So You Want to Live the Dream Life? Here’s How…..

So You Want to Live the Dream Life? Here’s How…..

This could be your spot!
This could be your spot!

At a dinner party last weekend, I was bragging about my upcoming 6 week trip to New Zealand and Samoa, when one of my super  wealthy friends said, “Wow, I wish I could do that.”

I almost spit out my wine and said “BULL! If you really wanted to, you would!”  He conceded, that yeah, I was right.  If he really wanted to he could.

People say we are “living the dream life” because Drew and I take an adventure trip every year, to someplace different.  In the past 13 years, we have been to over 15 countries and our son is on his second passport.  Drew calls these trips “dropping out” because we drop everything and leave for awhile.  Rather than calling it a “dream life” I like to say that we are LIVING.

Ask yourself this question:  Are you LIVING, or are you just going through the motions, in a monotonous fashion?

Do you dream of a life where you have the freedom to travel to foreign lands, to spend months at a time exploring the globe?  Or does it seem out of reach, exotic, only for rich people and Europeans…..

If we can do it, you can.  Drew and I are not rich – most of our friends make more money than we do.  We don’t have a lot of time, either.  Our business keeps us extremely busy.  And then there’s our son, who “should” be in school rather than traveling the globe.  By American standards, we should not be taking these trips every year.   But they are vital to our LIVING.

We love surfing in foreign lands, meeting the locals, trying new foods and wine.   Our son knew how to read a map when he was 3 years old.  A 16 hour plane trip is a piece of cake for him!  He has fun playing with kids who don’t even speak his language.

The thing I love the most about adventure travel is that it gives me a respite from my hectic life of being a business owner.  Once I’m on that plane, leaving L.A., I truly leave everything behind.  I don’t even THINK about work while I’m gone.  I truly live in the moment, THE NOW, when traveling.  For some reason, I can’t relax as easily when I’m on a short one week trip.  Work looms over my head like a cloud, and I can’t relax.

So, how do you arrange your life so that you, too can live life part-time as a vagabond?

MAKE THE CHOICE: First, decide that you really WANT to live this “dream” life.  Many people say that they “would love” to live the way we do, but when it comes down to it, they’d really rather keep doing what they’re doing, following the status quo.

What’s the “status quo”?  Going into unnecessary debt by driving expensive cars, living in large homes with large mortgages, having too many children, working a job that ties them down, following the sheep with the “go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, wait until you’re 65 to take a vacation” mentality.

Arrange your life so that you have the freedom to roam the globe.  If you are already stuck in the “rut” of the status quo, it may take you a few years to get out of that rut.  But those years are going to go by, anyway, so you might as well start working on it now!

DROP YOUR BELIEF THAT YOU CAN’T CHOOSE YOR LIFE: Americans are so conditioned to do what they’ve been conditioned to do!  Example:   You can’t do that.  It’s irresponsible.  Or, your parents drilled it in your head that you are going to college and will have a corporate job, or be a doctor, or a lawyer, and that travel is a luxury.  These become beliefs.  Drop them.  Come up with your own.

MAKE CHOICES THAT SUPPORT THIS LIFESTYE: Marry someone that loves to travel as much as you do, and that is also committed to this lifestyle.  Don’t have a lot of kids.

CHOOSE A FLEXIBLE PROFESSION: Yes, you can choose a profession that allows flexibility.  It took me years, but I did finally.  It’s all a CHOICE.  You don’t have to have that corporate job sitting in a cubicle.  There are many flexible professions, including:  Entrepreneurs, nursing, temping, fishermen, freelance writers and photographers, artists, athletes, teachers, professors, food concession businesses.

AVOID DEBT: Drive older cars.  Live in smaller homes.  Get roommates to share in the cost.  Squirrel money away.  Be frugal.  (If you are like most Americans, you have a $600 car payment, you pay about $100/month for car insurance and you pay about $500 to renew your car registration.  THAT’S $8,900 A YEAR, just to drive a car!  How’s that for a nice trip.  You could live in Costa Rica for a year on that!)  By the way, my car’s been paid off for years, and it costs me exactly $675.00 a YEAR in renewals and insurance.  It’s a Toyota, so I figure it’ll run for another 10 years or more.  If you have a large car payment right now, sell your car and buy a cheaper one.  Yes, that’s a possibility.  It’s a choice you can make.   Read this helpful blog post for some great debt elimination tips:

LIVE SIMPLY / BE A MINIMALIST: Simplify your life.  Get rid of your clutter.  Don’t buy junk you don’t need.  Don’t fill up your closets and garages with stuff you don’t use.  Get rid of the drama.  Don’t spend time with people who don’t love you the way you are.

