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How to Live Anywhere: An Interview with Karol Gajda

For the next few weeks, I will be interviewing bloggers about minimalism, simple living, financial freedom and more. Every Thursday, a feature interview will be posted on RowdyKittens.

This week the feature interview is with Karol Gajda of Ridiculously Extraordinary. We talked about traveling lightly, How to Live Anywhere and his goal of helping 100 people achieve Ridiculously Extraordinary Freedom.

Enjoy the interview and make sure you subscribe to Ridiculously Extraordinary.

Tammy Strobel: Can you tell us more about your goal of helping 100 people achieve Ridiculously Extraordinary Freedom?

Karol Gajda: Thanks Tammy! The idea for the site manifested organically and over time. It came from asking myself the question “What is my legacy?” And the answer was: nothing. I didn’t have anything I could be particularly proud of.

Eventually I came upon the fact that I wanted to write about entrepreneurship, health, travel, and life. But being that I’ve been an entrepreneur for 10 years I knew logically, and from a marketing standpoint, that I should focus on a single niche. That said, I also knew I wouldn’t stick to the blog if I didn’t write about whatever I wanted to write about.

I hit upon the common thread of Freedom. Which, to me, encapsulates all of my chosen topics.

From there, I channeled it to: “How can I use everything I’ve learned to help others achieve this Freedom?”

And I came up with: “My life’s goal and the goal with this project is to help 100 people achieve Ridiculously Extraordinary Freedom.” That is my legacy. That is my life. It’s a large, but attainable, goal and will allow me to actually get to know the 100 people. Eventually I will help more than 100, but it’s difficult to know so many people on any sort of personal basis.

Tammy: Your book “How to Live Anywhere” is very inspiring. Can you us about the book and why you wrote it?

Karol: Thank you! I never really planned on making money from my blog. I don’t need it for income and didn’t want to sully the content with advertising. But I kept getting e-mails from my audience (we are now collectively known as Freedom Fighters) asking how to do what I do. While I did answer all the e-mails as best as I could it didn’t seem to be enough. And I knew if 1 person was emailing me, 100 had the same thoughts but weren’t e-mailing.

One day in February it just hit me: How To Live Anywhere. I bought the domain that day (Feb 21) and immediately wrote a post on my blog (Feb 22) announcing the release date (March 5). It was a bit of a whirlwind. πŸ™‚

So the book is about doing what I do. Living anywhere, doing anything. But it’s also a philosophy, a mindset, a motivational guide. So if your idea of Freedom is to stay home and write children’s books that works as well as anything else. I don’t want to define Freedom for anybody. Although a lot of How To Live Anywhere is focused on the travel aspect of living in new places, 2/3 of it is centered around Philosophy and Money.

Tammy: What motivated you to travel the world and start your own small business?

Karol: The motivation to be an entrepreneur started when I was very young. I can’t remember an age when I didn’t aspire to run a business. I started earning a livable income with my business by age 20 while I was in University. It was all up (and sometimes down, too) hill from there.

Wanting to travel the world came much later. I actually settled down in my early to mid 20s. I bought a house and lived a normal life. I didn’t travel much at all, except to visit family in Michigan (I was living in Florida), a couple of 3 week tours around the US with my friend’s bands, and one extended trip to visit family in Poland (where I was born). To be honest, I was afraid of traveling solo until I discovered CouchSurfing in late 2007. That changed my life and opened up the world to me. The motivation now is simply to meet fun people, do fun things, and work from various parts of the world. Whether that’s in the States or somewhere internationally, it’s all good.

Tammy: In your post, Travel Light, Travel Anywhere: The Ultimate Light Packing List, you talk about the stuff you travel with. Can you give our readers three tips that will help them travel with minimal stuff?

Karol: Great question, I love inspiring people to travel lighter! (Although now that I built a guitar in India I no longer call myself an ultra light traveler.)

1) Get a backpack and just make it work. Preferably, the backpack will be under 40 liters. Mine is 32. You’ll be surprised what you can fit in a small backpack, and more importantly, what you can do without when you get down to it. If you don’t have money to buy a new “travel” backpack, use one you already have. I’ve traveled for over 2 weeks out of a regular school backpack and it worked out great.

2) Take fewer shirts, socks, and underwear, but hand wash them every few days. It’s very easy. I travel with 3 of everything and it works out fantastically.

3) Make sure all of your clothes match all of your other clothes. That way you can wear anything with anything instead of having some pieces that you don’t wear often because maybe they don’t match. This only matters if you care about that sort of thing, of course. Once you start traveling, and wear the same pants every day for months on end, you don’t worry much about what people think. πŸ™‚

Tammy: You’re living in India right? What are some of your favorite parts of the country and how long are you planning on staying there?

