I came back from my Christmas break with a lot of uncertainty. I had a big project just before Christmas that I finished. When I came back, without having time to breathe, I was thrown into another one. So I was quickly put back in a stressful situation and I immediately realized I needed to get out of there. Somehow I thought a two-week break and some time for myself would refresh and prepare me. No.
It was also January in Denmark. Yes, the weather is horrible. That’s a given. But it is also dark – like 6 hours of daylight every day dark. This doesn’t affect me too much. I don’t have seasonality affective disorder, but yes, it was just a bit of a dark time in more than one way.
A friend recommended I read Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity. This was the chicken soup for my soul. Really. Chris is an avid traveler, volunteer, and writer who offers inspiration on how to live an unconventional life. As I read, it felt like flowers that have been inside me since birth finally received some sunlight and water and sprang to life. As I read, I felt more and more energetic and motivated.
In some ways, this book got things moving in a positive direction for me. I knew an unconventional life was right for me. Much of the stress and dismay in my life was due to the fact that I am not cut out for a conventional life. Some people are, and they thrive in a conventional life. More power to them! But not me. And knowing this, knowing that I’m just different, totally changed my perspective. It was empowering.
Originally my plan was to find a job in the city I love: Stockholm. But that was in keeping with the “conventional” life and I knew that even living in a city I love I would have the same issues with life in the corporate world.
The book didn’t offer a specific recipe for figuring out what you want to do. He explains how his internet-based business gives him the income to afford his desired lifestyle. His business is based on processes, which he outsources to give himself more time and freedom to do what he wants. The outsourcing reduces his profitability, but gives him time. For him, a great tradeoff.
This book showed me a different path. At the same time, I started opening my mind to new ideas and started realizing that I really do keep my life very simple. This simplicity allows me much more flexibility than most other people in my situation. I value personal freedom and independence very highly and not having debt and not “owning” anything gives me a lot of freedom.
Every spare minute in January and February was spent thinking about what I read and how I can create my own unconventional life – how I can create my own drum beat and then march to it. It wasn’t long before I came up with my own plan.
Next up: an inspirational video from an entrepreneur/friend of mine, an amazing trip to Prague, and the evolution of my plan.