John Bardos of Jet Set Citizen
Who am I?
My name is John Bardos. I’ve been living abroad since 1997. My wife and I owned a successful business in Japan for more than decade, but in early 2010, we sold or gave away everything including our house, car and all our possessions to live a nomadic travelling lifestyle.
One year to an Excellent Life
After years of wishing we could do something different with our lives, in 2009, my wife and I made a one year plan to change countries and careers. I publicly made that declaration on this blog and it was enough motivation to jumpstart our new life. We kept our commitment and left Japan in early 2010. You can read all the posts about our progress and plans here.
What is a JetSetCitizen
Anyone, in developed countries at least, can do and have anything they want. The only requirement is focused effort on high return work. Exotic vacations, fancy cars and designer handbags are available to the masses so material possessions are no longer an important measure of success. Anyone can buy a Rolex watch or a Porche. Anyone can go to Thailand or Buenos Aires. Universal accessibility to goods and services once available to the super rich, mean that purchases no longer have the same caché.
In fact, possessions have become a sign of weakness. We have been getting fat, stupid and lazy with a diet of fast food and television, while polluting our planet at an increasing rate. All that “convenience” we have been consuming is making us sick. We are sick, the environment is sick and it is our own fault.
The internet has opened unprecedented opportunities to make decent amounts of money from virtually anywhere in the world. We are no longer tethered to a job, city or even country. Anyone can put up a blog and start promoting their content or services from the most distant corners of the globe.
I asked John a few things:
How “exactly” do your make money to “fund” your lifestyle/travels ?
Most of my money came from running a small group of English schools in Japan. Basically, my wife and I worked hard for a decade, kept our costs low and saved lots of money. We now make money from advertising on various websites and the occasional marketing consulting.
If you can change anything about your decision, what would it be ?
There are two things I would change. The first is that we should have decided to sell everything and leave Japan several years earlier. We had a good income and a great lifestyle so it was hard for us to give that up for something uncertain. We had wanted to do something else for years but were too afraid to change.
The second thing I would change is to not buy a house in Japan. We thought a bigger house was why we were dissatisfied with our old career. We thought that spending more money and buying nicer things would make us happy. It didn’t work. Buying the house ended up costing us many tens of thousands of dollars in extra payments and all the new furniture and other useless stuff we bought.
What does success mean to you ?
Success is fundamentally about health and relationships. If you don’t have health or lack quality relationships with family and friends, then nothing else matters. Success to me means making sure that I eat healthy, exercise daily and spend time with people that are important to me. Beyond that, personal fulfillment and a meaningful life also require making a contribution to the disadvantaged in the world. I’m trying to spend more time on volunteering and other social impact projects.
I definitely know what success if not. It’s not my bank balance. It’s not the number of stamps in my passport. It’s not how many marathons I run or how many mountains I climb. It’s not about how many blog subscribers I have or Twitter followers. All of those metrics are superficial and largely meaningless when taken in the context of an entire life.
I have an online book about success at simplesuccessmanifesto.com if you’re interested.
What makes you happy the most ?
I’m pretty simple. Good workouts, good meals and good conversations with friends all bring me a lot of happiness now.
Check out his blog at http://www.jetsetcitizen.com