TBT | Four Years With No “Real” Job

Image contains a smiling, bearded man with dark hair blowing in the wind. He's smiling and in the foreground while a sandy beach and palm trees can be seen in the background.

Do I know what life will be like two years from now? No. Do I know what I’m going to do when it comes time for me to really think about retiring? No, and it scares me to think about how poorly prepared I am for life further down the road, but right now this feels right.
Two Years Ago I Quit My “Real” Job, Sept. 13th, 2016

Since I wrote that two years ago, I guess I know the answer to the first question at least. Truth be told, I’m still scared for how poorly prepared (by mainstream standards) I am for life further down the road, but four years after quitting my regular job to focus on the magazine and travel, things still feel right.

Sure, I still feel the same sort of doubt that peppered my post two years ago to celebrate this anniversary, but I think there’s something to be said about the fact that I didn’t even really notice the date pass until my sister saw it in her Facebook memories. For whatever reason, I’m no longer feeling like I have to reach a certain point to be able to say I can do this and feel justified in saying so. Now, I just think it’s what I should be doing.

Granted, I’m less financially stable in some ways than I was when I first quit or even when I wrote from Manchester, and being back here in Canada for the last month and a bit has put that into clear view for sure since my cost of living jumped significantly soon after I got off that final plane. However, I’ll be heading back to SE Asia at the end of the month, and that will help me to calm the financial demons somewhat.

Obviously, a large amount of privilege still rests underneath all these leaps and risks I’m taking, and I can surely say that I wouldn’t have made it back for the family reunion if it wasn’t for my parents and their years of saving AirMiles. I’m incredibly grateful for their support through all my ridiculous decisions that have brought me far off the beaten path, and I’m glad I’ve been able to come back here to spend time with them and other loved ones before heading back to a part of the world that has become a third (or fourth?) home to me now.

Home Away From Home Away From Home

Of course, when I was first set to make my way back to SE Asia with little planned, I wasn’t as excited for the journey. Obviously, it wasn’t just the long flight from Istanbul to Bangkok that had me anxious (although that was a good enough reason to want to stay in Istanbul a little longer), but if I could have told myself how things were going to work out then I suspect I would have hopped on the plane a little quicker.

Hopping between Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia for just under two years has been great in many ways, and I’m looking forward to getting back to familiar places and faces for what will be at least the next six months or so. After that, I’m facing the unknown again, but I’m more comfortable now with that thought than I was four years ago.

Expect Some Turbulence

Before I end this, I feel it’s necessary to mention that the last four years haven’t been all beaches and sunshine. In fact, the picture above was only taken earlier this year and it was basically the first real beach I sat foot on during my whole time in SE Asia. Of course, the weather isn’t really on my list of negatives to reflect on from the last couple of years. As is so often the case, money would be on the top. More importantly, my hopes of making a living off of T.O.F.U. are still not working out, and that’s a big reason why I’m eating beans and rice in SE Asia instead of checking out all the restaurants and travelling more. That’s not to say that I’m going to stop trying to make it happen at any point soon, but a part of me certainly thought things would be further along by now.

Along with a lack of stable digital sales, the Patreon campaign to go back to print is basically stalled, and I’m not 100% sure what to do to bring it back to life. I know I haven’t been pushing it a lot, but I also wonder whether or not the market for a printed publication is even there. Perhaps in another two years I’ll have a different answer, but for now it’s a disappointment for sure.

Outside of money and business, I also ended up sick a number of times, and the last big bout put a serious damper on the whole idea of solo travel. Being far away from friends and family while barely eating and feeling miserable was not fun, and there were a number of days when I debated simply packing my bag and heading back to the “real world” to avoid ending up in a similar situation again. Luckily, I did end up with some kind and caring people to look after me, but it’s possible that the next time might not go that way.

Looking Forward

I guess that’s the takeaway from all of this though: there will be a next time when it comes to many of the things I’ve written and vlogged about over the last couple of years, and there will also be plenty of new experiences as well. It was this sort of future that I signed-up for when I quit a job that was no longer going where I wanted it to, and I’m happy to be faced with it.

As always, I thank you for playing a part in it, whether it’s just as a reader or as someone who chooses to support me in one of the many other ways people have been helping me throughout this interesting journey. Wherever you are, I hope your finding something to enjoy in your life (be it big or small) and I’m happy to know you took a moment to learn more about mine.

Here’s to (at least) two more years,

Note: The photo was taken months ago in Thailand, not St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada where I currently am. It is nowhere near as warm and sunny as that here right now. In fact, I’m under a blanket and I still can’t feel my toes.

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