Early Retirement Planning

It was early Summer of 2009. Weather in Alberta has vastly improved which was great. Winter was long and tough this year – temperatures did not go above -30 Degrees Celsius for two months. Having summer with lots of sunshine and steaming temperatures felt uplifting. Meantimely, my mind was on a rollercoaster. Resumption of travel after many years of having been nowhere brought breath of fresh air to my thinking. My body was back in Canada from Iceland, but my mind was still on the road. Within a span of last few months I travelled to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Iceland, Toronto and the Rocky Mountains. I loved it to bits and continued travelling in my mind. My time off work was spent on the computer, discovering places I would like to visit next.

I wanted to travel more. I needed to travel more. And now that the value of time and the idea of early retirement became well defined in my mind, I started to plan my exit from work and entrance into the world of travel. The way I saw it was that I needed to come with a strategy to quit work as soon as possible while causing as little uproar and talk as achievable. At the same time, I was gonna dedicate maximum of my off work time to the growth of my websites that bring the most revenue while entertaining offers for sale of websites that were more popular, but brought little revenue. I needed more positive cash flow which could be done by focusing on 20% of my revenue generators that generate 80% of my revenue and eliminating the costs associated with ownership of low income generators. And among all the essentials, I needed to find time to figure out where to go to start my tour around the world while keeping the cost of travel as low as possible.

Traveling frugally is not difficult at all. Average person could spend thousands of dollars for a vacation, but smart traveller will find a way to spend one quarter of that but will get four times as much. I laugh at people who pay retail prices for plane tickets, hotel reservations or car rentals. They are voluntarily ripping themselves off. It doesn’t take much. Scoring awesome travel deals is really easy, but I will elaborate on it in more detail later.

Planning my early retirement was fun. I had a lot to take care of, but it was fun. It was as if I had a giant catalogue of the universe before me and my job was to pick what adventure I’m going to have next. This was the feeling of freedom. I was in charge of my life giving everybody else no chance at controlling it. No one had any say at what I should do tomorrow. It was me who decided what I was going to do and I did strictly what was in accord with my plans. The world of adventure lied right before me. I just needed to polish up a few tiny matters and then… the journey itself.

Motivational Quotes To Keep You Going

I have been talking a lot about Early Retirement and tried my best to put my thoughts into words. I have one last thing left to conclude my attempt – to share a few encouraging, motivational quotes to keep you going. Or to get you going – wherever in life you are right now. These sayings have been left to us by wise men and women of the past and bear a great deal of wisdom. Read through them each time you are feeling blue or discouraged. There is nothing more encouraging than well said quote that hits just the right spot. Without further ado, this is the collection of motivational quotes to keep you going that I come back to often myself:

I’ve tried my best to transform my thoughts into words but found myself struggling each time. Everything makes perfect sense in my head, but trying to put it in coherent sentences was challenging. More often than not I felt like I’m not doing my thoughts a justice by failing to properly express my feelings, but I’ve tried never the less. If just one person finds encouragement, if just one person finds inspirations, if just one person changes their life for the better as a result of these words, then it was all worth it. I would like to start with my favorite quote of all. It’s the quote by Jonathan Swift who summed everything I’ve been trying to say in just nine words: “May you live all the days of your life.”

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Zig Ziglar
Will you look back on life and say, “I wish I had,” or “I’m glad I did”?

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Les Brown
You are the only real obstacle in your path to a fulfilling life.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Martin Luther King
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Henry David Thoreau
Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Richard M. DeVos
The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Ivy Baker
The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Swedish Proverb
Those who wish to sing, always find a song.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Barbara Sher
Every single one of us can do things that no one else can do – can love things that no one else can love. We are like violins. We can be used for doorstops, or we can make music. You know what to do.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Vincent Van Gogh
Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do. With such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Buddha
Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Jim Rohn
You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Denis Waitley
Chase your passion, not your pension.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by William Jennings Bryan
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Danny Kaye
Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Rabindranath Tagore
I slept and dreamt that life was Joy./ I woke and saw that life was Duty./ I acted, and behold, Duty was Joy.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Billy Graham
We cannot truly face life until we face the fact that it will be taken away from us.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Henry David Thoreau
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Alexander Woollcott
There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Unknown Author
There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Kevin Welch
There’ll be two dates on your tombstone/ And all your friends will read ’em/ But all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em…

