I’m writing this in my home office just a block from the beach in Long Beach, California. The temperature is a mild 82 degrees outside and there isn’t a cloud in sight. So if I’m living in paradise, why am I feeling so unfulfilled?
Living in Los Angeles is very, very expensive. The cost of living out here is close to that of New York and London. You can compare cost of living here: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living
The cost of living isn’t the only thing that’s out of control, the amount of people out here is mind blowing as well! According to Wikipedia, the population of LA is now exceeding 18 million people. That’s more than 8,200 people per square mile. No wonder the traffic is so bad.
The problem with living in a place like this is that you need to make a lot of money just to survive. My spending is somewhere between $3,000-$6,000 or more on a monthly basis. That’s ridiculous. Most of that is spent on rent, a car (and related expenses), food, shopping, and expensive smartphones.
Spending this much money every month on things I really don’t need and living in a place where everything is so spread out is wearing out on me. Los Angeles is fun, its filled with amazing people and there are tons of places to go skateboarding every day, but I can’t live here and put money into savings. I can’t build wealth when I’m spending so much. I can’t even really enjoy the nice things around here, I have to settle for the free things.
Pros to living in Los Angeles:
- Beautiful weather
- Beautiful people, lots of beautiful people
- Tons of amazing skate spots
- Tons of amazing skate parks
- Huge communities of people from all walks of life
Cons to living in Los Angeles:
- High cost of living
- Traffic, lots of traffic
- Lots of people, way too many people.
- You can’t get anywhere easily without a car
- Hoards of homeless people and crackheads
Skateboarding has kept me here, along with my wife, but I haven’t achieved my dreams of traveling the world yet. My needs are shifting. I no longer need to skate every day to feel fulfilled, I need to go somewhere new every day.
I turn 30 in April of 2017, and I want to spend the last 6 months of my 20’s doing something I should have been doing the entire course of my 20’s, traveling!
Something to live by: “Bring your skateboard with you, wherever you go.”
Skateboarding is not just great exercise, it’s an art form like dancing that provides an outlet for built up anxiety. It’s also great training for other things in life that require balance and fearlessness. Every time I go skateboarding I face my fears. Just getting up onto a small handrail could mean a cracked rib or broken ankle if I don’t commit 100% to doing it correctly.
I have been blessed the last 6 months with being able to witness some of the most amazing skateboarding in the world happen right down the street from where I live in Long Beach, at the Cherry Park Skate Plaza. There’s something about being exposed to incredible talent and skill on a daily basis that really helps build your confidence and skill set as well.
Am I a bit spoiled from all the good weather, skate parks, people, things to do and places to go? Possibly. Honestly, I feel like I’m ready to experience something new. I know there are a lot of obstacles ahead and tough times yet to be had, but nothing compares to the mediocrity of a life in the city without travel.
I’ve been in debt before, $5000 deep to be exact. After working to build a website and brand for so long, then selling that website for $50,000 in 2015. I don’t want to go into debt ever again. That’s why I’m working so hard right now. I’m working my butt off every day to grow 3 e-commerce sites while working on launching 3 more. It’s an insane workload that would drive the normal 9-5er nuts, but it’s just another day for me.
I moved to LA from Idaho, of all places. The only people I knew in LA were my grandparents who graciously offered me a free stay at their house for a few months. I had to go meet people on my own, without anybody introducing me. It wasn’t easy, it was scary, but I did it so that I could escape the mediocrity of living in the boondocks of north Idaho.
I barely graduated high school. I failed miserable in my first few semesters of college. I had to go back and forth to Seattle and Idaho to make ends meet in the summer time, but each time I got lucky and had friends that offered me a place to stay at their house over the fall and winter months.
I wanted to learn how to skate really well. I wanted to get sponsored and go pro. But I got injured a lot and realized that I wasn’t going to make it in skating if I wasn’t able to perform at the top levels and network my way into the companies that are out here. So I gave in and started working day jobs. I couldn’t find a job for a long time until a friend’s friend showed me a movie called “the secret.”
This movie changed my life.
I got a job, and then I got a better job. I worked really hard to advance, but the pay was so little that I kept going into debt. No matter how hard I tried to save money and cut spending, the cost of living is so high out here that I couldn’t afford the things I wanted like a new skateboard, new shoes, and a night out every weekend.
When I was growing my online business I tried to move into a physical retail location. When it didn’t work out due to high costs, I had to exit. The rent alone was $1,500 a month, not including payroll, expenses, taxes, etc.
I vowed never to put myself in a precarious position like that again, and so I’m here now. Without very many responsibilities, but lots of motivation to create abundance in my life.
Now that I’ve experienced over a decade of living in Los Angeles, I feel like it’s time for something new again.
Juli and I booked one-way tickets to Chiang Mai, Thailand for October 1st. We are going to give our 30-day notice end of August, sell all our stuff, put the rest into a cheap storage unit in Las Vegas, set up a mail forwarding service out there, get new drivers licenses, bank accounts, and business permits. We are going to move out of California to not be burdened by the state income tax anymore, and we are going to travel.
We can only get a 6-9 month tourist visa, so we can’t stay in Thailand forever, and that’s probably a good thing. We will pack everything we need in a couple of backpacks and be digital nomads for the next decade. Our goal is to experience every part of the world and document the entire thing. That’s the goal with my personal blog, to document it all.
- As human beings, we have many core needs and desires. As soon as you can get in touch with your core needs and desires, and understand what you truly need to feel alive and fulfilled, the happier you’ll be.
- I’m a much happier person when I’m traveling than when I’m stuck in the same apartment every day paying so much money that I need to constantly be grinding just to get by.
- Material posessions make you happy for only a moment, but without use, the hapiness they bring you quickly wears out and becomes a menace to your mental well-being.
I really hope that if you’re reading this that you can take something from my struggles that will benefit your life. Just do what your gut feeling is and don’t let the naysayers convince you otherwise. Only take advice from people who are living the lifestyle you want to live. Stay motivated, get inspired, make big changes in your life, take risks, get out of your comfort zone and truly feel alive.
Trevor J. Fenner