Today I fly to South Korea, then onward to Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, and China.
By the time you read this I’ll be en route to Sloulin Field International Airport, a small patch of runway with an ambitious name and even bigger dreams. It’s a few blocks off the main road, Million Dollar Way, where long lines of trucks haul oil field equipment to the surrounding areas. Even from town you can see the oil rigs that dot the countryside.
A nearby McDonald’s was recently demolished and rebuilt atop its own rumble to serve this endless traffic. A clone, only bigger. Rents match those in New York City. Gas prices—in the epicenter of an oil boom—are consistently above the national average. Walmart employees earn US$17 straight pay. Workers with actual skills earn much, much more.
Thanks to this strange bubble of prosperity I calculate that in 2013:
- I will take 90 days of vacation
- I will have 3,024 paid hours of free time in front of a computer
- I will visit at least 15 countries and 5 continents
- I will save at least US$30,000 while paying down debts
These are ideal conditions for starting my own business.
How Did I Get Here?
Eight months ago, with a fresh US$5,000 in driving school debt and a professional license in hand, I drove to North Dakota to join the truckers on the Million Dollar Way. The driving wages were high, but the two-week on, two-week off schedule was the real motivator, that elusive balance of time and money that would allow me to achieve self-employment. I was on my way.
Only no company would hire me.For one month, I slept in my car near a cemetery. Days were spent handing out resumes, nights reading fiction with a flashlight. Each morning I’d shower in the community center with the other unemployed and homeless before setting out to knock on doors again. Despite a US$4 daily budget, I eventually had to borrow US$500 from my parents. I was completely broke.
Then I started to receive call-backs. Job offers. And lots of them.
Yet no company offered a two-on, two-off rotation, the same schedule for which I had endured so many lonely nights, the same schedule that had kept me from returning to the comfortable life I had left behind as a medical interpreter in Nebraska. The schedule became The Schedule, my obsession.
Reluctantly, I accepted a full-time driving position to pull myself from the gutter. During the next five months I enjoyed driving big trucks on remote gravel roads—it was fun—, but realized that my desired schedule was never guaranteed, not during a volatile election year, not with a recession forcing a mass migration of desperate, more experienced drivers to the area.
When a six-week on, two-week off administrative position opened—with food and housing included—I jumped at the opportunity. And Six Weeks to Sunrise was born.
Is There a Lesson Here?
Maybe, maybe not. I just wanted to provide background on how, in 18 months, I went from bicycling South America to penniless in North Dakota to jetsetting around Asia. (And with hard work I hope to add earning income from an internet-based business anywhere in the world).
If anything, my relocation to North Dakota shows that it’s not easy to create your own path. It won’t be easy to create your own business. It won’t always be easy to throw yourself into strange locales where you don’t speak the language.
But it will always be worth it.
What have you overcome to achieve your goals? Are you ready to make sacrifices for them? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below