I’m Not “Living the Dream,” and Here’s Why

Last week, I posted a status on my Facebook page about “Why I’m not Living the Dream,” and it turned out to be the most popular post I’ve ever shared.  It has 169 likes, 20 comments and 5 shares.  

So, I decided to write this blog post to elaborate a bit more on my point. 

If one more person tells me, “You’re living the dream,” then I’m going to go insane.

Ladies and Gentleman~ I’m not living “the dream!  I’ve simply created a lifestyle based off the thing I love doing most – traveling the world.  I did this by taking advantage of several opportunities that’ve come my way.

You can do it too if you want.  I’m a regular person just like you are.  It’s pretty easy to live like this if you set your mind towards it.

But most people choose not to, and then send me emails wishing that they could live my life.  I’m sick of it.

Immediately after I graduated from college, I made a move that 99.9% of my friends didn’t make. I took a job teaching English in South Korea.

Why did none of my friends do this?

– They thought it was too risky
– They had fear of the unknown
– The didn’t know anything about Asia
– They were too scared to live alone in a foreign country
– They were worried about language barriers
– They were forced to step out of their comfort zone
– They were scared to neglect getting a “real job” like society told them
– They thought that it will set them back from pursuing their dreams, instead of thinking that it would help them achieve their dreams

Notice a pattern here?

Moving to Korea to teach English was the best decision of my life.

It has enabled me the lifestyle that I live, which is traveling around the world full-time.  Since I graduated from college in May 2013, I have been to 23 new countries – essentially FOR FREE.  My job provides me enough money to fully fund my travels and rage in Seoul every weekend. I even have a bit of money saved in the bank for shits and giggles.

But I realize that not everyone has the same opportunities that I had.  Not everyone is able to teach English if they don’t meet the basic requirements of being a native speaker, having a bachelors degree from a 4-year university, and obtaining a TEFL certificate.

And that’s OK!  Don’t worry if you don’t have this opportunity, because you can still live a lifestyle of travel.

How can you do that?

Look for opportunities to live and work abroad. They are everywhere.

Off the top of my head, I can think of about these jobs that you can find overseas.
– bartender
– freelancer
– hotels & hostels
– cruise ships
– tour guide
– restaurants

Better yet, start a career in a field that lets you work from anywhere in the world with a wifi connection.  It’s called being a digital nomad and it’s becoming a new standard for millenials. Here are some ideas:

– travel blogger
– SEO expert
– freelancer
– writer/editor
– stock trader
– or maybe your current company has branch overseas?

It took me just one year of full-time blogging to make enough money to travel the world indefinitely.

With hard work, passion and dedication, you can easily do this too.  It’s not difficult;  it’s just risky to drop everything and leave home.  But I am happy to help you make decisions along the way. (contact me here.)

Traveling is easy.

People always tell me, “How on earth do you travel so much?”  “How is it possible?”

Well I have good news for you!  Traveling today is the easiest that it’s been in the history of the world.

With the power of the internet, you can easily plan your tips yourself and find out any information about your destination on blogs and travel sites. There are literally millions of resources all over the web.   Our parents never had anything remotely close to this freedom.

And guess what? Flights today are as cheap as they’ve been in history. Did you know that you can fly to Europe from Boston for $99?  Do you know that Air Asia has a promotion where you can fly unlimited around South East Asia for one month for under $200?

Over the last year, I have flown from Singapore to Malaysia for $23, Korea to Japan for $44 and Bali to Sydney to $120.  How’s that for affordability?

The book that inspired me that I can work and travwl from my computer is called The Four Hour Workweek.  Tim Ferriss is the leader of a new age movement of digital nomads and his master techniques will teach you how to live and work online from any location. I highly recommend it to everyone.

So the bottom line of this post is that it’s pretty easy to do what I do.  And to be honest with you, I’m surprised that more people don’t do it too.

Why am I the only one out of my friends that lives like this?  Why do people keep emailing me every day, telling me how jealous they are of my lifestyle?

I am very upset that more of you don’t take the initiative to live life based on what your heart is set on.  I am truly sick and tired of hearing your excuses.

Because I can assume several things about you due to the fact that you’re reading this right now:
– you own a computer or a smart phone (probably both)
– you have access to the internet, which 2/3rds of the world doesn’t have
– you have a passion or desire for traveling like myself
– you have an education (likely of a higher degree)
– you own a passport
– you are determined to make something out of your life

You’re privileged.  I’m privileged.  Let’s make the most of our opportunities and let’s live life like we were meant to live it.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Live like it.

I’m more than happy to answer your questions and give you suggestions along your way. Please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime!

