Make a Date, Change Your Life Forever – The Yomadic-2-Step™

I’ve been putting it off long enough. The straw breaking this Camel’s back was the eleven dollar late fee. In my mind, that could have been eleven meals in South East Asia. Great, spicy, meals. I’m well and truly in downsizing mode, having done more downsizing in the last few months than most people do in a lifetime. I traded a 200 sqm (2100 sqft) apartment, with a mortgage, for a 45 sqm apartment. No mortgage, no rent. I traded space, for freedom. Un-necessary coldness, for bare-bones coziness.

Statistically, that’s a 78% reduction in space, and a 110% increase in freedom. Our small apartment is our new “base” (there’s two of us at Yomadic). But there is one dirty little secret. I have a storage facility, in a warehouse nearby. And, the bill was due a few days ago.

This facility holds our “stuff”. It’s a reminder of my nomadic short-comings. Epic-location-independent-travelling-forever-digital-nomad-lifestyle-designing-cubicle-abandoning-warriors don’t have storage facilities.

No. They have 35 litre backpacks and seem to spend a lot of time in Chang Mai.

Where Europe meets Asia
Where Europe meets Asia, during the last semi-epic journey. Soon to be out-done.

Less stuff and more experiences.

Initially, I booked the storage for three months. We got rid of a lot of stuff. We gave things away that would bring a tear to the eye of eBay aficionados the world over. Three months seemed like enough time to prepare for a total-lifestyle-overhaul. It wasn’t. Progress has been made, but today I crumbled, and booked storage for six months more.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with having a storage facility, but there is something wrong with having it full of things you don’t need.

It’s an indicator, that we’re not quite ready to be epic nomadic warriors travelling the world in search of hi-jinx and adventure. We’re still hanging on to some of our stuff. We still travel on the regular, such as a recent one month journey through Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. In fact, I’m heading to Hong Kong on Saturday for a week. But that’s all just chicken-feed compared to the main course.

It’s short-term tourism, which suits many people and is a fantastic goal, but we want long-term travel.

Making a date, is step one.

Once you have decided to embark on long-term travel, or any other life changing activity, making the date to start is step one. Absolutely, positively, step one. The conversation around our cozy little apartment lately revolves around the date. The date where we lock the door, and go. Here’s the Yomadic 2-Step-Program™ on “How to Make a Date That Will Change Your Life, Forever” :

1. Pick a date, for when you will change your life forever.

2. That is all.

Don’t have a “plan-B”. Failure is not an option. Don’t fear failure. I’ve failed before, you’ve failed before, we’ve all failed before. And, we’ll all fail again. Big deal. Failure is part of life. Fear is a part of life as well. Fear of the unknown. Fear to step outside your comfort zone. You know, fear can be exhilarating. Embrace it, have fun with fear. Just make a plan to change your life forever, and then make a date to change your life forever. Then, do everything in your power to make it happen.

Tell people about the date. Be accountable. Think about the date, every day. Prepare for the date, everyday. Live the date. Breath the date. Be, the date.

Travel changes the world. Travel has allowed me to grow as a person. Long term travel, even more so.

Travel has allowed me to help people, and to have people help me. I’ve already had many great and beautiful travel experiences. Experiences that would be unjust to be relayed by mere words and photos. There’s a whole Internet out there telling you why travel is so good.  So, what are you doing sitting in your office reading this? Didn’t you get the memo? It’s probably under the TPS Report. There’s only two steps (see above), are you at step one yet?

Today, I’m at step one.

Six months from today, it will be time to pay another storage bill.

Nope. Not paying it.

Six months from today, is the 20th August, 2012.

The date my world changes.

Do I have a plan?

Yes. My plan is to commence a journey as an epic-location-independent-travelling-forever-digital-nomad-lifestyle-designing-cubicle-abandoning-warrior. And hang out in places like Chang Mai, Medellin, and Bali. I’ve heard Berlin is happening these days. Maybe even Vienna, I have a thing for snow, and maybe I’ll finally embrace Christmas. To date, I’m a “Festivus” kind of guy.

The last time I did this “planning” thing, not so long ago, I ended up with two one-way tickets to Bali. Several months later, we were in Norway. That journey began with no plan, except to make a date, buy a couple of tickets, and go. Yes, I know how to pull a trigger. Some may say I’m rash. I’m not rash, I’m just a little hasty. As long as I’m moving forward, right?

Life is short, one-way tickets are cheap.

The plan may require some “finessing”, maybe some “fleshing out”, but the date is made.

Today, I’ve completed step one. I’ve made the date.

Knowing me, I won’t stick to the date.

I will beat that date into oblivion.


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21 thoughts on “Make a Date, Change Your Life Forever – The Yomadic-2-Step™

  1. Yes yes and YES!! It is stuff not to be consumed by, err, consumerism whilst living in America. However, downsizing is step one, getting rid of debt is step two, THEN making a date is step three in my book. Currently working on steps 1 & 2 simultaneously! Can’t wait for the day I finally leap to step 3. That big day I buy that cheap one-way ticket. Ahh, I can smell the freedom already!