Inspirational and Motivational Quote from Psalms
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Roman
While there’s life, there’s hope.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Leo Buscaglia
What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Buddha
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by George Eliot
The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Lieh Tzu
Living a life without limits is the highest state of existence.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Henry Ward Beecher
No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Friedrich Schlegel
In actual life every great enterprise begins with and takes its first forward step in faith.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Theodore Roosevelt
In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Robert Frost
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Abraham Lincoln
And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Anna Robertson Brown
Be wise in the use of time. The question in life is not how much time do we have. The question is: what shall we do with it?

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Henry James
It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Diane Ackerman
I don’t want to come to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Lewis Grizzard
Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Dale Carnegie
Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Bertolt Brecht
Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Harold Whitman
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by B. C. Forbes
Don’t forget until too late that the business of life is not business, but living.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Eric Butterworth
Don’t go through life, grow through life.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Richard L. Evans
Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Jim Rohn
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Robertson Davies
If you don’t hurry up and let life know what you want, life will damned soon show you what you’ll get.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by T. S. Eliot
If you haven’t the strength to impose your own terms upon life, you must accept the terms it offers you.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Mark Houlahan
If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Ovid
Neither can the wave that has passed by be recalled, nor the hour which has passed return again.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Marcia Wieder
You can come to understand your purpose in life by slowing down and feeling your heart’s desires.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Michael Cibenko
One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Lucius Annaeus Seneca
One should count each day a separate life.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Eleanor Roosevelt
The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Joan Borysenko
The question is not whether we will die, but how we will live.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Marilyn vos Savant
The length of your education is less important than its breadth, and the length of your life is less important than its depth.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Cicero
The life given us by nature is short, but the memory of a life well spent is eternal.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Horace Mann
Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Arnold H. Glasgow
Make your life a mission – not an intermission.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Leonardo Da Vinci
Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen, even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Somerset Maugham
It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Walt Whitman
Oh, while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me will ever take command of me.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Richard Bach
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by William Lloyd George
He’s no failure. He’s not dead yet.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Jim Valvano
How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal and you have to be willing to work for it.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Leland Bartlett
I believe life is to be lived, not worked, enjoyed, not agonized, loved, not hated.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Proverb
You can’t take it with you when you go.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Wayne Dyer
You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Jonathan Swift
May you live all the days of your life.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Zig Ziglar
Remember, you can earn more money, but when time is spent is gone forever.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Oprah Winfrey
Right now you are one choice away from a new beginning – one that leads you toward becoming the fullest human being you can be.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Art Buchwald
The best things in life aren’t things.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Charles A Beard
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Stedman Graham
When you have a sense of your own identity and a vision of where you want to go in your life, you then have the basis for reaching out to the world and going after your dreams for a better life.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Mother Teresa
Life is a promise; fulfill it.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Coretta Scott King
Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Helen Keller
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
So much of our time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the path of each man’s genius contracts itself to a very few hours.

Hope you have enjoyed my collection of motivational quotes to keep you going. Wise men and women of the past and present had the way with words, something I do not and left us these precious gems as guidance. Come back for more inspiration should you find yourself stranded in doubt. Here’s to an abundant and enjoyable life.

Positive Cash Flow

You’ve heard me mention Positive Cash Flow number of times during previous lectures on Early Retirement. Positive Cash Flow is the key to retiring young. As someone who understands the value of time, it became clear to me early on that the goal is not to score big financially. Aiming for a big payday puts everything into way distant a future. To retire rich, you may be faced with decades of tight lifestyle before hitting jackpot, but to retire early, you may need as little as positive cash flow of $50 a day. The former will keep you stuck in the office until you’re too old to enjoy yourself to the fullest, the latter could send you on your way to endless adventure in a few months.

My Positive Cashflow

I got my positive cash flow out of the websites I’ve been running for years. I set up my personal photography website back in 2003. In 2004 I added ten more websites to my portfolio but they were each more of a hobby, rather than a business venture. I had a little bit of income through promotion of affiliate networks, but it only amounted to about $50 a month. As years went by, I learned a thing or two about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), learned a little bit of web programming and by 2006 I already had a network of 20 sites running.