28 thoughts on “I’m Not “Living the Dream,” and Here’s Why

  1. Hey Drew,

    What you’re doing is awesome! Over the past three years I have lived in and traveled through over 15 countries. From Western Europe to Asia to Australia. Not nearly as many places as you, but I did travel cheap and work as you did. I am finally back in the USA and I am happy to be settled down in my home country (albeit in L.A. a city I’ve never been to before) until the travel bug bites again.

    I don’t think enough people who haven’t lived this way see some of the realities of this type of lifestyle. They see the instagram pictures, and the blog-posts (no offense) and everything looks amazing all the time.

    I just wanted to list some realities about the lifestyle from my perspective.

    DISCLAIMER: It is awesome, and amazing and I loved my experience! I am just trying to present a perspective that people don’t share as much as the really fun and cool aspects.

    1. It can be lonely.
    While it can be enriching and you certainly meet many many people and develop friendships, it can be a lonely lifestyle. Traveling as a couple may be different. I did live in some places for as long as 8 months, and made friendships that will last a lifetime, but I have to be honest with myself and say that real deep relationships take effort and time. I think some backpackers lie to themselves about this and talk about how they “have friends all over the world,” but in my experience, zero to very few of these are the friends you call when you need someone to talk to or lean on. You may have great experiences and rich encounters and tons of fun with locals and fellow travelers, but 99% of the time you will not form the bonds that you would by, say, living with a roommate in the same city for three or more years. I don’t mind being a lone wolf and meeting new people, but it is a reality that some people may not enjoy.

    2. You do have to work, and you will have lazy/boring days.
    There will be times where you are living a life you could live in your home country. You will wake up, shower, go to work, get off work, go home, and maybe not feel up for doing anything. Obviously, it isn’t the exact same. People are speaking a different language, your bite-to-eat is a foreign dish. But if you’ve been in the country long enough, you’re accustomed to these things. My point is the lazy boring days don’t go on instagram as often, but they do exist.

    3. People travel for the wrong reasons.
    Some people travel like some people buy cars. They want to make other people jealous. They want to say I have been to 30 countries, like someone wants to say their house cost $10,000,000. It’s the poor-man’s “look-at-me”. You will meet people like this, who aren’t pushing their boundaries and trying to experience or even observe new cultures (even though they pretend they are). They are ticking off a list. They wouldn’t do half the things they do if they couldn’t take a picture and post it for everyone to see. Don’t be one of these people. Make sure you’re traveling for the right reasons.

    I loved my time overseas, and I’ll probably have another stint soon. But, I am happy to be somewhere for a while where I can sink in my roots a little bit. I know I’ll get bored and will be back on a plane before I know it. I just want to end with this. Make sure you’re enjoying your life, whether thats traveling the globe “lone-wolf” or living in your hometown surrounded by people you love and grew up with. No one’s life is better than yours. Enjoy it however you please!

  2. Hi Drew, which company did you use to teach in Korea? I don’t hold a TEFL but I am a fully qualified teacher in the UK – would this hold additional sway? I plan on looking into getting away for a while and this is one avenue I’m looking into. I am also considering the travel blog route but I’m just messing around with a free site at the minute; I’d appreciate any suggestions and tips if you can spare a few minutes to check it out. Just started putting it together a few days ago…


    1. Hey David — I used GEPIK, check them out! You will need to get your TEFL, I have a 35% dicsount if you use the company recommended on my site! Best of luck, Drew

  3. I came across you through instgram and subscribed to your blog. It is a dream of mine to travel the world and planning to do it after college. I think its pretty cool how you taught english in korea and were able to earn enough money to ravel to nearby countries.

  4. Hey Drew! Wow so glad I came across your blog! I love your motivation and the fact that you are doing what others wont because of their excuses!

    I made the decision about 2 years ago that enough was enough! I was living a life of mediocrity and things were not going to change until I made some changes! I absolutely love the journey Im on now continuing to feed my mindset with positive mentors, stepping out of my comfort zone and becoming an entrepreneur. It opens up so many more opportunities!

    As a Baby Boomer, I do have some regrets of not living a more fulfilling life and just doing what society and the government has conditioned and manipulated us. But not anymore!

    Ive found a vehicle that can provide me with more fun, more freedom and more fulfilment and Im showing my 12 year old that the world is her oyster!


    1. Hi Deb- I’m so glad that you’ve recently felt inspired to make these decisions! Don’t regret from the past, because now you can do all the things that you wanted. I look forward to hearing about your world travels! Cheers from the Philippines 🙂

  5. I got here through Facebook and I am so happy to read this post! People are always surprised by the fact I travel quite a bit. Especially when I tell them they can do it as well.
    I’m not a digital nomad myself, but did pursue my dream: living & teaching abroad.

    Really, there’s not much to lose if you go right after college.

