The following is an edited extract from ‘The High Maintenance Minimalist’ by Kashlee Kucheran, which will be available from 5th January 2018.
Recently I quit my real estate career, said “F*** It!”, sold my home, 95 per cent of my belongings, all to travel the world for the next 10 years with my husband.
Why would we do such a thing?
Because we were tired of living a life that we didn’t choose.
I’ve always felt this strange feeling, sometimes deep in the pit of my stomach, that I wasn’t doing what I was born to do and I wasn’t living the way I wanted to live.
People say that is a normal feeling and it’s healthy to question our lives from time to time. This wasn’t an occasional feeling. This was an every single day kind of feeling.
But shhhhhh…. Don’t talk about it too much, or the crabs in the bucket will feel compelled to pull you back into the heard.
To sum it up: We’re trapped doing sh*t we hate, surrounded by sh*t we haven’t even paid for yet.
In my humble human opinion, LIFE is not meant to look like this.
My husband and I were faced with a choice recently that changed our lives forever.
We had almost $25,000 in credit card debt, a home (with a six figure mortgage owing) and bills that were piling up. It doesn’t sound unmanageable, but it could have gotten a lot worse.
Travelling four-six months of the year, we were paying bills even when we weren’t home. Pair that up with some bad spending habits and a lust for more travel and you can see how quickly this can turn into a slippery slope.
In fact, I had just gone down that dangerous path a few years prior. A path that led me into a full-fledged melt down and I wasn’t about to repeat it.
We quickly learned we would rather be travelling and spending our money on experiences instead of ‘things’, so we took some major action on turning our finances around to allow WAY more freedom!
That meant making some massive changes, both mentality and physically, like selling our home, most of our stuff and becoming nomadic.
Since becoming completely debt free we have made the transition into full time travel. Every few months we pick a different city/country to live and work in, which has been our dream all along.
A few years ago I was too busy in the Real Estate grind to even think about traveling, let alone taking my sweet time exploring a city. I was an absolute slave to 16 hour days, making more money, building bigger houses, and accumulating more stuff. It was misery. I wanted to travel and see the world before I woke up one day, and old granny????????, full of regret. “That’s just not how it works”, they said. “Work hard now, spend your life trying to pay off a mortgage and other debts, and one day when your retired, you can explore” . Well… . To hell with that!! ???? Who says I should have a mortgage and a career that shoves me into a box? Who says the world can’t be my address? Who says there is a certain time in life that’s acceptable to roam? . Life is only one chance, one shot, a one time thing. I won’t ever let it pass me by. Doing things differently has given me excitement for each day again!! Less Things = More Freedom✨ I feel incredibly blessed to be on this global adventure and I don’t take one moment for granted.???? . This weekend I got to scratch a city off my bucket list that I’ve been wanting to discover for years. ????????I London has captivated me and motivated me to create more ways I can inspire YOU to travel more! I believe everyone should have an opportunity to see more of this amazing world, right NOW. Not ‘one day’. If I can inspire even 1 person to jump out of their comfort zone, start travelling more, or even take back control of their life/finances, it will all be worth it!✌️????
Why I quit my $200,000 a year job.
It all began when my Real Estate career started taking off. After years of grinding and hard work, my phone was lighting up like Drake’s hotline bling. I was making more money in a month than I used to make in an entire year.
Sounds great, right? Well it was for a little while, until I lost all control.
I thought I was really cool. So cool in fact, that I could stay out all night drinking myself into black-out oblivion and expect to have myself pulled together the next day. Or have zero responsibilities in my relationship.
Oh, and I could just freely spend every cent I earned because I could always just make more.
I watched myself let credit card balances climb from three figures, to four figures, to a whopping five (the horror). I was conscious when I decided to buy two cars and build a 3,000 sq ft house that I didn’t need. There was no Jimminy Cricket on my shoulder the day I blew $7,000 in one pop at Burberry. I just did it, and to tell you the truth, it felt fun. It was a wild ride through every material desire I had ever fantasied about. A full cart binge-a-thon like a real life Pacman eating every consumable thing in sight, looking on fleek the whole time.
Adrenaline surging, ego pumping, YOLO yelling, tornado that could only be fueled by MORE.
Oh yeah, and then came the part where I totally crashed and burned.
Why wasn’t all this STUFF making me happy!? I thought money could buy happiness and the people who said otherwise were just poor and envious. By that poisoned reasoning, I should have been the happiest person in the world. But I wasn’t and my weaknesses started seeping out of the cracks.
After I couldn’t hide the lies, the white powdery substance in bathroom stalls and my ‘holier than thou’ attitude any longer, I hit rock bottom. Everything in my life, including my closest relationships, came tumbling down. I was crippled by the debt and the pressure to perform.
I lost my money, my then fiancé, many of my fair weathered friends and pulled the plug on my career.
My saving grace was that I also lost my ‘more More MORE’ mentality along with all the rubbish.
I had to learn how to walk again like a newborn fawn, clumsy and timid, but motivated to keep going. To relearn things you already know can sound like an embarrassment, but I’m now proud to have gone through my rock bottom and come out with some wisdom. Since my meltdown (and losing a $200k a year salary) I’ve been smacked in the face with where I went wrong and how to avoid it in the future.
