all the things I love to do, so I’m not in a rush to make drastic changes. I’ve been seriously considering working in the non-profit sector, although that would require settling down in a permanent location. I’m still not ready for that yet, although my wife probably is. My wife and I keep discussing alternate future plans, but we haven’t come to any conclusion yet. There is not a day goes by where we are not thankful for how lucky we are to have this lifestyle. These are amazing times.
Do you think it is hypocritical to want to do good in the world, yet continue to lead an environmentally destructive travel lifestyle?
What do you think of the new site? Am I missing anything?