Archive for October, 2009

On Burning Bridges

burning-bridgesWhen it comes to understanding CouchSurfing, there’s two types of people: those who get it right away, and those who make a weird face when you tell them what it’s all about. «So you let strangers into your home?» What the second group doesn’t realize is how richer your life can get if you interact with travellers from all around the world on a regular basis, usually on a very deep level. Lately I’ve been hosting very interesting people, but one of them made me think a lot.
She’s a 25 year old Australian girl who’s been travelling around South-East Asia for the last months, and ended up volunteering somewhere in Vietnam. Telling me all this crazy stories about how life is in those parts of the world has really made me want to just get on a plane with my backpack and leave everything behind for a while. I have a decent, regular income from one of my blogs, so I could live like a king in almost any country in Asia (South Korea, Japan and very few others excluded). I also have a friend living in Thailand now so it’d be great to hang out with him. Those are not issues.

But in doing so, I’d be, as the expressions says, burning my bridges. It would also mean making some people unhappy, like my roommate who just moved in (and whom I get along really well), who would definitely have to move out of the apartment (finding someone to pay that much for a room plus a +3.000 euros deposit is not an easy task), or the company I work for part time at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely want to start my own company (that’s my top priority right now), but the 3 years I’ve been working at Softonic I’ve been treated very well, and I’ve made some of my best friends there. It’s not a coincidence it’s the #1 Best Place to Work in Spain. More than enough for me to want to leave properly, which means finishing the project I’ve been working on for a year and that will launch soon. I will also lose my apartment, which I’ve come to love. I also invested a lot of money in furniture and appliances, but I guess I could sell those and get some of the money back.

When I stop to think about it more carefully, right now I’m very happy in Barcelona, and I don’t feel it’s the time to move anywhere else. I also have a routine, which helps me keep focused on what’s important. All those paradises, lost cities and exotic cultures are always gonna be there, waiting for me. All in due time, Manuel.

The Perfect Lifestyle

That's the dream...As I’ve said before, my number one priority right now is starting my own business. Why? Well, for starters is something I truly love. I enjoy pretty much all the aspects of it, from planning to development, PR or marketing. OK, maybe not accounting, but you can always hire someone to do that for you. What I find most interesting of running your own (small) business is you don’t do the same thing two consecutive days, you become a jack of all trades. I like that, it keeps you from getting stuck in monotony.

Being honest, I also love the possibility of earnings a lot of money. I’m a very ambitious person, and while I don’t have dreams of having a ridiculous house or a fancy car (I don’t think I’d ever buy one, as I don’t like driving), my goal is getting to a point where money is no longer an issue for me. Where I could travel, go to restaurants, buy drinks for me and my friends or rent an apartment without even having to look at my bank account. I think that’s pretty achievable in a year or two.

But all in all, what I’m looking forward the most when it comes to having my own business, is living THE lifestyle. For me, that means being able to travel all the time, live wherever I want, staying in a place a couple of days or a couple of months depending on how I like being there. And again, without having to worry about the financial details of doing such a thing. Working wouldn’t be a problem, since I’d be running an online business, I could manage it from any place in the world where there’s an Internet connection.

I don’t really like the touristic way of travelling, and CouchSurfing would definitely help me get a better feel of all the places I’d go to. For all of those who don’t know what that site is all about, basically people offer their couch to fellow travellers who want to crash there. What do they get in return? Meeting new people from all around the world, exchanging stories and the satisfaction of helping someone else. I’ve been hosting a lot of people lately in my flat  (this is my profile), even four people at a time, and it’s a very gratifying experience. For me it’s the ultimate way to travel: staying at the place of somone who knows the city very well, so they can tell you the best places to go, even those far from the touristic places, meeting really fascinating people, and as the cherry on top of the cake, you get all that for free.

Hopefully you’ll be able to read here in the coming months (or years) how I achieve this lifestyle, so if it’s the kind of thing you would like for yourself, you may even get to learn a thing or two from yours truly :)

Focus, focus, focus

Focus!I think what most people lack when it comes to making their dreams come true is focus. Make no mistake, I don’t speak from the perspective of a highly focused person who never loses sight of the goal, quite the opposite. As most people,  distractions and opportunities pop into my life all the time, and sometimes they make me focus on things that aren’t my highest priority at the moment. That’s one of the reasons I’ve started this blog, to make a commitment to myself, to remind me what are my goals and that I should always be moving forward to reach them. After all I’m a guy, and we’re all about reaching objectives, right?

So what is important? What should I be focused on? Well, for a while I’ve been trying to reach too many goals at the same time, in different aspects of my life, and I found that out to be very inefficient. You see, anyone has a limited amount of “motivation points”, and when you run out of them, things suddenly start to not work out as you would like. New habits are hard to establish into your routine, it takes time for them to be something you enjoy, to be part of who you are. In my case, I’ve been trying to introduce in my life so many things at once, that none of them ended up working. Some of my goals are eating (way) healthier, work out every day, start my own business, learn about how to be a good (amateur) photographer, blogging regularly or improve my public speaking skills, just to name a few. Some of them require a high level of focus, others don’t, but I can’t do everything at once.

That’s why I’ve decided to put some of those goals on hold while I focus on the most important one for me, and the one that will make the rest of them easier once achieved: starting my own business. Truth be told, it’s also the one I enjoy the most, and I’ve actually been working on that for a few months now, since I went part time last  July (and some more time before that, but not as serious for obvious reasons).  On the side, I’ll also work on my public speaking skills, as I enjoy my weekly Toastmasters meetings and it doesn’t take much time, blog here every once in a while and also try to fix a health problem I’ve been carrying for way too long and that’s getting to a point where it’s really affecting my life (more on that another day).

And what about you? Are you focused on the right thing?