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What’s This All About?


People said I was crazy.

And for the longest time, I thought they were right.

I distinctly remember the day. It was Monday, 16th of January, 2012. The time was around 6:30 a.m – that perfect moment right after dawn leaves and before the day begins. I sat up in bed and stared at the cold, dreary Buffalo sky. The forecast said it would snow. It did. I looked out the window and saw my car covered in a foot of snow and sighed.

Is this what you want to do for the rest of your life?, I asked myself.

The answer: a resounding no.

I wanted to be on a beach in the Caribbean. I wanted to climb on top of Machu Pichu. I wanted to get lost in a sea of people in India.

I was made to travel the world, not live and die in a dead town where the winter lasted 8 months and summer never came.

I had a good job for a city like Buffalo – industrial engineer – and not a whole lot of student debt (thank you, SUNY Buffalo). I had some savings – just enough to tide by for three months. Not enough. Not nearly enough to do what I planned to do.

Later that evening I called up my best friend Evan (I have tons of stories about Evan – you’ll hear them in due time) and told him about my plan.

“Dude”, he said. “you’re crazy“. Then after a pause, he added, “I want in”.

I grinned. I knew I could count on Evan.

The next morning I set my plan in motion. I walked into my boss’ office and told him I was quitting.

He looked astounded. No one quits jobs. Not in this economy.

“What will you do?”, he asked.

“Travel”, I told him.

(It’s probably way more dramatic in my head).

Truth be told, at that moment, I had no plans, no ideas, no roadmaps.  All I knew was that I wanted to see the world. I thought I’ll figure out the money part later somehow.

I guess this is why everyone said I was crazy.

Three months, when Evan and I were on our last few dollars, I took to hunting online forums for work. I avoided those ‘make money scams’ like the snake poison that they are. Instead, I searched for freelance opportunities. Surely, there was someone willing to pay me for my talents – even if I was sitting halfway across the world in Chiang Mai?

Turns out, there isn’t a whole lot of demand for industrial engineers on freelancing sites.

What there is a demand for is writers, designers, and programmers.

I couldn’t design a square box if I had to, and I knew as much about programming as I knew about the mating habits of deep-sea arthropods.

Writing, well, this was something I could do.

Just string together words on a page. What’s there to it anyway?

Except there’s a lot more to it – at least for the kind of work that actually pays you money.

I stumbled. I stood up. I learned. I moved on. I did everything I could to find freelancing work – any work – that will help me keep my travel deals afloat.

Today, nearly three years after that fateful day, I’m pleased to say that I’ve been on the road for nearly 500 days.

And I’ve managed to build a nice little freelancing practice that helps me keep my travel lifestyle.

I started this blog to share what I learned. Since I’m also a traveler at heart, I also share new and exciting travel and food experiences I believe every traveler must know.

Stick around here to learn from my experiences and build a life of travel. If you’ve ever looked at a map of the world and wondered about all the places worth seeing in the world, this is a place where you’ll find kindred spirits.

Hope to talk to you soon.

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Jay Shelton

 

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