It's always a joy to meet like minded people who have similar ideas and dreams focused on Passion and Freedom. 

I met Nathan of I Dreamed of This at a couchsurfing party 2 years ago. He was not blogging at the time. But I was curious to know how he could afford to relocate to different countries every now and then.  I learned a lot from our short conversation. Little did I know that he would venture into the world of blogging later on and would achieve success and popularity in such a short span of time. 

I reconnected with him recently via email and here are a few thoughts he had on achieving the freedom lifestyle:

Nathan Allen4

What's your version of freedom?

Due to my intense love of travel, freedom to me means being able to pick up and relocate virtually anywhere, at a moment’s notice, and stay indefinitely. I want to be able to live in the moment, and take advantage of good weather or last-minute recommendations from other travellers. It’s not always easy, but it is my goal.

Share your back story.

Interestingly, my path to freedom started with something I love - music. I have played piano, drums, bass, and guitar since I was child. Eventually I started creating and releasing my own music (which at one time shared the top mp3.com charts with Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Q-Tip, and Mad Professor, but that is another story:) It was fun, but eventually I realized it was easier for me to be self sufficient by helping other artists create their own music.

I started a modest recording studio in my home in California, then artists around the state began to come to record with us. Some even came from neighboring states. That, too, was fun…but eventually I grew restless. I wanted to find a way to do my work from anywhere. I left the studio and took a cross-country road trip - formulating a plan for freedom along the way.

Nathan Allen2

What steps did you take to achieve freedom?

This is the hard part. I wasn’t making much money at the studio, but I was so happy to be my own boss, and more or less be working on a schedule that I created. After diving in and trying to take my work online, money was scarce. Actually, at first, it was non-existent. People probably thought I was mad, and I don’t blame them. I just had tremendous faith in the idea - not to mention a strong determination to make it work. I realized it probably wouldn’t make me rich, but knew even then that freedom to travel was all the wealth I needed.

I cut my expenses wayyyy back. This meant re-evaluating what was truly needed to get by in life. I am a very practical person, as those who know me can attest to. Eventually I dialed things in and business began to slowly grow. I limited my travel to places that I always wanted to see, but wouldn’t break the bank.

How long did it take for you to live free?

It probably took at least a year of working very hard before I was even close to being able to generate enough money to be (modestly) location independent. This is why many people can’t get past this stage of the process. They are caught up in the (reasonable) expectation of working X amount of hours, and receiving X amount of pay. I would work longer hours than many of my friends, and for 1/4 of the pay.

However, I always felt like I was building something, and not just spinning my wheels, like it felt when I worked for somebody else. Keep in mind that if one spent this time devoting their energy to something more lucrative than music, they would obviously be much better off financially. I believe the key is doing what you love, and are very good at. I could have sacrificed my happiness for more money long ago, but taking the “happy road” is something I have never regretted.

Don’t buy into the idea that pursuing your own happiness is selfish. I believe you can’t be good for others until you are truly good to yourself.

Today, one year after I finally started my travel blog “I Dreamed Of This”, it’s hard to believe the number of people around the world that have been positively affected by it. Being free to gather inspiration out in the world and share it with my readers has been the most rewarding experience of my life. It all started with one crazy idea - and a lot of determination.

Nathan Allen3

What was the biggest challenge you've faced?

To this day, the biggest challenge I face is generating enough money to achieve my goal of limitless travel (and preparing for the future). Still, I have this seemingly absurd faith that everything will work itself out eventually:) Plus, I’m out here having the time of my life while I’m doing it…

What advice can you give others who want to have the freedom to live life in their own terms?

My advice would be to think this over VERY carefully. This life is certainly not for everybody. Many people get frustrated with their current boss and dream of a life free from that kind of stress. However, once they dive in and realize the insane amount of patience, discipline and motivation that is often involved (not to mention a huge pay cut), they quickly throw in the towel and go back to the 9 to 5, where they find much more security.

Very often what people actually need is a change of position or company, not to try to go from being an employee to an employer. They are very different mindsets, and you have to be a bit crazy to go down the path of being your own boss. Some people don’t realize how much they appreciate having somebody tell them to show up at this time, do this work, and take this pay check. At the end of the work day you can just flip the switch off and enjoy your evening until you wake up and start over again. The line between work and not-work blurs when you have your own business. You’re always “on”, and you have to create all the structure and motivation yourself. I just happen to be one of the crazy ones who thrives on these kinds of challenges and uncertainty.

The bottom line is: If you truly have the mindset of an employer, you will do anything to make it work. Sometimes that means scrapping an idea and starting a new one. It definitely means getting used to failure, and even learning to see a “failure” as just a lesson to learn and grow from. I believe that is how you will see your dreams through.

Nathan Allen1


Want to share your freedom story? Send it to solesisters.weare [at] gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Nathan dreamed of a life full of adventure, wonder, and most importantly, freedom. He was after the "good life" - One that minimized stress and maximized smiles. He began to focus tremendous energy on his passions. With a lot of dedication and a few BIG sacrifices, the life he dreamed has become a reality. He doesn't have much money, but through these experiences, he is a wealthy man. Follow his dreams on his blog.


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