Living My Dream
Wrote this back in 2015...and shows off my old logo. :-)
I’m sitting in an airport in Rio Brazil. It’s 5:18am. I’ve just finished my favorite typical Brazilian food, pão de queijo and I’m working my way through an overly heated espresso. On my way here while standing in a security line I entertained myself by reading all of the inspirational quotes scattered through my passport. The obvious American phrases like “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” are in there, but the very last one confirmed what I’m about to write.
“Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds… to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.” – Ellison S. Onizuka
It’s a known fact that I’m a notorious business book nerd. I couldn’t sooner choose a favorite one than pick my favorite star in the sky. But if I were to pick a book that spoke not only to my business but to my personal life as well, it would be Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Workweek.
If you’ve never read this book I highly recommend it for everyone, business owner of not. If for nothing else other than some quick tips on streamlining your life so you’re not wasting it away doing tedious and methodical tasks, it’s worth the read. The premise, however, is about learning to create a business that runs itself so that you can spend your time living life and taking “mini-retirements” rather than working your whole life to enjoy a few free years at the end of it, bored out of your mind and not able to enjoy it like you would have had you done it in your earlier years.
It’s a crazy concept and I think Ferris takes it to an extreme that I’m not quite willing to go because, well, I actually like to work. My work, though stressful and overwhelming at times, is part of my life and not something I wish myself through day-to-day. For those of you that don’t know, I’m not only a wedding photographer, but I’m also an educator and travel around the world speaking at major industry conventions and teaching other photographers and small business owners marketing tips and workflow management among other things. It's fun and truth be told I have a secret love for all things cultural, especially learning other languages.
Ferris’ idea behind mini-retirements, which are typically 3-6 months long, is that you don’t just take an extended vacation, but you choose somewhere in the world to go and work remotely while concentrating on learning something new intellectually and physically. You have the time to really dedicate to your new conquests because you’re not stuck behind a computer all day and you’re bettering yourself as a person and getting to enjoy life outside of the office.
So what does this have to do with me?
Well, after years of preparation I’m going to do this. I’m taking my first mini-retirement. It’s a bit different from what I described above but the premise is the same. My family and I are spending six weeks in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil where I’ll work remotely, get to appear on PhotosTV (in English and Portuguese!) connect (and hopefully mentor) Brazilian photographers and learn to speak Portuguese (I’ve already started!). Holy crap, I’m doing it.
My hope is that I’ll be able to learn a new language and culture that’ll kick my creativity and passion into overdrive. This will be a test mini-retirement that will ideally lead to a yearly one, maybe 8 weeks next time and 10 the time after, in all different parts of the world. My dream is to raise my daughter (and any others to follow!) to share the same love I have for languages, cultures and people while learning that life doesn’t have to be confined to a 9-5 cubicle.
The best part about this is that it doesn’t change my photography business at all since the majority of times I meet with clients is via Skype, and I rarely photograph weddings or engagements during the winter months. In fact, I think this adds to my business as I’ll have a truly unique perspective on capturing life and a vastly cultured creative passion behind it that can’t be matched. Not to mention getting to know so many people around the world will undoubtedly lead to opportunities to photograph destination weddings worldwide. To top it off, thanks to my Brazilian friend Paula, who has a business called Wellcome that gives a personalized service to help travelers get used to a new country and immerse themselves in the culture based on their lifestyle (email her at [email protected] to hear more!), I have a good idea of all the places around where I’m staying and I know that I’m going to adapt rapidly to the culture.
Why am I sharing this with you? Well, because I want to for one. I want to hear the support behind my decision to keep me motivated and I want to hear the negative reactions to it so I know what odds to aim to beat. Most of all, I want to inspire. Inspire you beyond your box, even if that box isn’t a cubicle. Maybe your box is in the shape of fear, or lack of faith or one of a million excuses for not working towards your big goals. I believe when you’re not setting life goals, you’re setting yourself up to run in circles chasing the wind. If nothing else, I hope this inspires at least one person to dream a big dream and find a way to work towards it.