I’ve been working on them diligently every day and come 2007, the popularity of some of them grew to a point that a server upgrade was needed. I was still only making pennies a day even after investing a lot of work into them on daily basis. I was doing it because I enjoyed it. There was a little bit of money, but hardly anything to reasonably compensate for the work put into it. Continuous growth resulted in complete necessity to switch to a fully dedicated server in 2008. I was getting a lot of traffic but kept failing in monetizing on my sites. The cash flow was vastly negative at this time as my monthly cost for the server was $199 yet income from my sites was only in the $100 neighborhood.

As the traffic kept growing, I was forced to upgrade my server once more in the beginning of 2009. This time my traffic amounted to half million unique readers a month and that required more powerful server with more available bandwidth. Monthly cost just went up another $100 draining $299 out of my pocket each month for just webhosting itself. Negative cash flow ruled, but I kept financing it out of the money I was making at my government job.

My life was awful. I spent whole day in the office, then when I got back home I worked on my websites. Yet cash flow remained negative. At that time I started to travel again and the phase of my spiritual awakening was initiated. I started to question the premise of going to work until retirement and bit by bit, these pieces of scrabble that combine into a complete picture as presented here in my blog, which opens you up to the life of enjoyment and abundance came together and made me see things I was brainwashed to ignore. I realized that I’d wasted too much of my precious time as a corporate slave and started to work my way to early retirement. There was one and a half month lag between full awakening and my departure.

I used most of that time securing myself with positive cash flow. I knew the websites with lots of traffic were there. After years of putting so much work into them I was faced with the biggest challenge of my life. I’ve realized that 20% of my websites make 80% of all the money. The rest either didn’t make any money, or only very little but together amounted to very high server costs. The idea of getting rid of those websites was extremely difficult to swallow. I put years of work into them and believed that they were on their best way to make it big. If I only stuck with them for a bit longer, I could really hit the pot of gold and become financially secured. But that was exactly the issue – there was a possibility of it happening one day in the future. And as I have come to realize, focusing on future instead of this moment makes you waste your precious time. You don’t live, you enslave yourself because you believe that one day in the future you will get the reward.

I understood it clearly. Happiness is a journey, not a destination and this 20/80 principle is something that accompanies everyone throughout their lives. I worked really hard to get those websites to grow and become popular and now I was playing with an idea of dumping them. I had an option to stick with them, continue doing what I’m doing and look forward to one day in the future when someone with lots of money notices my sites and offers me several figures just like that. Or I could just let them go, quit waiting for something I hope will come, render all the work I put towards them over the years useless, but gain positive cash flow that could set me out on a journey of a lifetime within a matter of weeks.

Since you are reading the blog about Early Retirement with entries from my adventures around the world, you know what came next. With biggest sites gone, my server and bandwidth costs decreased significantly and my negative cash flow changed into a positive cash flow literally overnight. But that’s not all – those biggest sites that were eating most bandwidth and bringing least money were also biggest eaters of my time as maintenance of such busy sites required a lot of dedication. By freeing myself from the clutches of busy but negatively performing sites (in terms of cash flow), I gained more time to focus on sites that previously made 80% of the money.

Within days, I was able to end my $100 negative cash flow and turn it into a $300 positive cash flow. One and a half month later, I quit my work and sat on the plane to South East Asia. During initial weeks of my early retirement I lived frugally but not cheaply and I put some work towards my money making sites, increasing positive cash flow to $1,000 a month. And I just went with it from that point on.

The only trouble was, that my life instantly turned from this miserable rat race in the office to an exciting adventure that never ended and I was enjoying myself every day to the fullest. Early Retirement rocks. But because of that, I’ve been only putting a few hours a week towards growth of my online business so my positive cash flow has not increased significantly since I’ve reached the $1,000 a month net income. My monthly Early Retirement costs fluctuated between $600 and $700 so the cash flow remained positive even after all of my expenses. And this is all I could need. I’m having the best time of my life. I’m enjoying myself every day. If I did not go for it, I’d be in the office right now, doing what my boss tells me, fixing other people’s problems. Then when the paycheck comes, I’d go and spend it on something because that’s what consumerism we are brainwashed into by the media is all about. We enslave ourselves by dedicating the best days of our lives to working for corporations and end up spending our compensation on material things we don’t actually need to be happy.

