I Quit The 9 – 5 Grind To Become a Location Independent Digital Nomad, at 40.

Sunrise

My name’s Jeff, friends call me Kraven. I’d like to share an important decision I’ve made, which will either be the best or worst decision of my life.

This decision, I’ve been working towards for over a decade of my 22+ years in the workforce.

 

 

I just resigned a 3+ year stint as Director of Digital Strategy for a local digital agency. I’ve sold almost everything I own, leaving a few small boxes at friend’s house. I gave up a great apartment on the woods I’ve had for years.

You see, I turned 40 this week and am determined to create location independent income streams and time freedom, rather than living a half asleep existence in a bubble of false security.

I am without wife, kids, mortgage, pets, car payments or consumer debt by choice. I’ve saved a good chunk of cash by living simply, watching my daily actions and being impervious to social/societal pressures, conditioning and expectations.

A little over three years ago, I was down to $43 dollars in the bank. Today, I’ve saved enough to maintain my current standard of living in the U.S. and I could sit on my ass for a year having 24/7 fun. Instead, my goal is to create multiple online income streams based on areas I already have a lot of experience in.

I’m not running away, I’m running towards what I want. It’s not escapism, it’s deliberate actions towards a set of predefined goals with a solid plan.

 


This isn’t a break from “real life”, it’s a new framework for existence.


 

Where am I going?

In one week from today, I’ll be on a plane to Goa, India where I’ll stay for a month or two in a hut on the Arabian Sea sipping Chai and falling asleep to the sound of drumming, Psytrance music, crashing waves and blood red sunsets meeting other travelers, locals and hippies. After traveling around other parts of India, I’ll journey through Kathmandu, Nepal over to Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand where I’ll stay for a few more months. I’m traveling alone with only a 50 liter backpack, 14” djembe drum, quick wit, open heart and a funny hat.

In a future post, I’ll share how I got my one way plane ticket for FREE ($26 in fees actually).

 

Why am I doing this?

This is a big question I’ll dive into more fully in future videos and posts. The short version covers three main areas, income, location and time.

Income: I want to work when, where and on what projects I choose. I know from past experience, efforts made today on your own assets can pay off for years to come and keep building upon each other. Whereas with a job, you can’t just take months off to travel because you’ve met a goal or had a good month. You can’t leave at noon if your work for the day is done. You’re stuck trading your time for dollars…. until death. Maybe when you’re 65 you can semi-retire and enjoy life then? I learned from the book 4 hour workweek by Tim Ferris, ways to bypass the deferred life plan.

I feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to pursue hobbies and actually enjoy life. A few limited weekend hours and vacations just don’t cut it. It’s an endless daily grind, which seems pointless.

Location: I’ve lived in apartment complexes in Orlando, FL. for the last 14 years and can’t stand the heat, traffic, endless strip malls and flat terrain. There are however, a few niche communities and festivals I’m a part of, that I’d like to continue doing in the winter months which revolve around tribal drumming, bonfires and artistry.

I feel more comfortable in walkable urban cities close to nature, like Portland, Oregon. Next summer, I plan to spend some time in the Pacific Northwest, hitting up Oregon, Northern California and Washington. After that, who knows.

Time: I want to experience more of the world and live without an alarm clock, thinking about what the next decade of life should look like. It’s all about having the freedom of choice.

 

How can I afford to do this?

I’m not rich. I don’t have a trust fund, or any secret benefactors. I’ve been dead broke many times in the past, while working dozens of dead end jobs. I’ve had negative bank account balances, driven old cars with no A/C that always break down and counted change outside of the gas station to afford a sandwich. Somehow, I’ve avoided turning tricks on the street corner for pocket change.

There is no secret.

 


 I just saved a good chunk of money, learned to live with less and self educated myself with skills there’s a market for.


 

Over the last decade, I’ve built a digital skill set focused on eCommerce and digital strategy with my project eCommerce Warriors, while becoming certified in Google Analytics and Google Adwords. I’ve also owned a unique online retail shop for 7 years (now closed), carrying physical inventory, drop shipping and vending at conventions, while also working a revolving stream of full time jobs. This was at great sacrifice to having friends, relationships and a social life. Finding a way out of this 9 – 5 rat race, matrix like existence was all that mattered.

And now, it’s time to reap the harvest of the seeds which have been sown. (<—- kicks back a Viking horn tankard of Mead.)

 

What’s Next?

This was just a brief introduction of what to expect at Nomad40. In future posts I’ll share my experiences of how I got to this point, how things are progressing and how you can see if this type of lifestyle is for you.

I’m hoping others can learn and benefit from my failures and success. I want to teach other cubicle dwellers, that there are ways out for those who want it bad enough. These ways are not pretty, quick or easy, but they are possible with a bit of planning and daily action.

I’m both scared and excited jumping into the unknown and making such an extreme move, but I believe life is short. I could literally die tomorrow and don’t want to have a life unlived or die with regrets.

