Slide 3: The dawn of a new era

Rewrite Your Story

For the past few years when people hear my story they exclaim things like, “I wish I could do something like that, but (insert excuse here),” “Wow. You must be rich,” or my personal favorite, “You’re so lucky.” There is no secret to my success as a location independent business owner and world traveler. I made a choice to prioritize the things that I wanted in life so that I could have the life I dreamed of.  It wasn’t easy.  The path has been full of emotional turmoil, family issues, difficult choices, and hard sacrifices. It’s not all fun and games like everyone assumes it is.

When I was 10 years old I had an epiphany. I realized that if I didn’t like something I had two options. I could either do something about it to change it or accept it as is (and quit bitching).  I meet a lot of people and my story comes up quite frequently. I’ve noticed a pattern to how people perceive my life and what I do. Many are often stuck and unhappy with their own lives, but they choose to do nothing about it and accept that they will always be unhappy.  They are attached to their own story of themselves that they become immobilized to change. A reluctance to change is one of the features that define us as humans. We define ourselves by the story we repeat over and over again to ourselves and others.  We accept that our dreams will never come true and we’ll never get that happiness we all deserve. What if we ask ourselves, “What if…” What if I could get a work visa for Australia and live there for a year? What if I changed careers?  What if I sold everything I owned to travel indefinitely? The list goes on and on.  By questioning your current story you’ll begin to lose the limiting belief system you have.

People talk to me about how they plan to follow their dreams in 10-years or so after they’ve done this or that.  It’s like they have to follow the conventional path for a certain period of time before they can breakaway. Here’s the thing though, the longer we let our dreams sit the less power they have on us. Once you make a decision to go for it things start to come togeather to help that dream come true.

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” – The Alchemist

If you choose to stay on the same path, you’ll get more of the same results. Rewrite or change your story and you’ll get a different result. Jumping into the unknown and shaking things up is very scary. We are afraid to fail and it’s okay to feel that way, but don’t let it impede your ability to follow your dreams.  A fear of failure will prevent you from taking action and without action you are immobilized.  Try to reframe failure as neglecting to get up again when you fall.

At various points in our lives we are faced with a decision to either trust in our dreams or to carry on with our stories as is. We can either leave our comfort zone and rewrite our story or we can stay in our comfort zone and let our dreams succumb to a slow painful death.  I always hear people say, “I’d love to do something like that but… I have a family, I have a good job, I’m a single mom, I have a mortgage, I have debt, ect.” Well, I can point you to people who have overcome those obstacles to get what they want out of life.


4 Suitcases

Family on Bikes

From here to Uncertanity

Married with Luggage

Single Parents:

Travels with a Nine Year Old

1 Dad 1 Kid


Man vs Debt

Career Breaks:

Briefcase to Backpack

Almost Fearless

Breakaway Backpacker

Twenty-Something Travel

Otts World

The power lies with you. Only you can make changes in your life. You don’t have to accept how life is right now. It can be different, but you must make that choice to make it be different. It is not going to happen on its own.

Attempt something you’ve never done before or thought was possible. As you make those accomplishments move on to harder assignments. You’ll find that these small shifts will create dramatic results later on down the road. You’ll find that what you thought before was impossible is now possible… your mind will be open to new experiences and opportunities that will eventually change your story.

The moment of breakthrough is when you find yourself changing your story. Realizing that your life is not out of your control due to varying circumstances. You can either choose to let those circumstances rule your life or let them empower you to make better choices.

“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.” – The Alchemist

Have you rewritten your story? Was something unclear or did I leave out some information? Please comment below and join in on the conversation.

Jenny is rebooting her life. She is leaving everything behind to backpack the world as a digital nomad. She doesn’t know when, where, or if she’s coming home.

  • familyonbikes

    EXCELLENT post! You are so right – the life we want won’t just fall in our lap out of the clear blue sky. We have to MAKE it happen.

    We are sooo glad we made the decision to quit our jobs and live our life on bikes traveling the world with our children. All four of us have learned more than we ever could have imagined about ourselves, our world, and the people who populate our globe. It’s a fabulous experience!

    Thanks for including us in your list of family travelers!


    • Jenny

      I think it’s awesome what your family is doing. Not only are you traveling the world, you’re doing it on a bicycle! The things you and your kids will learn on this journey is endless. They will take it with them for the rest of their lives. Kudos for rewriting your story and making it happen!

