Who are we and why are we making this podcast? This episode will introduce you to Thinking Liberty and your hosts, Zach and Sarah Varnell. This episode places Zach and Sarah in St. Augustine Florida.
St. Augustine Highlights
Zach: Thinking Liberty episode zero.
Zach: [00:00:30] Hey thanks for joining us on our very first episode – episode zero. We’re coming to you from our mobile studio currently parked in St. Augustine Florida. So I’m Zach Varnell…
Sarah: …and I’m Sarah. And we’re very excited about this new adventure and we hope that you our listeners will gain as much from it as we will. This podcast is targeted to listeners who want to learn more about how to live a travel, freedom oriented lifestyle and we will be exploring the various ways in which to accomplish this.
Zach: Yeah, we have have some [00:01:00] exciting interviews lined up that I really think you guys are going to like. From an avid cyclist who is currently touring parts of Asia on her bike, a Fulbright scholarship recipient currently living in Malaysia and entrepreneurs her out there on the road traveling and just doing their own thing. We’ll ask our interviewees questions about what motivated them, how they got started in their journey, advice for those who would like to follow in their path, and generally just explore their exciting lives. We’ll explore their hobbies [00:01:30] professions challenges of travel. key wins, and so much more.
Sarah: So a little bit about what motivated us to start this podcast. For those of you who don’t already know, Zach is an avid podcast listener and he has always had as you say a dream to start his own podcast. And so towards the end of last year we were talking about it and we just got really excited about sharing our travels and finding other similar minded people who are passionate about life and experiences, focusing [00:02:00] on the joys of daily life, and beyond that just the joys of pursuing opportunities and seeing where they take you.
Zach: So we’ll explore more of this in a little bit but right now a few informational things we want to give you. So we’ll be releasing new episodes each Monday morning and you can find them thinkingliberty.com, on iTunes, Google Play, and stitcher. And each episode will have show notes which will be thinkingliberty.com slack slash the episode number. So for instance [00:02:30] this will be thinkingliberty.com/0. And for this first zeroth episode we wanted to introduce ourselves again and give some background on this. So I’m Zach Varnell and this is my wife Sarah Varnell. We’ve been married for almost five years, we live in a 36 foot class-A RV, and we’re traveling around with our Yorkie Ollie. So from time to time you might hear him barking or whimpering in the background but we’re not going to edit that out [00:03:00] . You’ll just know that that’s him. We both work remotely and we travel around the states. We stay in each location for about two weeks, maybe a month so that we have a couple of full weekends to explore each place. We never really intended to live this travel lifestyle but we’ve been loving every minute of it.
Sarah: Yeah, and Zach said we never really intended to live a travel lifestyle so we didn’t have a goal of finding remote jobs. I’m not even sure that when we first graduated college that we knew that that was a possibility [00:03:30] or a path for us to pursue. We got married right out of college and we moved to Atlanta when Zach found a full time job. And you know now we both are security consultants for an information security company. But at that point I actually had just gotten a degree in psychology and decided not to go to grad school but to try to find something more immediate so that Zach and I could start our married lives together. And we tried a couple different things [00:04:00] . But before anything really took off I was offered an opportunity at Zach’s company as an executive administrator where I could work from home, and then from there promoted to security consultant and I haven’t looked back for even a second. In fact, Zach will attest to, I have always wished that I would have studied technology or information systems or something similar in college instead of psychology.
Zach: So my story also started right after college where I was just applying to any jobs that were even somewhat remotely [00:04:30] related to the field I had studied which is information security. I was applying to corporations, mom and pop shops, start ups, and anything in between. But I was lucky enough to get a job at a cool company in Buckhead Atlanta where their culture was very relaxed and I just got used to that and I really loved the relaxed, you know, kind of family lifestyle of that company. And even though [00:05:00] I wasn’t looking for another job I did stumble upon another job that was in my field and I just really couldn’t pass up the opportunity. And once I took that and I had already accepted the job I realized that it was a remote job and that there was no office to go into, I would just be working from home. And that was great for me and at the time I thought the perk was just that I wasn’t going to have to spend an hour a day in traffic – which don’t get me wrong was awesome – but our job for three years. And as Sarah [00:05:30] said she got a job with the same company and she was working remotely too. So we were both just working together either in our home office or on the couch in our living room just anything like that before we realize that – hey we love to travel. Why are we not taking advantage of this and being on the road or being out in other cities while we work this remote job? Because really to our coworkers and to our boss it doesn’t matter where we are as long as we’re getting our job done and we’re online for meetings [00:06:00] and available to talk to our coworkers. So from there we don’t even know whose idea it was and maybe Sarah will tell this story. But just talking back and forth one day we decided that we should buy an RV and live in it and travel the US while we work.
Sarah: Yeah, and to our credit it was it wasn’t three years before we decided to do this. Zach been at the company for about three years now so [00:06:30] I guess it was maybe a year and a half before we took off.
Zach: Yeah, I don’t know where I got that.
Sarah: Yeah, so about a year and a half.
Zach: It seemed like a lot longer.
