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.
Happiness is a Journey, Not a Destination – words of the wise man responsible for this quote (I believe it was Crystal Boyd) resonate with me as strongly today as they have when I first realized that chasing goals of the future is akin to chasing your own tail. It’s a rat race. Happiness is not something you will work your way to. Things like: “I just have to pay off this debt and I will be happy” or “I just need to close this big deal and then I will be happy” or “I just need to finish building this house and then I will be happy” are all lies. You lie to yourself because where there is one obstacle forcing you to put the feelings of happiness off and into the future, there will be another right after.
There is NO way that will lead you to happiness, because happiness IS the way. It is the way you are feeling right now at this very moment. Appreciate this very moment and enjoy it, because it is in your life only once. Time is your most precious commodity, don’t spend it waiting for something you hope will come in the future. No matter what you do, there will always be challenges in your life. You tell yourself that your life will be complete after you have married your girlfriend, then after you have bought the house, then after you have had the kids, then after kids are a bit older cause it’s hard with the little ones, then after kids are out of puberty cause being a parent of teenagers is hard, then…. You see where I’m going with this?
Happiness is a journey, not a destination. That’s why no matter how much you save up, money will not buy you happiness. And that’s also why I did not make my early retirement a thing of the future. Since happiness is a journey, not a destination, you can start it from anywhere. You can start it from the very place where you are right now, reading this article. Every journey, regardless of how long or short has started with the first step. Take this first step in faith. You don’t have to see where the road leads, just take that first step in faith and the road will be shown to you. Where it leads is irrelevant, because it’s not the destination that makes for happiness, it’s the journey.
Be happy. Embrace yourself for who you are and open up your mind to happiness. There is no better time to be happy than right now, in this very moment. And there is a very good reason for it. It is because you are sharing this moment with someone special, someone worthy of every single second of your precious time – YOURSELF!
Treasure this moment. It is the best moment of your life. Treasure every moment of your life because you are an amazing person who deserves to be happy. Even the tallest oak tree was once a nut that stood its ground. It’s your life so go nuts and stand tall. And remember – happiness is a journey, not a destination.