Author: Dale Thomas Vaughn

How to Buy Your Freedom to Travel

Life as an undergraduate student was so thrilling to me. Every few months the course catalog would contain dozens of possibilities for the next session of challenging learning, and those classes – successfully accomplished – would unlock dozens of future study opportunities. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet for an intellectual hunger that, for me, was insatiable. The only limiters were time and funding. Those limiters extended to adulthood, when the course catalog of life expands logarithmically.

It reminds me of the heroic polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, who said…

“It is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown, the only true failure would be not to explore at all.”

I admit the first time I read Shackleton’s words, I thought for a moment he said it would be a shame to not “explore it all” – and I felt immediately affirmed for my restlessness about the limits of a tragically brief human lifespan aboard a magnificent spinning spaceship Earth.

For a few years after undergrad, I would find myself traveling, living abroad, speaking to strangers, trekking pilgrimages, learning new dances, tasting new cultures and reading old books from faraway libraries.

Dale Thomas Vaughn on the West Highland Way, 2007

Inevitably those limiters of time and funding would reassert themselves and I’d duck back into “the real world” only to feel cloistered or weighed down.

I continued to take advantage of internet-unlocked opportunities like online courses taught for free by top professors and the grab-bag of how-to videos on YouTube. Career path permutations opened and closed opportunities for specification in some fine skills.

But the road never ceased whispering to my boots, “come walk the Earth” – recalling James Holman, the blind world traveler from the 1800s who said he could “see the world best with [his] feet.”

A week or three in Peru or Scotland or Norway would loosen the chains on my soul, but the limiters of time and money have always returned to bridle my gains.

Photo by Eric Beteille

photo by Eric Beteille

If you’re like me, you also want to travel, learn, grow, and immerse yourself in the broadening effects of newness alongside the deepening wisdom of ancientness.

Recently I took myself camping to gain leverage within this internal struggle, and I came to a resounding inflection point:

I refuse to accept the limiters anymore. Someone has solved this problem, I assumed. That means I can solve it too.

I made a list of what I wanted in life, what I no longer wanted in life, and I started looking around for a team of role models, mentors, and coaches. This led to a very specific search and life shift that now has freed me for the road, living a beautiful life with infinite possibilities and new learnings (piano, Kung Fu, and baking, if you are interested).

If you’re at your inflection point, and you want to make a leap. I have a few humble suggestions on strategy:

1. Do new things that work.
2. Stop doing old things that don’t work.
3. Build a team of role models, mentors, and coaches who are living the lifestyle you want to live.

Yes. You’re going to have to embrace change. That becomes easier for me when I realize that I’m allowed to keep anything that works for me. So really it’s just like a cleaning of the corners of my cortex.

I built all of my team from scratch, which you can do too. I’ve learned how to build teams and find mentorships from 8+ years of entrepreneurship, building companies, communities, and mentorship models for millions of others.

If you would rather not spend 8+ years stumbling through life lessons, I have another suggestion: invest in yourself.

Find the systems, coaches, and mentors that actually work, and just buy your freedom.

You know how they say you can’t buy happiness? Well, you can buy possibilities and exploration of activities that bring lasting satisfaction, and according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – those are the keys to happiness.

How to Buy Freedom

1. Invest in Courses/Coaching to Become a Digital Nomad or Entrepreneur:

The guys over at Extra Pack of Peanuts have created a thing called “the Paradise Pack” which is basically a curated set of courses allows you to learn how to do everything you’d need to become a location independent, financially stable polyglot.

They offer it only one week every year. I recommend this kind of package because, if you take it seriously, it could change your life forever.

In one package, you can get the systems you need to learn how to freelance, blog, podcast, write and publish books, budget for success, and build real income streams while roaming.

The investment is achievable ($497), but also just enough to actually take it seriously (I prefer to pay for things so I understand the “value” and then actually do the work). And I trust these guys because they are actually walking the walk. This is not a group of people sitting in their parents’ basements, they are living the life ideals they espouse.

I’m skeptical of any mentors who aren’t doing the thing they teach. I wouldn’t endorse a product offer like this if it wasn’t highly credible (seriously, I am buying it myself for several of the classes).

If you’d like to be your own boss, this is a great all-in-one option.

2. Go back to school for a new skill or career

Yes, this is possible for anyone at any age. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Right now you can get an accredited master’s degree online in 15 months for around $12,000 – I’m literally doing this right now. Or you could go for free if you consider going to study in Europe. My brother got a master’s degree (for a significantly higher cost) in Video Game Design, and just 4 years later he has his dream job, at his dream company, in his dream town, and he’s close to paying off that debt with his new increased level of income and commitment. Life can change on a dime if you are willing to invest and believe in yourself.
  • You can get a new certification in almost any field for less than $1000 and turn that new trade into freelance opportunities.
  • You could become a commercial pilot in about 18 months for $80,000, and then have a career of travel for the rest of your life – and the travel industry is experiencing a major pilot shortage right now.

3. Invest time in personal development

Learning doesn’t have to take place in a classroom. Find out what you need to learn next to take your entrepreneurial skills to the next level, and then start small – set time aside every day to read, discover, or make connections around a new skill. Tap into the wealth of knowledge available to us through the internet and start teaching yourself from scratch. Not only will you gain new abilities, you’ll also hone your self-management skills and focus.

The key lies in starting now, today, this very moment.

Ready or not.

This is your time.