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Taking the plunge

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by buuuurps, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. buuuurps

    buuuurps
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    I've been re-reading some of the older Philalawyer posts, and his sardonic way of outlining how so many people spend large parts of their life doing work they essentially hate, only to be able to buy shit they don't need, never fails to strike a cord with me. Half an hour in, and I'm all fightclubbed-up, ready to defy society's norms, cut strings with my bullshit day-to-day obligations and take off on the road less travelled (whatever that is). Of course, not much later, I find myself preparing for the German equivalent of the bar examn, wondering why it's already 2pm and where all that learning time went.

    The truth is, most of us don't just suddenly ditch our regular lifes and take off to become [a diving instructor on Bali / a trekking guide through the jungles of Thailand / a big game hunter in Africa / etc], either for financial reasons, or for fear of the unknown, or because we're really not all that unhappy with our current lives. Most find the idea appealing, though, and sometimes ponder what life would be like if they took the leap. Some may have long holidays or a sabbatical or - not quite as nice - a period of unemployment coming up, and consider giving a try to an alternative lifestyle. That's what this thread is about.

    Focus: If you had one free year ahead of yourself, and sufficient funds for whatever endeavour you wanted to make, how would you spend that time? Suppose you didn't have to worry about what this would look like on your C.V. if you wanted to return to your regular job afterwards.
     
  2. Crazy Wolf

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    Travel the world, going to the shittiest places, learn how to improve them, and start doing it. Need help to stop janjaweed raids/ set up a government that isn't trying to exterminate you? I'd want to do it. Tired of your next-door neighbors burning down your lawn and raping your children? Let's see what could be done with the sufficient funds. Hopefully while also getting in shape that'd put a SEAL to shame.
     
  3. Dcc001

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    I actually did this.

    I spent 2006-2007 working two jobs, about 70 hours per week, so that I could save up and go everywhere. My family had lived all over when I was a kid, but I'd never ventured anywhere on my own.

    The trip began Dec. 17, 2007 and ended Nov. 17, 2008 (the exact dates were purely coincidental). I left Canada heading east and came back home from the west. I volunteered in sub-Sahara Africa for six months in a rural community teaching kids, then I backpacked through Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The plan was to see Australia and South America, too, but due to illness and being fed up of travelling I cut it short.

    Far too much happened for me to go into in one post. Suffice to say that the year was the defining moment thus far in me becoming an adult. I did write a few lists, which give a fair overview of the bones of the journey:

    Things I Would Never Have Learned If I Hadn't Travelled:
    - You ALWAYS get there, no matter how fucked up it gets
    - NGOs are not helping the problem
    - Never give money to beggars because it only makes aid work and development work more difficult
    - Camels pee immediately after they stop walking on a long journey
    - There are SO MANY good people in the world
    - The most helpful people almost never speak English
    - People will be unable to communicate in English in the oddest places
    - I dislike Jackfruit (fene)
    - I am allergic to Quinine
    - Never use a round-the-world ticket
    - Gatwick is the worst airport in the world. LAX is the worst in North America
    - Sarongs are the most useful thing to pack
    - You can only buy good luggage in Canada (six different suitcases later)
    - Frankfurt has the biggest pigeons ever
    - Always carry toilet paper or Kleenex

    In Summation:
    35 Flights
    12 Trains
    4 Ferries
    3 Rental cars
    1 Near death experience
    0 Stuff Stolen
    17 Countries
    = 1 Round-the-world trip
     
  4. falconjets

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    I'm still young, naive and ambitious so if I had a year I think I'd want to go out to Ethiopia, run as much as I can and in my free time help out with the poverty there.

    I watched a CNN or BBC preview of the Berlin marathon that followed Haile Gebrselassie, current WR holder in the marathon, and it showed where he grew up and what the area looks like today. The people there still live in huts, and if I came and brought a computer or tv to them they would have no idea what it was. I think I would learn a lot from living there about priorities and what is important in life, as well as having free time to train a lot. The helping out there goes without saying so I don't think I need to go into that.
     
  5. amyjrn23

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    As you might be able to tell from my signature line I am an obstetrics nurse. 10% of term babies need some sort of basic resuscitation (NRP if you want to google it) when delivered in order to survive. I have read several articles over the past few years about medical mission trips in Asian and African countries where nurses and midwives would go to these remote villages and teach the village/tribal lay midwifes basic infant resuscitation skills, provide ambu bags, and infant suctioning devices. For the sake of research they go back a few years later and see how well their infant morbidity and mortality rates are. If I had a year off, I would go birth some babies in a rice field.

    edit:probably learn a lot too since you would get to see things that would never happen in an American hospital.
     
  6. numeric

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    I'd buy an old pickup truck (something functional, but I could walk away from if it gets fucked up) and drive around. The goal would be to circle the U.S., and stop at all those little towns and museums and parks and such that look so interesting when you pass them, but you're on a tight schedule and don't have the time to stop, so you don't. Take along a sleeping bag, camp stove, acoustic guitar, laptop, and digital camera. Spare jerry can of gas. Live on diner food and bad coffee.

    The trick would be to move with the seasons; north in the spring and summer, south and southwest in the fall and winter on the west coast.
     
  7. james

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    I addressed this question a little over two years ago. I decided to leave my grown-up job(insurance broker in Los Angeles) and become a scuba instructor. I moved to Key Largo, logged a lot of dives, taught a lot of students, and also got my captain's license. I recently relocated to Kauai, where I plan to spend a couple of years and then move somewhere else tropical to dive some more.

    The money isn't great, I work long days, but I love every minute of it. It's hard to picture getting a real job again, I hope I don't have to.
     
  8. Rising Sun

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    I have always wanted to play guitar, and about 2 1/2 years ago I took the plunge and bought a Jackson V. I have been practicing on a pretty regular basis since then, and took lessons for about a year.

    Problem is that I'm just not that good. I mean, I'm very happy with my progress, but I have plateued as a player and am at the point where I have to become a student of music to progress any further. I would love to hunker down and learn theory, play to a metronome, master hard technique blah blah blah but the fact is that I just don't have the time. I have a hard time enough just keeping my weightlifting schedule together, with working full time and whatnot.

    If I had a year, I would spend every day trying to master guitar. I want to get it DOWN. No matter what.

    And then I would release a demo of my music. I don't give a shit if no one cares about it.
     
  9. TPapp

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    I always knew the typical 9 to 5 career wasn't for me. I spent a few years avoiding typical jobs but then thought to myself, why not get an investment banking job and retire with a good amount of money when I'm 40? So I pursued that education until I realized I would hate it. I had an epiphany, if you could call it that, and realized I couldn't defer my dream until I was that age. So now I am working towards living my dream in 2011 and beyond and sustaining a life that doesn't require a 9 to 5 career because fuck retiring at 65.

    Focus: If I had the money I would base myself in Amsterdam and race the European Supersport Championship. This combines my desire to live in Western Europe and race motorcycles.
     
  10. thegoodlife

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    A friend of mine and I had a similar discussion just a few days ago. I would love to travel the entire world, but I think if I had a year off and sufficient funds, I would have to explore the United States and Canada (sorry Mexico). I would probably start in the north and just head south from there. I love the outdoors, so I would spend as much time as possible exploring, climbing, hiking, etc. Rather than planning out the whole trip ahead of time (like that would pan out anyways), I would just roll with it as I go. Unfortunately, I don't think that is going to happen any time soon, but maybe one day... At least for now I have the pleasure of working outdoors and doing what I love.
     
  11. Blackbeard

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    My dream sadly sounds a lot like the plot to "Cutaway". I would love to go from Dropzone to Dropzone around the world. Party with cool people and jump the shit out of every possible plane, helicopter, glider... basically anything that would get me to 3000' AGL.

    One of my skydiving buddies is currently living this dream. He somehow managed to get Redbull and Nissan to foot his bill. He is currently jumping in Sevilla, Spain. He's also had trips around the rest of Europe, Russia and the UAE. South and North America is next on his list.

    He owns absolutely nothing but his various jumpsuits, skydiving rigs, his (quite expensive) HD camera and some clothes he got as freebies from sponsors, or at boogies. And he is also the happiest man I know.
     
  12. the antihero

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    I would spend that time in New Jersey. Seriously.

    I had the pleasure (and pain) of training at DeFranco's gym in NJ this summer. It was a 2 hour commute each way and cost me $150 a week to train there. www.defrancostraining.com watch the preview video to see what I am speaking about.

    EVERY FUCKING DAY there came a point into the work out where I reached a threshold. At that point I had to make a decision of how strong my mind was going to be. Would I keep pushing or quit. Having a few other pro and college athletes screaming in my grill that I will pushing out that last motherfucking rep or I would die under the bar makes that choice pretty easy. The transformation I went through in just a month of training there was incredible. It's like the fight club quote 'At first his ass was cookie dough but after a few weeks at the fight club he was a man carved of wood'.

    Training there everyday for a year would make me so much closer to realizing my athletic potential.

    Along with that I want to continue to train wrestling, boxing, and jiu jitsu every week.

    At the end of the year I would have my first professional MMA fight.
     
  13. DrFrylock

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    I have a very satisfying life overall. I have known exactly what I wanted to do since I was very young (like 5 years old) and it is something I can get paid pretty well for doing. I do it for a living now, and it makes me very happy. Although I was pretty obsessive about it during my youth, I've expanded my horizons since, and so I do other personally and professionally-fulfilling things too: writing, being a faux-lawyer, playing the guitar...

    As satisfying as my life may be, I'd still relish a consequence-free year off. It would have to be a true year off from all obligation, though. I actually have the funds and the credentials to take a full year off and come back without worrying about a job, but I also have, for example, elderly relatives to take care of and a pretty awesome girlfriend who I'd be an idiot to lose. These things, more than anything, bind me to my current life.

    So what would I do? I'd go for a walk. I would either start on the Northern border of the U.S., somewhere on the West Coast up by Vancouver, and then I'd walk down to San Diego. Or maybe South to North; I guess it would depend on the weather (although on the West Coast, you never get much more than rain). It would not be a race - I'd stop wherever interested me and tool around until I decided to move on. It would not be a hike in the woods, either - the point would be to enjoy the civilization - the cities, the suburbs, the little towns. Plenty of nature in between.

    This appeals to me for a number of reasons.

    First, I spend far too much time indoors as it is, as there is where my obligations are. Being primarily outdoors is a treat that becomes possible precisely when I'm shirking my obligations, so there's a little excitement there. It would also be a nice way to really get in shape without doing so in a way that's mind-numbingly boring like spending time in a gym.

    Second, I'm a terrible introvert. Something like a 9/10 or a 10/10 on the Myers-Briggs test. I would have grown up to be an utter neckbearded social retard if it weren't for some good (but firm) parenting and a habit of self-examination. The lingering symptom is that spending long periods of time with other people, even ones I know well, is draining, and spending time alone recharges me. A solo cross-country walk with intermittent stops would strike a nice balance.

    Third, and most importantly, it would be an extended opportunity to be somebody else for a while, away from anyone who would possibly find out.

    My day-to-day life is really good, and it's that way because I've deliberately designed it to be that way. I calibrate how I act with and around other people by how they react and what the consequences are for me. I also set and follow patterns that help people I know and interact with set expectations about me. I enjoy being perceived as reliable, practical, empathetic, and so on.

    Some of you will claim that I'm somehow being disingenuous, or "not myself," but this really isn't the case. It's me, it's just me tailored to living in my social world. For example, there's still a neckbearded social retard living inside me. I could probably talk animatedly for hours and hours about my favorite Star Trek: TNG episodes or great WoW raiding stories. But I don't. Ever. If I end up in such a conversation in mixed company, I'll change the topic long before the non-neckbeards' eyes start glazing over. I'm fighting my instincts a little bit when I do this, but it should be pretty obvious to anyone who's even marginally well-adjusted that these are good instincts to suppress.

    Every once in a while, though, I wonder what it would be like to go to some kind of huge nerd gathering and just let it all out for a while, for the first time ever. Like a huge nerd-gasm, where all social conventions were tossed to the wind. I think the ideal event for this would be PAX (the Penny-Arcade Expo).

    On the other extreme, I'd like to go to something like Burning Man, which seems to be a giant socially-unconstrained festival for extroverts and attention whores. This is basically the complete opposite of me (inhibitions or not), but the thought of being able to "act out" and pretend to be a huge extrovert for a week with nobody I know in real life ever finding out about it is a little thrilling. This would be effort-ful for me, though, but also a learning experience.

    I have purposefully pretended to be an extrovert a couple of times, mostly on things like business trips when I'm far away from anyone I will ever see again. It's weird, but it's sort of a rush. It's the feeling you get between the time you are going to ask somebody out for the first time, and the time you actually do it. The results have been (almost) uniformly disastrous, but I think that's because of 1) the inherent risk in "putting myself out there," 2) inexperience, and 3) the fact that others can tell that I'm inherently a social 'tard. Ah, well, whatever doesn't kill you...

    From what I have read, in situations like this where inhibitions are a problem, excessive alcohol consumption is supposed to help. I tried this once, but ended up just being normally inhibited with the only noticeable effect being involuntary loss of volume control. Perhaps I didn't drink quite enough? I was deliberately trying to get hammered, and given that I never drink I didn't think this would be very hard, but I guess it is (or it doesn't work for me). Another experiment to try on my year off.

    The reason I can't just go and do these things normally is because they break the expectations everybody has for me. I have noticed that whenever I do anything that even SEEMS to violate these expectations, nobody around me can ever let me live it down. People are real pains in the ass about it. "OOH OOH A CHINK IN THE ARMOR! LET'S POKE IT!" I hate that shit. The price of consistency, I guess, is eternal vigilance.
     
