Work Less to Live Your Dreams
A few years ago I was working a regular 9-5 office job. It wasn’t terrible, though I wasn’t overly excited about it either. Even though I was working more than I was living, my entire pay check was disappearing month after month. I had no idea what I was spending money on, or why my bank account was always empty just before pay day.
After thinking about what I wanted to do in my life, and how sitting at this job was not getting me closer to my dreams, I made a few small changes to my lifestyle, and my savings account slowly started growing. The more I saved the more I was motivated to save, and my savings continued to grow.
Less than two years later I had a modest savings account. Enough, if I was careful, to take a year off work and live one of my biggest dreams. I bought a used Jeep for $6,000 cash, with big plans in store. It just so happened in that same week my friend at work bought a new car. James and I had often talked about how our job was not the greatest and how we both longed for something more. James’ new car had every available option, and it came with six years of payments, while I had just paid for my Jeep in cash.
I quit that job and spent two years driving my Jeep from Alaska to Argentina having all kinds of life-changing adventures along the way. The trip turned out to be bigger than I could have ever imagined.
Upon my return I visited my old workplace and was shocked to see the same people, sitting in the same chairs, doing the same things. James was still there, still talking of doing something he dreamed about, and still paying off his car. He had four years of payments remaining, but he was already talking about getting a newer one – it had more speakers in the sound system or something. James was wondering why he was going to work every day of his life, but he was no closer to living his dreams. It struck me like a ton of bricks that James had been sitting at that desk for two years while I adventured through Central and South America, and he had not saved a single cent. He had been going to work every day for two years, and I had been living one of my biggest dreams, my time entirely my own.
It’s become clear to me we can all choose which person we want to be. You can choose to be James, go to work for your entire life, and wonder why you don’t get to live your dreams.
Or, with a few small changes to your lifestyle, you can work less, and live your dreams!
This is the Introduction to my new book “Work Less to Live Your Dreams – A practical guide to saving money and living your dreams”, where I teach readers exactly how I am able to save money, work less and live my dreams. The book describes how I have been able to afford to quit work and drive from Alaska to Argentina for two years, and now again to quit work to drive around Africa for two years.
Chapters of the book include:
- Change how you value money
- Change your relationship with money
- Understand the true cost of money
- Save money
- The mindset of spending less
- Work less
With real-world examples, step-by-step instructions and thinking points, Work Less to Live Your Dreams will teach you how to free yourself from endless full time work, and start living your dreams.
Work Less to Live Your Dreams is available now on the following eBook stores for USD $2.99:
Amazon: Work Less to Live Your Dreams
Apple iBooks: Work Less to Live Your Dreams
Kobo Bookstore: Work Less to Live Your Dreams
Needed something new for the Kindle. This is perfect!
..you found a 2007 jeep for 6000? Wow…that is more amazing than your amazing adventure! Which is great by the way!
The Jeep for my first adventure (Alaska->Argentina) which was $6000, was a 2000 model.
GOOD FOR you Dan! too many ppl wait until retirement when their energy and health often change. I’ve saved my pennies wisely and completed my pIan to travel on all 7 continents (#7 was in 2/2011). Look fwd to hearing more about your adventures. P.s. what was your TOTAL cost to get ready for AF adv (including first jeep you had to scrap)?
That’s awesome. I’m not sure if or when I’ll get to Antarctica. I passed up the chance when I was in Terra Del Feugo. Maybe one day.
I don’t even want to know how much I sunk into that silver jeep.. too much.
I just bought the book. Looking forward to reading it!!
I’d love to hear your thoughts when you are done!
That’s really cool how you’re doing this. I’m going to buy your book. I would actually settle just to travel all over the United States to start but definitely I would love to do a United States Mexico Central America and South America trip. Thank you so much for the idea
Are you going to write any books about your travels? Would love to read those.
Yes, absolutely I will be writing a couple of books, and hopefully I’ll make a coffee table book of my African photos too
Did you ever make that coffee table book of your African journey?
