Will I Settle Down? The Third Option

Making decisions is fascinating to me. Once you build a base level of competence, where you can trust that you will follow through with whatever you decide to do, you could say that your life is largely an exercise in decision making.

There’s a concept we’ve all probably heard of, called paralysis of choice, where when given too many options, it becomes difficult to choose one specific one. There’s a gelato place in Las Vegas called Gelatology that has twenty or so new flavors every day. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one or two.

On the other end of the spectrum, I think when our choices are artificially narrowed, we have a tendency to forget that other choices exist.

I get asked a lot if I’m ever going to settle down. Right now I visit maybe twenty or thirty countries per year, plus another five or ten cities within the US. It’s a pace that I find pretty comfortable, but there are downsides to it.

But settling down? One place? If those are the two options, I guess I keep traveling.

Why are those the only two options, though? Who made that rule?

Buying an island with ten friends was a major eye-opener to me. It seemed too good to be true, but then turned out to be even better than expected. Outsiders predicted interpersonal disaster, but it’s strengthened friendships and created new ones. What an amazing model, though: each of us feels as though he has his own private island, yet bears only ten percent of the cost. Plus there’s a community aspect that wouldn’t exist if any one of us owned the thing alone.

So why not do it again and again?

I bought just about the cheapest housing you can buy in Las Vegas and then spent an above-average amount to make it really functional and nice. In San Francisco I have my RV. With those and the island I have three homes that cost me less than $1000 per month combined. Over the next few years I want to buy places in Budapest, Tokyo, and New York. Budapest is cheap enough that I’m shooting to do it within a year, Tokyo is possible now if I buy on the outskirts and split it, but New York will have to wait a bit (though I do have a plan…).

So in the end I’ll have six home bases. In Vegas and San Francisco, the two “mature” home bases, I have really great setups for the things that are important to me. I have a great desk, comfortable ergonomic chair, second monitor, access to healthy food, and everything I need to make top-quality tea. By the summer of 2017 I should have most of that at the island as well.

That gives me a ton of stability. I can work at full capacity at any of my home bases and don’t have to waste time booking accommodations, finding a gym, or finding food. My experience can be consistent across the different home bases, causing no interruption to my routine.

At the same time, it gives me even more freedom and flexibility than pure travel does. Each one provides me with a hub from which to explore a region of the world. San Francisco gives me West Coast, Las Vegas adds in the rest of the US due to extremely cheap flights, New York gives me the east coast, Budapest gives me Europe, and Japan gives me Asia.

I don’t think this is a great solution for everyone, of course. I like organizing things like this and there’s decent overlap in places I love and places where real estate is inexpensive. But that’s the point– you don’t have to choose between the two most common options. You can think about what maximizes the attributes that you value and figure out how to make it a reality. For me that’s six minimal home-bases. For you it could be anything.

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Photo is a path in Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo. I was just there and caught the tail end of the cherry blossoms.

Shout out to Ergo Depot for giving me an awesome huge adjustable desk, chair, and other stuff for my Vegas place. It’s now my favorite place to work that isn’t a cruise ship.

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