8 Months in to Our Anywhere Lifestyle

We are in Istanbul!

We are in Istanbul!

It has been 8 months now that Motoko and I left Japan. We are having a great time with our lives but this is also not an idyllic lifestyle. It is great to be able to see the world and have complete freedom, but we are really starting to miss having a regular routine in our lives. Here is a short summary of our current situation.

We  are in Istanbul

We are currently in Istanbul and loving it here. The hospitality of Turkish people has been amazing. Turkey is very unique in that it is a bridge between European and Middle Eastern cultures.  It is so different then anywhere else we have been but I will write more about the country later.

Our Financial Situation

We haven’t been able to sell our house in Japan because of the terrible real estate market there, so we have been paying bills and a mortgage for an empty house. It would have been nice to get rid of that obligation, but such is life. We are now thinking of spending a few months every year in Japan. Unfortunately, we got rid of all of our furniture so it will be a little expensive to get set up again.

Purchasing a house was probably the worst decision we have made in our lives. If we didn’t buy our house we would probably have an extra $60,000 to $80,000 in the bank now. Again, such is life.

Our investments also haven’t done so well this year so we have lost a fair amount of money. We are not in a desperate situation but it has put more financial pressure on us. Mentally, it has been stressful. We really hate spending more money then we are earning. Watching your bank balance constantly go down is not a comfortable feeling. My wife and I have both been very good at saving in the past so these last 8 months without much income haven’t been easy. We definitely are not going to spend all of our money so earning a sustainable income is becoming a priority.

Traffic to my websites has been increasing slowly and we have started to earn a little money from a few of the sites but it will take some time to build them into sustainable businesses. I know there are still great opportunities to create real businesses online, but I don’t think blogging and selling expensive ebooks  are the way. Blogging is great to connect with like minded people and even earn a small amount of income, but it is a huge amount of effort for the small potential returns. I am starting to redirect my focus to some smaller wins.

JetSetCitizen.com Plans

I love connecting with other travellers and lifestyle designers, so I will continue the interviews I have been doing.  However, I don’t think I have much to contribute to travel blogging. The travel niche is very saturated and is not something I want to focus on.  I will start to decrease the number of personal posts like this and just focus on the interviews. I also have a couple of ebooks in the works that I plan to offer for free or at very low cost. They will have a somewhat contrarian message to what most other people are writing. I think personal excellence is more important than accomplishing goals or striving for more experiences. You will start to see more of that reflected in my writing.

Too Much Travelling

My attitude toward travelling has definitely changed since my twenties. Maybe this means I am getting old. 🙁 It is great to see many countries, meet new people and experience new cultures but we are also getting tired of the constant moving. We are trying to travel as slow as possible but it is still too fast. It is really hard to exercise, eat healthy, play music, maintain friendships, really experience new cultures and get work done when perpetually travelling. We love being in new countries but the constant change is getting to be too much. We are most likely going to start rotating between a couple of main home bases with shorter travelling in between.

I also feel that new cultures are appreciated more when you can reset in a stable place. When you work for 11 months you really build anticipation and excitement for that 1 month of travel per year. When you are always travelling you start getting bored of new experiences because they happen every day. How many amazing European churches do you need to see? After the first couple they all start looking the same.

Travelling is also getting in the way of accomplishing important things in life. I want to spend more time working on projects that have the potential to make a small dent in the universe. Most of what I am doing now is for my personal pleasure. I am not really contributing.

I have no sympathy with vagabonds and talkers who try to reform society by taking men away from their regular productive work and making vagabonds and talkers of them too. Bernard Shaw

Life is good

Overall we have absolutely no complaints about our life. There is not a single day when we don’t discuss how lucky we are to do exactly what we want in life. We are working on projects of our own choosing, living where we want and spending time with cool people. What else is there?

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

20 Responses to 8 Months in to Our Anywhere Lifestyle

  1. Alan says:

    Good to hear that you’re doing well and that you’re enjoying Istanbul. Nothing like apple tea and baklava to put you in a good mood.

    You’re absolutely right, that the travel-blogging niche is saturated. As I’ve always said, though, I love your interviews–keep em’ coming!