Hi Tim – I sure did! Here it is on Amazon https://amzn.to/2H93IUH
Hey man! Great story, I’m afraid I might be James:( I have saved around $15k after 1.5 working like a dog, 8-6 mon-fri. Guess it’s time to read your book for a new perspective! Good luck to you man.
If you’ve been saving money, you are not James! Saving money is the key, because it means you have options
That’s a great amount of money to save in only 1.5 years – in fact more than I did before I drove AK->Argentina.
All the best!
I’m starting to make headway on my savings to do as you have. Do you discuss how to handle retirement age income? I don’t want my wife and I to eat dog food when we can no longer work just because we had our adventure.
I don’t touch on it in my book, but there is reason anything there needs to change. If you modify your lifestyle now to not be spending money on stuff you don’t need, then your monetary needs in retirement will also be much, much lower.
This is so Awesome! Is great to see others who save, live dreams and use your gifts. I plan to write a book on departing from Corp on what they call workforce reduction. I stood in my truth and wanted to keep my sanity. I was unemployed on and off for 6 years.
What impresses me with your story is that you envisioned your passion. Converting a jeep is amazing. There are many of us who understand the power of saving and understanding the long term benefits.
I love the idea of painting the Africa map once you visit those areas. Looking forward to following you. @budgetessential
find me when you get to Tanzania
25 years ago my wife and I had a very similar adventure to yours. Replace the Jeep with a completely modified 1973 VW van and the story is very similar. We lived in that van for 2 years while traveling the US, Europe, Turkey and Australia.
Of course that story is a long one and not why I’m commenting on this particular post.
What your book reminded me of was a similar one that had a life-changing effect on us. It was called “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. We credit the advice we applied from it to playing a major role in why we were able to travel as we did. Even now, 30 years later, the way we view money and work/life balance can be traced back to this book. I hope your book will have a similar effect on many others out there who would like to follow their dreams as we have and you are now.
Good luck and safe travels!
Awesome to hear your story and thanks for the kind words !
Actually, I list “your money or your life” in the “further reading” section of my book
All the best,
Hey Dan, Awesome story and website! Thanks for sharing the adventure, how-to’s, and inspiration. For your Alaska-Argentina adventure, please let us know how much money you had to save to prepare for and go on the two year journey. Did you have to find work during the trip to survive? What was the total cost to take such an adventure? Thanks, Mark
Thanks! You can find all the details on price for the trip here: The Price Of Adventure
Dan, Thanks! That is exactly what I wanted. Nice that you broke the costs down somewhat. Nice also that the Jeep never broke down and held it’s value so well! What kinds of jobs/work did you get along the way? Mark
I worked online a little (built a few websites) then I managed a Hostel in Ecuador for 5 months. Those were really only the two ways I made a little money on the road.
Hi Dan. I’ve just read your article on expeditonportal web and I’ve followed to your travel site. Awesome adventure to A-A, even wilder next one in Africa.
If you need something across Spain, feel free to mail me, I’m a couple of hours from the capital , Madrid. Good luck and have a great ride!
Thanks very much for the kind words and generous offer! I really appreciate it.
l m studying English with American English file books in Iran and i read about your travel from Alaska to Argentina there. I wanted to check that the name and the story in the book
That’s great, thanks for the message!
Let me know if you have any specific questions about my travels.
My wife and I recently started to really save too, and you’re right once you start saving it’s surprising how quickly it grows.
Have you considered opening up a gofundme? Your website seems to be really taking off, I’m sure people would love to sponsor you
Thanks for the comment and I’m happy to hear you are doing the same thing.
I’ve thought about gofundme and kickstarter, but at this point I’d rather do everything self-funded.
Thanks for the kind words!
Love your America trip story and looking forward to follow your Africa trip.
