The other day, I found myself commenting in a Facebook group of travel lovers. This group was comprised mainly of individuals who wanted to learn more on the art of travel hacking – basically how to leverage and maximize the usage of credit card points and miles to travel the world for close to nothing.
It’s a topic I’m obsessed with personally, and a hobby that my husband has taken to a whole new level.
In the group, the topic at hand was about the importance of packing light, of which I’m an advocate. Another commenter mentioned that generally, people who travel a lot tend to favor packing light, and asked me if I fit into that category. Kind of? The term “a lot” is relative, right? I would love to travel more than we do right now, but I’m also content with our current lifestyle.
I responded that, well, I had 8 “big” trips planned this year, and a few other weekend trips in between.
Travel hacking is easiest when you can plan about a year in advance, so we had almost all of our 2019 travel booked and had started planning for 2020.
This year’s plans included a resort in Mexico, 2 weeks in Greece, a foodie trip to Chicago, time in the North Carolina mountains with my husband’s family, a majestic train ride from Denver to California, followed by some time in wine country, a Caribbean cruise with my family, a long weekend in Las Vegas, and Christmas in Hong Kong.
And that’s when it happened. The questions flooded in.
Are you rich? Who pays for your trips?
Nope, not rich. I wish! We pay for our trips, but full disclosure, we pay almost nothing. Usually we are able to get our flights, hotels, rental cars, and some of our meals covered with points and miles. Travel hacking is the best hobby in the world!
Don’t you have to WORK? How can you take that much time off?
Yes. We both work full time. My husband owns his own business and also does some freelance work on the side. And I work for a small company with excellent PTO. The hubby has unlimited time off and I have a very generous 4 weeks. That sounds pretty awesome, right? The reality is that it took us a very long time to get here. And along the way, we had to take big, scary, huge risks. If my husband has a bad week, month, or year, there’s no steady paycheck to rely on. He has zero benefits and has to pay the entire premium for health insurance and retirement savings. And while I love my job (and the amazing benefits), it has taken me well over a decade in awful, soul-crushing jobs to get here.
But we got here. We are finally living the life that we said we’d always wanted.
Along the way, we learned how to make better decisions and invest in ourselves. And I believe it has made all the difference. So I wanted to share a recent example from my personal life as a case study.
How To Make Better Decisions And Invest In Yourself: A Case Study
Soon after we had our daughter, six years ago, our friends began telling us that our life was basically over. My husband and I love adventures – we love traveling all over the world. We love going out to try new restaurants. We love just being out and about, unscheduled, unburdened, and just figuring it out along the way.
And our friends were slowly putting fear into our hearts. They told us that babies require a schedule. That it’d be too hard to go out to dinner with a little one, that flying across the pond would no longer be fun, and date nights? Hah. A thing of the past.
As I listened to all these warnings, I began to fear for the future of our relationship. Determined to take a stand against a future with no date nights, I signed up for a wine club membership at a local winery that we love. For $20 every month, we’d get to go to the restaurant to pick up a bottle of wine, and in theory, stay for a quiet, romantic dinner afterwards.
Sounds good right?
Except, it turns out that our friends were wrong. We quickly learned that our little one was totally fine off schedule. She loved to travel and did well on long flights, even to Europe. She loved going out to dinner to eat weird things like raw fish and squid and stinky cheeses.
And since my husband and I valued our date nights, they became sacred moments that we prioritized in our life. Turns out that wine club membership wasn’t necessary, but six years later, it was still being automatically billed on our credit card. And we’d totally forget to pick up the wine unless we were going to a party and wanted to bring along a hostess gift, at which point we’d go and pick up 6 months worth of wine.
Joining this wine club was a decision that I made with a scarcity mindset.
A scarcity mindset comes from a place of fear. Of not having having enough. In my case, it was a decision based on the fear of not having date nights and fun experiences with my husband.
Another example might be choosing to use language like “I can’t afford this,” or “I’m not smart enough”.
The opposite of having a scarcity mindset is having an abundance mindset.
It’s a belief that the world has limitless possibilities. It’s choosing to use language like “How can I afford this?’ or “I can figure it out.”
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the power that comes from shifting to an abundance mindset. And one of the biggest tenets is to view failures as opportunities.
And for me, spending $20 a month on wine that I really didn’t care about was a failure. It wasn’t enough money that I really noticed it being deducted every month, but I couldn’t help feeling that I could be spending it more mindfully.
So I decided to turn it into an opportunity instead.
Over the past few years, my husband and I have really focused on making better decisions. I wanted to take that money and invest it in something that would help me achieve my goals. Something that would help me to become the person that I wanted to be. Something that would positively impact my future self.
And then I found it.
I came across the Next Big Idea Book Club. And I knew right away that this could be an investment that I could make in myself. Something that my future self would be thankful for. A better decision.
One book can change your life.
In fact, I could list several books that have deeply impacted my life and changed it for the better. If you haven’t read these yet, I highly recommend them!
This book opened up my mind to a world of possibilities that I never even knew possible. I read it in college, and it has impacted all the major decisions in my life since.
No one tells us that everything we think we know about millionaires is totally wrong. And if you have ever thought about joining the elusive “millionaires group” of Americans, I highly urge you to read this book. It will shatter every preconceived notion you have, I promise!
Reading this book showed me that it was ok to do my own thing. And life has never been the same. My favorite lesson learned from this book was that it’s ok to be your authentic, weird self. Because how else will you find the other authentic, weird people that belong in your tribe?
So when I saw the Next Big Idea Book Club, I was sold. I already believe that one good idea, or one good book can change your life. But the Next Big Idea Book club is SO MUCH more than that. These books are hand selected by some of my favorite people. Authors that challenge you to think differently, like Adam Grant, Susan Cain, Daniel Pink and Malcolm Gladwell.
For the cost of a bottle of wine each month, you’ll get 2 books to read every quarter, and also exclusive membership into their Facebook Group. The authors of the book pop in to answer questions and provide video highlights, interactive material, and fascinating facts.
As if that’s not enough, the book curators EVEN donate 100% of their profits to students in under-resourced schools.
The Next Big Idea Book Club comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and you can cancel at any time. Are you ready to do something that your future self will thank you for? Is there something in your current budget that you’ve been mindlessly paying for that you can do without? Are you ready to make a better decision and invest in yourself? Then maybe it’s time to join The Next Big Idea book club.