The Introvert Perpetual Traveler
Each year, I begin on my birthday (Sept. 14) with a new plan for improving my life. In the past, I have tried to plan for the year, which of course works as well as most New Year’s Resolutions, which means not at all. And as it turns out, I am trying on New Year’s Day again.
This, of course, ties in with the idea of reinventing yourself. It’s a concept that goes back to the Greco-Roman Stoics, and maybe even earlier. You can read James Altucher for ways to improve your life 1% each day and basically reinvent yourself every 6 months. I look to other mentors dead or alive including Harry Browne.
The question is, “Are you truly happy where your life is right now?”
Unfortunately, reinvention is kind of a moot point when you don’t feel like you even invented yourself once. You may have been sculpted by others. You may have gone with the flow. But this will be a conscious invention for the things I want at this time of my life.
Even in business, most annual plans get pushed off until the last 2 months of your fiscal year. When I worked for the government (State Department), near the end of the fiscal year we had to waste any remaining funds or risk Congress cutting our budget in the future.
No more annual plans.
Annual plans fail for any number of reasons, but mostly because circumstances one year out cannot be calculated to any degree of certainty in your life. Jobs are lost. Divorces or breakups happen. You develop an illness that changes everything as you focus on staying alive.
So this year, new life – new strategy.
When you look back over the prior year and see how much time you have wasted – or allowed others to convince you to give up for their interests – you will likely see that 3 to 4 months of focused effort (like the last 2 months of your annual plan) could replace your entire work year.
I’ve come across books like The 12 Week Year which is a good place for goal setters. His plan calls for a 12 week year followed by a 1 week evaluation. Now, 4 weeks paid vacation each year is better than most U.S. wage slaves receive. But I have adjusted to more fit what I think I can do.
My method of tracking I call 77. I work like a banshee for 11 weeks, and then take 2 weeks off. That will give me 8 weeks a year for vacation, travel, and resetting my objectives.
On a stat sheet, I also record ideas for inclusion in this first “year” or in future ones. The three areas I choose to improve are health, wealth, and relationships. Some prefer mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual (Lakota). Others may add vocational or financial or social, but I like to stick the big three.
It’s your life. Choose what you want.
For the first time in my life, I am planning 100% of my future in 77 day nuggets. It’s all on me. I am 100% accountable for my choices and actions.
Caveat: You Control Actions, Not Results
Focusing on results can easily scuttle your life theme.
For example, I will write at least 3,000 words a day on various topics. These words will result in posts, articles, reports, ebooks and maybe even a mainstream book or two. 231,000 words in 77 days should lead to a decent web presence and get several streams of income flowing like lava.
But it might not.
Maybe no one cares about the niches I choose to blog about. Maybe I can’t build a list of customers to market to. Maybe my prose stinks and doesn’t add value to readers’ lives.
But if I stick to my action and write 3,000+ words per day, I have a chance. Without it, life tends to steal your time and energy, and you drift with the tide.
While I have a plan for my first 77, each individual action I take has to contribute to my to the ultimate personal theme of returning to the life of perpetual traveler. It’s been 40 years since I was able to wake up each morning with a clean slate and decide where to travel to next.
The PT lifestyle is my thing. It may not be yours. I have all of my possessions down to a large backpack. Over 77 days, it will have to be down to a 33L daypack that can be carried on to any airline in the world. No more luggage tags.
While that sounds extreme, my hero is Gandhi. He died with around 10 possessions.
I start with 3 items each week, and add one new action each week to have 11 in each category of health, wealth, and relationships. Of course, I start with the most important items that should be done all 11 weeks.
Here is my 1st week:
write 3,000+ words per day
forge new relationship with Cleo
Eating real food is critical to controlling diabetes which I developed about 12 years ago. Cut out the crap, and diabetes takes care of itself.
Cleo is my 26 year old daughter now out of college. A joy. But I want to be able to help her more emotionally and financially than I have been able to in the past.
Each of these actions will prepare me for a new round of perpetual travel. And this is just the base. To travel at will, you need steady income not dependent on a job or physical location. The last thing you want is bad health or illness in a strange land. And you need a few close relationships with friends and family to keep you grounded emotionally.
In developing my life theme, I had to look at what I truly love to do.
Travel is at the top of the list. Many people make some extra money and choose to upgrade their houses or cars, maybe even buy a boat. Bless them. The economy needs them. When I have money, I buy a plane ticket.
For the first time, I am digging into what makes me happy. Strange lands. Strange pussy. Exotic food.
No need to apologize for your wants and needs.