As part of the personal finance community, I am conscious of my spending habits.
I work hard at my job to pursue my career goals, prove myself, and climb up the career ladder.
Everything is going smoothly and follows a particular rhythm that I set for myself.
I wake up, go to work, go home, take care of my family, work on my blog, and go to bed.
However, there are times when I wonder what my life would be life if I followed a totally different path.
In other words, what if I could live whatever dreams that I have, enjoy the moment, and not worry too much about my paychecks or 401(k)?
I am extremely risk-averse, especially when it comes to finances.
I don’t want to give up everything that I have worked so hard for to live on a whim.
Yet, there’s this tiny little adventurous voice that keeps encouraging me to explore the seemingly impossible.
Today I will share with you the three different lifestyles that I want to experience even briefly after I gain financial freedom.
1. The food traveler
Mike is an accountant turned Youtuber who started a food channel on Youtube and became his own boss.
Mike followed the traditional route of a good Asian son: going to college to get a degree and working full-time as an accountant afterwards. However, he got tired of doing accounting one day.
Mike loves to eat and started to post Youtube videos of himself exploring different restaurants. Mike is so friendly and describes his food in such detail that I sometimes feel like I’m sitting at the table and eating the same food with him.
Mike mentioned that when he launched his Youtube channel, he had no idea if it would take off. If it didn’t, he would go back to being an accountant. As the story goes, Mike is now a sensational Youtuber with 104,691,345 views. His channel has grown so fast that Mike started hiring more staff and set up his own media company.
Every time I see Mike eat something, I just wish I could be like him: Making a living doing something I love and becoming my own boss. I can totally go to different restaurants and just eat whatever I want without worrying about paying for it.
But when I eat out, it’s purely me spending money. When I make Youtube videos of what I eat, however, it’s me making money and growing my business. Those are two very different things.
I have to wait until I’m financially free to follow Mike’s footsteps for the following reasons:
— Making Youtube videos is time-consuming. It’s tempting to think that being a Youtuber is fun and easy. But based on successful Youtubers’ stories, many of them work full-time and even on the weekends for years before receiving a livable income. Besides, I want to focus my energy on growing my blog first.
— Making money on Youtube is not easy. I do have a Youtube channel on a topic unrelated to food. I have seen how difficult it is to get big on Youtube and make some meaningful money on this platform. I want to be financially secure before giving up my full-time job to take a plunge into this endeavor.
— I don’t want to videotape myself when hanging out with family. When Mr. FAF and I eat out, it’s family time. I don’t want to talk to a camera or videotape the two of us eating. Mr. FAF is super shy and doesn’t like to be on camera. I respect his privacy and don’t want to do something that makes him feel uncomfortable. When I am able to retire, however, I can try making more videos when I’m eating by myself.
2. Van/RV/tiny house life
I follow many Youtubers who live in a van, RV, or tiny house and are always amazed at how happy they are with their minimalist lifestyle. When I was growing up, I dreamed of having a toy house for myself.
It would be a simple little house made from plastic or wood, but it would be my own. I never got it since our family was poor. My parents wanted to spend money on food and utilities than a toy that would just bring me joy. Our house was also too small for a toy house.
When I first learned about the tiny house movement and discovered some beautiful house models on Youtube, I was mesmerized and just kept wondering what it’d be like if I could live like that.
I would be able to downsize and keep my expenses really low. I wouldn’t have to worry about paying rent or dealing with roommate problems. Mr. FAF and I could just have each other’s company and travel to see the world.
However, this dream will also need to wait for the following reasons:
— Mr. FAF and I need to live close to the cities for our jobs. We could think about quitting our jobs to do something different while traveling the world. But Mr. FAF and I spent years in school and are now just starting to put what we’ve learned into practice. We also want to climb up the corporate ladders to build our wealth and explore our full potential.
— We own a house. We live in a good area in DC where the appreciation rates increase remarkably every year. We like the idea of building equity for our home and turning it into a rental property one day.
— We will need to live with and take care of our parents. It is feasible for a couple and even their children to live in a tiny house or an RV. But when we have two sets of parents who are now retired and want to settle down in a place, being on the road every day can be a challenge.
Mr. FAF has agreed to give the RV life a shot for a week or so just to see what it’s like. And who knows, we might like it so much that we will decide to purchase an RV in the near future. Or we might find out that this is not really the lifestyle that we want. And we don’t know the answer until we give it a shot.
3. Expert vlogger
I wouldn’t call myself an expert in anything. The only thing I’m sure I’m good at is enjoying good food. However, there are a few things that I know I have unique experience in such as building a life as an immigrant in America and marrying someone from a different culture.
Many people can relate to my stories since they might be going through the same thing. All of us have a different story to tell, and I want to offer mine to the Youtube community.
I actually have started a Youtube channel (I won’t reveal it here since I blog anonymously). It’s been growing slowly for a couple of reasons:
— I had a low quality camera built into my Toshiba laptop, and I was too cheap to invest in a better one. My Youtube videos are dark, blurry, and simply low quality. In the first video that I made, the sound somehow lags behind the image, which makes me look and sound really odd. I made a series of videos, some of which ended up getting thousands of views while the rest simply didn’t take off.
— I am too lazy to put on nice clothes and makeup. Have you seen the videos of those beauty gurus who look so effortlessly gorgeous? I know they invested a lot in the lighting, clothing, and makeup. There’s a lot of prep work going into a Youtube video. Given my 100% bare face and 5-10 year-old clothes, it’s a bit daunting to see what I need to do to up my video quality. One thing I realized about my Youtube surfing behavior is that I tend to click on videos of Youtubers who look pretty and who are my age.
You now have a closer look at my Youtube lifestyle aspirations. Theoretically, I can start all of those lifestyles today and don’t have to keep wishing anymore. However, there are reasons (or excuses?) that prevent me from pursuing what I find so inspiring.
Deep down, we all have passions that we want to pursue and adventures we want to embark on. However, the reality is that we still need to work full-time to support ourselves and our family, take care of our young children and elderly parents, and need to prioritize what serves in our family’s best interests.
For now, I will put my Youtube passion on the back-burner and focus on the reality: work harder, save more, invest smarter, and gain financial freedom sooner.
When I’m financially free, I will start exploring my passion projects regardless of they can generate an income or profit.