What Would You Do if Money Were Not an Issue?

by Alexander Heyne · 13 comments

As I get older, I start to love the following stories more and more.

From Location 180: 

“In 2009 my life sucked. So I quit my job, moved to Thailand, built a business, and started living life the way I’d always wanted.”

I think that simple sentence, those 25 words pretty much sum up what we’re all after.

They sum up what I’m after. And they probably sum up what a lot of readers of Milk the Pigeon are after.

“My life sucks.. this is what I want to be doing on a daily basis instead.”

A lot of us spend so much time fantasizing about the “day in the life” that we never get started and realize that it’s pretty easy to get started doing something that will accumulate and eventually snowball in the future. (It will)

If you want financial freedom, start by establishing an online presence.  Start a blog today and write your first post. It requires an afternoon and almost no money.

Congratulations, in one afternoon you are successfully on the path to becoming financially independent…

If you want to travel more, learn that it’s not as expensive as you thought, and in fact, you can travel the world and save money by doing it properly.  (Hint: rent out your place for a couple months, and compare the money you would’ve spent on gas and eating out versus what you actually spent traveling).

Get on Kayak and plan your first flight. Congratulations, your next adventure has begun.

If you like your life and just want to stop working terrible jobs that are soul-crushing, set out to learn a new skill and build your connections around that new skill.  (Read half way down “quitting the formal job market” ).

The reality is that it’s so easy to complain about the ideal world others are living in while neglecting to change your own.

If you promise yourself one thing this year — one new year’s bullshit resolution — make it this, that today you’ll write your story, and today you’ll start living it, even if it’s that baby step.

You’ll start that business, even if it’s just the business plan.

You’ll research your next travel trip, even if it’s just looking at flights.

You’ll plan for your dream job, even if it’s just fantasizing out loud on paper.

You’ll be living the dream, if it’s just that one itty-bitty baby step. It seems like nothing, I know.  And you may not get anything back for what you give, for a long time.  But every tree begins with a seed imperceptible to the human eye. And sometimes you have to measure your success by the seeds that you sow not by the harvest that you reap.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old (Almost hit that quarter-life crisis ya know!), but I see the world more in black and white every day older I get.

You’re either doing what you want, or you aren’t.

So what baby step are you taking?

(No, seriously, tell me )


Image Courtesy of National Geographic

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Brasilicana February 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm

If money were not an issue, I’d:
– Travel the world with my husband and (future) kids
– Adopt at least one child
– Set up a business like a hotel or cafe
– Set up a nonprofit to benefit a community in need of education
– Buy a house for my in-laws

…okay, it’s ambitious!

BUT I am, as you said, living the dream in the itty-bitty initial steps.

What I did today: Published the 140th blog post on my English-teaching website and did some audio recording for the paid membership part of the site I plan to launch in April.


afheyne February 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Those are all totally attainable! I think for you it’ll just be a matter of time haha. And that’s crazy your 140th blog post on your english site?

That’s a really bloody good idea Re: the English teaching site, especially now where English is the #1 language to learn. It’s especially big in Asia.

Sounds pretty legit to me!


Courtney - The Rule Breaker's Club February 24, 2012 at 8:55 am

Hi Alexander!

Found you via Amanda Abella (that girl dishes out the best links)!

And this is so crazy funny because I was JUST about to write a post with the EXACT same title. Yesterday I watched a show about lottery winners and what they did with their winnings, which is what inspired me.

I made a list – and as it turns out, other than buying a few pieces of real estate and taking more classes to learn various skills (cooking, Italian, Spanish, painting), I wouldn’t do things much differently than I am right now (writing, going to school, being an entrepreneur)! Realizing this definitely boosted my confidence.

This is such an important question. Most of us suffer from not knowing what we want. Removing money from the equation is KEY. I’m so glad that you’ve asked it.


afheyne February 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Hey Courtney, awesome to hear from you!

Hahah life is weird like that, I guess it’s good timing, serendipity. I’m curious what your lottery winners did with their money. I’m familiar with the common knowledge statistic that almost all of lottery winners are poor within 10 years (poor financial intelligence), but I don’t know the truth behind it.

And yeah I agree with you 100% — I wouldn’t do much else differently. Literally. Ever since I was young I almost always only spent my money on two things: classes to learn a skill and traveling. And like you that is definitely reassuring that I’m at least on the path I want to be.

Also agree on the idea of removing money from the equation — it has to be there, and it has to be given thought, but you’ve got to view it as a product and not the essential “why” behind what you do.

T’habite a Paris, non? I’m gonna come visit haha, have family down there and my French is slowly getting worse!

