I have been fortunate to meet a lot of truly inspiring people on my journey. The difference between those people and the normal population is that those rare individuals learn to take action when they feel like they can do more in life. It is hard enough to talk about taking big risks but it is an entirely different thing to actually do it and live a life full of action.
Today’s post is about one such person.
Charles McLaughlin Piché was born and raised in Quebec, Canada. I met Charles originally through a blog comment on one of my earlier posts. He, like many others, was interested in creating his own bucket list and was looking to see how others had done it before him. Eventually he grew tired of trying to figure out the perfect plan and decided to take the leap. I met him after he sold all of his excess possessions, told his clients he was moving to a foreign country and bought a plane ticket to Spain, a country where it is rare to find someone fluent in his native tongue, French.
How long had you been thinking about leaving your home and moving to a foreign country before you actually did it?
It actually happened in one day. That particular morning, I decided to write down what changes I would make in my life if anything was possible and nothing could stop me. Leaving home and moving to a new country is what came out. I got so excited with the idea that I had a shift of priorities and realized I had the power to make it happen. By the end of the day, I was announcing to my mom and had on paper my plan of how I would make it happen.
I had wanted to travel throughout Europe for a long time but had never really done it, except for a short trip a year before. I was about to do some research online, but before I had the time to do it I found my answer waiting in my inbox. The subject of the email was “Stressful Happiness: Prague and Barcelona” which was a blog post you [Danny] published a day before. After reading it, I realized that Barcelona had everything I was looking for, so I told myself: “No need to do any research, this is the place I want to go.” I booked my one-way flight to Barcelona a couple days later.
What was your process for selling all of your stuff?
At that point, I have to say that it felt as though everything was easy and going in my favor. My landlord accepted my request to break the lease and even bought half of my furniture; I found a new tenant in less than a week and most of my stuff was selling pretty quickly. Selling several things at a time has been the key to getting this done quickly. As for my clothes, I kept only what I had worn the last few weeks and gave the rest to charity. The remaining stuff that was harder to sell was given away to friends or charity. As you can see, I was more focused on getting rid of my stuff quickly than making money out of the process.
What did your friends and family do and say?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that everyone has been happy for me. I don’t remember receiving even one negative remark from anyone. The best reaction came from my mom. She said she was happy for me and then told me how doing something similar when she was 19 changed her life. It is something I didn’t know about her and it made me even happier with my decision.
How did you find a place to live?
I used Airbnb.com to book a room in a flat. I had used their service once before and had an amazing experience. I spent about one hour browsing the listings on the site and contacted 3-4 people. After exchanging a couple messages with one of them, I felt it was the right place—so I booked for five weeks. I knew five weeks would leave me enough time to find another place if needed. The landlord ended up becoming a good friend and his place is even better than what I expected. I’m actually still living there right now and taking care of the flat while he is on vacation :).
What has been the hardest part of your journey?
The last week before my departure was definitely the hardest part. Taking care of the last details, trying to meet up with all my friends to say proper goodbyes while trying to keep up with work was exhausting and emotionally difficult. I also ended up selling my car only two days before leaving, which was a big source of stress the last week. Finally, saying goodbye to my family without knowing the next time I would see them was also tough.
How do you pay the bills?
I’m paying the bills mainly with SEO work, which is the same work I was doing before. I didn’t know how my clients would react when I made the big decision, and I was ready for the worst. All of them ended up being open about it and remained clients. Good thing I didn’t worry too much about it! Something worth mentioning is that I have fewer bills each month, and I am a lot happier with the ones I have now. I feel I am investing instead of spending, and it’s an incredible source of motivation.
How is your social life?
This is one of the important things that has changed in my life lately. I have met more people and made more friends in the last two months than the last two years. Obviously you don’t need to move to a foreign country to experience this, but it’s a really good way to make it happen, especially if you’re traveling alone. As far as Spain is concerned, I think it’s awesome but it’s the people I’ve met, shared with, and learned from that have made it such a great experience so far. Becoming more sociable and keep meeting new people is something I give a lot more importance to now that I realize its impact on my happiness.
Do you have any fun stories?
It was about 5am and I was walking back home from a touristic nightclub. An attractive girl suddenly comes up to me and starts talking in Spanish, pointing at a flyer she just put in my hand. I’m definitely not going anywhere else, so I tell her sorry, I don’t speak Spanish and I’m going to bed. Apparently she didn’t understand English, so she kept talking, got closer, and at one point shook my belt while trying to explain something to me. At that point, I realize there is something odd going on, so I touch my front pocket to be sure everything is still there. My wallet is, but my iPhone has disappeared. Without even thinking, I turned, blocked her way, and shouted: “Give me my phone back!” For some reason this time she understood English, raised her hand, and the phone was there. I took it back and we each walked away in opposite directions. It was my experience of being almost robbed by a professional pickpocket.
Would you do it again?
Definitely, without any hesitation! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not where I want to be in some areas of my life, but I’m definitely closer and already much happier than I was before. There is no way I would want to change anything that has happened since I made that decision :).
What is your advice to others?
From my experience, here are a few pieces of advice to anyone thinking of that kind of change. Read blogs and books of people who inspire you. Reading Life Listed and the 2-3 other blogs I closely follow had a huge impact for me. Write down what you would do if anything were possible. Then write down the worst thing that could happen if you do it. Make a plan of how you will make it happen. From there you are the only person who can make it happen. When you start taking action you will most likely realize that it’s easier than you thought.
Thank you Charles! Congratulations on all of your success and thank you for being an inspiration for me and others! :-)
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I finished this interview while traveling on a boat somewhere off the coast of a Alaska (more to come on that!). I expect the pace of my posts to speed up soon as the pace of my bucket list is now once again going full steam. Cheers!