I own a jeep and like most owner, I spend relatively good money on Mods. I would call to all Jeep owners to give $5 to a fund in your adventure’s name to sponsor your great trip! Any thoughts on setting up a fund, or a way for you to collect money? Post it, Jeep community owners will surely contribute. Have fun and keep rolling
Thanks for the very kind offer. At this stage I’d like to complete the trip with my own finances, rather than asking for other people to pay for it. Thanks though. I’ll write a book about it and maybe you can buy that
Sir, you are just fantastic, and quite inspirational. For years I’ve been going on long road expeditions but nothing nearly as amazing as yours! In the past year I drove my 20-year-old Chevy Tahoe solo from my home near Los Angeles to Gingolx, British Columbia (right at the Alaska border on the coast) and down to Acapulco, Mexico. I’m planning a roadtrip down to the bottom of Baja next month, and maybe Central America next year. But I’ve always wanted to do something like what you’re doing. I once saw a Toyota Land Cruiser with Australian plates on a remote highway near Tombstone, Arizona, and the memory of that vehicle with the smiling Aussie bastard at the wheel has always stayed with me. I’d love to see even more about your latest Jeep and how you built it. I will definitely continue to follow your adventures! Good luck and drive safe!
Thanks very much for the positive comments! It sounds like you’ve had quite the adventures!
I love baja, and central America has so many beautiful places you could spend a lifetime there.
My last Jeep was bone stock – I didn’t do a single thing to it. I threw in a ground tent, bag of clothes and a small camp stove and hit the road. It was the perfect vehicle for the job.
I wish you all the best on your future adventures!
Just after I posted, I saw the links to your Jeep build – duh. I should have been paying more attention. What a fascinating and inspiring project. Thanks for documenting it.
First, a thousand thanks for documenting the jeep build and the great deets on cost breakdowns. Very valuable stuff there for anyone contemplating something similar.
I’ve been head-planning the same S. America trip and just before finding your site and blog came to the realization -as you’ve pointed out- that traveling lightly in something reliable with easy-to-find parts and a comprehensive repair network is the way to go. I’d looked at building out a Fuso (too big) and modifying a Pinzgauer (parts issues) but just this weekend came across the Jeep Africa concept vehicle. Have you seen it? With a little luck, Jeep will actually put it into production in time for my dantrip. While chanting the Travel Lightly mantra, we all yearn for just a little more space in our vehicle.
While reading your comparison with James and his awesome car stereo, Joni Mitchell sang River in my head — “I’m going to make a lot of money and I’m going to quit this crazy scene.” To me, anything that invokes Joni deserves a special shout-out, so really just wanted to say ‘thanks.’ All the best to you, bro.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment. You are extremely welcome for all the info and advice.
I’m sure you’ll also find http://wikioverland.org extremely helpful to plan your trip.
Absolutely the Jeep Africa would be awesome, but I’m not holding my breath. We should see photos of the new Wrangler and pickup any day now, it will be interesting for sure. Hopefully it has a diesel!
All the best,
loved reading about your adventures…i want nothing more then to someday be able to do the same….keep on keeping on!!!
Thanks for the kind words Tara, I hope you can make it happen!
hi Dan, I perhaps have a different angle on the subject, and I hope what I am about to ask isn’t offensive. I myself is a software engineer too (saw you comments on hacker news), in our line of work, there is certain career path that we’d like to achieve over time.Having these long journeys do leave big gaps in your resume, and possibly some explanations to do in your future interviews. Now I am sure some interviewers/companies would see this as a positive experience, but I just don’t know if in reality this hurts your chance to land your next desired job or not?
Thanks for the thoughtful comment, no offense taken at all. It’s something I think about a lot, and I enjoy the chance to discuss it.
I personally put my trips front and center on my resume. I learned a lot about self-reliance, making decisions on the go, and working hard for a successful outcome. Teaching myself Spanish in only 2 years I think is also quite the achievement, and it says a lot about what I could teach myself at a particular job.
