While you were reading my post on The Art of Freedom your mind might have gone to work trying to convince you that it’s an impossible and crazy idea.
It’s like I can hear it.
“No normal person could ever live like that. Only people with lots of money could. And that’s if you don’t have any real ties because it’s impossible to do that with kids or a mortgage or (-insert here your favorite excuse-).”
Long story short: somehow this wonderful thing just doesn’t apply to you or your circumstances.
But we won’t let the Art of Freedom bite the dust.
Simply because it’s possible.
Nothing beats that.
More and more people over the world are deciding to question the status quo and chase after their dreams, living according to the Art of Freedom.
One of the great advantages of this Internet era is that we’re only one click away from truly incredible stories about ordinary people, people like you and me, who have mastered the Art of Freedom and are achieving their goals and living out their dreams.
Consider, for instance, Walter.
Exploring the World, Jacques Cousteau Style
Walter, better known on the web as Che Toba, is a systems analyst who was a successful entrepreneur in the 90’s.
Along with a friend, he developed a bidding site called e-compras.com that soon received private investment to grow as a startup. Selling his idea left him in the position of a manager whose days consisted mostly of paperwork, hustle and bustle, and constant worries. The thrill of creating something from nothing and the fun of making it grow were replaced by a dull office life.
But that wasn’t at all what he wanted.
He recalled one of his childhood dreams: to be a documentary filmmaker.
His favorite TV shows were documentaries and his idol was Jacques Cousteau, the explorer who travelled the world aboard his ship, The Calypso, to delight viewers with images of places they had no idea existed.
Walter dreamed of following in Cousteau’s footsteps and navigating across the Atlantic.
As an adult, he made a decent living and enjoyed all the stability in the world. He had exactly what most people claim they want out of life, but it still wasn’t how he wanted to live.
So, he did what was best for him.
To the astonishment of many of the people he knew, he decided to leave everything behind and not look back. He decided to finally live the life he had dreamed of.
Since that day, he’s explored continental America with his family, visiting and living in almost all of the countries in the continent.
For his latest adventure, he travelled for seven months by car with his wife and two kids from Argentina to the Google offices in San Francisco.
Now, he’s a web developer and travel blogger whose work earns him enough to support his dream lifestyle.
And Walter’s not an isolated success. Not even close.
Here’s another one.
From Cryptography to Photography
Kalyan Varma worked for Yahoo as a cryptography and safety engineer.
He was one of the most recognized employees in their Bangalore branch office. He even won the “Yahoo Superstar” prize in 2003, a distinction only awarded to 12 of the 11,000 workers.
Kalyan was satisfied with the work he did at Yahoo, but he still felt there was something missing in his life.
Corporate life didn’t leave him completely fulfilled no matter how much recognition, intellectual challenge, and high pay came along with it.
His pay allowed him to live a comfortable—even at times luxurious—lifestyle, but he realized that whatever was missing from his life, it wasn’t something he would find at work.
Being on the lookout for a way to improve his life, Kalyan became aware of the joy he experienced from simply taking nature photography.
The pleasure of just feeling connected to the wild and feeling privileged to be witness to amazing moments was simple but powerful.
Then, something clicked.
The year after receiving his Yahoo prize, he completely changed his life and decided to live out his biggest dream: travel the world and photograph the wild.
It wasn’t going to be an easy transition, but he was determined to do it.
Now he is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker who has worked for the BBC and National Geographic. He is a recognized expert who shares his knowledge in workshops and conferences. He is also the founder of India Nature Watch, a community of reference for nature photography in Asia. There, he and other photographers share their work, completely free and without copyright, to raise awareness of wild nature.
At this point, the skeptics out there might be thinking, based on these two case studies, that the Art of Freedom is only for those who are already experiencing favorable conditions.
Far from it.
The Art of Freedom is within everybody’s reach.
The Wagoner family proves it.
A Suburban Family Goes Looking for “Something Else”
They said that their life was like something out of a book. Until they decided to rewrite its ending.
Alan and Heidi met each other backpacking through Mexico. By an incredible coincidence, it turned out that they both lived a mere twenty minutes apart in California. They started dating after the trip and eventually got married.
Right after their wedding, they moved to London to work for three years and travelled throughout Europe when they had vacation time.
When they returned to California, they knew something about them had changed.
Travelling through Europe gave them the opportunity to discover other cultures, languages, and ways of living.
