Today is my 36th birthday (or at least it was when I wrote this!)
When I started this blog I was…
*Doing the math….*
*Still doing the math…*
To think that I’d still be doing this full-time TWELVE years later is still one of the great surprises, and joys, of my life.
I started Location Rebel on May 9th, 2009 as a way to instigate change in my life.
I was in a job I wasn’t happy with, I wanted to travel the world, and I wanted the free time to explore the far too many hobbies I’d taken up in life.
Less than a year later, that dream became a reality.
I figured that I’d take this adventure to Thailand, burn through all my money, come back, and get another day job. But I was convinced that the stories and the adventure would be worth it.
Well, here we are in 2021 and the stories have piled up higher than I ever expected.
But this year feels different than all the rest.
I can count on one hand the number of months between 2009 and 2019 that I didn’t get on an airplane.
Literally. I think there were only 5 months during that span I didn’t get on a plane.
Right now, we’re sitting at 13 months and counting without getting on an airplane.
In that time, my wife Tate got pregnant after 3 years of trying.
This past January, she gave birth to our baby girl Elliot, who is now celebrating her three-month birthday.
Here’s my advice for new parents looking to start an online business:
In a year’s time, my entire identity shifted rather unexpectedly.
Sure, I still wrote about entrepreneurship and shot videos aimed at helping you build your new thing.
But it’s felt different.
Not better, not worse. Just different.
Being a dad is one of the most amazing experiences I could ask for. Seeing Elliot grow, learn, and begin to show emotions other than you know, screaming, has been wonderful – and I know it’s only going to continue.
But between being a dad, and living in a pandemic – so many of the things that I loved about my life have been put on hold.
Making stupid travel mistakes that, while inconvenient and humiliating, make for the best stories…
Working from coffee shops and airline lounges…
Having new and novel experiences nearly every day…
Seeing friends and family, without worrying whether one of them will get me sick…
And if I’m being honest, being responsible for nobody but myself…
I love my life and I love my daughter.
But I knew there would be some growing pains as I adjusted to this.
It’s easy to think because I work for myself and have so much freedom and flexibility, that it would make the transition to parenthood easier.
Rather, I’ve found it’s the opposite. Because for the last ten years I’ve had so much freedom to do whatever I choose, losing it can be disorienting.
As I sit here, 3 hours away from officially ticking over from the age of 35 to 36, these are all the things I’m thinking about.
What’s exciting to me, is that there are glimmers of hope for returning to an altered version of my “normal” life.
We have our first vaccine shot. The world seems as though it’s beginning to open back up.
Elliot, Tate, and I are hitting our stride and finding routines that work for us, and that allow us to both be individuals and parents.
There may even be some trips by the time the year is done.
As I sit here in a very reflective and nostalgic state, I can’t help but feel one thing more than any other: immense gratitude.
Years ago when I left my job, I had no idea what would come of it.
I certainly didn’t think this level of freedom and financial success was in the cards.
Yet here we are.
12 years later.
2 successful businesses, and a third that’s off to a great start.
Every year since 2009, I think about how the year went. Was it a good year? A bad year? Better than the rest?
And between 2010 and 2019, every year felt like the best year of my life. (It took a lot of thinking to come up with 2015 as the one I think was the actual best.) However with all stories, adventures, experiences, and people – every year exceeded my expectations.
And it was far better for me than most. Although that doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult, sad, and at times quite tedious.
2021 has brought new challenges, but despite those challenges, being a dad has made all of the tedium so much better.
In the past on birthdays or momentous moments in my life, I’ve done something like “27 Lessons Learned in 27 years.”
Well now I’m old(er), and 36 feels like a lot too many…
So instead I’m going to share the 7 reminders I wrote to myself on January 1st, 5 days before Elliot was born.
I’ve looked back on them often, and I think they’re very relevant for any parent who is looking to pursue an online business, but frankly, I think they hold true for anyone looking to make a change and do something on their own.
- From here on out life will always be less convenient. Don’t let that stop you from doing things.
- You’ll always feel better about doing something creative than you will about doing nothing. Even if it sucks.
- You will get in your own way. Plan ahead as much as possible to make things easier for future Sean to make progress.
- Your time will become more fragmented. Learn to do more in less time.
- A walk outside can solve a lot of problems.
- YouTube has more potential than you realize, keep it up, even when you feel like it’s pleateau’d. Same goes for blogging.
- Deliberate action on something is better than wish-washing and doing nothing.
While the last three months have been a challenge as far as work goes, I feel like we’ve figured some things out that will allow me to be creative, and begin pushing out some content and projects I’ve been excited about for a long time.
Over the years I’ve had a habit of making big statements about changes or things to come with Location Rebel, before I had a plan for following through in place.
I won’t do that this time. I’ll simply say, I’m excited about where we’re at here and with what’s to come.
I’m excited to try and be more open and bring back some of the personal content that is what grew this blog in the first place. Most importantly, I’m excited to help you build a business similar to the ones that have been so fulfilling in my life.
If 10 years ago in 2011 you asked me if I’d still be doing this in 2021? I’d have said you’re crazy.
But as I’ve learned, sometimes all you need is a little bit of crazy to do things you never quite thought possible.
While we’re on the nostalgia train, here are a few previous birthday posts:
- 2010: Democracy, Tear Gas, and a New Guitar – When I was living in Bangkok in 2010 I decided to buy myself a cheap guitar (which I still have!). I got tear-gassed in the process of getting it.
- 2012: 27 Things I’ve Learned About Life in 27 Years – It’s nice to re-read this and feel like so many of these still hold up 9 years later.
- 2014: A House, an Engagement, and a Huge Kick in the Ass – In many ways, my life right now feels similar to this period of time
- 2015: 30 Things I’ve Learned About Life and Business in Each of My 30 Years – One lesson a year.
- 2016: How to Get Anything You Want in Life – This coincided with my 31 day, daily vlog experiment as well.
- 2019: Digital Nomad for a Decade: 33 Lessons Learned About Life and Business – This was originally a birthday post that I updated to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the blog.
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