Simply put, I was waiting to live. Young, capable, and free to pursue my own American Dream I decided to take a leap and walk into a more deliberate life.
On April Fool's Day 2016 (age 26) I quit my engineering job in my home state of Ohio, drove to San Diego, and sold my car when I got there. For the six months that followed, I hiked 2,650 continuous miles between the U.S. border of Mexico and the U.S. border of Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
During my hike I made a personal resolution to find a way to make each day count towards a goal of my choosing after the PCT. I had discovered by this point in my life, only in the pursuit of my own goals could I harmonize my thoughts, words, and actions.
I needed a goal I could start immediately after reaching Canada by foot. More importantly I needed a goal I could pursue with no money. Every penny I got in exchange for that car I sold was spent on the pursuit of the PCT.
Then I thought of the Million Dollar Mountain.
Why do people climb Mt. Everest? There's no one answer, but there's magic in that number, the height of the mountain on Earth taller than the rest. In a similar, but not directly comparable way, there's magic in the figure "One Million Dollars".
Why not go for it?
Pursuing a net worth of one million dollars would test my person in ways not yet challenged by cycling across America or hiking the PCT.
In order to give myself the best chance of achieving my goal I needed to lower my cost of living to a purely functional form. Eight friends from college generously loaned me enough money to get started on building a home inside a van.
My van, “Proud Mary”, is a house/office/car in a single monthly payment that’s less than median rent in most cities. This gives me the ability to flexibly chase down business opportunities in today’s dynamically shifting economy.
At this point in the story I only had an idea of what might be a business I could create that could get me to a million dollars.
To pursue this business idea though I first needed to save money. I started by walking into a Mercedes-Benz dealership and asking for a job. After six months of selling cars and vans, I decided that I could better leverage my time by combining my sales experience with my engineering background. I took a job selling technical solutions for a mechanical engineering company. But six months into that job I realized even then I wouldn’t be able to save enough money to pursue my own business anytime soon.
So I decided to get more resourceful. After six more months of patiently searching the market, I purchased and renovated a foreclosed home. Over the course of a summer I turned the house into a rental property. The rental property then gave me the ability to double leverage the capital invested and give myself the working capital I needed to bet on myself as an entrepreneur.
Progressing slowly over the last three years to this point, I am still very much in love with my pursuit. Life as I described it back when I left my engineering job on April Fool’s Day 2016, was predictable. I could see how each year would unfold before I lived it. What has happened since, I could not have predicted.
This website serves as a partial record of my life's adventures. My experiences related to a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail and also an earlier solo bicycle trip across the United States in 2011 are covered in separate blogs on this site. The Van Blog covers my build of Proud Mary from an empty cargo van to a mobile home. And the House Blog covers my acquisition and renovation of a foreclosed home into a rental property.
Read, write, share, and rock on!