Are we leaving already?? Nope! Just having DUFL pick up all my summer clothes to store in my virtual closet ✌️ They sent me empty luggage, I fill it up with summer gear, they hold it and send it when/where I need it! That way, if I take an impromptu trip somewhere sunny, my shorts and tanks will meet me there! Pretty cool right? This way I don’t have to stuff my bag with all 4 seasons and drag it around, (Aka- make Trevor do it ????) or fly home just to get different weather clothes. My raincoats and boots are already on their way to London ???????? I will meet them there!!Having my clothes ‘in the cloud’ is so freaking neat, I can’t ever go back!! What a cool invention, right!? @dufl . 4 days until we fly to the UK! Yay!! ✈️
‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is not one of those strategies.
If I had to pin point the reason I went through such a roller coaster ride, it would come down to this: I wasn’t doing what truly made me happy.
I was doing what I thought SHOULD make me happy. And when that didn’t work, I tried numbing the pain with instant gratification. When that didn’t work, I tried self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. And when that didn’t work, I lashed out at people because I was angry with myself. What a terrible cycle to be constantly experiencing.
I was living a life that was against everything I valued. Time with friends and family, travelling the world, helping others, learning new skills and languages, experiencing culture. Those were the values that meant the most to be in the world. Instead I was trading in time, love and experiences for cold hard cash. No wonder I couldn’t keep that charade going any longer.
Living a life that is based around core values is the measure of true wealth.
Can money and happiness exist together? Absolutely they can. But happiness can’t live in the dark shadow of debt, uncertainty, materialism and greed.
We all need a little change right!? ????Well I have had long dark hair for about the last 8 years and I finally decided to start my journey to blonde! ???????????? This is stage 1 of many! Hehe! I’m hoping for it to take about 8-10 months to get there completely, and of course a few more inches will have to be cut off my hair, but that’s half the fun! ✂️ . We have a TON of travel planned and long dark hair just isn’t the most convenient thing to have in hot, humid, sunny climates! It’s always fading and getting tangled and is a pain to dry/style. So for the sake of just going with the flow and cutting my ‘get ready’ time down, this is the route I am going! ??Anyone do the transition from almost black hair to blonde hair recently!? How did it go? ???? (Ps- thank you @chrispihl12 for doing a fannnnnntastic job of bringing me this much lighter in 1 freaking session without damage!)
That hot, fast life had created more problems than good, and it was just a matter of time until I fell down hard. I had piled too much on my plate and trying to maintain that lifestyle had become impossible. I was hosting events, filming a TV show, running a demanding real estate business alongside managing new home builds, not to mention all the financial pressure I had put on myself like a brand new house, two luxury cars, etc. I was making killer money, but my lifestyle was sucking it out faster than I could make it. I was already working 16 hour days, what else could I do? Hence the breakdown.
Right around the same time as my downward spiral into rock bottom, the real estate market dried right up in the city. What goes up must come down, right? Nothing (and nobody) is meant to stay on top forever.
After getting a taste of what most people would call extreme success, and the taste of being my own boss, I knew that anything I did afterwards would have to be on my OWN terms. I needed to create a career using my passions, skills and interests that wasn’t dependent on swinging markets or what other people wanted.
Something I create and control. A job where I could have the freedom to be myself.
That is where I am today. Happier, wiser and finally figuring it out after a decade of trial and error.
My true loves are business development, influence, writing, travelling, and building relationships. In the past my jobs might have had travelling, or perhaps business development, but none of them were able to combine all my passions into one. Until now!
Why I quit my job.
I was tapped out on the amount of hours I could put in a day to support my out of control lifestyle. I was surrounded by fake people who did not support me. I lost my sense of self because of the addiction to consumerism. I didn’t feel I was living a purposeful life. It felt like I was drowning with responsibility, pressure, debt and THINGS.
How I quit my job.
I stopped spending and starting saving the income just before I pulled the plug. I sold off any large assets I could once I quit. I did cash in some retirement investments so I could invest them into my new beginning. I downsized. I cold turkey QUIT! I just left! Like bandaid, ripping it off quickly.
What I did the first few months with NO job, a small condo (compared to my huge house), and a new more minimalistic lifestyle.
I took some time for self love, self discovery and personal development. I started writing down things that made me happy, my skills, and tried to find what kind of a business would incorporate both. I had some experience as as voice actor, so I would work under a blanket in my small closet, recording commercials and voice clips for companies to pay the bills (while figuring out my new career). I learned to do MORE with LESS in every way of life. Embraced downsizing, selling unused things, and keeping the cost of living as low as possible while I re-built my career from scratch.
What I do now.
Through all of the fear and uncertainty, I have finally been able to make a career and a living for myself doing things I can feel good about!
I came, I saw, I conquered, and I posted it on the ‘Gram. I get paid to travel to different cities all over the world and blog/post about my adventures. I love being able to share my journey, teaching others about different cultures and destinations across the globe. This also allows me to give other hopeful travellers tips on budgeting for trips, destination guides, and just a helpful friend who has ‘been there, done that’.
LISTEN: Kate talks about her juggle with life, travel, politics and babies. (Post continues below...)
I put on my writers hat more often these days than ever before. I write content about attractions, hotels, cities, travel hacks and life tips. I also write for other websites and publications on my areas of expertise. And of course, writing my first full length book, which I hope to be one of many! The moment I realized I could help people with my writing, I knew I had to make it a big part of my life.
Business development is my jam. If people ask me what my hobbies are, my first response is always “BUSINESS!” I’m extremely passionate about helping entrepreneurs find their niche, brand, purpose and place in the business world; everything from websites, to social media, to building an audience. It’s so rewarding helping someone grow into a profitable career that they have always dreamed of!