  14. buuuurps

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    For me, the scenario of having a large chunk of free time at my disposal is actually going to become a reality, once I finish my studies next year (not the 'unlimited funds' part though, unfortunately). As many others have pointed out, I, too, plan on travelling the world a lot. I have actually done plenty of travelling in my lifetime already, but much of that was as a child, in the company of my mother, and a very touristic way of travelling. After my studies, I would hope to travel either alone or with my girlfriend, stay in some places for months at a time, really try to get to know the people there (not just the hotel personell), pick up a job if that's possible and basically try to experience what it would be like to live/work in a number of places that fascinate me. Part of this desire to travel is due to the obvious reasons, i.e. its simply interesting to get to know new people/places, it broadens your horizon, etc. The other part is that I really am not too happy with where I currently live, particularly the climate. I simply love the summer and, quite frankly, could do without the other three seasons. 85 degrees Fahrenheit at night? Doesn't bother me in the least, I won't even turn on the a/c. But in between 23 and 50 Fahrenheit during the day? Now there's a thing that pisses me off. It may not seem like that big a deal, but when the weather during two thirds of the year is bad enough to make you not even want to look out the window, much less do anything active outdoors, that actually impacts your quality of life quite severely.

    One other thing I will definitely be doing is spend a couple of weeks / months in a buddhist monastery. Yep, I said it, and I'm not even kidding. I have been fascinated with buddhism for as long as I've known about it, started reading about the subject, practicing meditation, etc. Unfortunately, there isn't exactly a very big buddhist community / tradition in Germany -- it just stems from a completely different cultural background and isn't too well-established over here. I think spending time in a buddhist monastery, for me, would be kind of like spending time in defrancostraining for the antihero: You can, of course, practice [meditation / physical workout] at home, but its infinetly more effective, rewarding and motivating to do so in an environment that is actually built for that very purpose, with like-minded people around you.
     
  15. bucketheader

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    I don't need to travel off the beaten path. I chose the beaten path at 18 and don't know any other route. I chose to study music and to play guitar professionally for a living-- I'm graduating college this year and we'll see if I can put up or shut up. I'm actively working towards my (temporary) dream job-- playing on cruise lines. Get paid to travel the world and play guitar, get challenged and meet great musicians? Sign me the fuck up.

    I'm surprised more people don't do something they actually want to do right off the bat. I had the same constant pressure from my parents to do something reliable.. and I said "nah" every time for about 4 years... if I somehow fail, and keep failing, and fail at this for years and years then maybe I'll consider giving it up and working towards something "normal." But it doesn't seem fucking likely-- I practice 2-3 hours a day while in classes full time... there's always fucking time I don't care who you are or how busy you are. THERE IS ALWAYS TIME TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

    How "normal" is it to spend 40-60 hours a week doing something you don't give a shit about? Being complacent isn't good enough.
     
  16. Crown Royal

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    I would without a doubt take a true tour of duty around the world. That would include:

    -Go back to Amsterdam for a month. Truthfully I could live in that city, but my home is here.

    -Go wherever in the 'States that Christian cult compound's infamous "Touchdown Jesus" statue is. I have to have a picture of me hurling a pass at him before I die, because it's the most hilarious looking thing in the universe.

    -Learn to ride a Harley, and go to Arizona and the Black Hills.

    -Whistler/Blackcomb for the Winter. It's the John Shaft of Ski towns.

    -Ibiza. It's the one place I've truly desired to see and haven't.
     
  17. Primer

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    I am in the same boat but with the bass. If I had a solid year, without any distractions, I would play that for eight to ten hours every day. I'm already playing a good hour plus a day if I can squeeze in the time but being able to go and learn every aspect of music with school would be the biggest help I could ask for. I would also start a band, with others who are like-minded as I am (IE: playing for hours upon hours) and creating the ultimate band ever and then rocking the planet off it's nuts.

    Fuck yeah.
     
  18. Omegaham

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    I would learn how to draw.

    For a long time, I looked at people who could just doodle on a napkin and make something cool and said, "That's just innate talent there. I could never be like that." Later, I found out that they could do that because they had spent their entire lives doodling, figuring out what worked and didn't work. I want to do better than stick figures. I want to be able to sit down with a piece of nice paper and a pencil and make a drawing that looks like a person. Or a car. Or anything. That skill is just amazing to have.
     
  19. Misanthropic

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    I would canoe the Delaware and Hudson Rivers.

    I realize that, as scenic rivers go, these are pedestrian. But I've spent my life around these rivers, and canoed, rafted, floated down portions of them, and there are amazing sections of both rivers. I've lately had a desire to complete the connections between the points I've seen, and the points I haven't, and to see the stretches of river that I typically drive along, or over, from a different point of view.
     
  20. MisterMiracle

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    I'd learn a new craft. Something like being an apprentice for a shoe cobbler or a blacksmith. Perhaps learn how to make cabinets or fine carpentry. Mostly I'd like to learn a new set of skills that are pretty much useless to society but great for your soul.