That being said, simply because I have not been at work for as many years as my friends I graduated with, I doubt I’ll ever reach the higher levels of companies – like Director or VP. My best university friend has been at work every day for the last 13 years since we graduated, and he just got promoted to VP. I’ve only been at a desk for 6 of those 13 years, so it’s obvious I’m not going to be at that level.
I have made the conscious choice that in my life, time is more important than money, and I’m perfectly OK if I never reach the higher levels of a company.
Thanks Larry, all the best,
I stumbled on your blog and adventures completely by accident, but it caught my attention. While I haven’t been saving money in the traditional sense (stowing money away paycheck to paycheck) I purchased a property that has gained a lot of value over the last 6 years. My thought is to sell it this April, and hit the road for 6 months to a year. My question to you is, have you run into any 30(ish) year old females on your adventure doing a trip like yours solo? While I feel mostly comfortable road tripping/adventuring/sleeping in my car alone across the US and Canada (with the exception of hiking alone through Grizzly land), my concerns for safety are heightened when I think about driving across South America. Do you have any insight into road tripping alone as a female? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
I’m happy you stumbled onto my blog! Nice work on the great investment, that works.
For sure there are females doing this kind of thing solo – in vehicles and on motorbikes. Request to join this Facebook group and I’ll approve your request: https://www.facebook.com/groups/panamtravelers/
It’s full of people doing the trip now, and people (like me) that have completed the trip. If you ask there, I’m sure tons of females will pipe up and help with your question. Also a good friend from Quebec is setting out solo to take the trip, I’m sure she’ll chime in too – I can give you her contact details directly if you like.
All the best, let me know if you need more info or contacts,
same exact boat here
I’ve bought the book! Let’s hope it can change me that much that I save some money
Good luck with your journey!
I’d love to hear your thoughts after you finish it!
You are an inspiration. I am presently living in France and love to travel.
I will be 70 next year and am still in good shape and am thinking of driving part of the ¨Pan American route. There are several countries that I have already visited like Peru, Mexico and Costa Rica and I want to see new ones. I am still debating between this trip and Australia/NZ.
Make sure to make it to Zanzibar!! I love Africa and used to live there.
Happy travels. Will keep following your progress.
Thanks for the kind words – I’m happy to hear my ramblings are of use to someone
The Pan American is an amazing adventure, there are so many beautiful places to visit, and people are super-friendly. I love mountains, so for sure the Andes of South America was my favourite part (Patagonia especially!).
I will get to Zanzibar for sure, when I’m over that side.
All the best, have fun on the travels,
Ahhh, northwestel…..I remember that… and you 😉 keep going mate !
Dan — I am a James… And this must change. Thank you for your heartfelt inspiration and stay safe out there. All the best and I look forward to following your journey.
No need to be jealous. Start saving, planning and dreaming today, and soon you will be able to live your dreams!!
All the best,
So inspirational to read about your journey , your Jeep and your words of wisdom. This is what its all about, not the latest & greatest Harley Davidson with 84 easy payments. Don’t ever be like me , and let corporate ropes& family obligations trap you in the hamsterwheel.
Thanks! I dabble in the hamsterwheel occasionally, and know from experience you can slowly extract yourself from it if that is truely your goal.
I am meeting people on the road with kids, and many people rent out their house and use that as income during the trip.
If you want it badly enough, you can find a way!
This is awesome! I have just done the same! I quit my Monday-Friday job at the end of the year and now already planning my great long overland trip from Europe to Singapore.
I’m sure you will have the trip of a lifetime!!!
I can’t wait to see your photos.
Hey Dan, this is great, I found you thru your latest article in SA 4×4, on Nigeria. So interesting!
You’re right. We did something much shorter as a family a few years ago: 1 year around the world for a family of 4. Was cheaper and more exciting than work or school. And many families do it too. More organization needed than when one is going solo, but possible too.
