I’m thrilled to announce that tomorrow, July 3, I’m speaking at an Escape the City event in London. The talk is titled “How to Escape and Build a Life Traveling the World.”

Escape the City is an organization in London whose mantra is “Do Something Different,” and their mission is to encourage driven, yet unfulfilled corporate professionals to find work that’s more meaningful to them. Escape the City is near and dear to my heart, as they were one of the major influencers in my own Escape. So I’m honored to have this opportunity to share the things I’ve learned over the past year in building my lifestyle of travel. I plan to tell my “Escape” story: From IBM consultant to slow-traveler & book publisher.

Will you be in London on July 3? Please join me! Click here to sign up for the event.

Two years ago, my roommates in Chicago and I started something called the Chicago Business Book Club. It all came about organically — the three of us found ourselves discussing Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Workweek over dinner, a book we all happened to read around the same time. What started as a few guys talking about a thought-provoking book over beers turned into a deep cathartic session on dreams, happiness, and the drive to find meaningful work. The three of us realized that we were all discontent in our jobs; we each held a higher, unrealized vision for our lives and the type of lifestyle we wanted to lead.

Yes, we were making decent money and generally speaking, living a fantastic life. But we had all had this nagging feeling inside — a feeling that perhaps we were destined for something better. Ultimately, we wanted to know we were spending our fleeting time on Earth doing work that fulfilled our potential and impacted the world in a positive way.

It seemed our lives were mostly a reflection of a funneled path in life that we found ourselves living. Of course, we did make many key decisions in our lives — which university to attend, which courses to take, which jobs to apply for — but the higher reason for the entire journey through life up until this point felt mostly handed-down. It seemed that we had never paused to simply ask: Why are we doing these things? And did I determine these reasons myself, or were they handed down to me?

It felt as though our life situation was the result of going through the motions of life, without reflecting and understanding what each of us wanted to get out of life.

We had the suspicion that more friends could relate. The Chicago Business Book Club’s three members became five, became eight, and soon we were ten guys talking about our feelings and our dreams…I mean, while drinking beers and cursing and grunting like proper men, of course.

During one session, my friend Mike shared with us a video he found from Escape the City. Credit K’naan’s mesmerizing march-like drumbeat, but this video inspired me to no end:

Escape’s mission resonated with me. Over time, I became friends with Adele, Escape’s then Community Manager, and now Education Director. While traveling through London last year, I had the honor of meeting Rob, Dom, and Mikey, Escape’s founders. Escape has since grown to over 100,000 members. I’ve written a few posts for their blog, including How to Negotiate a Temporary Escape. I was the perfect Escapee prototype; Escape the City was my perfect support community.

“How to Escape and Build a Life Traveling the World”

The title of this talk makes it sound like I have everything figured out, to which I’m quick to dismiss — I’m still figuring it all out.

But I’ve realized there’s a paper-thin barrier between people who are dreaming of “escaping” their corporate jobs to pursue something more meaningful, and someone like me who’s decided to jump, and is in the midst of doing it. The major difference is a mental one: I’ve decided to make a major change, while others may still deliberating one. I don’t know much more than the consultants, lawyers, corporate professionals, and students that’ll be at the event, but hopefully I’ll be able to offer some tangible inspiration and a relatable story to give people the confidence need to make that first bold decision.

I plan to describe my story: How I negotiated a sabbatical. How I’ve sustained long-term travel over the past year. How I’m flipping the concept of travel onto its head, turning it into more of a lifestyle than a temporary escape. And how I believe that anyone with a burning desire to do something, a bunch of creativity, and simple confidence in themselves, can achieve their travel-related goals in life.

Special Giveaway: Are You in London?

The first 2 people to email me and tell me they’re coming will get a free paperback copy of Tales of Iceland at the event.

Also, whether you’re coming or not, are there any questions you have for me? Anything you’re curious about and wish I would talk about more? Hope to meet some of you tomorrow night!

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