We've all read those articles: "So and so gave up her cushy office job to travel the world and get paid." If you haven't read them, here’s a bunch: http://www.bbc.com/travel/columns/how-i-quit-my-job-to-travel I was thinking the other day about how funny it is that this is so unbelievable that it makes the news. Our culture is so obsessed with comfort, stability, and money that giving up all of that for a real adventure is as crazy as trying to punch the moon. Our definition of success is when someone is paid well enough to have a nice car, impressive apartment in the nice part of town, and extra money to buy nice clothes and eat at nice restaurants. Rarely do we take into account the misery it often takes to reach those goals. If you have all that and more, but you hate every hour you're at your job, are you really that successful? I hope someday articles like the ones above are only unbelievable if the situation was reversed like so:
Guy Who Gets Paid To Travel The World Quits His Job For A Cubicle And A 9-5
Jared Mayfield of Bend, Oregon had it all: his office was a beach in the Philippines, his boss was himself, and his coworkers were whatever rare sea creature he saw while diving that day. His clients were all over the world and his modest income was enough to make him rich in any country he decided to call his home that month. He was what is known as a digital nomad. After he graduated college in 2005, he went right into becoming a diving instructor in Thailand to make ends meet. When the pay wasn't quite well enough for him to make ends meet, he decided to teach English in South America. He blogged about his experiences during this time and ended up fully funding his trips through his travel writing. He also did some freelance graphic design gigs in case he was experiencing some writers block that week.
Now Jared is going to attempt the impossible: to give up the comfort of $5 seafood BBQ dinners on the beach, cheaper massages, and hooking up with random strangers from all over the world. After months and months of sending out his resume and countless Skype interviews, the hard work has finally paid off. Jared has found a job putting his communications degree to use as a sales rep for an agency in San Francisco that sells SaaS software to sales reps that sell SaaS software. "After years of hard work, I'm ready to make all the sacrifices necessary in order to make my dreams come true." Said Mayfield, 31.
And sacrifices he must make indeed. Over the years, he has learned several languages, which he will never ever have the opportunity to use again. The intimate connections he makes on a regular basis with other travelers will be given up for the "Aw man, it's Monday!" conversations on Monday with coworkers, as well as the kind of connection he is most looking forward to: the "It's almost Friday!" conversation every Thursday. "My friend back home that took the corporate plunge several years ago tells me about this coworker of his named Geoff that always tells him these amazing stories about his work out routine and his dog's diet. He's isn’t really friends with Geoff, but I'm so stoked to be surrounded by people like that because they are so foreign to me. And since they have been in a cubicle for so long, I bet they are going to love my travel stories!"
Jared realizes the hard work it's going to take to sustain his new fantasy lifestyle. "If I stand in line for a sandwich during my half an hour lunch break for 25 minutes, I'll just eat lunch at my desk while working." But the hard work will pay off big time: "In my current line of work, I technically get no vacation days because I'm already kind of on vacation. At this new gig, I get 10 whole days a year of PAID vacation days OR sick days if I'm sick!" Jared is also moving into an apartment with 4 random roommates from craigslist in Oakland, the much more dangerous city across the Bay from San Francisco. "I used to have to sleep in hammocks, bungalows on the beach, or the beds of various beautiful foreign women with accents I couldn't understand when I was low on money abroad. Now I’ll always know where I’m going to sleep, and I’m sure I’ll become best friends with my roommates the way I always become so close with my travel friends.”
Jared's new job also has its benefits. “I get health insurance after only 6 months! I never had health insurance in the countries I was living in because healthcare was already so cheap.” And he will definitely need the insurance, when the stress of having a micromanaging boss that demands to be cc'd on his every e-mail finally gets to him. "I know I will have to give up some dignity temporarily to finally get what makes me happy in the future. If I keep at it for 5-10 years, good things are bound to happen!"
His overwhelming positivity will prove to be the keys to his success. “Technically I will be traveling everyday: the one hour commute to and from work. In ten years, that is almost a full year of traveling!” This new routine will be the only way he will finally get the chance to cross certain items off his bucket list: like wearing a tie while participating in a conference call.
Not everyone supports his decision however. “Is he crazy? The guy had it made. He joined the mile high club on Mt. Everest. Twice!” exclaimed his former college roommate Matt. “Yes I know people think I’m totally insane” says Jared. “I may have swam with dolphins in Croatia, but you know what I haven’t done? Attend a company Christmas party. That will be the highlight of the year for sure!”
When asked where he will go for his next vacation, Mayfield replied “Well, my company lets me accrue 2.5 hours of vacation time a week, so I will have plenty of time to think about it!”