  • Jaime

    This is an amazing post, full of nothing but the truth! I get the same from some of my friends and other people I have told. Doing something like this is NO EAST FEAT, its hard enough to make the decision but to ACT on it is even harder! I’m taking baby steps to make sure I am able to reach my DREAM and BREAKAWAY! I’m glad we met through twitter and are able to help each other out here in Houston!

    Thanks for including me on your list of Career Breaks!

    • Jenny

      I’m super happy that we met and have become friends. Your right, it isn’t an easy feat. It takes lots of courage and baby steps. Keep asking, “What if…” and taking those steps and you’ll get what you desire! So excited that you leave in 10 MONTHS! I’m so happy and excited for you! I hope that our paths cross on the road, I think we’d have a blast togeather.

      • Jaime

        GIRL, we have to cross paths…lol!!! If our paths did it would be a hot mess!!!! We would have just to much fun!!!!

        • Jenny

          Totally! I know we’ll meet up somewhere. You’d be surprised at how small the backpacking world is. You’ll meet someone in Colombia and then see them walking the streets of Brazil. It’s insane. I was blown away at how many people I met and then ran into again (sometimes a few times)!

  • Audrey

    Congratulations on rewriting your story and making it reflect your values and what you love. My husband and I rewrote our story once when we sold everything in San Francisco and the moved to Prague without jobs. After five years working in Prague, we rewrote our story again at the end of 2006 by selling everything and putting on backpacks to explore the rest of the world. I personally hate the “Oh, you are so lucky!” As if making the decision to live without a lot of what most of our friends took for granted in order to save to travel and create a new life for us was “luck” and not a series of conscious decisions.

    • Jenny

      The whole, “You’re so Lucky” drives me bonkers. Like you said, It’s not luck, it’s a series of conscious decision making. It’s not easy decision making either! Leaving everything behind without a plan is a pretty serious (and scary) commitment! But that is what makes me feel alive… going through these emotions and being happy and content with the choices I make. Living life to the fullest without regrets.

  • Dan Thompson

    Bravo! Well said.

    • Jenny

      Thanks Dan.

  • Loi

    I totally agree with the idea in this post. It’s up to everyone to choose his/her’s way in life. That may involve difficult choices, rough times, higher responsibilities and risk but in the end you’ll know you’ve created and followed your own way. I too started as a student working in different places but over 5 years ago I decided to start my own public relations and communications agency. Today I’m proud to say I have a prosper agency, clients from my country but also from other countries and spare time to do whatever I please – travel included. I did it my way :) Congratulations to you for your decisions and success in life!

    • Jenny

      Your story sounds very similar to mine. Kudos to you for the same reasons… for being true to yourself and following the path you want to follow! Even though the emotions can be hard at times, it’s so worth it because you own what you’ve done. You can’t look back, blame others, or have regret.

  • Betsy Talbot

    Thanks for including Married with Luggage, Jenny. Someone recently asked me if our trip was a midlife crisis (ahem, I’m nowhere NEAR middle age in my mind!), and upon reflection I think we’re fairly safe from this. If you live with change on a frequent basis, there is no need to shake things up at middle age because you’ve been shaking them up all along. I love that Audrey shared the experience of making more than one big life change – this is my third, and I’m looking forward to numbers 4, 5, and 6 as well. Forced change and saying yes to new opportunities has been the best part of my life – even when I didn’t realize it at the time.

    Happy travels!

    • Jenny

      Your welcome Betsy! Your story is very inspirational… I can’t imagine having to wait 3 years to prepare and leave. I have only 5-months notice (less than 4 left) and I’m already going crazy with wanderlust reading all these travel blogs!

      I think that you guys are right… it is good to shake up your life more than one time. Repeat as necessary!

      Looking back at the choices I’ve made in the past… I realize (now) how they’ve led up to this moment right here, and for that I’m extremely proud. Life is good.

  • Amanda Williams

    Awesome post, Jenny. And what you said is so true — we are the only ones who can change the things in our lives that we aren’t happy with. I like the idea of “rewriting your story.” I’m currently trying to figure out how to do that right now!

    • Jenny

      Thanks Amanda! If I can help you rewrite your story in any way, please let me know!

  • spencerspellman

    Beautifully written. What a great post Jenny. I quit my job 2 weeks ago to become a full time travel writer and take to the road and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Yeah it’s not ludicrous money by no means, but that’s not what’s important. It’s about doing what you want and what you love and I’ve found that that is so much more important then anything else I was trying to pursue. Huge props

    • Jenny

      Thanks Spencer, that means a lot coming from you! I’m so happy that you took action on your dream no matter what the outcome is going to be. I’d much rather have happiness and time, than misery, money, and no time. Seems like an easy choice to me, but very hard to implement! Kudos to you for making it happen! Thx for stopping by!