I don’t own that much right now and I’m way happier than when I owned all the crap in the world. I have my laptop, my digital camera, few things to wear and a whole world to explore. Would I be better off if I continued focusing on retiring rich when I’m 65? No way. I’m perfectly healthy right now, I’m enjoying myself while I still can. The whole world lies before my feet and I explore it unhindered every day.

My goal is to increase my positive cash flow within the next 6 months so I have enough back up and I would also like to diversify the activities so I have some positive cash flow from different sources. Retiring rich puts the lifestyle you desire in indefinite future. Retiring early enables you to get the lifestyle you desire as soon as your positive cash flow reaches the level that meets or exceeds your comfort level.

The quest for cash is a fool’s errand. Rich people can become poor on any given day and all you have worked for will be gone, but once you have the positive cash flow happening, you don’t concern yourself with whether you’re rich or poor. But that still doesn’t matter, because if you build up the positive cash flow and use it to retire early, you will have lead rich and fulfilling life full of amazing moments to share with your friends and family. Don’t save your life’s enjoyment for the end of your journey on Earth. When you are on your death bed, you will wish you had spent less time with your boss in the office and more time with those who matter to you. The life is now. Instead of giving yourself reasons why you can’t, give yourself reasons why you can and make it happen. Go with confidence in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

“The minute you choose to do what your really want to do, it’s a different kind of life.”
— Buckminster Fuller

What You Need to Retire Young

Now that you feel inspired and the idea of an early retirement starts making sense to you, you most certainly want to move to the next level, to the level of action. You want to know what it is you need to retire young so let’s take a look at it:

#1 Need to Retire Young – Positive Thinking

If you want to retire young, the first and the most important step to take is to start believing in yourself. You have to switch your thinking to “I can do it”. The “I can’t afford retiring young” thinking you were demonstrating as you were reading through previous chapters of my Early Retirement section must be put to rest. Keep in mind that whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t – either way you’re right (words of Henry Ford). Positive thinking is the key.

#2 Need to Retire Young – Get Rid of Self-Doubt

Second most important thing you need to retire young is to quit doubting yourself. How many times has it occurred to you as you were reading about my Early Retirement that it worked out for me, but you don’t think it will work for you? You are doubting your own ability to turn your life around and you are lazy to take action to make it happen. Door to your freedom will forever remain locked if you continue doubting yourself and remain lazy to take action. When I was on the cross roads of turning my life around, I had an option to go for it and pace my way to an exciting and fulfilling life, or let my self-doubt prevail and go back to work and continue working hard until I retire. Do you want your life to go forward or backwards?

Do you recall the pickup line from the Fight Club? “The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.” It is the same with retiring young – the first rule of retiring young is that you can do it. The second rule of retiring young is that you CAN do it. Getting rid of self doubt is just a different way of saying that you need to think positively. They are two different things yet they are the same and whether you succeed or fail in your quest vastly depends on whether you see yourself as successful or as a failure. Think like a winner if you want to win and keep in mind that you can’t win unless you risk the loss.

#3 Need to Retire Young – Cashflow

Thirdly, to successfully retire young and sustain your retirement, you need cashflow. I see cashflow as the key to sustenance of your early retirement. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t need lots of money coming in on daily basis, but you need enough to meet the needs of your comfort level. Fact of a matter is, a person of fair standards can comfortably live with as little as $600 a month in many of world’s safe countries. You wouldn’t even score a half decent room for rent in exchange for this type of money in the USA or Canada, but it’ll get you by with medical insurance, all the food you need, rent, transport, entertainment and more in countries like Ecuador, The Philippines or Cambodia. Monthly cashflow of $1,000 is recommended as it will allow for better standard of living and it’s always nice to have some extra. Cashflow is an essential ingredient in the pot called early retirement.

I personally do not believe such things as “plan” are what you need to retire young. Life will continue being exciting and enjoyable when you don’t know where the adventure takes you tomorrow. Follow you bliss – let your heart guide you. Don’t sit over the map or on the internet to pick your “perfect” destination. Be adventurous and open minded. Afterall – happiness is a journey, not a destination. Plan is a destination, it is a possibility of the future. Quit worrying about the future and start living for the here and the now. Now is the best time of your life. Yesterday is long gone and tomorrow – nobody know what tomorrow brings. If you have the cashflow secured and are enthusiastic about the change, then in my mind, you have all it takes to retire young. That which seems as the end of the caterpillar is the beginning of the butterfly.

