If you’re anything like me, you probably grew up hearing the words, “I want to visit____when I retire.” Or, “When I get enough money, I’m going to travel to____.”
Maybe you’ve even said those things. I know that I have.
Here are the problems with that thinking:
- A.) Retirement is getting pushed out farther and farther for most people. As most of us are painfully aware, Social Security is dwindling.
- B.) Most people are realizing that the joys of retirement are exaggerated: As a species, humankind is much more well-rounded and more fulfilled with seasons of work and play, far into our elderly years.
No doubt inspired by the genius, Tim Ferris, in his book, 4-Hour Work Week, there is a trend among my entrepreneur peers — a serious investment on the front end towards traveling, rather than saving up and holding out for lavish days near the end of one’s life.
Why travel now versus later? Because who is going to feel like skydiving, bungee-jumping, Eiffel-tower climbing or elephant-riding when you’re eighty-nine and getting backaches and side aches and headaches and tummy aches from simply rolling out of bed in the morning? Not very many of us, that’s for darn sure.
For these reasons and the rest in this article, my wife, Seven, and I have decided that we will be living in one of the world’s fifty best cities for one month every year. Fifty months in fifty cities equals four-and-a-half years of living abroad. Not bad for an extended travel season.
So why should you think about working and playing from one of the world’s greatest cities every year?
For these reasons (and a heck of a lot more as well):
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wake up in Paris on a Tuesday and stroll to the cafe two doors down for a hot, flakey breakfast croissant? No urgency to visit all of the hot spots like a tourist because, hey! You’re here for a month. You’re already learning a little French and making friends with the flower shop guy and the bakery girl.
What about a work and play visit to Thailand? A grand safari adventure in Africa? Or maybe a road trip through the outback of Australia?
We feel alive when we get out of our comfortable routines and experience a healthy dose of adventure.
What if the whole world is a playground for you? What awaits you? What might you discover?
Some of the most profound learning experiences I’ve ever had have occurred during my travels abroad.
I’ve learned to speak conversational French and Spanish, visited countless museums, absorbed breathtaking architecture and art, and eaten food that I’d never heard of or seen before. On a more challenging level, I’ve learned how to adapt to different cultures and roll with the punches of international travels.
If you have children — traveling is one of the most (if not the most) educational gift you could ever give them. Language, culture, and history are absolutely unforgettable when learned firsthand, in-person. It’s like stepping into a textbook; only you and they will learn things that aren’t even written about in textbooks.
What if hustle and grind isn’t the route to your next breakthrough?
As an entrepreneur who coaches entrepreneurs, I know just how valuable the “light-bulb moments” are. Just one valuable insight can transform the trajectory of your business forever.
But the interesting thing about creativity is that she is ever the elusive mistress. She alights upon you as soon as she feels you are relaxed and ready to receive her. No amount of throwing a tantrum on the floor like a spoiled child will cause her to appear.
This is one of the biggest reasons why we at the Zeller home will always be a proponent of remote living.
New environments create new experiences, new experiences create a new zeal for life, and zeal for life creates shiny new ideas.
When you’re out of your comfort zone in a foreign city or country, creativity has the perfect opportunity to whisper into your ear, and, without the responsibilities of home clamoring for your attention, you’ll be more likely to hear her.
The greatest question you should be asking yourself with regards to your productivity shouldn’t be, “Am I getting a lot done?” but instead, “Am I getting the right things done?”
I’m speaking from experience when I say that too often we get caught up with being busy and “productive” instead of being powerful. We get consumed with running our businesses like operators instead of overseeing it like owners.
Being away from your home center gives you a chance to put into place the systems that make your business and life run smoothly, without you being in the epicenter of everything, exhausting everyone (including yourself) on a daily basis.
This was a massive learning curve for me but ended up being one of the best things I’ve done on my journey as an entrepreneur. I was forced to delegate and structure my organizations in a way where they could sustain themselves and even move forward without me.
Ahh, romance. Even one of the greatest desires of our hearts can be fulfilled with remote living. Some of the most important ingredients for a flaming love life are adventure, opportunity and quality time, and each of these can be experienced when traveling or living abroad.
Allow me to explain…
My wife, Seven, isn’t a risk taker and doesn’t really live for stepping out of her comfort zone (unlike me!) however, she knows that if we don’t experience adventure in our relationship, the passion for togetherness has a chance of dying.
Traveling abroad gives us that spark of unpredictable adventure: going to new places, seeing the new architecture, eating unusually amazing food and meeting beautiful, new people who often end up shaping our lives.
What happens when you put two happy, excited people who are in love into a grand adventure together? Let me give you one clue: dynamite!
Just imagine the opportunities to connect, and the quality time that will just throw itself into your lap. Cafes for afternoon tea, flower gardens to take photo shoots in, museums to be strolled through, mountain summits to be reached, villages to explore, ruins to see. There are photo opportunities everywhere, of course, but more than that there are connection opportunities everywhere.
One thing is certain — after living remotely, your relationship will be changed (and for the better, I’m willing to bet).
In one of my wife’s poems, she says: Perspective is the one thing that changes anything and anyone at any time.
I stand by that statement. If you couldn’t change anything about your circumstances, but you still had the power of your mind, you would still have immense control because how you look at something changes the power it has over you.
I find that very little gives me as much perspective as traveling away from home.
Whether I am traveling to a developing country and gaining perspective on the abundance I live in, or visiting a luxurious part of the world and gaining perspective on the fulfillment I can choose to have (a luxury even the wealthiest people deny themselves of too often) — I am being gifted the most precious resource: the ability to fully see my lifestyle, friends, career, income, relationship and education in light of what the rest of the world experiences.
The greatest thing about traveling is that at the end of our time abroad, we’re always grateful for the lives we’ve created and the blessings we’ve been given.
No matter where our feet and our hearts have taken us, we love knowing that at the end of our travels, we have a home to come back to that we appreciate more now than ever before.
Stay tuned for part two of this series, where I will uncover the how to this article’s why; and show you just how feasible it is for you to live remotely, no matter what your budget, lifestyle or career is.