When I first left college, I did what any sensible graduate would do. I went and found my first job. All through school and college, I knew I wanted to work in graphic design. It was by far my best subject and I loved it. I didn’t try too hard and yet I achieved the best grades.
Looking back t first job wasn't the best pick. It was the first offer I received after applying for a few jobs, I didn't negotiate salary and to be honest, I didn't care. I was awesome. I had a job, and that meant freedom!
The work was simple enough. The company produced magazines for large firms. We'd prepare them each month; not much changed apart from the articles and, other than a few odd jobs, that was about it. I knew I could do it in my sleep and here lies our first encounter with the adventures of a bored man. Let's call it step 1.
The Lifetime Adventures of a bored man
Step 1: The first step on a lifetime of adventures
This first step I don't consider to be all that magnificent, but it's since become one of those legendary stories my friends like to talk about and it’s gained me a friendship here and there itself.
My first job had started getting to me. The repetitive nature of the work and the lack of challenge meant I wanted to move on. My desk overlooked my boss’s. I’d look at him every day and I realised he wasn't any different than I was. He was a designer, much older than I was, and the only difference was that he made more money because he was, well, the boss. So one day I went home and decided that I would hand in my notice and become a boss myself.
Fast forward a few months, and there you had it. I was 21, a company owner, a business man. A self-made entrepreneur.
Fast forward a few more years and my company had grown. We were a team of six. I had more money than I knew what to do with and that's when it hit. Stage 2 of the adventures of a bored man.
If you've ever seen me work you know I love working from a laptop. No displays. No keyboard or mice. Just me and my laptop. It's been that way forever. I used to play a flight simulator on a laptop at my Dad’s house when I was a kid; it's the first time I remember owning a laptop and I've never looked back. You may ask how is this relevant, but that becomes clear momentarily.
The key word is here is the lap. Laptops are portable. The office, the house, the coffee shop, the pub garden? The more I thought about it, the more I realized I could work from anywhere. Which led to the thought why should I work from here? Here being the Town. Here being England. Here perhaps even being Europe. I had become bored of England, I didn't see why people lived there, it rained all the time, and the weather pretty accurately portrayed the mood of most British people. I mean, can you blame them?
My Dad had traveled a lot for work, and due to my Mum's finances, I'd never had the chance at school or for any vacations. I'd been abroad once or twice by myself at this point and that helped fuel the fire to leave and escape the routine of everyday life under an umbrella. Not that I owned an umbrella and that probably didn't help!
Stage 2: Taking the adventure abroad
Selling everything you own can be a daunting experience, but, for me it seemed I was destined to live a minimalistic life on the road. My bedroom only consisted of a bed, clothes and the rest of my possessions were work related.
I took exactly one month from deciding to leave England to actually doing it. No more, no less. It was impressive; I can't deny that one. I was excited too; it felt amazing knowing that everything I owned was in a single carry on backpack and that is true even today four years later, although the possessions have changed somewhat, to reflect what can only be described as my constant mission to live by a tropical beach.
Despite selling everything, the company and the work remained. We had gone “remote” and I was now classed, by what would be defined a few years down the road, as a “digital nomad”.
A buzzword I must say I find ridiculous and which brings a smile to my face when I hear the coffee shop talk go back and forth today. “What do you do”? “I'm a digital nomad”. Ah good times!
Now the work and the travel played well for awhile until… you guessed it. Stage 3 set in. The bored man was back. Work was getting in the way of travel and travel had become my new passion in life.
Traveling had given me more joy than I could ever have imagined. I used to be that awkward, shy, kid at school. Starting a company had rid me of most of my social awkwardness, but nothing in this world could match the thrill of traveling. The way it throws you in at the deep end, gives you confidence, experiences, culture and more than anything a perspective on the world and on yourself.
The perspective it gave me was that western culture just doesn't work. You spend your life working your ass off for money to enjoy life when you retire. When you retire?! When you're old. How does that make sense?!
I saw this blog post recently about this guy who got cancer at 35.
He wrote this beautiful post about how you never know how short life will be, that you should embrace and live it as much as possible when you're young.
He worked hard and now, at 35, he knows he’s not going to have those adventures he planned for his old age. We never know what life has in store for us. We just expect it to go on until we’re old and grey.
Caption: The earth provides me with a gym
That story reminded me of why I started traveling young. Why I prefer to spend my days saying yes to life rather than putting it on hold to make money.
Even with over 30 countries under my belt and countless experiences, I know I won’t be happy unless I keep exploring and making even more memories.
Stage 3: Experiences not work
Welcome to stage 3 of my life. I've been living it for about a year now. I'm 28 years old, I travel the world full time and say yes to life. Before starting this stage of my life, I'd already ticked off most items on a person’s “before you die” bucket list.
Now I'm not sure where the money will come from, but I don’t care, this is how life should be lived. Counting experiences, not coins. I’m not interested in a career. I don’t want to be CEO. I care for adventure. I'm Indiana Jones! Put that on my business card!
I know this is a life I'll never get bored of living. It's forever changing, forever developing.
Have ideas on where or what I should do next?! I'm David, and I say yes. So please send your ideas my way!
I’m David, I’ve been traveling the world full-time for the past 4 years. My mission is to say yes to life.