Financially things are decent in Manila; I am paying down debt and starting to save but if I were truly satisfied with the way things were things would never improve. I don’t need or want a mansion and a yacht (necessarily) but traveling more and paying off my mortgage, buying a beach house for retirement and sending Coco to a $30,000 private school if I want without stressing out about the financial aid award are all reasonable goals. And, in a nutshell, I want to be completely debt-free!
I’m not going to be able to do that continuing in this career without a second income and I refuse to spend more of my time making the money. The money I bring in needs to be made passively like the extra $600 I make from renting out my house each month.
I have been brainstorming and reading about ways to do this for the past six months or so and I am starting to compile a list of how this can be done. One of the ways is to get some writing published. I have had several children’s book ideas swirling in my head for close to a decade and I haven’t made any effort to write them down. Also somehow Coco and I have gotten into a wonderful habit of telling each other stories at night and because she will ask me for one when I am not expecting it I have gotten pretty good at coming up with entertaining stories off the cuff. (She even now prefers my stories to her books–not to mention she is getting good at the skill of including story elements in her stories she makes up as well.)
In addition to my children’s book ideas, a childhood friend of mine has agreed to collaborate with me on a book about some of our similar life experiences and she and I are planning to write a book of tips for newbies in our career field! I also have some ideas for a cookbook, some magazine articles and some short stories. I am very excited to get started–or rather to finish– the first of these projects.
I also want to get into microstock photography (when I improve my skills) and develop some of my creative and graphic design ideas. Unfortunately I am not a tech-saavy person, don’t have an MBA, don’t have a trust fund, don’t have connections with powerful/smart/rich people, I suck at math, I have no brilliant business ideas and I don’t have unlimited amounts of time to learn new skills so I am trying to make some extra money with the limited skills I currently have. When more money starts coming in I can devote time to developing these gaps. What I do know for sure though is that to live abroad you don’t need much money to live quite well in many, many cities and you don’t have to work at a brick and mortar place to make the money. I have also learned that multiple streams of income are just as good if not better than one. If I can make money without going into work I don’t have to remain in one city. If I become location independent I will have time to travel (slowly like a resident, not in and out of cities like a tourist) and have more time to devote to the things I enjoy. If I don’t have to spend 9-10 hours a day commuting to and working in one place then I can work out when I want, sleep the hours I want, travel when it isn’t high season and spend more quality time with my daughter–not just 5-7 pm and weekends! You know when you only have a couple of hours each night to see your child you feel guilty working out, reading, getting manicures or whatever but if you wait until after she’s asleep you are too tired to be productive! (Or maybe that’s just me.)
Now don’t get me wrong, the benefits in my current job are fantastic: free schooling, tax-free salary, free housing and a travel allowance.?! I can take trips every year for free!? Yeah, these are pretty amazing benefits and certainly nothing to sneeze at. I am very appreciative and very lucky to have this job and very well may want to keep at it for another few years but it still doesn’t keep me from dreaming of other ways to live this one life we have been given and dreams, goals, ambition — those are good things. Can I get a witness??