Nice one Erik, that sounds like an amazing trip!
my name is parisa , I,m from iran . I love your lifestyle , that,s awesome .I want Enjoy my life and change it .Your story gave me another motivation .Thank you so much .
Good luck and all the best on making your dreams come true!
One day I will visit Iran, I have been told many time it is a fantastic place with very friendly people!
Dan! I’m on a similar path, stumbled on your page researching Jeep live-in conversions, and had to buy your book to support someone who’s so inspiring, as well as learning as much I can. You put so much design into making your Jeep a self-contained home, I have to ask: does your design include a solution for showering/bathing? Thanks! -DJM
Thanks for the support!
I have a basic black bag that I fill with water and sit in the sun for an hour or two. It actually gets nice and warm, and I hang it on the J30 when it’s open so the whole thing is nice and high. It’s simple, and it works perfectly!
Good day Dan
.I’m a South African working in Gabon for the last 5 years and with great disappointment found out about your visit after i read the article in the Sa4x4 magazine.I have been to over 30 countries in Africa but the majority ( unfortunately) for work and envy the way you are doing it. My overland adventures in a 2012 Wrangler is mostly in SA and and if possible would like to meet up with you in Cape town when you get there .
Good luck with the rest of your journey.
Great to hear from you, and what a bummer that we didn’t meet up in Gabon! I still tell people it’s my favorite country on the whole continent!
I passed through Cape Town long ago, and don’t have any immediate plans to return.
Depending on how long you’re there, I may very well be back in Gabon in a couple of years, I loved it there so much,
All the best, have fun out there!
Hi there Dan, just wanted to let you know I completed reading your book – The Road Chose Me. You may remember we met at Overland Expo at Arrington, Virginia and swapped books – you have ours “Strangers like Angels”. It was great to read of your journey from Alaska to Argentina and some of the specific angles of travelling alone or with companions. The various mountains/volcanoes you took on and your need to take a break from the road when you volunteered at The Secret Garden Cotopaxi. It’s good to now view your website and all the interaction you are having with folk inspired by your travels or have their own to share news with you. We wanted to wish you all the best for your life. It was good to connect at the Expo however briefly. Cheers, Alec & Jan.
Hi Alec and Jan,
Thank you so much for the wonderful book – I couldn’t put it down!!
I just sent you guys an email – I hope you are safe and well!
Hello Dan secon dtry to post it.
Happy Eastern 2020 where are you actually now on planet earth?
Step one done!, my job has been finished! I sort out my stuff now and than start the trip. I will purchase your book now and enjoy Easter Sunday
Greetings from Germany
PS: Ihave landed on your site here due the tent roof on your jeep, finally it seems to be a good one. the model of the jeep to use for the trip……. .. at the end doesn’t matter, Mir eimportand some cahs on the account and START THE RIDE. I first thought to by a nearly new one, but after reading your little intro here, I won’t do the “James mistake”.. .. There is No Need for speakers and touch pad “shit” .. I look for a older JK and spent more cash for the trip, I guess. Thx to get me awake..
Thanks for the comment and thoughts! I’m in the mountains of Western Canada right now. Everything is fine here, it’s just extremely quiet, everything is closed and we’re all staying at home. I hope you’re also safe and sound in Germany.
The JK Wrangler has been excellent for me, and the pop-up roof is a game changer. It’s no longer just a 4×4, it really is a house on wheels.
All the best!
Hoping this try works. Stumbled upon your site after seeing one of your videos on another site. I love what’re about and doing! It’s super helpful. I’m going to have to pick up a copy of your book t o hear more. I’m doing a mini test trial of my own the end of this week for a month or two around the west US/Canada. Maybe our paths will cross! Curious – do you use a cell booster? Planning to use one for working remotely with my hotspot and curious if you currently use one or what you’d recommend?
That’s awesome to hear you’re getting on the road! I don’t use a cell phone, so I’ve never needed a booster. I’m sure there are plenty to choose from!
Good luck & have fun!