Retire in Your 30s

I’ve been talking about Early Retirement for a while on the pages of my blog in attempts to put on paper what was going in my mind when I decided to quit work so I can travel. Today, for the first time I’ve decided to search the internet for websites that talk about how to retire in your 30’s to see what they have to say. I found out in horror that their recommendation and strategies for early retirement are way different from the path I have followed. Based on that, I came to conclusion that unless one is a risk-taker of unprecedented proportions, they should follow the slow, but safer road to early retirement. Afterall, articles on those websites may have been written by professional Early Retirement tutors where as I am not one. I am merely a person who took control over his own life to make it enjoyable and fulfilling.

In brief, according to other Early Retirement websites, in order to retire in your 30’s you should start thinking of it by the time you’re in your 20’s and steadily grow your bank account and plan investment strategies while ensuring low spending and very stingy lifestyle so by the time you are 30, you will be safely set to move to the country of your choice and enjoy early retirement with all its benefits. This is all nice and all as it provides near bulletproof blueprint of retiring in your 30’s. I believe that if you can, you should consider this safer path. It involves less risk taking and as you know, there is a reason why word “risk” is part of the phrase. Otherwise they’d call it “sure thing taking”.

While I in no way disagree with recommendations on other websites, I did not follow their pattern because it was simply not an option for me. I am 34 year old, I’m already in my 30’s. I can’t roll back time. I went through my 20’s having the best time of my life, then in late 20’s I was lead to believe that I needed steady work so I can buy a house and a car, instead of sleeping under the stars and wandering around as a free spirit. After much persuasion, I gave in to the family pressure and became a corporate slave. All that was free in me was suppressed and instead of working my way towards retirement in my 30’s, I succumbed to the life of modern luxuries and debt that accompanies them. I’ve missed my train to retire in my 30’s by the means described on other websites.

However, when I realized the value of time, even though I was already in my mid 30’s, I still wanted to make the best of the rest of my journey on this planet. I wanted to make sure that when my time comes and I’m on the stretcher with grinning death staring at me from across the room, that I have no regrets for the life I’ve led. There are so many beautiful places around the world I would like to explore, so many activities I would like to take part in and I’ve done none of that in the last decade of my life. Whether proceeded by 10 years of preparation for the retirement in my 30’s or not, I took a deep breath, went over my priorities and embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. Just like that.

I took cold-turkey path to Early Retirement, because there was a lot in stake – my life. When I meet with Grim Reaper, I want to have the pictures of me watching the sunset in the Maldives before my eyes, not pictures of a fancy car I worked so hard for. I want to see the slideshow of my trip to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan, not the road to work through the concrete jungle of my hometown. I want to hear the rhythm of the drums I was dancing to with my new friends from a native tribe deep in the jungle of Guyana, not the sound of latest MP3 player with bass enhanced base station.

Even though I didn’t secure myself with safe passage to the retirement in my 30’s, I could no longer waste any more of my days working as corporate slave. I’ve realized that spending whole month by going to work so at the end of the month I can buy a new TV as per carefully fabricated advertising by multinational corporations makes no sense. Why would I want to spend money on a TV to watch documentaries about places I long to visit, when I can instead not buy the TV and go visit those places in person. To see them with my own eyes, to breathe the same air and hear the sound of wind that frolics through these plains.

By buying the TV, I’d be paying with more than just the money. I’d be paying with my own life which I would have voluntarily given away, for the more possessions you own, the more you are stuck in one place. Yet the brainwash by those multinational corporations doesn’t end. Their clever marketing methods are time tested and work well with psyche of those who don’t ignore them. I was stuck in that rut for far too long, wasted too many of the best years of my life and realized that it’s now or never. Ready or not, risky or not – I’ve set out on the path to adventure. A path with unlimited horizons. A path on which each day is different from the last one, a path on which you feel alive, not just living. I’ve retired in my 30’s.