Karol: I’m leaving India a month sooner than I had originally planned. That’s the cool thing about Freedom. πŸ™‚ I spent most of my time in the state of Goa so my experiences are solely based on Goa. The best way to put it, especially with India being my first third world country, is it has been a fun experience. I’ve seen some things I never thought I’d see in India (a guy elbow dropping a cow, as an unfortunate example) and I got to eat some of my favorite foods every day. πŸ™‚

My favorite part of India – actually, my favorite part about any new place I visit – is that it’s never what other people tell me it is. That’s the beauty of travel, you see things with your own eyes, and we all see things differently.

By the time this interview posts I will probably be in Thailand (for 5 weeks, mostly in Chiang Mai) and then on to Poland for an undetermined length of time. I actually only came to India to learn how to build a guitar from scratch. That took 3 weeks. I decided to stay put for 2 months so I could get some work done and because I dislike constant being on the move. At the end of 2009 I did a 30 day trip in New Zealand and traversed the country (north and south islands) in that time. It was exhausting and it’s not something I plan to do often in the future.

Karol: Now you’ve heard my definition of Freedom. What is yours? Take a moment to imagine your perfect life, how would you spend that time? Please leave your answers in the comments below.

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  • Jen March 25, 2010, 6:12 am

    Great to hear more about Karol … really inpsiring. πŸ™‚

  • keeping up with the kozlowskis March 25, 2010, 6:58 am

    I wonder what part of poland she is going to as I live in north east poland.

  • Lelly March 25, 2010, 7:03 am

    A perfect day in my perfect life would be to wake up with the sunshine on my face, have a cuppa tea and watch the waves roll in off the Caribbean, go for a barefoot run on the beach or body surf, take all sorts of different lessons, visit with friends and family, etc. Pretty much it would be a wonderfully lazy and relaxing day πŸ™‚

    Great interview Tammy!

    • Karol Gajda March 25, 2010, 7:08 am

      Hi Lelly,

      That’s awesome! But once you reached that point you’d probably find it’s not sustainable…i.e. it gets boring. (I know from personal experience.) What does your life (as opposed to day) of Freedom look like?


  • Karol Gajda March 25, 2010, 7:05 am

    Thanks Jen!

    And anonymous: Wroclaw! Lower Silesia (southwest Poland).

  • Alejandro Reyes March 25, 2010, 7:22 am

    Karol, Colin, Everet and of course you Tammy are an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for sharing a little bit more of Karol!

  • Luke @ simplifi.de March 25, 2010, 11:03 am

    Thanks for the interview, it’s great inspiration… planning on being location independent pretty soon (Central America). My big question on location independence: do you usually stay in a country on a tourist visa?

    Looking forward to more of the interviews, Tammy!

    • Karol Gajda March 25, 2010, 1:04 pm

      Thanks for asking Luke. Yes, a tourist visa is how I have been rolling thus far. If you plan on setting up shop somewhere for longer than a few months you will probably need to look into a different visa. Every country has different rules.

  • Kristin Brown March 25, 2010, 6:20 pm

    Thanks Tammy and Karol! You’re both very inspiring… πŸ™‚

    In my ideal life, I’m doing work I love online, helping others (not quite sure how yet), no more than about 10-15 hours a week. The rest of the time, I’m giving my daughter (and myself) the education of a lifetime, living in different countries. I’m homeschooling her since I’m not tied to a desk 40 hours a week. When we’re home and she’s not with me, I’m free to pursue as much as I want my passions in life, currently rock climbing and yoga. And I’m living very simply, which I’ve already begun working towards (thanks, Karol, for the tips about CraigsList; that was on Everett’s blog. I’ve made almost $200 in the last week getting rid of stuff I didn’t need anyway using your posting tips). Best of all, I’m free to change my mind and my plans at the drop of a hat. That would be my perfect life…

    Thanks again for the inspiration and education!

    • Karol Gajda March 27, 2010, 8:21 am

      That’s awesome Kristin! Thanks for sharing your ideal life. πŸ™‚ Great to hear you used the Craiglist tips as well!

  • Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell March 26, 2010, 4:01 am

    Thanks for the interview! As a person who has attained my perfect life in our little house, we’re still trying to figure out how to sustain the life financially. It’s a day to day thing.

    • Karol Gajda March 27, 2010, 8:23 am

      Hi Kerri, that’s so awesome you live in a little house! I’m checking out your blog right now and it looks fantastic. I’ve considered building one of those tiny Tumbleweed homes for a couple years now. If I ever take roots in one place I might just do that.

  • Sarah March 27, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Great interview Tammy. I’m loving this series, keep them coming!

    • Tammy March 28, 2010, 3:25 am

      Thanks Sarah! I’m glad you’re digging the interviews. πŸ™‚

  • David Grove March 29, 2010, 9:32 am

    It is not easy to define freedom becouse what ever lifestyle you choose there is always a price to pay – for every action there is a reaction. Total 100% freedom probably means your dead – not cool. I just want to be free of stress, free of hatred, free of fear and the universe will put me where I need to be (Right now that is in Africa)
    Thanks for the inspiration Tammy and Mr Gajda πŸ™‚

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