Hi, I’m Mike Routen.
I’ve always tried to live my life on my terms.
Growing up in California I attended a small High School and upon graduating I immediately enrolled at San Jose State University. After one semester, I decided that I needed to take a more hands-on approach to life.
When I was 18 I moved from California to Colorado to find some more adventure. While there, I got my private pilots license, worked as a ski lift operator, a snowmobile tour guide and volunteered as a firefighter.
At 21 I joined the US Navy and became a Search And Rescue Medical Technician. During my enlistment I volunteered for and was accepted into the Deep Freeze program. This allowed me to deploy to Antarctica for 6 months in 1990-1991. While I was down there with the Search And Rescue teams we performed numerous medivac flights and a few rescue operations.
After getting out of the Navy, I wanted to pursue flying so I used my GI Bill benefits to finish up my flight training and became a Helicopter Flight Instructor. Before long I accepted an offer from a student that was starting a tour company in the Columbia River Gorge area. Unfortunately they sold the helicopter about a year later.
After the flying position dropped out from underneath me, I lost a little bit of my adventurous spirit. I got a good job and I bought into the idea that I needed to “settle down” and start chasing the American Dream. Even if this meant that I had to turn my back on my own dreams.
With my typical focused approach, I pursued the acquisition of a house, nicer cars, and a lot of “stuff”. We were hanging out with the Joneses and were determined to outspend and out-acquire them. On those two criteria we were “winning” most of the time. The only problem with this is that we were spending money we hadn’t earned yet. Debt was spiraling out of control.
Then something wonderful happened. My wife and I took a quiet dinner cruise on a sailboat on the Willamette River. The evening was unbelievable. Ghosting down the river under sail, enjoying fresh cooked salmon, watching the shore drift by. My beautiful wife turned to me and said, “I could live on a boat like this.”. That was when my adventurous spirit was sparked back to life.
I realized that we had been going the wrong way, at unbelievable speed, for way too long. Now it was time to hit the brakes and do a 180. I needed to live life on my terms again. The problem is that we had built up a lot of momentum (debt) and changing direction wasn’t going to be quick or easy.
Right away we started to reevaluate our spending habits. We had to redefine what was important to us. What did we want to do more, keep up with the Joneses, or make our dreams come true?
We are now making great strides in our journey towards attaining our freedom. We’re living beneath our means. Every month we’re now paying down our debt. We go and look at boats every chance we get to keep our focus on the dream of moving onto the boat and seeing where the winds take us.
All of these experiences have taught me a few very important lessons.
First Dreams are important! And I’m not talking about the Great American Dream either. I’m talking about what makes you come alive when you think about it. What keeps you up at night. What you would give just about anything to accomplish. Those Dreams.
Second, no matter how far from your dreams you have wandered, it is never too late to change course and chase them with all of your heart. That road won’t be a freeway. It may be winding and slow going. It may not even be paved, but it will be well worth the effort. Too many people today wish about achieving their dreams. They plan to work on them “some day”. The problem is that life isn’t so painful that they feel compelled to make “some day” into today. All the modern conveniences we enjoy help to lull us into accepting things as they are.
Third, society wants, even needs to place us in a box of their choosing. Even those close to us place us in a box, its just human nature. The strange thing is that these boxes are external and arbitrary, yet we allow them to be emotionally binding. The good news is that you can get out of your box. You have the power to ignore the box that others are trying to put you into. People often talk of thinking outside the box. Don’t just think outside the box, choose to live your life outside the box.
Join our community now and let us help you find the route that takes you out of your box and leads you to where you have the freedom to live a remarkable life.
The world needs you to live your life on your terms.
No one else can impact the world the way you can when you find the route to your freedom.