How Two Years Can Change Your Life

When we made the decision two years ago to sell our stuff and move to Thailand, we weren’t sure what our future would hold. Up until that point in my life, I just assumed I would follow suit to what everyone expected. I had just received a promotion at work and I was on the path to paying off my car and student loans. I even kept an excel sheet, and with my new pay raise, I was able to get at least 1 year ahead of payment schedule.

But I knew eventually that debt would stack back up when the time came to buy a house. Next would come marriage. And then kids. Even still, my future was clear. I thought this was what I always wanted. I guess I never thought there was another option(s). But when we realized that this doesn’t have to be our future and we embarked on this journey, our future suddenly became very fuzzy. And that was a little scary. But it was also exhilarating.

how we make money while traveling the world

We told our family and friends confidently that we had a plan when we got to Thailand. Charlie was going to continue Forex trading and Brittany would find work online. We were going to stop chasing a life where we collect things and instead experience life. We were going to live the simple life in pursuit of a location independent lifestyle. We had it all figured out….or so we thought anyways.

IMG_0044

The truth is, we weren’t all that confident. We didn’t know if we were making the right decision and we were terrified. After multiple going away parties and goodbyes, we kept worrying “what if we end up coming home in two months?” We were terrified of failing.

Putting in my two weeks notice at work was one of the most exciting and one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. I had great paying job with excellent benefits and more paid time off than most Americans could ever hope for. How I could I let this opportunity go?

IMG_5667

A year ago I wrote “It’s amazing what one year outside of the US will teach you“. Here I am in Prague a year later, with our two year anniversary approaching and I’m thinking

Its incredible how much two years can change your life.”

Just two years ago, we were so hopeful that this dream would pan out yet still skeptical that we could make it happen. Here we are, just two years later and living proof that it is possible. We had a shaky first year on the business front that brought along many doubts and even had us considering going back to the grind. But something happened in our second year. We were dumb enough to keep going. We just kept pushing through, spending countless hours in the cafes in Chiang Mai with our heads buried in our laptops. And it paid off.

IMG_2251

Now looking back at that “great job” I was so scared of letting go, I now know with confidence that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. The truth is, it was neatly packaged with all of these wonderful benefits and perks that made it seem really great, but I absolutely dreaded waking up and going to it. Everyday. Monday through Friday. And that is no way to live. Out of the past two years since I anxiously turned in my two weeks notice, I can’t think of a single day I’ve dreaded getting out of bed.

Kuala Lumpur-5

On Aug 28, our two year anniversary since we left on a one-way ticket to Thailand, we will be in Budapest, our 15th country in two years. Since then we have lived in three apartments/houses in Thailand, driven our Honda Forza through remote villages in Laos, filmed a Reality TV show, soared the skies of Langkawi in a paramotor, took a 3rd class train ride in Thailand, survived camping in the wilderness of Colorado, got lost in the Thailand countryside on our motorbike more times than we can count, visited the coffee shops in Amsterdam, viewed a glorious sunset at Angkor Wat, survived a heat wave in the French Alps, climbed over 700 steps up the Eiffel Tower, released lanterns at the largest lantern festival in Thailand and these are just a few of the things that come to mind.

paris

For two people that haven’t reached the age of 30 yet (almost…but not quite!), I feel like we’ve really lived these past two years. We’ve had some major ups and we’ve had some major downs. We’ve taken on the world together, just the two of us. We’ve been through so much together already, and it has helped us grow in so many ways. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and about each other in the way that we travel, in the way that we work and what we really want in life.

IMG_4695

For instance we thought we wanted to be able to continuously hop from country to country, but we now know that we much prefer slow travel. We’d rather spend more time in one country really getting to know the culture and our environment than rushing to up our country count.

We thought we wanted to generate passive income so that we could work less, but the truth is, we work more than we ever have because we actually enjoy it. It gives meaning to our day and we realize living every day as if it were a holiday would get old quick.

IMG_5228

Also, much to my surprise, I’ve learned that I am not the city-life person I always thought I was. In fact, I always dreamt of moving to NYC after I graduated college. But somewhere along the way, I became more infatuated with nature. I came to this realization while kicking back on Lake Bohinj in Slovenia that I would take the lake and mountains over a city any day.

We thought we would always want to live a life on the road but we now know that eventually we want to have a home base. We don’t know where and we don’t know when, but we’re hoping our travels will eventually lead us there.

things to do langkawi

It’s funny because while we have learned a great deal about ourselves and grown in so many ways, there is one thing that remains the same. Our future looks just as fuzzy as it did when we first embarked on this journey two years ago. We still have people asking, “what’s next?” And we wish we had an answer. But the truth is we are still trying to figure it out. What we can tell you is that we will be heading to New Zealand in September, a destination that has been high on our list to visit for a long time so we are extremely excited to finally get to explore it. During part of our time in NZ we will be taking care of a handsome young lad (an English sheepdog) by the name of Rocket so we are sure to have some good adventures together!

