“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
When you think of creating your best life, the first thing that pops into your head is probably the need for a lot of money. It’s true that money can bring many freedoms in life and I am certainly not telling you that you shouldn’t be working toward that financial comfort. But is it still possible to create your best life without a lot of money? Yes! And that is exactly what I did!
Eighteen years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today, and certainly not planning the crazy adventure that lies ahead. I grew up in a small Oregon town and thought that was the extent of my life. And I might have been very happy, but I know I’d always be wondering what more was out there.
I was almost 30 years old, living with a couple of roommates, working the typical 40-hour week, paycheck to paycheck, just to pay my bills…and pissing the rest away on who knows what!
OK, it was beer and partying…I can’t lie!
Finally, I hit a breaking point at work and I walked out on a job that provided my entire financial security. I expected it to be scary, but instead it brought a sense of freedom I had never felt. Freedom to stop, take a look around and decide which direction I wanted my life to go.
The view was amazing!
There was nothing holding me back, except for money, or so I thought! I drove away from my job that day, not sure what the future held or how I would survive, but somehow I wasn’t scared.
I was ready to start creating my best life!
While I worked on what that “best life” meant, I got a job working as a barista at a neighborhood coffee shop. I worked there for a year and discovered although my income was less than half of what I was making, I was actually surviving just fine on a barista salary, and even saving a little money.
Light bulb moment!
If I could survive as a barista in Oregon, I could do it anywhere! So, I packed my life into my 1995 Honda Civic and drove to Colorado to start a new adventure. The life-changing trip started with a month down in Santa Fe, New Mexico with a few friends, where we lived in a campground and spent our evenings drinking wine and talking about the meaning of life. We were all at a turning point in our lives and the roads we could travel were paved with possibilities.
It sounds cliche, but I left that campground with $800 in my pocket. That $800 had to pay for a place to live and allow me to survive until I could find a job. I pulled into Breckenridge, Colorado with my car full of belongings and a dream that I could create the life I really wanted.
Fast forward 18 years!
I acquired a husband, a son and dog, and although we love our lives just where we are, we are preparing for the next chapter and the next adventure for our lives.
Are we rich? No.
Are we financially comfortable? Yes, because we have built our lives around experience and not things.
In the end, it wasn’t a fat bank account or a wealthy knowledge of travel that led me to take such a chance in life. I re-invented my life with nothing more than the desire to do so and a realization that if you want change, you just have to stop, take a look around and decide which direction you want to go.
There is almost always a road to take you anywhere you want to go. And if ever the road ends, get out and walk! And if you don’t like where you end up, turn around and take the road back.
Just don’t get stuck sitting at a dead end.
Where does our family go from here?
In August of 2019, we’ll leave our jobs, take Noah from school, and hit the road for a year of travel and adventure. We continue to create our best life by doing what we love, no matter the balance in our bank accounts, because our lives are not measured by things but by the memories we create together.
What does creating your best life look like?