    Safe travels,

  2. John says:

    Thanks Alan,

    I appreciate all your support. Istanbul really is amazing. I don’t know what I was expecting but this is fantastic.

    Thanks for the support on my interviews. I am switching to more video because of your encouragement.

  3. Jannell says:

    I, too, enjoy the interviews that you do, but the personal posts are just as insightful. It is nice to know the reality of the lifestyle you are living. Looking forward to seeing more of your projects!

    • John says:

      Thanks for the feedback Jannell,

      I like to share the personal side of what I am experiencing but it is not all glamour and excitement like other bloggers seem to promote. There is a lot of boring and troublesome stuff that most people don’t seem to share.

      It is fantastic to be in other countries but we are not living like the rich and famous. I am afraid that most readers don’t want to hear about everyday realities. I wish I could say that I am a millionaire, rock star, revolutionary but my wife and I are just a couple of people enjoying a simple life.

  4. RA says:

    My husband and I are in a somewhat similar situation as you guys. Semi-retired at 40 to travel, experience, pursue other things in life. Have been “homeless” for 2 years, have some belongings in storage (US) but finding we miss some of the things you pointed out too. We have started some contracting for a few weeks a year, so we don’t dip into our savings much.
    I would ideally like to live in 4-5 different locations without having to search, settle down each time. Maybe we can find enough like-minded people and home-share in Australia, Europe, US, Asia, etc. 3-6 months in each place every 2 years. Oh well, I am dreaming again.

  5. Ken Kurosawa says:

    Hey John,

    It’s been a while. Maybe a ‘hisashiburi’ would be appropriate here. 🙂
    Thank you for this post. I think it’s a great reality check for me as I’ve put my blog on lower priority to get another more sustainable business off the ground. As a start-up in the physical product space, things haven’t been easy, but revenue has been much easier to generate than any blog I’ve ever worked on.

    • John says:

      Hi Ken,

      It is good to hear from you again. I hope your business is going well. It would be nice to have a passive income, location independent business that produces lots of cash but I think that is much more myth than reality. Real world businesses that solve real world problems seem a much easier way to make money to me too.

  6. Phil says:

    Hi John,
    Could you email me privately? I have some questions about your house in Japan.

  7. Brenda Ireland says:

    Happy Birthday John how did you get so old so fast lol ?
    It is very cool to read about what you guys are up to and where you are and have been.
    I am sure you and Motoko are missing the winter weather of Canada so hope we will see you soon. Enjoy your day : ) I can’t find the LIKE check so I do Like but it won’t count I guess ?

    • John says:

      Thanks Brenda,

      I’m not old, I only feel old. 🙂 We will be home for Christmas so we will have a chance to catch up on the great Canadian winters. Hopefully, there will be some big snowstorms.

  8. Kyle says:

    I felt the same way about traveling long term. I missed my routine, I missed my work (I work in something that I really love) and I missed having a home base. I’m glad you’re talking about that. I feel like travel gets really glorified and people don’t talk much about when it’s not for them.

    • John says:

      I agree. Everyone seems to glorify the good parts and hide the bad side. Like I said in the post, I love to be in different countries but travelling all the time has really gotten in the way of my personal and career goals. It is time to slow down.

  9. Nomadic Matt says:

    Congrats on the milestone. i’m sure the $$ situation will work out, especially as you bring more visitors to the site!

  10. Natalie says:

    I love this post. It has been wrote for the heart. I am sorry that the financial situation is not working out for you, but at least you have your eye on the ball and are making plans. Glad you like Istanbul and look forward to your posts about Turkey.

    • John says:

      Thanks Natalie,

      We are spending more money than we like, but we are still doing okay. We won’t have any real financial pressures for a few years still. It is just the idea of spending money without earning it that is troublesome.

  11. Pascal says:

    Hey John!

    Thanks for the article! Great article actually! In my past travel, I felt exactly what you felt, so it’s great to see that I’m not abnormal :p

    After many long & short travels, I came to the conclusion that the best thing for me is to have a “base” somewhere & work for a little while; like 6-9 months. & then travel “hard-core” for 3-6 months. After a couple of month travelling, you do enjoy your little nest, and stability of your routine. You can focus on exercising well, catching up on many things, that the nomad life doesn’t let you do, etc.

