It’s no surprise to me to hear that my latest ideas on life are judged as crazy. They surely are not attuned to a normal life as most Americans know it, and therefore are crazy to about 350M people. Most probably, the ideas I have are also crazy to all the other people on the planet as well, but that’s OK too.
They are crazy. Leaving the country so many people are trying to immigrate into is crazy, traveling for a year non-stop was crazy, becoming a teacher with no previous experience and on a whim was crazy, deciding to become a freelance writer and building an online income to live on is also crazy. I had never had the thought of writing professionally in my entire life. But I need to support what I really want to do in life, and that’s travel.
When I was traveling and bleeding money with absolutely zero income for a year, it hurt me. It went against everything I believed in life. I had always been smart with money and in recent years I was saving more than I was spending on the reg. I racked my brain on any ideas to start saving again while on the road. Writing came to mind, but I didn’t even know where to begin. Yet the seed was planted and I was having fun writing my travel blog, but I didn’t do much with it after having the idea. Instead the random opportunity of teaching English in Colombia came along.
Another unforeseen “career path”. It allowed me to live on a volunteer’s stipend and not spend any of my savings for 6 months while only working about 20 hours a week with the kids. The teaching itself was an unbelievable experience that I would have gladly paid for in retrospect, so I am incredibly thankful that it turned out to be monetarily neutral. An exchange of time for experience. This unique arrangement allowed me the time to ferment the idea of writing into a reality.
I didn’t want to turn my blog into a monetary source, this is for me. A place to get my thoughts out and form abstract thought into coherent (although probably still abstract) ideas, to practice my new craft and to possibly offer a different point of view to people interested in walking a path that is drastically different from most anyone else’s lifestyle. It is a stream of consciousness and I don’t want to have to gear any of it toward pleasing a certain audience or trying to sell something.
So, how else to make money online by writing? I surely am not about to whip-up a novel anytime soon, or possibly ever. I wouldn’t call myself a poet. Theatre and me? HA
After shooting down most of my ideas on avenues in writing that I could take, I decided I would go after the boring stuff, copywriting and editing. Any of you reading these blogs probably have a few editing tips for me as well and are laughing as you read this — it was just an idea. So armed with a rough idea I jumped on a freelance site and spent hours each day writing up job proposals. At first there was nothing, everyone could tell I was a rookie and wanted nothing to do with me. I read some books on copywriting and I can say it was at least effective in landing me a few freelance jobs.
I was so nervous upon getting these jobs that I became physically ill, beyond butterflies. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but now I had to rewrite websites and edit a few papers. All the jobs came at once. Each time I submitted work to the client I would be on pins and needles waiting to hear back from them, fearing a horrible rejection and feeling like a complete and utter failure. However, I am happy to say that each client who has given me a review has been completely satisfied with my work, and some have even requested my services again!
I’m not so sure that writing will be my career, but right now it is my lifeline to an online income which will allow me to travel and make money along the way. Is that a normal desire? Not at all! Can this senseless ramble be of use to you? I think so! The fact of the matter is that I was scared senseless about finding jobs and going into a new field, all I could picture was failure. But I put my head down and taught myself how to do it on the fly. Maybe you aren’t trying to travel endlessly but whatever your goal is, it can be crazy, it can be normal, it can be whatever you want — if it seems impossible it will continue to be so until you just shut up and finally do it. Have a good plan but don’t think too far ahead, if you worry about every possible detail that could go wrong you will be a stressed out mess. Chances are most of those bad things that you are spending all of your brainpower on will never come to fruition.
That wasted brainpower is a terrible casualty that not many people realize the value of. All of that time worrying could have been put toward a much more useful endeavor. Also the seemingly inconsequential thoughts that you spend all of your time thinking on will drastically shape your future. When I was a young kid I spent a lot of time dreaming about traveling the US and then the world. After a decade of dreaming I bought a motorcycle and traveled the entire west coast of the US and from Colorado all the way down to the Florida Keys. These ideas started as simple thoughts, hmm that would be fun. Then after years of baking in the brain, I subconsciously figured out how to make it happen. Likewise with living in many different places. When I was 16 I wanted to live in many different cities for only a short period of time and then move on. Since that time I have lived in Guatemala for 3 months, 2 months in Costa Rica, 9 months in Austin and 6 months in Colombia (+many more months in transit). This simple thought at 16 has turned into a reality. So much so that my current stay in Durango is only being viewed as the next stop in my vagabond mission of ceaseless movement, just another 9 month stint.
So whether your idea is crazy or not, whatever you’re spending your freethinking time on, that’s where you will eventually end up. Please make it useful and don’t spend it on negative ruminations. Plus if you think your ideas are crazy and impossible, here is my latest one: Los Pinche Gringos.
My dear friend Lucas and I have been talking over this idea for about a year now. We want to get some small motorbikes and ride around the entire continent of South America, documenting our travels as we go. Have we ever filmed anything before? No! Have we ever recorded interviews before? No! Do we have any idea what we are doing? No! And none of that matters, what matters is that we want to travel and show all of you up here that life does exist outside of the US and it is beautiful. Follow us on IG @lospinchegringos or give us a like on FB to stay in the loop and as we get this crazy idea on the road.
Now do you feel better about your relatively sane idea?? Get after it!