From Average Joe To World-Traveling Photographer Living In Paradise – FA149

Palawan blue water sea kayak paddling near El Nido
tommy-schultz-fish

Is Your Life Dull?

How about okay, but not quite right?

My friend and mastermind member, Tommy Schultz, felt that his life wasn’t quite what he thought it should be.

He went from marketing director for a non-profit in Washington, DC to living a dream lifestyle in Bali, Indonesia as an acclaimed international photographer.

Out of all the people I’ve met in my life, I will honestly say that he is one of only a couple of people I’m a bit jealous of. Don’t get me wrong…

I love the way my life has turned out so far. It’s just that when I look at Tommy and the life he lives, it looks like the life I thought I was going to live when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Now, instead of living full-time in exotic locations, I just visit them and return back to my family in Phoenix.

See, we all make decisions that determine what our lives have become up to this point. The great thing is if we don’t like how our lives are now we can always make different decisions to get the future that we passionately want. Tommy made different decisions — dramatic ones at that, to get to the life he wanted. He didn’t do it alone, though.

Tommy got advice from a mentor he trusted. Sort of a nudge out the door to the wonderful world that existed out there for Tommy if he would just step out there.

So listen in to hear how Tommy went from Average Joe American to a world-traveling photographer living in paradise.

Enjoy your Foolish Adventure,

Tim “Jealous Much” Conley

PS. Here’s what Tommy thought of being on the Show.

FA149 – From Average Joe To World-Traveling Photographer Living In Paradise With Tommy Schultz
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  • Dan

    This was fantastic guys !!!

  • Dan

    Tommy had quite a few quotables in there as well.

    • I’m looking forward to having Tommy back on so we can talk some nuts-and-bolts biznass instead of me just drooling over his life.

      • thanks ya’ll, both of your shows are huge inspirations to me, i’m always listening to them while i’m editing photos and getting inspired to try new ideas with my business that i never would have considered. that and the dc is the most amazing community of entrepreneurs i’ve ever seen (or heard of!)

  • Pingback: From 9-5 Office Job to Traveling Photographer: How to Interview | Travel & Underwater Photography by Tommy Schultz()

  • A year or two ago Dan interviewed and talked about more well known people in the space. Now the people he has trained and mentored are being interviewed on LBP, TTR, and now here on Foolish Adventure Show as success stories and people up and coming and killing it. Real awesome to see the next generation coming along.

    Awesome episode.

    • thanks jeremy, for sure tim and dan have been a huge influence on the way that i’ve approached my business in the past couple of years and their input and the community they’ve built has been a big part of the success i’ve been having lately. those guys are the real deal and are amazingly generous with their time and knowledge. you can’t really learn this stuff in school and i’d recommend anyone who’s thinking about starting their own business to follow their approach.

      thanks for the kind words about the show too, it was really fun to be one of tim’s guests!

  • So I have to jump in and agree on the whole baselining thing. For a variety of reasons we had to cut expenses for a few years. We lived in a smallish (35000ppl) town in WA so the cost of living was higher (!) than Perth (which is already expensive). Our family of 3 needed to thrive on 2000 a month (not including housing), while moving back to Perth. It was about a year or so that we were really tight, but we did it!
    We did things like selling our stuff, not buying clothes for 2-3 years (apart from essentials for a growing daughter), using cloth nappies/diapers, selling our 2nd car, using lower cost options for establishing a new garden at our home (digging in clay into our soil from specific sorts of kitty litter!! and using grass stolons rather than roll on lawn etc), seeking additional sources of income and more. During that time I joined FAU and took on several clients for freelance content/social media/web work.

    While our home was being built we also lived with our generous family for 6months which did help a lot.

    If you are serious you can totally live on less without having to move to SE Asia. But of course, changing environments does often make it easier to re-set your spending.

    Now we are in our new home and financially things are different, we still spend a lot less. We have added another child to the family and I’ve finally updated my wardrobe but we are still happy with one one car 90% of the time!

    • Definitely agree with you that it’s not necessary to move to SE Asia
      (though the lower cost of living definitely helps a lot when you’re
      starting up). For me the change in environment and access to the ocean /
      surfing / diving has made a big difference in both my quality of life
      and opportunities to expand my business. It’s not always ideal to live
      abroad, but for me the move pushed me out of my comfort zone and
      inspired me to push my photo projects in a new direction.

      Really agree with your point about re-setting your expenses and making cuts–I downsized when I moved abroad and at this point I don’t miss the extra clutter! 🙂

  • I feel like so many podcasts are selling the digital vegabond lifestyle, I’ve been a bonafide digital vegabond for about 9 months now and there’s actually some really drawbacks and negatives to it. Examples:
    Internet Connections can be slow and unreliable too none-existant.
    Friendships can be transient and shallow.
    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle; healthy food can be hard to find, lots of pollution, difficulty maintaining exercise schedule.
    Lots of distractions; constant parties, cheap booze, loud neighborhoods, being surrounded by drunk back backers, etc.
    I’m a big fan of digital vegabond lifestyle but most podcasts are glorifying it and not giving a balanced report.

    • Tommy’s not a vagabond. He’s an expat. He lives full time in Bali. He travels for photography gigs though.

    • I’d agree with you on the drawbacks you mentioned. Maybe I didn’t make it clear enough that I’ve lived in the same place for the past five years, have learned to speak Indonesian, and have managed to make friends (both locals and expats), get out in the ocean to surf / exercise regularly, have a reliable internet connection in my place, etc. There’s a huge difference between basing yourself somewhere for the long term and vagabonding. I love to travel as much as the next person, but I’d still rather have a fixed base in another country and do side trips from there.

      If you’re getting burnt on moving around so much I’d pick a place that you’ve liked so far, rent an apartment, set up a good workspace, set a regular exercise schedule, make an effort to learn the local language, and get involved with the local community. Do side trips once or twice a month to new spots to feed your travel bug. I’ve been based abroad for almost ten years and this approach has worked pretty well for me so far.

      Thanks for checking out the episode–sorry again if I wasn’t clear about my thoughts on the above topics!

      • @TimConley:disqus & @tommyschultz:disqus Good points! Here in Medellin, Colombia, I make sure to exercise regularly, work on my Spanish daily, and hang out with locals.

  • Guest

    great post and interview. It’s easy to get caught up with the ‘norms’ and settle for ordinary when we don’t take action to achieve our goals… I’ve also open my mind during my travels and reached many epiphanies through entrepreneurship. Thanks again for the great content!

    • oops sorry I didn’t log in…

  • great post and interview. It’s easy to get caught up with the ‘norms’ and settle for ordinary when we don’t take action to achieve our goals… I’ve also open my mind during my travels and reached many epiphanies through entrepreneurship. Thanks again for the great content!

  • great podcast. Your photography is awesome Tommy.

  • soloconsulting

    I laughed out loud at “I hate you” – thanks for speaking what the audience is thinking, Tim 😛