And they didn’t want it to stop.
They wanted to continue exploring and discovering. So, they decided that they would both get jobs at a large multinational corporation that would allow them to work, live, and raise children all over the world.
Getting the job was easy. The rest of the plan? Not so much.
They worked and saved, hoping that they would eventually be transferred somewhere international and exotic. It took them almost 12 years to realize that this just wasn’t going to happen.
By then, they were already in their 40s with two children aged 7 and 10. They had professional success but the odds of living out their dream of working around the work was getting slimmer and slimmer.
They were immersed in the daily whirlwind that came with their more than 40 hours a week workload.
They only had the opportunity to spend quality time with their children on the weekends and at night. They had managed to do some travelling, squeezing all the sightseeing they could in their 15 days of summer vacation. But they knew that wasn’t enough for them.
Their life was nothing if not ordinary. They were living well within the norms of Western society: work your whole life, live out a portion of your dream during your fleeting vacation days, pin all of your hopes on retirement, and try to squeeze all the things that truly matter—family, children, your dreams—into the small pockets of free time that your working schedule gives you.
As the Wagoners describe in their blog, they had an ideal and perfect life on a superficial level, but their passions and dreams had been buried a long time ago. They seemed to have it all: a happy family; a big, beautiful home; good cars; and all kinds of material luxuries. But everything comes with a price.
So they decided to change the script.
After sinking the first forty years of their life on their degrees and their jobs, Alan and Heidi finally started to asking themselves the right questions: What is it that truly makes them happy? How do they want to experience their day to day lives? What do they really want to accumulate, possessions or experiences? Why couldn’t they live a life with passion? What was going wrong? What was missing?
One day, they had an epiphany. They were chasing the wrong dream. They had spent so long telling themselves that their dream was “working and living around the world” that they didn’t realize that their real dream was simply “living around the world.”
That simple change—eliminating the word “working“—made all the difference.
Everything that seemed impossible now became possible.
They approached this newfound revelation cautiously. For months, they carefully mapped everything out, looking at it from every possible angle to see if they could any fault in their plan. They found a few risks, but none that were big enough to deter them from living out their dream.
So they decided to simplify their life. They sold everything they weren’t going to need—the house, the cars, their belongings—and put any necessities that were left over in storage.
They quit their jobs and dove right into their new way of life, moving around the world with their children. They started a blog to keep family and friends informed and it ended up growing into an online project that finances their lifestyle. With that platform, they can share stories from their adventures and inspire other people to step outside the norm, believe in themselves, and chase after their dreams.
And I wonder: if all of these people with their incredible stories and amazing lifestyles are making their dreams come true… why not you?
Your Dreams Are Next
I share these true stories to inspire you, to give you strength and motivation, to make you realize that you too can live the way you always dreamed of.
It wasn’t easy for the Wagoners. They didn’t have everything lined up in their favor: they weren’t rich, they had debt and mortgages to worry about, they had kids… And I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Che Toba or Kalyan either.
But others who have mastered the Art of Freedom are in the same boat. They have families and responsibilities that they couldn’t just abandon. And yet they did it.
They had to get a lot of things sorted and lined up before they could really set to the task of crafting their lives. Planning, strategizing, saving, selling everything, or renting out their home—each person who wants to live according to the Art of Freedom finds their own personalized way of achieving it.
As we’ve seen, it doesn’t always involve starting an online project, but truth is the Internet has really brought the Art of Freedom within everybody’s reach.
Freelancing online, building your pro blog, selling things online, or working remotely— the Internet is truly the great enabler of this Art of Freedom and one of the best ways I know of achieving the lifestyle of your dreams. It’s a much better path to a fuller, more satisfying life than having to clock in every day at some office.
Mastering the Art of Freedom isn’t something that’s “easy” or “difficult.”
Labelling and qualifying it like that never brings us closer to it. All it does is encourage us to keep making excuses to shy away from it.
It’s also not some sacred or mysterious thing that only a few chosen ones can ever achieve.
There’s one clear pattern that emerges when you hear a lot of stories about those who have used the Art of Freedom in their favor: they started off in the same situation as most of the people around us, our friends, family members, neighbors—even ourselves.
The only thing that set them apart from everyone else is that they decided that their story was going to be different.
And they went for it.
So, why not you?
What would your life be like if you were to master the Art of Freedom?
Leave a comment and tell me.