Meet Russ – From Wits End To Land’s End: How We Regained (Most Of) Our Sanity

Image credit: Russ Reynolds

Guest post by Russ Reynolds

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost

We just couldn’t take it anymore. In truth I don’t understand how anybody can. I suppose you ‘do what you have to do,’ as they say, but the cruel irony is that you don’t; you just make yourself believe you do.

By ‘it’ I mean ‘working for the man’, ‘the rat race,’ ‘the grind’ or any other euphemism you have for slaving away at a job you hate to make somebody else wealthy.

Whatever you call it, it was just not for us. I assume, if you are reading this, it is not for you either.

Letting Bad Things Happen

As Tim Ferriss points out, there is an art to letting small bad things happen. The worst of our fears, as it turns out, rarely come to fruition. Sadly, many of us let these fears rule our lives.

We have certainly come to realize that, although a location independent lifestyle can be fraught with stresses, none of them are nearly as difficult, or as insurmountable, as they seem in our minds.

Perhaps our story will help convince you that location independence is not only desirable but infinitely achievable as well.

My name is Russ. My wife and best friend’s name is Lisa and our 8 year old daughter is Olivia.

We lived in a small, average town north of Toronto, Canada, and had what some people assumed was an ideal life. A big house, 3 car garage, 2 nice new cars, a beautiful big backyard with a pool and lots of friends to enjoy it all with.

Stressed Out And At The End Of Our Rope

In truth, though, we were stressed to the max and dying inside. Lisa had a demanding on-call career as a Respiratory Therapist which had become much more mundane than she could have imagined in college.

I was going nuts as a sales manager at a Fortune 100 food company. It is amazing how difficult and stressful something as simple as food sales can be.

Neither of us were fulfilled and both of us were approaching burnout. Of course none of this was great for Olivia either. Perhaps you can relate to our story so far. Here’s where it gets a little different:

A Cerveza In Mexico Changes Our Lives Forever

We decided, admittedly under the influence of a cerveza or two in Cancun, to take a leap of faith and quit our careers – reasoning that we could always return to them later if need be.

We just felt that life was too short to be living it on other people’s terms.

We were very angry that we only had 7 days, two or three times per year, to explore the world and have a little adventure. We wanted to feel the sunshine everyday.

That I had begun a freelancing career in my spare time made our decision even easier. It wasn’t nearly where it needed to be to support us but it was something and we were eternally grateful for it.

If you haven’t done so already, start something on the side now,  so that you are prepared when you reach the end of your rope.

Land’s End

After a year of ups and downs with business and much emotional turmoil, we finally reached our first location independent destination – Los Cabos, Mexico. Los Cabos literally means ‘The Capes’ but is also known as Land’s End. It is the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific.

Los Cabos is an amazingly rich and vibrant community in an absolutely beautiful natural setting. I can’t imagine trying to see all of the sights in 7 days as most people have to. Instead we have been here 5 amazing months.

Life is not Shangra-La (yet) but is a thousand times better than it was:

  • Instead of rushing out of the house to fight traffic, we rush out to hit the pool.
  • Instead of spending my working time in a cubicle with no view, I very often work under a special palm tree (I desperately need another laptop battery though).
  • Instead of fast food dining, we have long dinners with our Mexican friends (sans Blackberry).
  • And, best of all, instead of Olivia getting token time with her mom and dad, she gets as much time with us as is humanly possible.

In and of itself, our story is not remarkable. But our lives have become remarkable, at least to us, and it’s choosing to ignore our fears and press on that has made all of the difference.

Here’s hoping you reach the end of your rope soon.

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14 Responses to Meet Russ – From Wits End To Land’s End: How We Regained (Most Of) Our Sanity

  1. Rod Schneider

    August 30, 2010 | 12:00 pm

    Hey, thanks for the encouragement Russ. I really respect you and your family for having the courage to quit your careers and “jump in the deep end”.

    To your success,


  2. Doug

    August 30, 2010 | 12:50 pm

    What a great story Russ. Keep on going and I hope I can be in your shoes someday.

  3. Jennifer

    August 30, 2010 | 2:19 pm

    Not only did I enjoy reading about your story here Russ, but I actually did SEE your story in real life as I had the pleasure of meeting your family in San Jose del Cabo! And now I am envious of your family as my family has returned to “real life” and your family has endless possibilities! I only wish you much continued success and happiness!

  4. Steve

    August 30, 2010 | 2:52 pm

    Good food for thought. Thanks for sharing your story and helping others discover their options in life.

  5. Pedro García-Sanjuán

    August 30, 2010 | 3:37 pm

    I was lucky to meet you in Los Cabos! What you say is what you do…I admire your lifestyle and your integrity.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with me
    I hope soon to reach your own professional independence and enjoy life like you do.
    My best wishes to you and your extraordinary family!


  6. Houses in Leicester

    August 30, 2010 | 4:13 pm

    Hi Russ,
    So glad that you took the plunge.For many years I was fortunate enough to live and work around the globe.I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!. Now as you can see by the nickname I am lumbered with property,mortgages and all the hassle that comes with being a man of property.
    I miss the relaxing and enjoyable working life I used to have, if I got bored with one country I just packed my laptop and moved onto the next.
    My plan is to pay off the mortgages within the next 3 years and hit the road once again. Who knows we might bump into one another.
    Enjoy the sun,your family and life.

  7. David

    August 30, 2010 | 5:12 pm

    You arte3 starting to make me believe in dreams!

  8. Guest Writer

    August 30, 2010 | 5:37 pm

    Thanks Jennifer…we certainly appreciated meeting you too. We will be in San Diego next month (not so far from Alameda). We hope to see you soon…

  9. Guest Writer

    August 30, 2010 | 5:38 pm

    Hey Pedro – thanks for the kinds words. We certainly miss all of you there. Olivia particularly sends her regards to Leo!



  10. Guest Writer

    August 30, 2010 | 5:39 pm

    Hey Mark – good luck with your plan. Did you know that you can make a killing with Virtual Real Estate (without any of the hassles)?

    Might be something to look into…



  11. Alison Gresik

    August 30, 2010 | 8:03 pm

    Can’t wait to hear more details, Mark! Did you leave behind all that stuff in Ontario? Did people freak out when you quit? How’s your daughter adjusting to the changes?

    I look forward to your future posts!

  12. LM

    August 30, 2010 | 8:51 pm

    Great story Russ! Congratulations from another family that reached the end of their rope :-)

  13. Guest Writer

    August 31, 2010 | 3:42 pm

    Hi Alison…thanks for the comment!

    I did leave stuff behind in Collingwood Ontario in storage (it irks me to no end paying for the storage but if we decide to return to Ontario long term we will have it – don’t think that will be happening any time soon though).

    People did freak out when I quit. First I quit to go to the competitor which was shocking enough and then I left the industry completely to do my own thing 3 months later.

    We are blessed in that Olivia is very well adjusted and loves the adventure. We will have to see how things progress as we go – obviously we do not want this to impact her negatively. So far it has only been the opposite.

    Thanks again,


  14. Guest Writer

    August 31, 2010 | 3:43 pm

    Thanks for the kind words Lisa-Marie. I enjoy reading your adventures as well….

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