I meet and speak with new people on a regular basis. If not for work, in casual conversation. Most people have no idea what I do as a remote work consultant because they assume my travels are what bring me to each destination. When I tell people that I’m not traveling to a destination to work, but that I can work from anywhere with wifi they seem confused. It goes something like this.
New Acquaintance (NA): What are you doing in Argentina?
Me: Enjoying myself and the country.
NA: So you don’t have to work?
Me: No, I work. As I said, I’m a remote work consultant. It means I can work from anywhere.
NA: If you can work from anywhere why not work from home and come here to only vacation?
Me: Why would I have to do only one or the other? I enjoy my work and walking out the door to visit new places, eat at new places, meet new people, and do things I can’t do in my home country.
NA: You do tourist things while you’re here as well?
Me: Yes. I also live like I’m at home. I eat in, exercise, and have a work routine.
NA: You work, travel, and vacation at the same time? Any time you want?
NA: Wow, you are living the dream!
In all my life I would have never imagined anyone would utter such words to me. I was talking to a business colleague last week and I let her know I just arrived in Buenos Aires. Her response, “Living the dream, girl. Living the dream!” Since I’m very comfortable with her I told her how people keep telling me this and how uncomfortable it makes me.
I wouldn’t even say this is my dream and I’m certainly not used to living the dreams of others. That’s when she said something I’ll never forget. She told me, it didn’t feel like a dream because I’m the kind of person who takes action and doesn’t know how to take no for an answer. It’s the dream for so many because they’ll never even take steps to try and do what they dream of. This got me thinking, how does one go from living in “reality” to “living the dream”? It’s as simple as taking action and as hard as taking action.
“The difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you do.” - Bill Phillips
I wanted to travel so I did. It didn’t occur to me that this would be someone else’s dream. In fact, I didn’t even associate it as one of mine. I still don’t. Probably because I took action very quickly.
It all came about because I was planning a trip to Italy and then got sad because I would have to wait so long before leaving. My brand new passport was looking for stamps and so was I! When you get over a lifelong fear of flying and get your passport all you want to do is travel. I thought at best I would only be able to travel abroad two or three times a year. Immediately I knew that would never suffice. At that very moment I started searching for ways to travel more while still being able to run my business.
Within days of searching online, I applied for a remote work travel program. Two months later I left the States to travel the world for a year. There wasn’t much time to dream. I had a lot to do in order to have everything prepared and ready for my departure.
So what is my dream? My dream is to make a living doing what I love and provide for my family while at the same time enjoying freedom and flexibility. Not to have to make choices that only benefit others and keep my dreams on hold. Written like this it doesn’t seem like much. However, when I write out my choices - working from Argentina or Lisbon, traveling to California or New York when I return, all to do things I love and see people I love it is everything. Oh, I chose to work from Buenos Aires, Argentina with friends and I decided to go to California AND New York when I return.
Was this always my life? Absolutely not! My entire life changed six years ago. After becoming a widow and being the sole provider for my family the salary I was making wasn’t enough. Nor did my job, although I loved it very much, allow me freedom or flexibility. It was limited to the schedule of others and vacation days available. I didn’t know such a different life could exist.
I don’t spend the majority of my time working from some exotic location. If you saw me walking down the street I wouldn’t stand out from the crowd. If you saw me working in a cafe you wouldn’t automatically know that I could work from any cafe in the world. That’s okay. The important thing to remember is that I’m just an average person.
My lifestyle isn’t a fairytale and one that is only available to me because of my unique skills and abilities. I wake up to work and take action to make my dreams a reality. I work. I take calculated risks. I believe in myself. I look for opportunities. I help others.
Living the dream actually means I spend much less time daydreaming than the average person. Instead, I imagine what is possible and work to make it true. If this means I’m living the dream, then great! However, as a remote work consultant, one of my greatest jobs is to help others live theirs. What is your dream?