John Bardos has been living abroad since 1997 when he decided to move to Japan from his home in Canada. He arrived with no visa, no job and very little money. He never looked back.
As one of the people featured in our book, Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure, John shares his thoughts on what “just go” means to him:
“When I first left Canada for Japan more than 18 years ago, I was single, with little that held me down. I bought a plane ticket to Osaka that was departing in a week and I just went. I didn’t have a job, work visa or much savings, but it all worked out.
Leaving Japan 13 years later was much harder. I was married, owned a successful business, house and the possessions we’d accumulated over the years. That income and “stuff” were golden handcuffs that kept us chained to a lifestyle we had outgrown. For years, my wife and I talked about leaving the country, travelling and starting new careers but it always seemed to be a foolish conversation because we had a good, secure life. How could we give up a stable income for the unknown? Months and years went by without taking any action.
For us, ‘Just Go’ meant deciding we weren’t going to wait any longer so we started making the necessary arrangements to get rid of our business and house in Japan to try something new. We made a one year plan to change countries and careers. Everything fell into place after that. We sold our business, started getting rid of all our possessions and were able to leave ahead of schedule.
All of us can find a million reasons why we shouldn’t follow our dreams but we only have one life and it is very short. Waiting for some perfect, imaginary time in the future to do what is most important means delaying living your best life now. I didn’t want to do that anymore.
For our ancestors, it was difficult to emigrate to western countries but for us, it’s easier than ever. We all have the opportunity to work online. We can research foreign locales and book places to stay far in advance. Air travel is cheaper than ever. The only barrier is in our minds.
When I have a challenging decision to make, I ask myself whether I’ll regret NOT doing it. I’ll have to overcome my fears and make sacrifices now but that’s completely okay. Short-term pain is a requirement for anything worthwhile in the long run. I don’t want to be on my deathbed with regrets about all the things I wanted to do but was too afraid. A life with few regrets is well lived”.
For more about John and stories from other people featured in Just Go!, get it here in paperback or ebook.
What does ‘Just Go’ mean to you?
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