One Year Lived – A Lesson in Goal Attainment

“If you wonder whether an odyssey like mine is financially realistic for you, I answer with a resounding yes.”

– Adam Shepard

Man in front of mountainA few weeks back, Adam Shepard , the author of “Scratch Beginnings”, reached out to me concerning his new book “One Year Lived“.

Set for release on April 22, Adam felt readers of the Safe Investing Blog would be interested in his latest adventure. He gave me the opportunity to read this new book and share my thoughts with you.

“One Year Lived” is a chronicle of Adam’s year-long travels. Along the lines of books such as the 4 hour work week, Adam gives the “9-5” the finger, then travel’s the world and experiences all life has to offer.

Why should you, gentle reader, be interested? After all, this site is about safe investing, not world travel.  We all have things that we want. And investing is a process for growing today’s money into more money tomorrow.

But it is what you DO with your money that has an impact. We’ve discussed the importance of buying experiences with your money. And Adam definitely got his money’s worth.

A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Dream

The lesson learned from Adam’s book is that having a goal is not enough. You have to make a plan, and then work that plan into dust. Adam’s goal was to experience the world by traveling the world for one year.

I’m sure that was the easiest part of his journey. It’s at this point that the decision-making started. The “who” and the “what” were done…figuring out the “where”, “when”, and “how” was the tricky part.

Planning the “Where, When, and How”

With the easy part behind him, Adam began to plan his escape.  The trick was to figure out which countries fit his travel budget and then find creative ways to get there.

For instance, Adam tells that a flight from Costa Rica to New Zealand was going to cost $1,604.  After 8 weeks of watching travel sites for deals, he started to think he was just going to have to eat that cost.  He then discovered that flights from Los Angeles to New Zealand were $551, and Los Angeles from Costa Rica was only $263.   Half the price and some added frequently flier miles in exchange for 9 more hours of flight time.  That’s a pretty good trade if you ask me.

Adam advises that you look around for good deals.  Sounds like the same advice you get from most personal financial blogs when you read about planning for major purchases.

For example, a hamburger in Copenhagen costs four times as much as in Prague (and Prague is way cooler).  Some countries (just like some purchases) are more expensive than others.

Arai logoKnow when to scrimp and when to splurge…personally, I spare no expense on my motorcycle helmets.

In the end, he realized that in order to achieve his goal, he would need to save money.  And save a lot.  It would end up taking him 2 years.


Home free right?  Destination is set, plan is laid, we’re ready to go.  Not so fast.  Executing your plan is harder still.  This is when you’ll hear words like commitment and sacrifice.  Adam mentions sacrifice several times in his book, mainly to say that he doesn’t feel he sacrificed anything.

I can’t remember who said it, but there is a quote that I absolutely love about sacrifice: “I’ve never made sacrifices.  I’ve only made choices”.  And that is exactly what Adam did.

“The anticipation of your trip is very real, as is the prospect that this could actually happen, so you tolerate those niggling forfeitures while visions of daiquiris and the sunset on a Thai beach appear in cloud bubbles over your head.”

On the income side, he tended bar at the Hilton Garden Inn and promptly deposited all tips in the bank (sounds like paying yourself first, doesn’t it).  But income alone wasn’t enough…in order to save enough money in 2 years time, Adam also had to alter his lifestyle to keep his expenses in check.

Food Expenses

He cooked his own food for the most part, and drank his friend’s alcohol before heading out for the night.

Lodging Expenses

Adam mentions living in a four-bedroom apartment with three roommates to save on housing costs.  He says “You’re roommates aren’t THAT bad”.  Obviously, he never met some of mine.

Vehicle Expenses

He also drove a seventeen-year-old Plymouth Sundance, rather than buying a new car.  I agree…that is definitely something that you would have to choose to do.

The list goes on.  Rather than rehash the whole thing, take a moment to think about your lifestyle.  Are you willing to change in pursuit of your goals?  Most people say they want to look like a fitness model.  But they don’t choose to eat and exercise in a way that supports that goal.

“It’s simple to favor your own cooking or pass on a shiny car when you’re surveying with wanderlust the world map on your wall.”

Frugality (Sometimes confused with Budgeting)

Keep in mind, just because you’re on the trip of a lifetime doesn’t automatically mean you can spend like it too.  You’ll also need to exercise some measure of restraint.

How much?  Well…that all depends on the type of “choices” you made while saving for the trip.  Here are some tactics that Adam used to stretch his savings:

  1. No souvenirs (Why bother – Memories take up less space)
  2. “Moderate” spending on alcohol
  3. Used disposable razors for five weeks at a time
  4. Checked books out from the library on my Kindle.
  5. Slept on whatever happened to be available, including hostels, beach houses, resorts, tile floors, airports, spots via “Couchsurfing”
  6. Meals at open-air, street-corner stands

In the end, he spent $19,420.68 on this trip, visiting seventeen countries on four continents.  Believe it or not, he estimated that he spent less money on the trip than he would have staying put and worked for a living!

To summarize, Adam’s journey is less about the destinations (although those are cool), and more about the actions he had to take to make his dream a reality.  Pay careful attention to the language I used there.  “The actions that HE had to take to make HIS dream a reality.”

Are they the same actions that you or I would take?  Probably not.  Is that the same dream that you and I have?  Maybe, maybe not.  Will we all need to make choices that impact our lifestyle in order to achieve something great?  The answer is always yes.  Whether we accept that answer makes all the difference.

Want more specifics on how Adam made it happen?

Interested in his story? For a limited time, Adam has given me permission to give you the book for FREE until the book goes on sale April 22.

That’s right…FREE!

Here’s what you’ve got to do:

  1. Leave a comment below with your answer to the following question: “You have the power to do anything and travel anywhere – Where are you headed and what one action are you taking today to bring that destination closer to reality?”
  2. Share or repost this article, and email me the link at “contact (at) invest-safely (dot) com” or via my website ( I’ll reply within 24 hours with a link where you can download the book for free.

I have no affiliation with Adam Shepard, nor do I receive any commissions from his book. He provided me with a free electronic copy of One Year Lived, and the opportunity to share it with you for a limited time.

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2 Responses to One Year Lived – A Lesson in Goal Attainment

  1. Adam Shepard says:

    Great post, Joel! Thank you for sharing my book. If one is willing to delay gratification just a little bit (as you have specifically pointed out above), there are some wonderful adventures to be had out there in the world.

  2. June says:

    My destination is not of distance but of achievment. I am on a journey of sorts to become an accomplised artist (I am aspiring at this moment). Today I will start to draw (or paint or sketch, etc.) something and continue action this everyday to get to my destination. This will take a commitment of time and study and practice. And, I tweeted this post! Good post, by the way.

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