    1. Yvon – exactly!! There isn’t much to it at all. There is no “Trick” for how I live my life. I wish more people would understand that! Cheers from Seoul 🙂

  6. I totally agree and love the article. Ive been traveling nearly 3 years with my now 9 year old son. People think we are rich. People think it is all sightseeing and non stop adventure. Life goes on. But reading this you are inspiring and to be admired. There are the good times, and the reason you are living the dream is because you dared to dream and others don’t. Where there is a will, there is a way. Keep dreaming, and keep living the dream, even if it is reality, it is an amazing journey. Well done from another long-term traveller.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Ruth. I truly appreciate everything you said, and trust me, I am not going to stop! I am impressed that you travel full time with a 9 year old son. That must require a lot of patience, but it’s really admirable! Keep it up, and maybe our travel schedules will cross sometime soon!

  7. Hey Drew, I think this is great and should resonate with a lot of travellers / travel bloggers / digital nomads. Not everyone has a flexible passport mind, but for those of us that do, its frustrating that people will hide behind excuses. I love to try and show people that your everyday man/woman can escape and do it too, you just have to make sacrifices, but you will make them if it means enough to you 🙂
    Travel is more accessible than its ever been and lets hope it stays that way!
    Nice work mate

    1. Thanks Scott! I agree with everything you said! It’s as if you took words out of my mouth. Cheers from Seoul and hopefully our travel schedules will cross sometime soon!

  8. Nice post mate. I’ve been on your site a few times. I also travel the world, writing and working and get people asking me how I can do it and my response is always – you can do it too if you really want. Safe travels. Jonny

  9. As a fellow travel blogger, I totally get the sentiment that people have a choice of making their own career paths. What I don’t agree with in your article is the statement “Since I graduated from college in May 2013, I have been to 23 new countries – essentially FOR FREE.” Unless I am unaware of your business model, you’re not doing all this *for free* – you’re working for it (and possibly damn hard, too!). 🙂

    1. Hi Paul. Yes – I may have exaggerated a bit when I said that. I meant “for free” in the sense that my salary teaching English paid for all of my travels. I thought that most people would catch that! Anyways, thanks for the comment 🙂

  10. Great and inspirational post! Thank you!

    I have lately changed my lifestyle to the direction my heart tells me to. Now I’m a freelance journalist, travel blogger and a tour guide allowing me to work abroad and live basically anywhere in the world. Now I feel like I have found the meaning of life and I enjoy it every day. The life as it should be lived.

    P.S. I love South Korea as well. I was an exchange student there (in Suwon, south of Seoul) four years ago. Amazing people, great food, easy (and cheap) to travel around Asia.


  11. Very true! It is your life and it will be, as you make it to be. If it’s bad, do something about it and change it… if you’re afraid to do it, than its your fault complitely and not others. You are the only one having your life and you should not worry what other things as everyone can do the same, but like you said, some make find it too risky, too scary etc. Keep up the lifestyle you made, it’s great!

  12. After all.. It’s all about making decisions. If you are unhappy with the state of your life (job, for example), instead of complaining how others travel or “live their dreams”, do something! Change doesn’t happen overnight – but if you start planning, saving money, searching for information.. The world is open and offers a lot of opportunities. But person needs to make the decision themselves, not to wait someone else to do it for them. 🙂

    Good post!


    1. Hi Anne – I completely agree that it’s all about making decisions! Nothing is going to magically come to you.. it’s up to YOU to make it happen 🙂 Happy travels!

  13. Great post, and so true. Just found your blog today. Though I disagree with you saying you’re not living the dream. It sounds like you’re living your dream and my dream. I know I feel like I’m living my dream. The Is no “the dream”, everyones Is different. I always respond to people by saying “You can join me, Everyone is invited!” Thats when excuses start pouring out, and I have an amswer for everyone I have heard.
    I applied for my 6 month India visa today. Wanderingstray.com

    1. Thank you for the comment TJ.. But I am absolutely not living my dream. My dream is much bigger than the things I’m doing now. I might be on my way, but nowhere close. Awesome news about the Visa! I just got mine accepted 2 days ago.. I’m heading there in 4 weeks! Cheers

  14. Great post Drew! You hit it all dead on. Travel blogging is a lot of handwork and dedication. And it is not “the dream”– well not in the sense that most people are thinking. I have just stepped my foot in the door of travel blogging and it has been some of the hardest work I have ever done. There have been times that I wanted to give up but I stuck through and just love the path that I am making for myself. I personally think it takes a certain kind of person to do this kind of work.

    1. Thanks for this awesome comment Lexie! Congrats on starting the blog – keep it up! It can only grow from here 🙂 And yes, I agree that it takes a certain person to do this type of work. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *