What a difference two years makes…
This past Sunday marked the two year anniversary of the very first post on Location 180. To think of everything that has happened since I began this journey, completely blows me away.
This past year has easily been the most exciting, fulfilling, and awesome I’ve ever had. However, more importantly, I feel like its just setting the stage for what’s to come. Bigger businesses, more travel, and inspiring more people to pursue a life that they can get excited about.
That said, the goal of this post is two fold. The first is to give a resounding thank you to YOU. If it weren’t for the encouragement that I’ve received from this community over the last two years I wouldn’t be here doing this. I try and say this periodically, but it’s really true. The amount of legit friends I’ve made through this blog continues to blow me away. Who would have thought starting a blog about nothing in particular two years ago would lead me all over the world, and introduce me to hundreds of inspiring people along the way.
So truly, honestly, emphatically, thank you for following along.
The second goal of this post is to look at just how much I’ve accomplished here over the last two years. Personally and professionally I’ve done some pretty cool things. There’s a lot of people who are probably new here that don’t really know the whole backstory, and haven’t seen the transformation. So this is as much for them as it is for me to take a day and look back at the journey I’ve had.
Business and Career
First let’s take a look at the transformation that’s been made for professionally from a cubicle jockey financial analyst to world traveling entrepreneur and consultant.
- Started Location 180 with no concept of what I blog is (see link above)
- Made my first $20 online by selling Source Control in August 2009
- Submitted a remote work proposal to try and get closer to my goals
- Left my job after proposal was denied.
- Started working with Chris Guillebeau as affiliate manager of Unconventional Guides
- Became the first intern for the Tropical MBA with Dan Andrews in SE Asia.
- Started laying the ground work for my future by building up my SEO knowledge through the Tropical MBA program.
- Made my first $1,000 in a day online with the launch of the Empire Building Kit
- Launched my first premium product, Overcoming the Fear of Uncertainty
- Worked from some of the most exotic destinations on Earth
- Started a successful business doing freelance SEO work
- Featured in the book “The Art of Non Conformity”
- Continued growing SEO business, only to slow it down to focus on new ventures
- Launched my first real “niche site” HDRsoftware.com
- Launched my first HDR Photography ebook
- Continued to help grow businesses with the Tropical MBA
- Quietly started lifestyle consulting business to help people pursue a life they’re excited about (more on this soon).
- Created the definitive community for people that want to work from anywhere
- Helping to orchestrate the World Domination Summit and managed affiliates for Travel Hacking Cartel launch
From the business side of things, work is only getting more exciting. Along with that I’m doing more of the stuff that I’m passionate about, and less stuff because I feel like I have to. I can only imagine what the rest of the year is going to bring.
The main motivation behind this whole lifestyle was to get to do more traveling and experience the world from a perspective that just wasn’t possible from my cubicle. The last two years have seen a LOT of that and I know there will only be more in the future. Let’s take a quick look at the cool places that this lifestyle has taken me:
- February 2009: Brazil for Carnival in Rio de Janiero (this is what a post looked like before I realized you could put photos on your blog!). This is the trip that started it all. The one that made me realize just how much needed to change in my life, and that maybe there was a way to make it happen after all.
- Hmmm, yeah that’s about it for 2009!
- Bangkok Thailand: This would become my home base for the first 6 months of 2010. You won’t find a more eclectic, energetic, and exciting city.
- Thai Islands: I spent a lot of time last year experiencing the beauty and party atmosphere of Koh Phi Phi, the incredible rock climbing of Krabi, phenomenal scuba diving in Ko Tao, and literally experienced all that the south of Thailand had to offer.
- Philippines: The month of May led me to Manila, Puerto Galera and Subic Bay where I had a BLAST hanging out with Dan, seeing a country that I really knew very little about, and finally achieving a big goal of mine.
- Bali: In June, Tate came out for a month and we not only experienced Thailand, but we spent a week on the beautiful island of Bali in Indonesia. I’ve never been anywhere with such friendly people, and with scenery so exotic.
- All You Can Jet: It wasn’t long after returning from the states that I was able to hop on Jet Blue’s all you can fly deal and travel all over the States for $500. I finally made it to NYC, Boston and Philadelphia and had an even more incredible time than I’d anticipated. I also made some stops in Austin and San Diego, while throwing in my annual golfing trip to Central Oregon to mix things up.
- Hawaii: Not two weeks after ending the All You Can Jet tour, Tate and I headed out to Hawaii for our good friend’s wedding on Oahu. You can see a small sliver of that trip on the cover of Location Rebel Arsenal.
- Siesta Key, Florida. What do you do when a guy you’ve never met in person before tells you to jump on a flight at the last minute and fly across the country? Well apparently you do as your told – and make some INCREDIBLE contacts along the way. Markus and I now work together on HDR Software and a variety of other cool projects.
- Southern California: How often do you get the chance to stay in one of the most famous houses in LA and make it your office for 4 days? Apparently more often then you’d think. I was personally taught live lessons from Orlando Jones, and I also hopped on the train from LA and spent some time in San Diego with Dan and Ian, while we plotted future world domination.
- SXSW: The longest roadtrip of my life. Of COURSE it’s a good idea to drive 37 hours from Portland to Austin for SxSW. It’s an even better idea to pick up a famous author and stop in Vegas for a few nights on the way back. We’ll leave out the part where we ran out of gas at 1am in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Oregon.
This is just the beginning. As the business grows, the new opportunities grow with it, and where I end this this year and beyond is anyone’s guess.
I think one of the coolest things about this whole adventure, is just how many things I’ve been able to cross off this list over the last 2 years. The bucket list itself is definitely due for an overhaul, some things need to be added, some things need to be cleaned up, but overall it’s done an excellent job of doing exactly what it was created for: holding me accountable for doing all the stuff I’ve always said I wanted to do.
- #1 Hang Glide over Rio De Janiero: This is one of those essential things that every world traveler needs to do at some point. There is absolutely no more beautiful setting to hang glide in the world (that I can imagine) and the whole adventure leading up to this made for a pretty cool story
- #20 Dance in the Rio Carnival Parade: This was one of the coolest cultural experiences I’ve had to date. Everything about this experience was over the top, and marching down the giant Sambadromo is something I won’t soon forget.
- #25 Visit Iguazu Falls: This is hands down the most incredible natural feature I’ve ever seen. You can’t even comprehend the amount of water flowing over hundreds of waterfalls in Iguazu.
- #53 Embarass Myself in Front of a Bunch of People: Well I’ve done this one numerous times over the years, but there was this one time in a bar, that happened right after creating the list. So I’m gonna go with that one.
- #16 Climb a Mountain: This was the first of two very physical accomplishments I’ve had since starting. I climbed the South Sister which is the third highest mountain in Oregon. This was also the start of my video editing career.
- #32 See Dave Matthews at the Gorge Amphitheater: For years I’d wanted to do this, and we made the trip for a couple of the best concerts I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.
- #37 Visit New York City: I’d been trying to make this one happen for years, and to say it lived up to expecations was an understatement. However I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time there to do it justice, so hopefully I can fix that this year.
- #12 Play Guitar for One Hour on a City Street: Thank you to the waiter at a restaurant in Ao Nang for letting me have a 2am jam session. While this one wasn’t really in the same spirit as how I initially pictured this goal, it still counts. Somewhere there’s video of the whole thing, but I think this post has to get to 100 comments before it surfaces.
- #44 Travel for More than 3 Months Straight: I got this one ticked off the day after my birthday early last year.
- #55 Work at a Resort Hotel: Initially I actually wanted to work for a hotel. Well after realizing it’s way cooler to be able to just do my own work from a resort hotel, I decided to call this one good. Whether it was the Hyatt in Austin, the Lebua in Bangkok, or any number of other beachside locales, this one is done.
- #72 Live for a Month on a Tropical Island: I spent nearly two months on tropical islands in the first half of 2010, and definitely got a feel for the lifestyle. I’m sure at some point in the future, there will be plenty more of this.
- #74 Take a flight at the last minute with no preconceived ideas of where I’m going. During the riots in Bangkok I realized unless I wanted to be shut inside for days on end, it’s probably going to be a good idea to go somewhere else. Singapore? Hong Kong? Macau? Manila. Yep, that’s the one. With literally 5 minutes to spare, I made it to the airport before the curfew went into effect in BKK and hopped on a last minute flight to the Philippines.
- # 10 Start a Successful Blog: When I first began I described this as hitting 1,000 RSS subscribers. In the summer of 2010, I hit that number, and realized that while that might qualify as successful, I still have a long ways to go.
- #11 Make a Living Off of My Own Business: I knew the worst case scenario when I left for Thailand was that I’d come back and get a “real job” 6 months later. Quite the opposite happened, I was able to keep working independently and doing some pretty cool stuff in the process. Things are growing everyday.
- #31 Make at Least One Terrifying Decision That Will Get Me Closer to My Goals: This was accomplished multiple times when I left my job, and subsequently moved to Thailand in January 2010.
- #61 Compose At Least One Spectacular HDR Image: When I launched Daily HDR in June of last year, I took a BUNCH of photos. While most sucked, there were definitely a few in there that I qualify as pretty spectacular.
- #66 Make $10/day Average on the Internet: This was a big one for me. When I got to this point in the summer of 2010, I knew I had a chance at keeping the dream alive for at least a little while longer!
- #8 Become Proficient at Adobe Photoshop: While there is still plenty of things I don’t know how to do here, I know enough about the important components for me, that I think my skill level is now hovering around “proficient”
- #78 Finish a Marathon (May 1st, 2011): This is the second major physical accomplishment I’ve had. This is without a doubt the one I was most afraid of and really wasn’t sure I’d be able to complete. Bottom line, I did it, surpassed my goals for it, and now realize just how possible it is to do anything.
When I think back of all I’ve done in two years it gets me excited for a couple things:
- It makes me wonder if this is what I’ve done in the last two years, then how incredible are the NEXT two years going to be?
- It makes me excited and hopeful for those of you looking to do the same thing. Arguably you could say I’d achieved my dream lifestyle in 1 year, or even 6 months. But I now realize how possible this is, not just for me, but for anyone who wants to make it happen. It’s totally doable and I think this is going to be a year of massive change for a lot of people that are ready for something better.
Thanks for being here on this journey. Thanks for letting me take the time to reflect on everything that’s happened at Location 180. Most importantly, thanks for helping to make this community so valuable for so many that are looking for something better.
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