Working Until Retirement Make No Sense – Here is Why

The idea of spending the best years of your life going to work makes no sense. Work is a form of slavery with the only difference being that slaves were provided for, whereas workers must provide for themselves. If you are at work as you are reading this, ask yourself: “What would you rather be doing right now?” When I asked myself this very question sitting in the cubicle of my fine government job, I imagined myself climbing on top of the Kaieteur Falls in Guyana to feel the power of this mass of water plunging into the abyss below my feet as I look over the edge of the crevasse. The obvious question that followed was: “So why are you not there? Why are you sitting in the cubicle? What are you waiting for? If you keep waiting, soon you won’t be well enough to make it up there.”

The thing is, as I resumed traveling, the days while I was on the road felt so fulfilling, it gave me the sense of purpose. After I have returned to my cubicle, that purpose was gone, but desire to come back to it was red hot. To keep the spark alive, I travelled and travelled and travelled, visiting three foreign countries and two exciting places in my homeland within a span of a few months. I spent my evenings exploring the world from my computer chair putting a list of next places to visit together in my head. And the more I was digging into it, the more I felt like each day I spent at work is a day wasted. I felt like I should be doing something exciting because that’s what makes my life feel fulfilling but spending the best part of each day at work wasn’t it.

The scenario of enslaving yourself by going to work during the best years of your life in order to save money so overtime, once you have reached retirement you can take it and fulfill your lifetime wishes makes no sense. There is simply something terribly wrong with that equation: first of all, you may not even live long enough to reach retirement. If that happens to be the case, then all you will have known your whole life is work. You will not have gotten a chance to enjoy yourself because your life has ended before you reached retirement. Secondly, even if you are one of few who live long enough to reach retirement, by the time you get there, you will not be physically or otherwise fit to do all the exciting thing this life has to offer.

It’s a long way to retirement. Anything can happen during those endless years. You could get involved in an accident that will negatively affect your mobility. Or you could develop bad disease that will in some way limit your ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Taking all that into account – don’t you feel the same way I feel? I mean, what sense does it make to spend the best years of your life, years while you are still able bodied – going to work, wearing yourself out performing your job duties – so one day, in the future, when you retire you could start enjoying yourself?

You don’t know what tomorrow brings. The time to enjoy yourself is now. Seize the day as it will never come back.

Traveling as Means of Spiritual Awakening

The path to my early retirement and the spiritual awakening were waiting to happen. It started with my trip to Cuba in December of 2008. Visiting Cuba was my dream for as long as I can remember. Most of all, I really wanted to visit Cuba before it changes. I knew that US presidential elections that were about to conclude in fall of 2008 would bring the imminent change way too close. For many years I have suppressed my deep desire to travel but when US elections were around the corner, I realized it was a now or never situation. Time was against me, Cuba could change any day and if I were to experience it before big change, I had to act. The goal was to go before elections take place, which I never accomplished, however I still had at least a few extra months as even after winning elections in November, new US president would not be taking over the Oval Office until 2009. And even then, there were way too many seriously pressing issues which needed attention of new president so likelihood of a ban lift on travel to Cuba taking place this early was small. I still didn’t want to put the trip off any more than necessary and flew to Cuba at the beginning of December. It was amazing.

I only spent one week in Cuba, but it was my first trip after 7 years. I felt happy and uplifted like I haven’t in years upon years. I have forgotten how it feels to have an exciting day, to make whole day an adventure, to explore, to experience, to live. This had such powerful impact on me that come mid January 2009, I left for a weeklong trip to the Dominican Republic. This was even more extraordinary as I was in the traveling mood already so I made each day of my stay there richer with adventure.

These two trips within less than 2 months got me hooked on travel again. I still lived my corporate lifestyle, but took every opportunity I had to go to new places. Living in Alberta, Canada, I went for a brief two day trip to Jasper in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and started making arrangements for a big trip to a country I wished to visit my whole life – Iceland.

I left for Iceland at the beginning of June of 2009 and combined my trip with a one day stay in Toronto, Ontario where I have never been before. It was an amazing day as Kensington Market opened for the season that day so the area lived with many people, street performers, dancers, musicians, free hugs and everything else that makes you feel… awesome.

