[F]or the first time in 10 years, I'm a man without a dream.
I came to this realization last month, which was also my 5-year blogiversary (blogging anniversary), and it has thrown me for a loop.
On any given day, for an entire decade, I could close my eyes and envision where I wanted to see myself in X years.
Now when I close my eyes, there's nothing.
How did I get here? And more importantly, what next?
Both are questions I've been pondering lately.
Dream #1 – Take a ‘Round the World Trip
In March 2002, I was part of a massive layoff at CareerBuilder.com. This unceremonious termination became the catalyst for my decision to take a trip around the world.
For the following 5 1/2 years, I worked in the call center of a health insurance company. I found purpose in my work at the time, but always knew it was just a stepping stone toward making my travel dream a reality.
The cool part about taking a trip around the world is how long it lasts. I felt lucky to be living my dream every day for 18 months.
Dream #2 – Achieve Location Independence
By the time I ran out of money in July 2009, I'd already fallen in love with Medellin.
All I could think about was getting to the point where I could support myself from my blogs so I could go back.
As my RTW trip concluded, location independence became my new dream.
After 11 months of living with my parents (thanks again Mom and Dad!) working on the blogs, launching a new travel blogging community, and networking my butt off, I reached the point where I was ready to move back to Medellin.
My leap of faith paid off, and my monthly earnings continued to grow. I reached my goal of averaging $3,000 per month in 2010.
This was the figure I felt I needed to reach to be able to live just about anywhere in the world I wanted.
In 2011, I earned 20% more, which further solidified my ability to live and work wherever I want. My dream had been about ascertaining a certain lifestyle, not bucketloads of cash.
I left Colombia to begin seeing the rest of South America, starting with Ecuador and Peru. In March, I'll be visiting Argentina and Chile for the first time with G Adventures.
Dream #3 – ?
The funny thing about achieving your dreams is how quickly your new reality can become normal.
You may envision where you want to be for years.
You daydream at work. You write about it. You fantasize.
And then when you finally get there, it (hopefully) is as awesome as you imagined. Yet, inevitably, that appreciation for what you've achieved starts to fade with time.
Perhaps it's human nature. Been there, done that, what's next?
I'm exactly where I want to be, and this is not to say I'm not grateful for that, but after 4 years of traveling and living freely, I'm ready for a new challenge.
Of course I want to continue traveling, living abroad, and blogging about it (that's not something I see changing in the near future), but I also want to have a new dream to chase.
I want to have a grand vision again. I want to see myself achieving something awesome when I close my eyes.
Now if I can just figure out what that is.