TAKE TIME TO PLAN: My first big trip in 1997 was a four month backpacking trip around the world.  It took me one year to plan it out, save up the money, and figure out what to do with my car and my apartment and my job.  To this day, that was the best trip I’ve ever done, because I did it alone.  It was a major growth spurt for me.

DO IT: It’s not that complicated.  When I did my four months around the world, American people said “oh, you must be so brave” and “wow, that must have been hard” and “oh my God, you went for FOUR MONTHS?”  The reality is, I wasn’t brave, it wasn’t hard, and along the way I met so many Europeans and Aussies and New Zealanders who were saying “you’re ONLY traveling for four months” and “wow, I’m doing a year.”

Here are real life examples of some of the people I know who have “the dream life” figured out:

  • Yoga and fitness instructors who set up their business so that they “have” to travel to give Yoga retreats and attend seminars in exotic locations;
  • Two nurses (married) take four months every year to live in Indonesia.  They simply leave their jobs for four months, and when they come back, the Hospital takes them back.  They are on their fifth year of doing this.
  • A teacher friend spends every summer in Europe.
  • A photographer buddy travels all over the world for his freelance surf photography business.
  • Drew and I take about 8 weeks a year.  We just shut our business down.  There’s plenty of work when we come back!

Are you going to set up your life to really LIVE?  Or are you going to follow the status quo?  It’s entirely up to you.  I hope you enjoy your life, whatever you decide.  Because Life is Good!

spunk-brophy-2Maria “Spunk” Brophy (Follow me on Twitter – Click Here!)

PS:  Check back on this blog to see our photos and notes from our big trip to New Zealand & Samoa.  We leave on February 10th.  Can’t wait!

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hoffman

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  • Paulo
    Posted at 19:44h, 12 December

    Maria: Great post!
    Happy Travels 🙂

  • Nelson
    Posted at 21:27h, 28 November

    I agree 100% I work for my Uncle’s Painting business in Wildwood NJ. and I am a freelance artist and photographer. We take days off when the weather meets our needs to surf, fish, jet ski,and in the winter snowboard and ski. He allows me to take off whenever something comes up and encourages me to enjoy life, what a great boss!

  • Pam
    Posted at 13:46h, 20 November

    I love your article! I have just told my employer that i am going away for 3 months to travel around south east Asia! Dont know if they’ll hold my job but dont care – it’s something i’ve always wanted to do and just decided now to do it!!

  • Dilek
    Posted at 20:20h, 13 November

    Hi Maria! I saw you comment on and followed you here. You are so absolutely right about everything you said. It is definitely a choice, and if one really wants to travel, he or she can do it! It’s not that complicated.
    And btw, can you please change your background from black? It’s hurting my eyes 🙂

  • jay Alders
    Posted at 07:49h, 01 October

    Amazing Blog…A reminder of Timothy Ferriss’s book that we both love so much, the 4 hour work week…It’s amazing to me that most people don’t “get this”.

  • Stoneaxe
    Posted at 21:13h, 02 February

    I followed weasels wake’s post on the zone here too and strangely enough came in right behind my bro PonoBill, though a couple days later, who is 6,000 miles away.

    Great post…you are living what many would call a dream life.

    Mantra…you need to chill a little. I’ve been one of those happy cubicle working drones (enjoy what I do), raising my kids, coaching soccer…yada, yada. I was very happy to do all an active responsible parent and all that goes with it in suburban America. I’ve had trauma in my life…try a brain tumor on for size…that will change your life. I understand a bit about what you say, there are folks that will never be able to enjoy life because of their circumstances, but too many people allow “trauma” or everyday life to make them victims. It’s what you do despite the rough spots that defines you. I was lucky enough to find standup (thanks bro) and use it as therapy for my problems. A year later I created a charity event with a friend and paddled across Cape Cod Bay…raising $12,000 for the Ocean Conservancy in the process.

    Maria’s point is simple…regardless of what you are doing…are you “living”. Do you think this young guy in the Hanohano race pictured has chosen to live or just go through the motions….despite what has to have been significant trauma?

    Nice post Maria…we all need to learn how to “live” despite what our circumstances may be.

  • Maria "Spunk" Brophy
    Posted at 14:38h, 01 February

    Thank you so much for your kind words and your appreciation! We want to encourage all artists to share information and strategies and stories that will help improve the business of art. And, we are having fun with this news/blog! Thanks for taking the time to write!