I spent amazing 10 days in Iceland and was blown away by sheer beauty of that country. It was 10 days of nonstop adventure and major spiritual uplift. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the things I’ve done – these were the best days of my life since… university. That’s right. It started coming to me that within last year I have done a lot of traveling and I haven’t felt that great for years. While I was traveling, I felt alive and happy.

I traveled to the Rocky Mountains two more times, this time making each trip last at least 3 days. I drove down the scenic highways across the mountains from Jasper to Banff the first time, making stops along the way and doing a lot of hiking to spend two awesome days in Banff afterwards. On my last trip to the Rockies I went all the way to Roger’s Pass in Canadian British Columbia where scenery is so eye popping I had my breath taken away nonstop. Again – I’ve done a lot of hiking and enjoyed every minute of it.

While trips to the Rocky Mountains were not trips abroad for me – being a Canadian – those were still trips during which I explored and had an adventure and it made me feel alive. So within less than a year – from December 2008 till July 2009 I have traveled to three foreign countries (Cuba, Dominican Republic and Iceland) and took three more local trips within my own country of Canada (Jasper National Park, Banff National Park and Roger’s Pass in Canadian Rocky Mountains). On top of that I have also visited Toronto which I truly loved and met some amazing people even though my stay was only brief. This travel reignited my dying Spark of Happiness which was nearly out due to corporate lifestyle I have succumbed to, but not entirely. Complete spiritual awakening after so much travel that re-ignited the spark was just a question of time and come July 2009, I was all there.

The Spark of Happiness that Never Dies

I was so entrapped within the corporate lifestyle, I started to believe in it myself. Deep inside I knew I was missing something, but I did not allow this feeling to come through and spoil my pursuit of money. My life was all about work, all natural desires suppressed, all corporate desires nourished. All I wanted was to accumulate possessions – to get financing for a fancy car, to get mortgage for a nice house, to get the finest plasma TV with high end surround sound speakers, et cetera, et cetera. There was no excitement in my life, I did not even see the purpose in it, but I believed in the lifestyle that brainwashed me to be that way.

That spark of my true self however did not go out all the way. After almost a decade of living a corporate lifestyle with pursuit of money being my only goal, the spark was getting fainter and fainter every day. I was 34 year old and forgot all about awesome life I once had when I was in the university and traveled through Europe, I forgot all about the quote I used to live by every day, I turned into a bitchy 30-something guy who hates everyone and everything to a point that even those few “friends” who could still stand my company thought I was an asshat.

The change of thinking came out of the blue. I have heard of Early Retirement but it was something distant to me. Perhaps I didn’t think I was the chosen one or lucky enough to retire early hence even though I was aware of early retirement, I never looked deeper into it. And even though early retirement had precious little to do with my change of attitude and outlook on life, it was closely related. I needed a definition to all the questions that arose in my mind and early retirement was a suitable answer.

I guess even though my attitude had changed so much all of the good fairies abandoned me cause they couldn’t stand that miserable person I have become, there was still one guardian angel left who believed in me. It was a day of no significance. Just a random day in the middle of the week, I came home from work, got on the internet to take care of my online affairs and spent more time than usual browsing through pictures of places and people from different parts of the world. The spark of independence and enjoyment that nearly got suffocated from the fumes of the corporate lifestyle I have submerged myself into caught second breath and I started to question the purpose of living for work. I started to question the purpose of working during the best days of my life and waiting to enjoy life until I have retired. I started to question the possessions that were surrounding me and their role in my life, I looked at past decade of my life and evaluated everything that’s changed – how my health deteriorated, how my acting deteriorated, how my spirit deteriorated, how my personal goals and contributions to the global society dwindled. It both shocked me and brought new hope.

This was a day of my personal spiritual awakening. It had nothing to do with religion. It was an eye opener that turned the zombie I have become back into a living thing who once again saw his place on Earth, his purpose in life, but most of all – a chance to do what I was meant to do… enjoy every minute of my life instead of hating every minute of it. For the first time after almost 10 years I have felt the touch of light. I was lost both mentally and physically and all of a sudden I found both the path to walk on and the river to drink from. I was out of the jungle of sharp bushes that were tearing me apart, I was out of the bog that was sucking me in, I was out of the pests that were feeding on my flash, I was liberated.