For Christmas, Mrs. T got a scratch map for me. I was quite ecstatic about this gift because I've always wanted a map to mark off countries that I have visited. I have wanted a map like this since my early 20's.
"You can decide if you want to scratch off countries that you have been, or countries that we have been together." Mrs. T mentioned this when we were discussing where to hang the map.
I have been very fortunate to have traveled to many countries (19) so far in my life, so has Mrs. T (23). However, we actually haven't traveled to that many countries together. After thinking for a few days, I decided to scratch off countries that we have been together. This made the list a lot smaller, to only Denmark, Sweden, Taiwan, Canada, USA, and Italy. As you can see, the world map is barely scratched... 🙁
The scratch map will hang on our wall as a reminder that Mrs. T and I would like to travel and explore the world even more.
I have been reading Jeremy and Winnie at Go Curry Cracker for a while now. They are truly inspirational to me as they have been able to travel around the world, live in different countries, and learn about the local cultures. They are doing this by living off of their passive income. I really think that being able to immerse themselves deep into the culture and meet locals is the best way to see the world. There are just so many things that we can't learn by reading books alone. I'm a true believer that the more we travel, the better human being we will become. We will be more acceptable and more tolerant to others who are different than us, we will be more appreciative of the differences in the world, and more importantly, we will value these differences. People who are ignorant, racist, sexist, and homophobic are just people that have their heads stuck in their rear ends and they continue to live in their comfortable tiny little boxes. If people travel more and and learn about the differences in the world, I believe we would have less hate and more peace.
How does traveling and exploring the world has anything to do with financial independence?
To me, financial independence means having more options and having more freedom. Achieving financial independence means that I'm no longer tied to my job for the sake of earning active income. I don't need to worry about getting let go all of a sudden and can't provide income to the family. I am the one to truly decide whether I want to work or not, and what I want to do. When we are financially independent, I can decide to work as a volunteer in the hospital to help those in need; I can decide to work as a wedding photographer; I can decide to work as a handyman; I can decide to work as a writer; I can decide to work as a ski bum. The options are limitless. Furthermore, none of these options would tie me down to a specific location. I can travel and explore the world and "work" in the visiting country as I wish (legally of course). Mrs. T can also decide what she wants to do while we visit different countries as well.
Why limit your options and freedom by not investing in your future and instead buying unnecessary luxury items, besting your neighbors, or getting into consumer debt?
I love my job right now, but my job and responsibilities may change over time. My definition of the ideal work situation may also change over time. Most of the time we do not have much say on how our jobs will change. For example, my company may grow and my job responsibility may change to something completely different than today. Do I really want to be forced to do something that I didn't sign up for?
Why do we let our jobs govern our lives? We get up early in the morning, commute to work, work from 9 - 5 (or longer in many cases), commute back to home, eat dinner, watch TV (if you have a TV), go to bed, and repeat the process next day. Put this on a repeating loop for 35 years or more. Is this really how I want to spend 35 years of my life doing? Financial independence means I can leave my ideal job today without any regret. It allows me to work on my own terms. I govern my own life. Being able to do that is so powerful, and Mrs. T and I are looking forward to the day when we will be financially independent.
Mrs. T and I have been discussing about traveling around the world and living in different countries once we become financially independent. Over the past weekend she even asked me what my opinion is when it comes to home schooling (too much work I said :p). Re-locating every few years may be a challenge not only for Mrs. T and I, but for Baby T and his future sibling(s?). I know what it was like to leave friends behind to come to a completely new place. It sucked going through that experience as a kid but looking back today, it also opened so many new opportunities for me. I wouldn't be who I am today without going through that experience. For Mrs. T and I, exactly how we will manage this complicated process, I guess we will have to figure that out down the road.
Why do you want to be financially independent?
PS In case you're wondering... countries I've been:
Austria, Belgium, Canada (duh!), China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, USA, Vatican City.
Countries Mrs. T has been:
Austria, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, UK, USA, Vatican City.