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” ~Braveheart

See you on the road!!!! I’d love to hear your comments, questions or feedback.

***Carpe Diem***



46 Comments

  1. Awesome post…I’m looking forward to seeing how I can get 6 free one way tickets in your upcoming blog! Let the adventure begin xoxo

      1. Hi there Jeff! your blog is really inspiring! I don’t even know how i found this blog, but i’m glad i did!
        What are these one way free ticket secrets you’re keeping? haha

        1. Hey Alyssa – thanks for the positive words! At the time, I used Chase Sapphire and United Plus credit cards for all my bills over about 6 months before leaving. This gave me initial card bonuses and the spending (I paid off each month) increased the points. This was about 100,000 points accrued, giving enough for a free flight from the U.S. to India and later on a free flight from Thailand back to the U.S. plus a short domestic flight from Florida to Portland, Oregon before running out of points!

  2. I am so excited for you and most of all, very proud of what you have achieved for yourself. I am sending you lots of love and wish you so much happiness.

  3. Hey, also 40 (actually 41) .. at 40 I quit my job and hiked the PCT and now just back and am debt free and saving to do the same thing, living like a damn monk, but all is good.

  4. Great post! My favorite part was the “How Can I Afford To Do This” section. I’m sure many of us can relate to that, including myself. It serves as great motivation.

    I would become a follower of your blog but you don’t have a subscription signup setup, so that I get notified when new posts are published :) Can you set it up?

    1. Hey Franklin, thanks so much. I thought it was important to add the affordability section. I see many blogs don’t really talk about that part of it so much. Per the subscription, I do a monthly email newsletter of both my original posts, and curated content from other places on the web, which are relevant. It’s not setup at the individual post level, but this page is setup for signup. http://www.nomad40.com/newsletter/

  5. Nice move. I wish you good luck and fun journeys.
    I have been in living and working on my project in Dahab, Egypt for couple of years now.
    Dahab is pretty good place for a digital nomad to settle for a while.

  6. Hi Kraven,
    looking forward to following your adventures.
    I decided the same (after being fired) last October and am now on an open-end trip.
    Wish you all the best in this new phase of your life
    Cheers, Gilles

  7. Please visit Pushkar, Mt. Abu and visit the Dalia Lama in Dharmasala in March when he gives teachings for three weeks. You are already much more evolved than most that travel there, but some things will still shock you. One day I will return. Enjoy your travels, and make friends with locals not just tourists.

  8. “I’m not running away, I’m running towards what I want. It’s not escapism, it’s deliberate actions towards a set of predefined goals with a solid plan.”
    You couldn’t have said it better. I’m looking for something similar… Haven’t found my own path yet but I’ll get there.

  9. Congrats on taking the steps toward freedom! I am interested to see how your plans unfold. My wife and I are working toward a similar freedom. Things are certainly different when you have children. 4 more years for the youngest to get through school, then we should be able to take more concrete action. Best of luck to you!

  10. Hey ,

    Lets catch up in goa…i will take some leaves from my desk job in Mumbai…and would in goa from feb 11 to feb 20. Somewhere in north goa. But would be really kool if we can catch up for some beers !!!

    Positive Vibes
    Sagar

  11. Really enjoying the story so far, it’s great to see someone leaning into life. I hope to do something similar in the near future (my months’ notice was handed in on the 30th). Keep up the quality content.

    -Josh.

    1. Thanks Josh! I would be posting more videos and photos as we speak, but the Internet/WiFi is horrible. Sometimes I can’t even load Gmail. Great job handing in your notice. Don’t look back and keep pushing forward, it’s possible!

  12. Kraven, I’m loving your determination! I’m taking a different path to get to location independence, but I can relate to the feeling of working toward one goal. How exciting that the time has come for you to reap the harvest!

    Btw, I spent a few days in Orlando and hated not being able to walk anywhere.

    1. Thanks so much Deia!

      It takes an iron will to exist in India, for me at least since I don’t do well with heat, bad Internet and digestive issues. Nobody said it would be easy, and I think other locations in SE Asia will be a cakewalk compared with this. I feel like it’s better to die trying then just accept 9 – 5 complacency.

      Ah, yes Orlando. There are a few things I really love about Orlando which seem difficult to get elsewhere, but having to drive everywhere really sucks for sure. I presume you’re taking the path of being a writer?

  13. Great! Although this breaking strategy for traditional life starts to sound kinda boring… Seems that everyone is joining! So I have one key question: please can you give a figure about the savings needed to carry out this plan? 200k? 500k? 2000k?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by. Honestly, it is boring sacrificing in this kind of way. And now that’s I’ve broken away, I work night and day (for a time at least) on a specific product I’m launching. For me it was $30k, with no debt (other than a college loan). Most importantly though, I have 10+ years experience in an industry and worked with clients outside of my job before. It’s different for everywhere, and what you’re used to.

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