John finally started his new job last week and a few people have asked me whether I'm going to work here in Norway too. Well, the short-term answer is no. I wasn't able to apply for my residency permit until John's was approved last week. I'm now waiting for my appointment to hand in my visa paperwork next week. The current waiting time for family visas could be two months from the date of that appointment. While I believe I could technically start looking under Norway's jobseeker scheme, I'm applying at the moment as the qualified spouse of a skilled worker. I don't know what happens if you do both simultaneously and, quite frankly, I don't want to find out.
Sounds pretty lazy, doesn't it? I should begin this by saying that I don't spend my time sitting around watching daytime television or out shopping. I'm an unemployed workaholic. And right now I'm being completely greedy and protective of my time. If there's one thing I learned on our sabbatical last year, it's that I love the refreshing freedom of that lifestyle. People who know me might have an idea that I am determined to retire by the time I'm 40, or at least make my first million before then. It's not about money, not in the grandiose way some might be thinking. It's about freedom and choice - the ability to spend every moment of my life with my family and friends if I want to. Having the means to travel wherever we want, whenever we want or to get involved in personal projects without having to think about the opportunity costs really appeals to me. I'm not even that big on flashy purchases (ok, I do like cars), just having the option to buy them and pay cash is what I'm after.
So what is this post doing on a travel blog?
Most travellers are pretty passionate people. I see this quality in most of the bloggers out there in the travel and expat community. Many of us are already living this "dream" to some extent. When you hear about someone leaving their hard-earned corporate job after many dedicated years to live cheaply off their savings overseas for awhile, maybe even permanently, you've witnessed a breakthrough event. He (or she) may not consider himself an entrepreneur but he possesses the same thought process that might lead one to riches (both physical and spiritual). It's about being in the minority, not buying into the soul-sucking consumer process that we're conditioned to accept by our governments, our school systems and maybe even our families. I don't want to kill myself slaving away at a job making someone else rich. I don't want to give up 40+ hours a week unless I'm working for the direct benefit of my own family in the long-term. But that's just me.
I'm nowhere near the first person to write about this. In fact, I've been inspired by the writings of people who have risen above the time trap and made themselves super-wealthy by their own initiatives. The reason I'm writing this post is to tell you what I'm doing about it. And I also reason that once I put it out there for public consumption, I pretty much have to act. We're not dirt poor. John's work and our savings afford us a very comfortable lifestlye and I think that's almost the worst thing you can have when you want to do something big. Without hunger or a crappy apartment in a bad neighbourhood, those of us who know how to live simply probably have a little less motivation to act.
Every time I stop by Caz Makepeace's blog, she reminds me of the powers of positive visualization. I know that's just one part of the equation and I've acted on my desires for much of my working life so far. I've always gone for the most entrepreneurial path I could, starting a beverage company with friends in New York several years ago, doing freelance work as an art director when I worked in advertising and constantly reading and updating my skills and knowledge since my undergraduate education finished. I started this blog with John in order to have a project to work on while we were travelling and it has morphed into a business, however, it's a small one and I prefer to keep it as more of an outlet and hobby than a serious money-maker. Our sabbatical year gave us both time to think, to envision what our ideal lives would be like. Now I'd like to take steps towards those goals.
So I plan to use this time over the next couple of months to think, to plan and to learn. I have a few business ideas that John and I toss around in our downtime but nothing solid, certainly nothing I'm ready to move forward with. It's a process, one that I have the luxury of risking my time on only because one of us works full-time. I'd like for us to get away from that, to design our lives and our business so that we don't have to spend our precious time hovering over computers most of the week under fluorescent lights. There's a lot of money out there in this world and not thinking that we - any of us - can get our hands on it if we work smart enough is just silly.
Do you have any big, ambitious plans or dreams? I'd love to hear them!