For a long time after I graduated from collage I found myself always wanting more. After graduation, I found jobs I loved, climbed the career ladder in DC, and did work I was passionate about. But no matter what, I constantly found myself falling pray to my wanderlust dreams. I wanted to find a way to do the work I loved, see the world, and live wherever I wanted. I thought the answer was finding a job that took me overseas or had lots of travel involved. I went on countless interviews for jobs that fit the bill. I even interviewed with one place that would have brought me overseas. They put me through 11 interviews, told me I was their top choice in every single one, only to pass me by because someone on the board had a cousin who had a friend who had applied. It’s always about who you know, especially in Washington, DC. I love DC, loved the job I ended up getting, and felt fulfilled by the work I was doing. But no matter how happy I was, I always ended up cloaked in a a deep wanderlust depression that I just couldn’t shake.
When Eric ended up on a photography/videography job in 2011 that brought him to Australia for a bit while I stayed in DC to work, I knew it was time to figure out how to change our lives in a way that matched our dreams. Initially we thought we would just teach English in SE Asia, while Eric pursued more travel photography work, and I figured out what I wanted to do. Our ideas and dreams quickly grew and expanded into a full on lifestyle change of traveling, running our businesses, and teaching English. I used to think you had to wait to find the perfect opportunity, then I realized you can create your own perfect opportunity.
Whether you’ve thought about breaking out of that 9-5 to start your own business, or you just dream of living in a place that’s independent from your job, there are countless ways to create more freedom in your life.
Here’s 21 ideas to inspire you to live outside the box:
- Travel and teach English. You can teach private classes for more flexibility and sometimes more money (depending on your location) or teach at a school for more reliability. Usually schools want you to stay for at least a year, but you could always live in one place for a year and then move on. (This was our original plan.)
- Figure out a way to make money off a skill that you have. Can you build websites? Are you an amazing graphic designer? Copywriter? What other skills do you have that someone would pay for?
- Sell your jewelry, art, refurbished furniture, or other homemade products on Etsy. Create a following and build a network – start selling on your own website and seek out other places that can carry your products.
- Start a mobile cafe that you can take with you across the U.S.
- Market yourself as an expert in a field you are passionate/know a lot about – dog training, parenting, cooking, health/fitness, social media, yoga, branding, organizing… The sky is the limit. Position yourself as an expert, know your target market, be true to yourself and people will pay you for what you have to offer, hire you to speak at events, and seek out your knowledge.
- Become a travel agent. You may think this is a dying field, but busy people who don’t want to plan their own travel still use travel agents.
- Love organic farming or want something totally different? Sign up for WWOOF and WWOOF your way around the world.
- Save up enough money for a year of travel. Figure out how travel on a small budget and trust that you will figure it out.
- Are you great with kids? Become an au pair for a few years in the country of your choosing or travel during your time off.
- Have an idea that needs some funding? Why not put it on Kickstarter or Indiegogo?
- Photography your thing? Narrow in on your niche, find a way to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd and get your name out there. Check out The Expeditioners as an example.
- Fluent in another language? Become a translator. I met several translators in Istanbul and I also know people who do medical translating throughout Central America.
- Become and Open Water Scuba Instructor.
- Start a virtual assistant biz. Perfect for those that love the little details, getting people organized, and managing projects.
- Talk to your boss about different possibilities of telecommuting or working from another place. You may find your boss is more open than you think.
- Have a specialized skill and like to teach? Start an online class.
- If you really don’t want to start your own business, but you want to find a way to travel and work from other places, find a job that allows you to telecommute. More and more jobs provide telecommuting options these days.
- Outdoor enthusiast? Become a ski instructor or lifeguard. Work in different places each season. Travel during your off time.
- Work in the medical field? Become a traveling nurse/doctor/EMT or take a job in another country.
- Do you already have a brick-and-mortar business that you feel tied to and want to keep? How can you find a way to keep your business and create more freedom? A little bit of creativity and innovation goes a long way.
This is just a small list of possibilities. Thanks to technology and the internet, anything can happen when you have passion and drive. It does take time, commitment, innovation, hard work, and patience. But when it comes down to living the life you want, it’s always worth it.
What ideas do you have? I’d love to hear them. Leave me a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have an idea and need a little bit of clarity/help brainstorming, sign up for my free 20 Minute Getaway. You’ll leave our session feeling rejuvenated. Plus have more clarity and motivation to start moving forward.