After that, we will be heading home to spend the holidays with our family. After spending the last two years in Asia for the holidays, we are overdue for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas. And for those of you that know Brittany, you know she is already counting down the days…

SHARE IT:

Commenting area

  1. ya boyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    way to get out there and do it instead of just talking shit like 99% of people!

    only got one life, live it up!

    see u soon

  2. Loved this post guys and big congrats on hitting the 2 year milestone. So happy for you both.

    Totally agree with you on the whole slow travel thing – it’s the way to go. I find myself itching to unpack my bag and place my toiletries neatly by the bathroom sink here in India!!

    A fuzzy future is somewhat scary, but over the past 2 years, you’ve both learned that you want to settle down somewhere eventually and it’s not going to be a big city cos Brittany prefers the mountains, so that’s a lot of narrowing down done already. And the fact that (just like us) ye have learned that WIFI and good, cheap food is necessary and badminton courts (ha) and a cafe culture are musts, that narrows things down even further. With you guys continuing to learn more, that pic of your future will start to become more focused – little by little 🙂

    Keep rockin’ it guys and looking forward to catching up again on the road 🙂 XX

    • Charlie and Brittany August 30, 2015 at 10:22 am · · Reply

      That is very true, Flor! Badminton courts – DEF a priority!! Haha missing our “games”…love seeing your adventures in India though. Can’t wait til we meet again! 🙂 XOX

  3. Hey guys, even though we are a bit older than you, it is basically the same story. I am a Forex Trader and the wife is just starting to look at online stuff now. The holiday is over after about 6 months. We like to call it a mystery tour because we have no idea where we will be in 6 months time. The fear of failing is always there but then we just remind ourselves of what we left behind. Sure, we miss family and friends and certain things from our home country, but there is just so much else to life and we don’t want to be at a stage of our life where we are either too old to enjoy it or would be wondering ‘what if’. Well done to you both for having the courage to do it at such a young age, and good luck with whatever the future brings you. Cheers.

    • Charlie and Brittany August 30, 2015 at 10:27 am · · Reply

      Couldn’t agree more! Every one says they will do it “someday” but you never know how long you are going to be around or how good your health is going to be when “someday” does come around. Awesome to hear you both made the leap. And thanks for the kind words. Just noticed your website – we are looking forward to following your adventures!

  4. I love reading stories like yours. It’s inspirational. Makes me want to keep plugging away at my travel independent lifestyle. Enjoy your 3rd year!

  5. Great post! My husband and I are on the brink of the world traveling leap, and we’ve hit that “OMG, are we crazy?” point. Always reassuring to hear stories like this and know that other people doubted they could do it, too, but it turned out to be awesome! Thanks!

    • Charlie and Brittany September 21, 2015 at 7:09 am · · Reply

      Congrats to you two for taking the leap! That’s awesome. It really is so worth it. I’ve never heard anyone say they regretted it 😉 Thanks for the comment!

  6. Hey guys.. I have been reading a lot of your stories and those of others who have done similar to yourselves, I am a British ex-pat living in Hamilton New Zealand and saw you were in NZ in September..are you on the north island at all at the moment? Struggling to find my way of making money online and looking for any help or advice from travellers like yourselves.

    Its truly amazing to hear your story of how you started and all you have done! Congratulations on 2 years, keep going! :0)

    Rebecca

    • Charlie and Brittany September 21, 2015 at 7:06 am · · Reply

      Hey Rebecca! Thanks for the message. We actually just arrived to Auckland last night. We will be here for a few days and then picking up a Camper to travel around for two weeks before we start our house sit in the South. I’m not sure of our route yet and if we will be going through Hamilton, but if so it would be cool to meet up and talk about our online ventures 🙂

  7. Exciting to read about your experience, although I’m sure it was frustrating and scary at times! You’ve inspired me to keep at it and chase my dreams and what rings true to me. Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. This is absolutely amazing. You have achieved something that many people dream about, but never take that 1st step. It really would have been unnerving for you to do this, particularly to leave a high paying job. So awesome there is no regrets.

    Well done! 🙂

    ~Carl~

    • Charlie and Brittany October 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm · · Reply

      Thanks so much, Carl! It was definitely scary taking that first step but it paid off in the end 🙂

  9. What an amazing and inspirational read. I’m currently teaching in Chiang Mai but would love to travel more and see the world! I started my blog in August 2015 and while I’m enjoying it, I’d love to make an income online to travel more. Do you have any tips to help me get started? Your blog posts on KL are great! I’m planning a trip there very soon!

    • Charlie and Brittany January 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm · · Reply

      Thanks, Kirstie! That’s awesome you are in Chiang Mai 🙂 Its a great place for getting involved in the “online world”. There are so many meetups, workshops and coworking spaces..its honestly the best place you could be. You would be amazed at the many ways there are to make money online. My biggest advice is to head to some meet-ups and network with the digital nomads and start learning about the many ways you can be a “digital nomad”. You’ll find what works for you and then run with it. There are so many opportunities to learn new skills too. Definitely take advantage!!

  10. This is such an inspiring post! Not sure if I’ll ever be ready to take the leap but so refreshing to read about those brave enough to! Happy travels!

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>