    Best of luck on your new life mate. You have taken the step! It is done. Can’t wait to share that joy with ya. And YES to the more personal posts–that’s what makes a blog stand out among the many stale “travel tip” sites that are only out there for the money (let’s be honest here) ;)

    1. Thanks Maria! You know you’re right, I may have skipped a couple of steps in the article ;) … BUT, even if you have downsized, and got rid of debt (I have done both), the really important thing is making a date for change. An argument could be made, that you still need to make a date as step one – and then use that as a motivator to downsize and get rid of debt in time to make the date!

      Also, the LAST thing I want is for this site to be exclusively a “travel tip” site…indeed, the tips I mention, and the places I decide to write about, are, by-and-large, not the usual tips – flea markets in Penang, non-aircon’d bungalows in Bali, “ugly” TV towers, and third-world-factories are not exactly money-spinning articles ;)

      To me, the best use of my time is to document the more “special” places I have seen, and inspire people to lead a life less ordinary (I’m sure there’s a blog called that somewhere, or is it a movie?).

      But, it is true. Making money is far down the list of my priorities with Yomadic.

      Thanks again for your kind comments, I wish you all the best of luck with your journey.. (checking your site out..right….now!)

  2. “Epic-location-independent-travelling-forever-digital-nomad-lifestyle-designing-cubicle-abandoning-warriors don’t have storage facilities. No. They have 35 litre backpacks and seem to spend a lot of time in Chang Mai.”


    I wrestled with the idea of getting a storage facility when I decided to travel full-time (five years ago), but in the end decided it wasn’t financially sensible, and instead distilled my belongings down to five boxes which could fit into a friend’s garage.

    Years later I revisited those boxes and threw half the stuff out! But there’s still a few things I’m happy to (or am required to) have on hand…for some indefinable time when I might actually need it.

    1. Glad you found that one amusing, Nora ;)

      I remember reading your story, and how you packed everything into a few boxes. Good work! I am sooo aware that I need to be seemingly brutal with what I pack away – what seems important now, I know won’t be a few years later. So, it makes no sense to pack most of my stuff, I will continue to give away, sell, or throw out all kinds of things.

      Your story is a timely reminder, thanks!

  3. Ha! I do have a 35 liter backpack, I laughed so hard reading that sentence! I smush a ukulele and a hula hoop inside too, somehow. Maybe this is breaking the mood of this post, but personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with leaving a few boxes at home! I have six at my Dad’s house, ready and waiting for when I come home (which will be for a few months in late 2012). I can understand not wanting to pay for a storage space or be hindered down by TONS of possessions, I’m right there with you! I do save space in my heart for those mementos I have – poetry I wrote, boxes of photographs, that kind of thing. Lovely post though, your travels will be great!

    1. haha – 35 liters seems to be the size of choice!

      I also don’t think there is anything wrong with having a few boxes. Some things are good to hang on to.. (although I struggle with exactly “why”, but everyone is doing it, so I’m sure I’ll figure out why someday).

      Also, I’m glad you have your travel priorities right!

      Every good traveller needs a Ukelele, and a Hula Hoop, right? ;)

  4. Nate, I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments on stuff. I’ve never heard of anyone on their deathbed saying, “My only wish is that I’d accumulated more stuff…..ughhhh Jimmy, it’s getting dark”. I do struggle to get rid of books though. They are my guilty pleasure.

    Now I’ve just got to work on a location independent income that is comparable to your hand modelling gig.

    1. haha hand modelling is not as glamorous as it sounds ;)

      But yes, life is short. I agree, nobody on their deathbed has ever wished they had more stuff, or had just worked that 9-5er a few more years, or that they hadn’t taken that one extra journey around the world. I also have a LOT of books. Architecture is one of my “problems” – for some reason architects make really large books!

      PS, just checked your site again, I really like that photo of Ubud Central Market. So chaotic.

  5. Hey Nate – glad you’ve picked the date!! As we were only travelling for a year we ended up storing our almost brand new furniture, fridge, freezer and a box or two of each persons “stuff”. Gert and I were amused that in our 1 shared box there were mostly souvenirs from our travels! Anything else important was coming with us (ie our kids and our iPads!!)

    1. Thanks Tracey – the problem will be not accumulating too much new “stuff” on your journey…lugging souvenirs around for 12 months can be..interesting ;) So glad you caught up with Sovann in Cambodia!

  6. Love it, mate. Well said. I’m a long-time advocate of getting rid of “stuff” to travel, but even as I travel through SE Asia I’m aware that I still have too much crap in my backpack! It seems I can never completely break the shackles…

  7. I totally support your plan and wish you the best of luck! I’m being a wuss about the date now…I know I should do it but I’m still not past the “what if” phase.

    So looking forward for more inspirational posts! Maybe I’ll join the “change my life” wave :)

  8. Cheers to that! I went a step further and gave up my coveted rent-stabilized lease on 5th Avenue in NYC :) Three months on the road, but who’s counting?

    Homeslice, do you have a breakdown of Singapore, by any chance? I will be there for a day, and looking to expand my free tour from Changi airport a little. Thanks much!

    1. Nice one Vanja! Quite the sacrifice, but I’m sure it’s worth it.

      Simgapore : Serangoon Road, Little India at night, Kampung Glam near Arab St (and Haji Lane), eat some Chicken Rice – anywhere. Amazing city, in a day you’ll have enough to keep you occupied. Make sure you go to a Food Centre, or two. If you would like any more specifics, feel free to ask.

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