Headwinds

Sure, you can resist the winds of change, but even that will transform you…

Maaike and I have been discussing our adventure for over two years now. It’s been a careful balance between finances, dreams and planning for our future. The process hasn’t been without challenges and recently, as the departure date approaches, we’ve been handed more.

My book sales definitely don’t make enough to see us motoring into the sunset for months to come. With our son headed to college, and our own promise not to leave him saddled with debt while he pursues his own dreams, we’ve needed to find other ways to generate the sustainable income required.

We’ve experimented with several business ideas, all of which require little more than an internet connection. Opportunity in this area is vast but highly competitive and so often the rewards are thinly spread. Last year however, we made a decision and dove head first into what had been a hobby of my wife’s – cryptocurrency mining.

I’ll admit, it isn’t the most stable of opportunities. And scaling the business is tricky as the costs, and rewards (though not the price) are relatively fixed. At the end of last year though, we thought we’d realized our dream.

Bitcoin prices were through the roof. We realized those irrational levels couldn’t be maintained and expected a drop of as much as half the value. What we didn’t expect was a drop of closer to two thirds and a slow, stagnant recovery.

As crazy as the prices still sound, $9,500 per bitcoin isn’t as profitable as it seems. One analyst suggests large scale mining isn’t profitable below around $8500 per coin, and he isn’t too far off.

While we’re both excited about the future of cryptocurrency, with such a short window left until Discovery’s launch, we know we can’t count on it as our only source of income. That’s why we had a backup plan.

We aren’t independently wealthy. We don’t have trust funds or lottery winnings behind our urge to weigh anchor and explore. Nor have we had unreasonable expectations about making this dream a reality. The backup plan has always involved my amazing wife continuing to work.

As an IT Project Manager, the vast majority of her job is handled over phone calls and emails. Many of the projects she wrestles with are contracted to overseas companies. In 2018, there are fewer and fewer reasons for companies to require employees to be physically present. VPN connections provide secure communications worldwide. Video, data, presentations, collaborative online tools all make offices a virtual space no longer necessarily tied to cubicles and shitty carpet.

But corporate decision making is often arbitrary and fickle. And making the commitment to remote work is a tough decision for supervisors and employees alike.

What never ceases to amaze me though is how often I run across adversity to change in highly technical arenas. Even people who dream of technology changing the world aren’t immune. The number of science fiction authors either opposed to eBooks or rooting in favor of paperbacks for instance is mind boggling. Naysayers to cryptocurrency aren’t in short supply either, even as we all carry less and less paper money which hasn’t been tied to any material standard for decades and is managed by a bloated bureaucracy which has lost all transparency.

But if you haven’t guessed, we aren’t in the camp where change is a scary thing to be avoided. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve moved against the normal trend and have sought to embrace change whenever possible as well as try to identify those gradual paradigm shifts which will affect all of us. And the one I’ve noticed most is that our time and our data are increasingly the currency of the future.

So this dream of ours isn’t about living on eternal vacation. It’s about possibilities and using the technology and resources available to make the most of our time – the one thing we own which should never be given away cheaply.

Given the right leadership and forward thinking, I think everybody could have the ability to embrace these fundamental shifts in the economy, in technology, to live a freer life. As for us, we’re likely too impatient to wait.

Looking forward to sharing our journeys with all of you when the time comes! Thanks again for reading.

Image Copyright Colin Park and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License, CC BY-SA 2.0

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