  • Brooks

    Take the power back! It’s so empowering to be on the other side of this decision. Taking action, regardless of how it turns out, would seem to be the true victory. So it doesn’t work out as I’ve planned…when has anything I’ve planned come out right. :) Another great post!

    • Jenny

      Thanks Brooks! It is very empowering once you make a decision. Once you make the decision to do whatever it is you’re going to do, things just start happening to help make it happen. You’re right, taking action is the true victory no matter how it turns out. You will never have any regrets for trying and you never know where it could lead you! Kudos to breaking away!

  • Mary R

    I love how inspirational this post is! Like you, I’ve always believed that we do have control over how we want our life to be, and have tried to make decisions that fit in with my goals of travel and experiencing the world. Good for you for making your goals and dreams come true!

    I’m so looking forward to reading more!

    • Jenny

      Thanks for your kind words Mary! We have complete control over how we want life to be. We must stay true to ourselves and not succumb to the pressures of society. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Janet

    great post! i’m also traveling indefinitely! I’m not sure that I consider this a career break/sabbatical.. because i don’t intend to ever go back to life as ‘normal’ when i’m done. i intend to transform and figure out my next phase.. which involves trying to become location independent and probably a lot more travel. :) i hope to inspire people just by example.

    • Jenny

      Thanks Janet! Glad to see a fellow indefinite traveler. It feels good to be so open-ended as to what direction life is going to go. You are very inspiring. Keep doing what your doing! Great blog btw.

  • Sarah Wu

    Great post, especially the links you provided. I totally agreed with you that a person must make the change or set their mind to it to make the change happen.

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  • Anonymous

    Thanks for including my sites! Your site has come a long way since we last talked! Great writing too. I have never met a single person who regretted their extended travels…never.
    Good luck!

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  • Lorna – the roamantics

    i know this is an older post jenny, but it came back just at the right time for me! :)

  • Audrey

    Great post Jenny, It’s so funny that we all hear the same comments. “I would love to do that but……..” People could not believe we sold our house to go travel the world. Our reply was always, “it’s just a house.”

    • Anonymous

      Yep! When I tell people that I save $5k a year and only work 3 days a week, despite only making an income of around $15k, they are mind-boggled. When they ask how I do it and I reply with “I don’t buy anything I don’t absolutely, positively need.”, they say “Oh.” and look crestfallen. You can’t get something for nothing, though I think that most people assume that that’s exactly what is going on with travel/lifestyle bloggers.

  • Patricia GW

    I love how your enthusiasm comes across so clearly in your writing. There is no excuse; if you want to achieve your desires, you just have to do it!!

    • Jenny

      Thank you for the compliments on my writing! :)

  • Anonymous

    Great article! Although I did notice you left us off your list. Ahem. LOL It’s so true. We are our biggest stumbling blocks. So many people are so blinded by the “obstacle” that’s in front of them to see that the path beyond is wide, long, and clear.

    • Jenny

      I didn’t know about you then! Adding you now…

      • Anonymous

        LOL Ok, you’re forgiven. I’ll go wipe my tears away now. j/k Couldn’t resist teasing you. :)

  • Andrew

    I did this once. I sold my car and quit my job with nothing more than a backpack and a hope for a job and moved to Germany. That was 3.5 years ago. Now I have a job again and a house here. So I got what I set out to do at the time. I think I’m ready for another change soonish. I want to stay in this place, but with a different life. Somehow that is far more scary than attempting something completely new.

  • Anonymous

    Most folks want to have their cake and eat it too, and they think that it’s what we’re doing. They don’t realize that you have to give a little, but you can get a lot. A lot of people are just not willing to give up one slice of their cake so that they can have the rest of it. They want to travel and live a carefree life, but they’re not willing up to give up their house, or their car, or their daily Starbucks. Living this lifestyle takes sacrifice, something which your average American is not willing to do. When I tell people I’m going to France this summer on less than $1000, their eyes pop out of their head and they ask how I’m doing it. When I tell them that I’m doing it by living in an infinitesimally small village and pulling a cart 4km back and forth to deliver groceries from the market the next village over every day, and that I’ll be staying in one place (with the exception of 4 days at my boyfriend’s family reunion near Lyon), they say “Oh, well that’s different.” Of course I’m having to make sacrifices like staying in one place and bartering services in exchange for meals! I couldn’t do this for less than 4x my cost, otherwise!

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