    The only problem with this lifestyle, if finding a good work, that let you go 3 months or so a year. Not much employers will let you do that 🙁

    Also, In my last trip in asia, I realized that this “mental stress of just spending” you are talking about is really harmfull. True, basic traveling can be very cheap if you keep a simple lifestyle & know few tricks, but when you travel a lot, you pass in front of great things you could explore but requires a higher budget. If you want to travel all year long, you need to be very careful with your expenses. So for my part, I realized that it may be better to increase my work/travel ratio, but when I go travelling I can spend a bit more to fully enjoy the places I visit.

    On the plus side, you do travel with Motoko, which is great. I’ve been travelling alone or with a friend for a long while & honeslty, being able to find someone crazy enough to jump with you in your nomadic lifestyle worth gold!

    Maybe you should consider a stop in Montreal after Calgary, so we could chat about all that behind a good glass of red 🙂

    Take care!

    • John says:

      Hello Monsieur Pascal,

      Thanks for the comments! Motoko and I share your opinion completely. I think many younger travellers are promoting the idea of quitting your job to travel long term because they haven’t travelled much, have no obligations and never had a decent job.

      You are well travelled, have a great job, a great house and live in a great city. A home base for 9 months or so with 3 months of higher quality and a little more luxurious travel would be ideal. Also, it is hard to travel with “Rock Band.” 🙂

      Yes, I am lucky to have found someone as equally crazy as me. Travelling as a couple is a completely different experience than travelling alone.

      Montreal would be great but I am not sure on this trip We will be in Calgary for a couple of months if you happen to be able to make it out west. After that we will be going to Asia if you have another vacation in you?

  12. TimB says:

    Hey John,
    Great to see an article that doesn’t just gloss over some of the other aspects related to the travel/passive income lifestyle. I guess it’s not all “laptops on beaches” like a lot of other bloggers seem to suggest.

    I guess a load of us jaded employees read The Four Hour Work Week and thought, “Yeah, I’ll have some of that”, but it’s not that easy. At the risk of sounding controversial, it reminds me a little of the dot com era of “too good to be true” business opportunities, most of which turned out to be exactly that.

    Like you, I find it difficult and frustrating to generate notable levels of web-based income (it’s not necessarily passive either) and I think that perhaps those of us who are a bit older than some of the other bloggers might apply a little cynicism to some of their lifestyle promotions.

    With that in mind, I’m really looking forward to your new eBooks. Will be great to read something that doesn’t promise untold riches or total location independence, for once.

    Cheers, Tim

    • John says:

      Hi Tim,

      WOW! Thanks for the compliments. I really appreciate it.

      Hype sells ebooks and training programs, so that is what everyone writes about. If I wrote about how I was living like the rich and famous without effort, then I think I would be much more popular. Unfortunately, I am struggling just like everyone else. I haven’t found any get rich quick schemes that work and most of the ebooks and training programs I have read over-promised and under-delivered.

      I have always liked to travel but total location independence it is not anywhere near as glamorous as everyone makes it out to be.

  13. Earl says:

    Well, I just read this post about five times as the thoughts you mention are quite similar to the ones I’ve been having on my current trip. I think the ‘constantly moving around’ form of traveling worked perfectly for me right up until I began trying to work on my own projects and actually wanting to use my travels to do some good. And as ironic as it is, I am starting to realize that I need to travel less in order for that to happen as right now it is just an accumulation of life-changing experiences, but I simply don’t have the time or routine to actually do something with those experiences.

    Of course, this has led to even more confusion as I am trying to figure out a way to move forward myself!

    Anyway, on another note, I found myself saying ‘no, no, no’ when at first I thought you said that you would stop blogging altogether! In all honestly this was one of the first blogs I found when I started out and has always been one of my favorites. As others have said, you tell it like it is without simply saying that such a lifestyle is ‘perfect’ all the time. And for that I thank you!

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