It was March of 2017 and I was down to my last penny. It took me 15 months to spend everything that I worked for over 7 years and I wasn’t even looking for a job. I was waiting for life show me the next step because I knew I didn’t want to go back to the 9 to 5.
Why did I spend all my savings?
After 7 years of hard work all across Europe, I saved up over 20.000 EUR while not being careful with my spendings. I had a retirement fund, 4 bank accounts in 4 different countries, investment plans and so on. I was preparing for a future that I might never even get to live. But this is what I was told to do, so I did. Work hard for my whole life so to hope that my savings will last long enough once I retire? I never really liked this concept, because it felt like I was not enjoying the moment.
I thought if I moved countries, life would be different, but I was still told when to arrive at work, how much I can make, when can I go on holiday…etc. I did not enjoy my life and I didn’t understand why I need to spend most of my life waiting to get old. So one day I packed my backpack and headed to Latin America, where it took me 15 months to spend nearly 20.000 EUR.
At first, I hated to see my hard earnt money leaving my accounts, but once I got over this initial shock I started to see what I was getting in return. Experiences, freedom, learning, passion, hobbies, friends, expanded horizons, spirituality, expanded network, new skills, language, food from all around…etc.
I had no problem spending 500 dollars in a day for 2 scuba diving certifications, no problem spending 220 dollars of a 5-day hiking trip in Peru, or 500 dollars on a last minute plane ticket anywhere…money went fast, so fast. But I loved it! I was free from everyone else’s expectations and from my own mental prison.
I bought life
That money I spent on traveling was the best investment of my life. I don’t need a big, expensive house, or a fancy car. I had everything before, I had the huge balcony overlooking the Mediterranean sea, I had the car, the fancy job, the pretty decorative pillows on the couch and I was miserable because I was doing something I didn’t enjoy to be able to afford all these.
I’m not saying this is the right path for everyone. I met so many who do love more stability, work, material possessions and so on. I know one day I will need them again to a certain extent, I feel as I’m getting older, I need more and more stability. But back in 2015, all I needed was freedom and time to discover myself.
I bought my life. I bought my career, my home, my spirituality, and happiness. Through my travels, I met someone who gave me a job that I love and makes me good money and I can do it online. This allowed me to start my own business as a life coach. I finally feel home for the first time. I know what I’m good at, what my goals are, and the person I am. I faced criticism, social disapproval, I was wished horrible things, but guess what…I needed them to grow balls to pull my life off.
Money, money, money…
Once someone told me that I have to experience poverty before I can get rich. I have been thinking about this for months and I think I know what he meant. Because I was down to my last penny, I have been wearing the same clothes for over a year, I was dependent on other people’s help for accommodation, I experienced when nothing is possible anymore. I knew I couldn’t settle for anything less than what I dreamt about because then spending all my savings would have gone to waste. I knew I will not end up where I came from. In my own prison. So I kept my beliefs and I was not going to settle for a job I didn’t really want just because of money.
And when I had nothing, I felt richer than with 20.000 EUR in my pocket. I felt pure, back to zero, suddenly I had no pressure. When I was poor, I was the happiest. This was a lesson poverty through me. So I knew when I actually start making money, this lesson and feeling will follow me. Money won’t corrupt me again because I learned to be happy without it. I didn’t need external things to do that. I found it in me. I was rich. So rich!
Then my only pair of sandals broke and I wore them for another 6 weeks before I got the job and I could afford a new pair. They were the signs for me that it was time to get to work and when I needed money the most, but I wasn’t going to compromise my values and standards, that’s when I got the job as a video maker. I love my job in every way and it allowed me to start my business. But I had to stay strong and stick with my beliefs. The temptation of getting a job because I had to was extremely strong.
When I didn’t have society’s expectations on my mind, I was free to think for myself. „Now that I cleared my past and I’m starting from zero, what do I want?”
On the road, I learned life. When you don’t know what’s coming, you become very adaptable, strong and creative. The skills that traveling taught me will benefit me for the rest of my life. So what about retirement? Yes, I did start saving a little again, but I stopped worrying about the uncertain future. I believe I equipped myself with the skills that I need to think on my feet, so I’m not worried about what will happen to me in 40 years. If I even get to 60 plus I will let you know my plan. All that matters at the moment is the moment. The older I get, the more I plan ahead, but I’m only old enough to see 2-3 months into the future and that’s fine.
It is fine.
It is nobody’s job to worry about my future, but mine.