Awesome to hear from you


Annie Andre February 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

I know, i know the answer to this. I would do all the things that make me happy and feel rich. More experiences. more daily adventures. I would try to help other people. I really enjoy helping others and am surprised how much satisfaction i get out of it but sometimes when you are bootstrapped it can be hard to think of anything other than yourself.

I love how you laid it out in this post. I’m trying to spread this same message too I really want to help married people or people with kids realize that they can do this exact same thing you talk about. I hear and see the chatter online from people who say i can’t do that because i have kids and a job and a house and and and. Granted travelling isnt for everyone but there are so many other dreams people have that they also don’t go after because of those same excuses. WHAAAA!!
I digress now.


afheyne March 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm


Love the idea of more daily adventures. I would too. That’s one of my main arguments for working FOR money.

Without money you can’t do anything, and your options in life are severely limited.

And agree 100%, when you’re bootstrapped you really have to worry day to day about yourself. This year is unfortunately the first year i’ve ever really felt that severe financial lack, so It’s hard to do a lot of other things i’d like to be doing.

And like you, I am willing to do whatever it takes to make my dream a reality. 99% of people just complain about how hard it is. The 1% everyone envies just finds a way to get it done…

The sad thing is, once we DO get it done, people are like “oh you’re lucky, or you don’t have this, or you DO have this, or you…


Brasilicana March 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Ugh, yes! I hate the “you’re so lucky” comments! I immediately want to reply with something like, “Well, if you spent your free time and money developing a business instead of blowing it all on booze, you could be just as lucky” – but I try to keep my snark to myself :-p

Pat April 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thanks for this smack in the face, so to speak.

As a 23 year old college graduate, only recently have I felt the images of what I really want to do my whole life. And they’re not vague, I know exactly what I want to do. So it’s nice to know that other people are actualizing their potential and actively working for their future.

I think the hardest part is realizing what we really want, for one, and accepting that it’s not impossible to obtain that. I want to, one day, be able to sit out on the beach, or in my beach house, reading and blogging about what I’ve learned and read that day, comparing ideas with out like-minded individuals.

I’m off on Friday, and I’ll be setting up my blog.


afheyne April 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm


Yeah in my experience it’s exactly like you said. 90% of young people have no idea specifically what they want (because they’ve never thought about it). And obviously it’s impossible to get what you want if you don’t know what you want.

That’s pretty awesome that you’re starting Friday, that’s the only way to do it. Just start and keep going, keep up the momentum. Toss a link over my way or email me when it goes live!



Bec December 14, 2013 at 10:07 pm

If money was no object I would buy a camper van and live in that full time, travelling around Australia wherever I feel like. I would still want a simple life. I’m not one for material things so I would also travel the world, back packing and having actual experiences, not collecting ‘stuff’.
It all sounds great, but how do I start? I don’t have a job, so okay I try to find one. Then save up for years and years. Money IS important so I would need to earn a living somehow. I don’t have skills that I could utilize on the road. Or maybe I don’t know if I have skills? I certainly don’t know what I want to do in my life. I have general dreams but I don’t actually believe I can accomplish them. Baby steps, I know.
I’ve been to 14 countries and every state in Australia, and I get the ‘you’re so lucky!’ comment. Hardly. I had a crap paying job I hated but I also are a lot of sandwiches from home and pretty much saved 90% of my wages from having no social life. But I had the most amazing time travelling through those 14 countries. Then I get home and am broke and don’t have a job. Now what? Once upon a time I saved my almost-at-poverty-line wages, saving enough in 6 months to then travel around 11 counties in that trip. How the heck did I do that? I had faith in myself! Now I definitely don’t. I’m 25 so probably having a quarter life crisis (who knew that was a real thing!). And I’m not stupid. I know I got myself into this mess, and I’ve accomplished a heck of a lot with not much, and all by myself. But now I’m stuck and my carefree days of being 18-20 years old and living for ‘the moment’ has turned into ‘oh shit I’m 25 and still live with my parents’.
Um, help? :)


Alexander Heyne December 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm


Here’s my advice: focus on this “Money IS important so I would need to earn a living somehow. I don’t have skills that I could utilize on the road. Or maybe I don’t know if I have skills?”

Focus on having money first. You can do very little without money.

Life doesn’t have to be polarized – you don’t need to be a nomad OR a 9-5 slave. You can have a job and still travel 3,4,5, weeks a year.


Jonathan June 22, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Focus on having.


afheyne March 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Yeah totally! haha I used to be really snarky to my friends who complained about their lives (while they were sleeping, drinking, and watching tv I was WORKING). Eventually I got rid of them haha.

There’s a story of a famous violinist that goes like this. “After playing Violin 15 hours a day for 20 years, now that I’m famous people suddenly are calling me a “genius” or a “natural.” Ridiculous…”

Love that one. Wish I knew where it came from.


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