So I just finished packing my backpack for the next half year. I'm booked on a one-way ticket to Miami end of this month - a leap into the life I always wanted to have.
But let me start at the beginning. My name is Chris and I'm a 24 year old German online marketing nut. I've always been into travelling and adventures but could never bring myself to actually abandon all the materialistic crap that was effectively weighing me down.
Crazy shit I've done covers hitchhiking 5000 miles from Toronto to San Diego, living the sweet French life in Bordeaux as a resident and cracking chilly crabs while living in Singapore (before I actually turned vegetarian). However sweet those times were, a major piece of the puzzle always seemed to be missing.
That's when I picked up Tynan's book on living a minimalist life. It fundamentally changed my beliefs from day one (thanks Tynan)! I didn't even finish reading the book before I started throwing stuff out. It all seemed so obvious: I was wearing 10% of my clothes 90% of the time anyway. So why not ditch the remaining stuff and never wonder again what to wear? And so went all the rest: Sunglasses, old laptops, computer games, magazines, shoes, books. To be fair: I could probably still throw out way more stuff but I think it's a good start. I got rid of at least 75% of my things. Oh boy, how it hurt at that time, but I never looked back.
I got a Deuter Futura 28, used the money I got on eBay for my old stuff to get a couple of IceBreaker shirts (best thing I ever owned), and stripped my normal packing list down to the bare minimum. That was end of last year, during my final year at university.
While all my friends went on to get nine-to-five jobs, I decided against it. If I got a shot at my dream life, there's no better time than now. So I became self employed since January 2012, doing online marketing, social media strategy, split testing, etc. After a rough start, it's now going great. I've got an international client base who doesn't give a shit about where I'm located and I'm doing projects for people all over the world.
The best thing is: My girlfriend is cool with it. We decided to do a couple of months in the U.S. this year so she took up an internship at a big company in Chicago and just moved there a few weeks ago. I'm joining her after a quick stop in Miami.
So here I am: Waiting to move into an amazing apartment in one of the best areas of Chicago with a direct view of the Sears Tower, with the girl I love. I'm doing stuff for a living that I'm passionate about and I'm 100% free to plan my day as I like (remember, all my life fits into the 28l backpack).
Was it not for Tynan, I'd probably spend my waking time in a crammed office in Germany, still dreaming about what I could do instead. I owe you, dude. If you happen to be in Chicago, let's share a cup of tea. Thanks for writing that book and the great content on your blog!
No one is going to tell you an easy way to make money
In the beginning days of my gambling thing, it was very easy to make money. The system was basically foolproof and anyone with a credit card could make a good yearly income. I wasn't making money through any sort of skill, I was essentially exploiting a loophole. But here's the thing about loopholes: no one is going to tell you how to do them, especially not someone you don't really know personally. Because if too many people find out about a loophole, it closes. So if you want to make "easy money", you're probably going to have to stumble upon it yourself. If someone IS trying to share a loophole with you (especially aggressively, by email) it's probably a scam like a HYIP or a Forex trading scheme.
Most of the people who were gambling like I was now play poker. You can play poker online or in casinos and make six figures a year. But it's not a loophole, so it's okay to tell everyone. The barrier to entry is a few years of exhaustive practice, thousands of dollars to lose while learning, and the ability to sustain that lifestyle while you struggle to break even.
For posterity, I wanted to document some of the most memorable moments I experienced in 2009. There have been some amazingly wonderful times . . .
Last January, I was blessed to visit my good friends Leigh and Chris in Seattle. I stayed for a few days and brought along Oreo and Buttercup. I ate a HUGE burrito, hung out with a troll, visited Bainbridge Island, visited the grave of Bruce Lee and his son, had a lovely ferry ride, wandered aimlessly through a cubist library, and pretty much took photos of O and B all around the city. More than anything, I enjoyed spending time with Leigh, Chris, and their beautiful daughter Sophia! It was the best trip ever.
In February, my sister made a second attempt at teaching me how to knit. The first time it happened I got really frustrated and tossed it all aside. For whatever reason, something stuck this time around. My first project was a beautiful maroon and beige scarf that I still wear to this day. So far, I've knitted eight scarves, two hats, a bracelet, and half of a throw blanket ever since. It is such relaxing and rewarding way to pass the time. I'll be knitting more in the next year. Here is a photo of the first scarf I ever knitted:
Last February, I visited Atlanta with my friend Chris. We were mainly there to see an Antony and the Johnsons concert, but we decided to make a whole weekend out of it. Of course, I took Oreo and Buttercup along. We visited some fancy malls, and I ate this AMAZING butternut squash dish that I will never forget as long as I live. It was a really wonderful trip. My friend Chris was the best host ever! Here he is being slightly embarrassed having his picture taken with a miniature piano and a rowdy bench:
Simply put, it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. This was one band that did not need a bunch of crazy pyrotechnics and theatrics to put on a beautiful show. They were on tour to support the release of the new album "The Crying Light" and sang most of the songs from it. There was even a cover of Beyonce's hit song "Crazy In Love". I sat in the front row in direct sight of Antony playing the piano. It was so mesmerizing. After the show, my friend Chris and I got to meet Antony. He signed a copy of his CD for me, and I gave him a copy of my album "Seahorses". It was the best concert ever! For sure, I will see them perform again whenever I possibly can.