How I’m Doing What I Wanted To Do: Being A Vagabonding Martial Artist

I’m doing what I wanted to do. I’m now traveling around the world as a vagabonding martial artist.

In fact, this is a combination of a few things I wanted to do: 1) traveling around the world, 2) being able to work from anywhere, and 3) training with different people in different countries.

At the same time, there are things I wanted to avoid as well, such as wearing a suit and catching a fully packed train to work everyday.

In short, though, it all comes down to being able to choose what I want to do and being able to do it.

I will write about what exactly I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I hope this post will give you some courage to do what you want to do.

What I’m Doing

I’m traveling around the world as a vagabonding martial artist. What I do is to go to different countries and to train with people there. In addition to normal travel gears, I carry my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gears: one set of uniform (one jacket and one pair of pants), one extra jacket for competition, two rash guards, and one pair of grappling shorts.

So far, I have been to Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Hong Kong. I’ve trained with 11 different groups of people in these countries. Also, I competed in Australia and in Hong Kong.

I’m planning to go to Philippines, Vietnam, Iran and Turkey as well as the rest of Europe. I’m going to compete in Philippines and will be training in these countries as well.

Although you may not know much about it, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become a very popular form of martial arts in recent years and it’s relatively easy to find grapplers around the globe. It’s a great way to make new friends too. I spar with people, and if there’s something I can help or teach, I share my knowledge and experiences with them. I learn from them as well.

The way I fund my trip is by working as a freelance translator. A while ago, I learned that there are people who move from place to place while working as a freelancer or an online-based business owner. Since then, I chose to take this path and now I’m doing it.

In terms of the cost of trip, you could say I’m a budget traveler. I prefer to travel slowly (though not as slowly as Niall!), and I’ve been relying on low cost carriers like Air Asia and Cebu Pacific for transportation as well as on buses and trains. I don’t drink much or party hard. I’m mostly staying in a dorm room in a guest house or on someone’s couch. I’m happy with getting food from street food vendors.

I’m pretty easy going and low-maintenance, so these options are readily available for me.

Now that I’m doing what I wanted to do, my next move is to keep doing this for a while. There are things I will need to do in order to keep doing this, but I believe I will figure it out.

How I’m Doing It

Everyone is in a different situation. It may be harder or easier for you to do what you want to do than for me to do what I want to do. But I believe there’s always a way if you look for it. Whether you stay open-minded and look for a way is up to you. This is the most important initial step you need to take.

So, you are still with me and you are determined to look for a way to do what you want to do. That’s great. I applaud for your courage.

Now, here’s a question for you – what do you want to do? If you don’t know what you want to do, it’s going to be pretty tough to make it happen. Here’s a tip – you don’t need to worry about what others might say about what you want to do (unless of course it involves harming others or criminal acts).

I assume you already know what you want to do. Here’s another question for you. What do you need to do in order to do what you want to do?

This is a tricky question, because we tend to assume we know a lot about what we need to do. But, it’s possible that what you think you need to do may not be necessary at all in order to do what you want to do.

For example, you might think you need a large amount of money in order to start a business. Your next thought might be: Oh well, I don’t have enough money to start a business any soon. Should you give up what you wanted to do (i.e. starting your own business) right away? The answer: no. There are people who run a $100 startup, and while there’s no guarantee that you can be like them, you now know it is possible to start a business under $100. That means it’s not necessarily the case that you need a large amount of money in order to start a business.

In my own case, when it comes to financing a world-wide trip, a traditional approach would be to save a lot of money before you go. Of course, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have worked on saving money, but I chose a different path, which is to earn money while being on the road as a freelance translator. In the Japanese standard, I don’t earn a lot and my source of income is unstable, but it’s been OK so far. In fact, it would be easier for me to save money while being on the road, especially if I chose to slow down in a place where the cost of living is much lower than what I make.

Having said that, while it isn’t a huge worry, I have a worry about my money situation – that I need to make my income stream more stable. But, since I know what I need to do and I’m willing to find a way, I believe I can do something about it instead of giving up what I want to do altogether.

Further Thoughts

I want to close this post with some further thoughts. One is about the importance of knowing what you want to do is possible. The other is the best move you can make in order to do what you want to do.

So, the importance of knowing what you want to do is possible. What I’m doing is not entirely new. The way people before me did what they did may be different from the way I’m doing what I’m doing, but it’s great to know about these examples.

I bet that there is someone who has done what you want to do or at least something close to it. Google it and get inspired. It’s simple like that.

For me, a classic example would be Maeda Mitsuyo, a Japanese martial artist who traveled around the world about 100 years ago and who we can call as the ground father of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If someone from 100 years ago did it, there’s no reason why I can’t do it.

A recent example is Christian from Denmark, who traveled around the world as a BJJ globetrotter. Again, the way he traveled and grappled around the world is different from the way I do it, but it was great to know about him.

These guys are more martial arts oriented inspirations, but if I am to name one person as someone who introduced me a lot in relation to living this kind of life style, then it’s definitely Chris Guillebeau. If you’ve heard of him, check out his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity.

If you have a hard time finding some role models for you, you can ask this simple question: Is what you want to do physically impossible to do (that is, impossible according to the laws of nature)? If your answer is no, then it’s possible, even though it may be difficult to do. But, knowing that it’s possible is a good step for you.

Here’s the second thought: the best move you can make in order to do what you want to do. I believe I read about this best move in a number of other places, and now I made that exact move, I can tell you that it is indeed the best move I made. I hope it will be the best move for you too.

The best move you can make in order to do what you want to do is to start working on it right now. Yup, I know you’ve heard it before. You just need to do it.

To be honest, it took me a while to do what I’m doing now. I could have started doing it earlier. I don’t regret about the time I spent on getting to where I am now, because I made great friends and memories by not leaving Japan, but the thing is, you are ready when you choose to be ready. What stops you is just yourself. It’s fine to take small steps and prepare for a big move. But don’t just give up or keep dreaming without taking action.

If there is anything I can help you with in relation to what I wrote above, let me know. I’m on your side.

I believe you can do what you want to do.