I’m 32, and last week I retired.

Maybe retirement isn’t the right word. If there’s a word that means, “I’m free to live the life of my dreams,” I’m that.

Three years ago I helped with a tech startup and have been extremely busy with that ever since. The last year or two I’ve been struggling with a growing sense of dissatisfaction with my life, however. By all appearances I was an amazing success story. Here was a guy who dropped out of high school to live in the woods, been homeless for a stretch, and was now living the high life as an international businessman. We had been successful enough to provide an extremely luxurious lifestyle: 500,000 miles of first class flights around the world (for sales meetings with lux clients), the finest hotels, Michelin star restaurants, and some really fancy clothes.

The more money I made, the more things I felt I needed to be happy. This is the problem with things. They don’t really “make” you happy, and there’s always a cooler, more expensive “thing” that becomes your new target of satisfaction. It’s known as the Hedonic treadmill, and it’s why there are so many miserable millionaires out there. My $5,000 (Bell&Ross) watch was great until I had the $15,000 (Panerai) watch. Next in line was a $40,000 (Audemar) watch.

Just writing this makes me feel like a tool.

I found myself caught in a stressful cycle of manic working, followed by manic partying. Every now and then I’d be standing there in a world famous nightclub, looking around at everyone having a great time and I thinking, “Look at all of these hairless apes (Not meant as an insult. Rather that I was observing the human animal), in their expensive shoes, on full parade, trying to flaunt their social and sexual status to attract a mate.” I didn’t like the people with whom I had surrounded myself: Businessmen, socialites, club promoters, and models bored out of their minds from 5 nights per week of nightlife. (If you are reading this, I’m probably not talking about you 😉 I felt trapped by this lifestyle that I bought into, and I wasn’t proud of who I had become.I wasn’t necessarily ashamed. But I certainly wasn’t proud.

This isn’t who I wanted to be.

So this week I “retired” and am in the process of selling everything I own, save a Royal Enfield Motorcycle, my computer, phone, a change of clothes, a passport, toiletries, and credit card which all fit into a backpack smaller than a school bag. I plan on traveling the world indefinitely. This is the life I’ve been dreaming about since I spent a summer in Nepal in 2006, and honestly, to truly be free, has been my dream since I was a young teenager.

It wasn’t an easy decision. Last month I spent holed away; unavailable, both physically and emotionally, to everyone in my life. Torn between the security of a salary, and the freedom to live the life that I’ve always wanted. Security and Freedom are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

It is said that monotony collapses our perception of time, while novelty unfolds it. I couldn’t agree more. Three months in Thailand felt like a years worth of memories (fought Muay Thai, became a Buddhist monk, and was adopted by a Thai family in a rural village) while 9 months of heads-down working seemed to pass in a flash. I want to unfold time and experience a life full of adventure, meaningful relationships, and countless moments that take my breath away.

People ask me what I’m running away from.

I am running from a life that isn’t authentic; that isn’t me. From the numbness that accompanies a sterile life of luxury. I’m running away from monotony and towards novelty; towards wonder, awe, and the things that make me feel vibrantly alive.

I’m not breaking down, I’m breaking free; free of some very clever golden chains.

People ask me what I’m afraid of.

I am afraid of a life unlived; afraid to look back as an old man and wish I hadn’t wasted it on forgettable things or trying to be someone else. I thirst for a life that I would want to read about; an epic tale where I am both author and hero.

Photo is from the Catacombs in Paris. A reminder that we are impermanent. One day we will be nothing but bones and stories.

p.s. feel free to creep my facebook and instagram

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Showing 13 comments
  • Yelena
    Reply

    Beautiful story!

  • Jonathan Legg
    Reply

    Right on man! You made the right decision. I’ll be following your adventures for inspiration.

  • seo
    Reply

    Right here is the perfect site for everyone who really wants to find out about this topic.

    You understand a whole lot its almost hartd to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
    You definitelyy put a new spin on a subject that has been written about for ages.
    Wonderful stuff, just excellent!

  • Vincent Miller
    Reply

    Aloha Justin,

    Saw you on Instagram and then you pop up on an awesome authors podcast I happen to listen to all in the same week. I’m a fan and happy to hear you’re living the life you’ve been yearning. I will be following you on your adventure through the interwebs and if you ever need a shirt I got you! Fair winds and following seas my friend

  • bowman
    Reply

    hinice msrjur :-)

  • stevens
    Reply

    hellonice xbhkoe :-)

  • Irene
    Reply

    Hi Justin,
    It’s Irene.just said goodbye to u in 30mins I guess.i love ur story 🙂
    I’m here in moalboal now,wish u were here and enjoy with us,that will be cool.
    And weird I could find the access to ur Facebook?

    • Justin Alexander
      Reply

      I think we are friends on FB, no? Search Justin Alexander

  • Alain
    Reply

    brother I know exactly were your coming from… 52 and just behind you….only building my ride that will take me to KNOW where…!

    • Justin Alexander
      Reply

      Freeeeedom 🙂

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    Reply

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