  • PonoBill
    Posted at 19:33h, 31 January

    I followed Weasel’s Wake here after he posted on the ‘Zone. Good thoughts, I appreciate them. I live a similar life, doing pretty much what I want to do. I have always played hard and worked hard, made enough money so I don’t have to do the work part much anymore. My lifestyle looks extravagant to some and humble to others with similar resources. But the real secret is that it’s purely optional, I can live happily in a van or a fantastic house, doesn’t really matter a lick. If things make you happy you never will truly enjoy life. When I worked for other people I always understood that it might have been their money and their business but it was my life. I always considered it important to get every bit of value from any experience, including work. It’s far more fun to work harder and far smarter than anyone expects you to. And then play the same way.

    Good on you, keep it up.

  • Rob Hoover
    Posted at 21:46h, 29 January

    Have been looking at your site for past half hour and enjoying the aesthetics. On top of the art work and free advice I see that you have made an extra effort to share what wisdom you have learned from life with other artists and that is truly admirable. You are great people and your generous sharing is perhaps an even higher form of beauty far beyond what a paint pen can produce. Aloha

  • Paul
    Posted at 17:58h, 27 January

    im with you maria, sounds like mantra isn’t to happy with his life.

  • Maria
    Posted at 18:29h, 26 January

    Wow, I’m debating whether or not to keep Mantra’s negative, angry comment on our fun loving website! But, for now, I’ll keep it here because Mantra brings up a few interesting points.

    “Living the Dream” is different for everyone. The dream I describe here is for me and Drew. But some people, like my sister in North Carolina, is blissfully happy staying put, in her own town, not venturing out much but enjoying her local community. And that’s great, too.

    I wrote this because so many people ask us, all the time, “wow, how do you guys live this life?”
    My main point of the article is that it’s not that complicated, it’s all about choices. Many people dream of doing things that they never do, because they have these ties that they THINK are binding them down. Or, they make choices that create ties that bind them down.

    So, Mantra, I think you read too much into what I’m saying. Your comment is arguing against what I’m saying. You bring up so many points to discount my words. Don’t take it so seriously! Your dream life might be the job you have, and that’s great, if it’s what you want. But if you want what I have, then what I wrote is a guide to getting that. It’s that simple.

    I hope I didn’t offend anyone else out there…..
    My intention was to inspire some of you! And I believe I did that.

  • Mantra
    Posted at 17:43h, 26 January

    I am not sure if you know how many people are happy working for a corporate company, playing with their many children that they gave life to, or living the status quo, because it works for them. I think some people might be a little offended at some of your comments.

    I have also read your earlier posting of New Year’s resolutions and find it hard that you can not see your own contradictions? How does one shamelessly promote themselves everyday & yet “drop out” for long vacations? Are these vacations really? I see that there is work lined up in New Zealand.

    If you open yourself up to post your thoughts on how everyone should be LIVING, then you should be open enough to read some reality as well. Not everyone’s ideal is as yours. Thank god you and your family sound well off, and healthy. What would happen if you were not able to travel, where would your bliss be then? I feel bad for people who may have had some trauma in their lives and read this. Just think “if the shoe was on the other foot”.


  • Al McWhite
    Posted at 12:02h, 22 January

    “If you can dream it, you can live it!” And by all means “simplify” why drag around a bunch of heavy anchors(debt) when ultimately it does not serve you well!
    As for me, with four incredible boys I will always include them in every destination so that they themselves will one day have a greater and broader perspective of the world at large! Young minds without borders…imagine the possibilites! Big Smiles-Al

  • Heather Ritts
    Posted at 11:06h, 18 January

    I love you guys! You are so awesome and very inspiring. Always! What a great message. I am printing this out and reading it everyday!! I was thinking of moving to Kauai for a year and I had every reason in the world not to do it. This inspired me to think a little bit more about it. xoxo

  • Regina Brown
    Posted at 10:15h, 18 January

    I am so happy to hear these words!!! It has completely inspired me, thx!

    I have posted this on my facebook for others to read, I hope you don’t mind!
    Regina, Cheater 5’s

  • surfzombo
    Posted at 19:39h, 17 January

    damn, i think i’m gonna steal this from ya. those be good words. i been thinking about bailing out for a few weeks fer quite a while now…..

  • Weasel's Wake
    Posted at 17:43h, 17 January

    I loved this write-up, so I took the liberty to repost it on the Standup Zone, I hope you don’t mind, it’s such a perfect read, with perfect reasoning! Besides, zoners are some of the best people out there.

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