I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
There. I said it.
At almost 30 years old, you would think that I should know what I want to be as an adult, but the truth is, I kind of don’t. Or, is it that I’ve known what I have wanted to become my whole life, but had no idea that it was a possibility; a reality that is actually attainable?
You see, in the United States there is now an almost assumed “route” that young adults are expected to take. You graduate high school. You go to college. You obtain a degree. You start a career. You stay in and excel in that field for the rest of your life until you can retire at an old age.
But how realistic is this really!? How many 17 and 18 year old kids really know what their calling in life is? When I started thinking about what degree I should get, I was clueless. I jumped around from field to field, never sure if I was making the right choice; and I now know why.
It is only now, as an “adult,” that I realized that I didn’t need just one field or career to develop and that the reason why I was always searching for something else was because I wanted to combine all of my passions into one job….but that job didn’t exist at a university. In fact, that job didn’t even exist in a traditional company. It wasn’t until recently, after several failed job choices, that I realized that I needed to create MY OWN job for myself. I needed to combine all my passions of helping and teaching others into something that I could mold and create myself.
I needed to become an entrepreneur.
Not even knowing what an entrepreneur was, I would sit and dream about an idea and how great it would be to develop the idea into an actual plan and then to actually produce something I enjoyed. I would imagine how great of a life (challenging, yet fulfilling) it would be to be my own boss, make my own decisions and choose my own path in life, instead of relying on a boss to do that for me! I wanted a “job” that I loved and felt fulfilled doing. I wanted to do something meaningful with my life outside of a cubicle.
Fast forward to today. We have been living abroad for over four years. We have traveled to almost 40 countries in those four years and people were constantly asking us how we did it. More so, people wanted to know HOW we did it for such little money! I was constantly explaining to people how we travel hack and how we budget travel. I was always sending an email to a friend who asking what to do in what cities.
Then finally, it hit me like a ton of bricks…. I should be be helping to teach others how to travel for cheap and free, too!!!
I got my husband in on the game and together, we created The Economical Excursionists. One of the most valued tools on our site is the free FlyerMiler tool, where travel hackers and frequent flyers can come and figure out the best way to use their points for flying. We were the first to create an award calculator like this. As a few more popped up, it was evident that ours was the best…and I wanted it to remain that way.
Therefore, that means that there is plenty of work to be done on it. We want to take this amazing, helpful tool that started as a hobby and turn it into a career.
There are SO many ideas that can be integrated into this tool to help travelers learn how to travel for as close to free as possible! We don’t want to give away some of the awesome ideas we have for further development, but let’s just say that it is a game changer for the travel hacking community! For example, we plan to integrate several of the steps that a travel hacker has to take from start to finish for a travel hack, making the FlyerMiler a one stop shop!
Why We are Developing the FlyerMiler
We continue to work on the FlyerMiler and the Economical Excursionists mission that travel doesn’t need to be expensive…just memorable! If I earned the opportunity to work on the Annual Coupofy Entrepreneurship Award, we would be able to catapult our project and mission.
1) Travel has CHANGED me. Not to sound corny, but seeing the world has allowed me to find the me that I knew I could and should be. I have only started to learn and realize my place in this big, wide world yet am inspired by how similar human beings can be. I want everyone, even those with very little money, to be able to have this humbling experiences. Being able to see how other parts of the world live is a powerful life tool that everyone should be able to experience. Travel hacking and our free FlyerMiler tool helps people accomplish this.
2) Giving Back. I think that an important role of an entrepreneur is the role of giving back. Whether this be in time, money or other resources, I think it is invaluable to share the skills of independence, thinking outside the box and believing in yourself to others who have great visions for their life.
The whole point of using the FlyerMiler tool is to figure out how to use your frequent flyer mile points. I have always dreamed of being able to give back to those less fortunate than myself. I hope to use the FlyerMiler to encourage others to donate points to help make flights possible for someone in need. Maybe this is simply a domestic flight for a family needing to send their child to John Hopkins for a life-fighting medical procedure or an international flight for a student from Asia wanting to study in the US for a summer, but can’t afford the travel. I would like to create a cause where travel hackers and points collectors come together to share what has given them so much value in their life; Travel.
What Winning Would Mean
By becoming 2015’s recipient of the Annual Coupofy Entrepreneurship Award, we would be one step closer to reaching our goals of why we are developing the FlyerMiler. The guidance and support most needed right now would be:
Website Design and Streamlining: There are one hundred million things that a blogger needs to do today. Between social media, networking and figuring out how to run a well designed and friendly website, where do they have time to work on valuable content and writing!? By having tech support and help, I can learn from experts on how to run a website so that I can focus on what I love and enjoy: writing and producing content and tools that others need.
Constantly Changing Data: The FlyerMiler tool currently runs on a static set of data for routes and award charts that we have created ourselves. Using the time in Bali to develop and create a system and program that easily updates this will give users the best information and user experience possible.
Marketing: I am a teacher by profession. I love teaching and helping others. What I DON’T know is how to market my helpful ideas so that others know they exist!
Mentoring: There is a saying that you should only surround yourself with people that you would like to become. Being surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs will help me on my own entrepreneurial path. I want to learn from others who have been in my shoes before and see how they have learned to balance life and work. I want to be inspired by others who have seen success and how they learned to give back to help and benefit others.
Who wouldn’t want to spend a month in Bali? What a perfect location to reflect on your inner self and practices, re-energize and re-focus your efforts, both personal and business!
One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is that I get to decide where I take my life, my business and my goals. I have the power to decide where my life will take me. I can only hope that it takes me down a road of success….and straight to Bali, of course!
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