Sarah: Yeah I mean it’s just it’s just kind of part of our lives now. We both had jobs in Atlanta – based out of Atlanta. We’re both working remote and we didn’t quite fully understand the opportunity this presented. We just both knew that we had solid jobs with steady paychecks. So we actually started looking at houses and homes to [00:07:00] buy in Atlanta and I had my real estate license at the time and so we kind of were to look at places and we did a few tours. I eventually gave up my license to focus fully on the information security consultant job. But we’re while we were looking at homes Zach tossed around this idea that now that we would have space to park it we should buy a small camper and take extended weekend trips you know work remotely one or two days in it and then go explore on the weekends. [00:07:30] And I don’t consider myself high maintenance but at the same time I like to be comfortable when I’m on vacation. So I said that you know it would have to be a decent sized RV and so we kind of went back and forth and he said well we couldn’t do both. We couldn’t you put a down payment on a house and buy a full sized RV. So kind of sarcastically not really thinking anything about it at the time, I said that ‘well we could just live in the RV’ and he he took that seriously [00:08:00] and started doing a lot of research and found blogs and other people that were living full times in our lives and he came to me and was ‘like look we could actually do this.’ And so then I started doing some research and found some blogs. I still follow. And we got very excited and it’s just you know kind of one of those things where we’ve been doing this for about a year and a half now and I have to look back because there’s so many places I still want to get to and explore and see and so many things I still want to do. It’s like you have to kind [00:08:30] of take a minute and look back and think we’ve really already done so much.
Zach: Yeah, so that’s our story. And one thing when we do interviews that we’re going to ask the guests is what one piece of advice they have for us and for the listeners of this podcast. So a figure we’ll take this opportunity just to give our own advice even though I’m sure we’ll have more to give each episode. I think mine’s a little general where I think to become a digital nomad like we are, somebody [00:09:00] who works on line works for moblie and is able to just live basically anywhere. It’s almost laid out like steps – digital, then nomad. You have to become digital or become remote and then become a nomad. So I would say look out for any opportunities you have to work a legit remote job and then go from there and evaluate your options and see how remote you can be. If it’s part of the year or if it’s the whole year [00:09:30] or if it’s even just more vacation time throughout the year. And I would say always be striving, If this is the lifestyle you’re interested in, to become more remote more digital and increase that amount of time up until you are full-time. For me, I got lucky and I kind of fell into it and like I said earlier I accepted the job before I even knew it was going to be a remote job. But if I had it to do over again and I already knew these goals maybe I would been looking out for it. And if, you know, you already [00:10:00] have these goals you can definitely be looking for these types of jobs and any time you are considering an interview maybe ask beforehand if its remote is allowed and things like that. Or maybe you’re a entrepreneur and you can develop your own online job, online business. So that would be my advice. Take the word digital nomad as two different steps – become digital and [00:10:30] then become a nomad. What about you Sarah?
Sarah: So I kind of tend to shy away from our luck. I mean I think the you know there’s definitely some luck involved but I definitely think that you, Zach, tend to downplay some things. It’s a lot of preparation. It’s a lot of making yourself available. You really have to think about what’s important to you and prioritize that. So you know for us right now our priority is travel and experiences. And so we always [00:11:00] kind of have those priorities but we didn’t know how to get there. And, yeah, to a certain extent in this life kind of found us we didn’t really find it but we had to work really hard to get to the positions to where these opportunities were available to us. So like Zach says that he kind of fell into this job. But that’s you know that’s not really the case. He made himself available. He reached [00:11:30] out to people. He networked. He worked really hard. He showed interest. He showed dedication. He showed motivation. And those are the things that people are going to look for when they’re looking for somebody and that for a remote position, you know. They’re going to want to make sure that they hire somebody with dedication and self-starters and things like that. So it’s really about making sure that you’re disciplined. And it’s really about making sure that you do the best you can wherever you are right now, find your priorities, make a plan, and start [00:12:00] moving towards it. There’s definitely a lot of things that we’ll talk about throughout the series that will help with that. If you guys have any questions or specific things that you want us to touch about touch on or discuss we’re happy to do that. It’s it’s taking advantage of opportunities that come across your path and not just waiting for something to happen to you.
Zach: Well said. You know, one of my favorite quotes is – paraphrasing – “luck is when [00:12:30] opportunity meets preparation.” So I think with both of us there were a lot of preparation and then some great opportunities that we’re able to take advantage of. But I think that’s about it for this episode. So check us out at thinkingliberty.com and the show notes at thinkingliberty.com/0. And if you like the show so far and want to see more episodes and you want to help us get the word out [00:13:00] there and get this topic out there and get people talking be sure to subscribe, rate, and review us on whatever platform you’re on. So if it’s iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play – give us a review, leave us a comment, and subscribe to us. Just let us know also what you would like to hear about. Use the contact form at thinkingliberty.com and hopefully we’ll be able to talk about your topic.
Sarah: Yeah I we’ll have a few links available at our web site as well. You know we’ll add ones from time to time based on [00:13:30] the subject of our current podcast but we want to have resources available to you guys specifically for now we’ll put up a few resources to help us when we were starting out – information on insurance, Wi-Fi, and things like that.