You are never too old to change your life. I truly believe that. This morning, I woke up and stepped onto the terrace of the building where I am living and stared out over the Gulf of Naples. As I did so I realized how much my life has changed in the last few years and how lucky I am.
A little over a week ago, I was in Moldova and the weather was cold. Now I’m in Naples and although January is generally the coldest month here, it’s much warmer than it was in Moldova and the skies are often blue instead of grey.
Although I grew up in North Yorkshire, have experienced many cold winters, and can handle the chill weather better than a lot of people, I don’t particularly enjoy feeling cold. So I decided to leave Moldova and head south for the rest of the winter. It’s a choice I have but I only have the choice because I made some big changes in my life a few years ago. I was an idle dreamer who stopped dreaming and took action. Many other people have done similar things. If you are reading this because you seriously want to change your life there’s nothing to stop you doing it too.
I was in my mid-forties when I decided to change my life. I sold my house, parted from my wife, sold or threw away most of my possessions, and became a minimalist. Doing these things removed the ties that bound me and gave me freedom. I travel light.
Of course, if you are going to live a nomadic lifestyle you need to be able to support yourself, so I also had to change the way I work.
For most of my life, I lived as most people do. I went to work, did a “normal job”, came home, and then did whatever recreational activities seemed fit at the time. It was a case of rinse and repeat five to seven days a week.
The thing is, from a very young age I wanted to travel. It always seemed like an impossible dream. Now I’m living the dream.
When I was around 20-years-old I remember looking into opportunities like WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms). I also remember considering something called Camp America and looking into grape harvesting opportunities in France. None of these things appealed to me. So I stowed away my dreams of travel and got on with my “life”. A lot of people do that with their dreams. In my case, I never totally forgot the dreams of my youth and continued to explore different ways of living an alternative life. I eventually came up with the “write” answer.
In my spare time, I used to write. I began with poetry. I wrote poems on and off from being a very young age. Many years later when I was working as a security guard and had plenty of time between patrols, I began writing horror stories and sold a lot of them to magazines and horror websites. It was a hobby that provided pocket money every once in a while. Nothing more.
Then one day I came across the term “digital nomad”. I did some research and realized writing was a good profession for anyone who wishes to work online and travel the world. I stopped writing horror stories, found people who would pay me to create content for their websites, and went to work in a different way—from home.
Although I didn’t start travelling straight away, I’d found my golden goose. The eggs it produced were not enough to support a rich lifestyle but, without a home to pay for in the UK or any utility bills to worry about, my golden goose was and continues to be sufficient to support a modest lifestyle.
The thing is, now I’m actually living my dream, travel has become so normal for me I often forget how far I’ve come (figuratively speaking). Staring into the distance, and seeing the blue Neapolitan sky meet the horizon and the Island of Capri, brought home to me how lucky I am.
Later on, as I was walking through the city I realized something else that made me think about how much my life has changed. It was my clothes.
I bought some leather boots a few days ago. They are Italian and the quality is superb. As I was walking I realised I’d bought my socks in the Czech Republic and my jeans in Germany. My leather jacket in the Netherlands, my shirt in Portugal, and the T-Shirt beneath it in Spain. I picked up my mobile phone in Ukraine. Up until that moment, I hadn’t realized how diverse the origin of my possessions has become.
For a guy who used to be trapped in a life that would be deemed normal and spent years dreaming of travel, my wardrobe alone tells me I’ve already made some pretty big changes in my life. If I can do it so can you. Anyone can.
The thing is, I’m a normal guy. I’ve worked jobs that paid minimum wage for most of my life. If I was doing those jobs now, a lot of the time I would earn more money than my writing brings in, but I’m happy with my life.
Not everyone has a skill with words, but we all have skills and talents that make us unique. I think anyone who really wants to do so should be able to change their life and find a way to live the way they want. It’s just a case of thinking about what you want, making sure it really is something you want rather than just a pleasant idea, and then finding a way to make it happen. You may have to burn bridges and make sacrifices and you’ll certainly have to take a huge step out of your comfort zone, but everything is possible. Where’s there’s a will there’s a way. If you think about it long and hard enough the answer will come.
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